Butterflies LOVE hot sunshine and we’d had such a rainy, dreary summer. This year, I hadn’t had much time for butterfly chasing in the city anyway, but they were noticeably absent at the cottage too. Now that it’s fall, we are experiencing weather that finally feels like July: blue skies and sweltering heat. And butterflies.
Well, we made it this year! After about an hour in line with our three year old (and thank goodness, Grandma!), we made our way into the butterfly exhibit that is held annually at Carleton University. Check it out if you can!
Open from October 1-9, 2016
Annual Butterfly Biology Show
After making a pair of Luna Moth wings for my daughter’s Halloween costume, I decided to make some smaller, pin-back versions of butterflies. So far I’ve made two: a Monarch and a Mourning Cloak. Lately I have been busy working on other projects, but I can’t wait to get started on the third one. Stitching is so meditative, and I feel a deep sense of focus and accomplishment while working on them.
made from 100% Indian silk in front, and cotton on the back
details embroidered with cotton thread and glass beads or faux pearls
body knitted with 100% wool or acrylic/wool blend
black wire antennae and metal brooch pin sewn onto the back
One of the things I look forward to most about summer is the hummingbirds buzzing around the cottage. They are mesmerizing to watch, like tiny sequined acrobats. Because so many of us enjoy their presence in our gardens, I thought I would share a little piece of advice about attracting them. Keep in mind I am no expert, but I believe there is just one important thing to consider:
Provide flowers rather than a plastic feeder. Here’s why.
One of a hummingbird’s most important jobs is pollinating. Bees, butterflies, birds, and even bats play a crucial role in this life cycle. Every time they visit a flower, they carry its pollen onto the next flower, regenerating the plants, which in turn feed everyone and everything on the planet. If you want to learn more about why pollination is important, there is a beautiful documentary (currently on Netflix) called Wings of Life. Its amazing cinematography features slow-motion footage of hummingbirds in flight.
Most people don’t realize how often a hummingbird feeder should be cleaned. The general consensus seems to be every couple of days, since the sugar solution can ferment and grow bacteria that can make birds seriously, even fatally, ill. It is an easy thing to forget, and some feeders can be a pain to take apart and clean.
I think we can all agree that flowers are much prettier than a plastic. Photographing birds in their natural surroundings can be more of a challenge but has a much greater reward. When choosing flowers, look for blooms that are brightly coloured and tubular. Beebalm, columbine, buddleia, foxglove, verbena, and honeysuckle will beautify your garden while attracting hummingbirds. Find a list of flowers online and check your hardiness zone to find out what you can plant in your area.
If you decide to use feeders, don’t hang them directly in front of windows. If you have a lot of birds around your home, make sure your windows are “bird-safe.” We’ve all seen the birds of prey silhouette decals, but I recently found some new versions that are more subtle on your windows. They are essentially reflective stickers that show birds a window is a hard surface to be avoided. View them HERE. While it is lovely to see them up-close, it is heartbreaking and TOO close when one hits your window. Believe me.
I hope this inspires you to create a natural environment to bring hummingbirds to your garden. You will love having them visit and you will be doing your part to help pollinators!
The river was waiting for us this afternoon. After visiting almost every night, to skipping a couple of weeks, I think we really missed its calm rhythms. The leaves in the woods are tinged with a touch of gold these days, and I couldn’t believe what we found there, freshly fallen from the sky:
This is my favourite time of year, and not just because it’s my birthday 😀 To celebrate this BIG YEAR, I am offering you 30% OFF in my Etsy Shop for all of September. Just enter coupon code: BIRTHDAY30 at the time of purchase.