More Wednesday Wild: Bob’s Spicebush Swallowtail

© Bob R, Grade 5


This photo arrived by email over the weekend, along with a note from the fifth grader who snapped it. “Today I was working in the yard, and I saw a butterfly,” he said, “so I went to go check it out .. I am pretty sure it is a Spicebush Swallowtail …”

He thought I’d like to see it, and he was right. (Thank you, Bob!) In one of those fun happenings that fuels my school visiting, a teacher at Bob’s school independently sent me photos of a froglet she found in her backyard.

Look closely at the world around you, friends. There is so much to see.

(Read that last sentence every morning and you won’t even need me to come to your school. Although if you’d like me to come to your school, you should check out the School Visits page of my website. I added my first 2012-2013 school year events to the calendar this morning!)

Twice-stabbed on an Apple Tree

© Loree Griffin Burns

Yesterday, in central Massachusetts, the sun came out. In celebration, my daughter and I spent a couple of hours outside after school. She did her homework on the picnic table, I scoped out one of our two apple trees. I’ve been reading a truly inspiring book on tree-watching–SEEING TREES, by Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn–and have decided to take up the sport. Somewhere between noting the gorgeous pattern of the bark (it was spongy and wet, mottled dark and light all over and then sprinkled with moss and lichens) and checking out the leaves, I found some critters. Not surprisingly, I was distracted. Ants. Slugs. And a ladybug! Not just any ladybug, mind you, but one I’ve not yet seen in the wild.

Can you see it up there in the photo?

That, my friends, is a Twice-stabbed Ladybug (Chilocorus stigma). Or maybe its a Once-squashed Ladybug (Chilocorus hexacyclus)*? I will never know for sure, because when I tried to catch it for a closer look at its chromosomes**, it dropped down into the grass. Lost forever. But I did manage this picture, which I’ll submit to Lost Ladybug Project soon.

So, eleven different species on my ladybug life list now. Hooray for the sun, and for tree-watching, and for ladybugs!

* I am not making these names up, I swear. They are from this excellent ladybug field guide.

**Okay, now I’m making things up. The only way to distinguish the two species is to examine the chromosomes, but I had no intention of doing so. I’m not that geeky. Plus, I don’t have the proper microscopes yet.

Back to Work

© Loree Griffin Burns

After a long and busy month of traveling and packing and moving and unpacking and celebrating and, truth be told, worrying about the work I was neglecting all the while, this morning I get back to work. I got up early, excited to begin, but was stopped short by this breathtaking sunrise. For me, it was a reminder to strive for balance. Work, yes, but enjoy beauty and family and all the rest, too. Every day. Somehow, some way, make room for all of it.

So I spent some time outside with my camera, had breakfast with the boys, walked the little miss to school. Had a cup of tea. And now, with a deep breath of gratitude for the many facets of this gorgeous morning, I’m ready to begin.

Have a wonderful Monday, friends.


© Loree Griffin Burns

My daughter and I found this lovely fellow in the garage this morning, as we headed out to survey ladybugs at our local Audubon sanctuary. While we traipsed through woods and meadows, sweeping for ladybugs and bumping into all manner of other cool creatures (several tiger swallowtails, a red-tailed hawk pestering a squirrel ’round a red maple tree, a wood frog, and far too many ticks), the moth slept.

We drove out to the farm for seedlings and milk, stopped for lunch, came home, cleaned up; the moth slept.

He’s out there now, sleeping, waiting on dusk I suppose.

I’m enchanted, and waiting, too.