Monday, September 10, 2007

Butterflies, wildflowers, and the coming of fall in the Shenandoah Valley.... Part 1

Sunday afternoon was a warm day with temps in the upper 80s as I roamed the Sweet Virginia Breeze homestead. What led me outside with a camera was the number of butterflies that had been passing through the past week -- blue, yellow, orange -- heading south of the border for the winter.

Late summer ... the warm days are waning ... fall is almost here and the signs are everywhere.

A lone scraggly apple.... A late spring frost killed blooms on our apple and peach trees as well as flowering bushes, vines, and flowers. The few apples that made it have been eaten by the deer with the exception of this one high up on a branch.

As I approached this black walnut tree, three squirrels jumped to the ground and scampered toward the woods. I had interrupted their harvesting a winter food source.

Black walnuts are abundant on the trees. They are couched in these green outer coverings that dry and turn black after the nuts are picked. Under that covering is a rock-hard shell that usually has to be shattered with a hammer.

An orange monarch butterfly on goldenrod in a grassy clearing in the woods. I tried to take photos of other butterflies but they were elusive and in a hurry.... Goldenrod is blooming and abundant in the woods, and it is covered with bees and butterflies as they prepare for cold weather ahead.

Berries on a cedar tree. They are not as abundant this year.

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