Monday, September 21, 2015

Wonderful Monarch Celebration at Brukner Nature Center, September 13, 2015

Monarch, photo taken by Tom Persing, August, 2015

Steve and I spent the entire afternoon at Brukner's Monarch Celebration.

Here he is looking at a chrysalis that has turned black.  We watched for a while but not long enough.  When we stopped back a half hour later, the butterfly had emerged and was resting its newly outspread wings.

Outside on a picnic table we found more Chrysalises  as well as caterpillars munching on Common Milkweed.  I love the beautiful gold dots on the chrysalises.

We stopped at a tent made of netting and found more butterflies.  Ruth was in the tent talking about Monarchs with the visitors. The temperature was in the sixties Fahrenheit.  It would have been fun to see the butterflies fly about in the tent but everyone was able to get a good look at them because the temperatures were cool.

Steve found four butterflies in this corner.

Back inside we found another chrysalis that had turned black.  We waited a while but not long enough.

In the library, Miss June was reading a story about Monarchs to preschoolers so we listened, too.

This is the book she was reading.

By the end of the story all the listeners were repeating the caterpillar's words with Miss June.  "Gotta Go!  Gotta Go!  Gotta go to Mexico"

Steve and I watched the Flight of the Butterflies in the auditorium.  It was a 2-D movie but was a version of the 3-D film seen in Imax theaters.  I didn't realize that the area where the Monarchs overwinter in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico was not found until 1975.

The site was found by the first Mexican citizen scientists in the Monarch Watch program, Ken Brugger and Catalina Aquado.

The Monarch Watch program was started by Fred and Norah Urquhart of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Urquharts studied Monarchs for many years and created the first tags for Monarchs.

The Urquharts visited the wintering site in January of 1976 and almost immediately, Fred found a Monarch with a tag on it released by two students and their teacher in Chaska, Minnesota in August of 1975. It was clear the monarch had traveled over 2000 miles to its wintering ground.

Steve decided he wanted to watch Ruth tag Monarchs so we walked down to the amphitheater about 3:30.

The green arrow points to the tag on the butterfly.

Monarch on its caterpillar's host plant, Common Milkweed.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Abraham Lincoln has been visiting in Troy.

Abraham Lincoln and Common Man have been talking all summer on the front lawn of the Miami County Courthouse.

I stopped in last week and a passing woman took my picture with them.  They are truly giants among men.

Since 2003, Troy has been having biannual public art exhibits.  Usually the sculptures are scattered throughout the downtown area.  This year, the sculpture is this gigantic one.

I checked on the Internet and this is what I learned.

The thirty-one foot high sculpture was created by Seward Johnson from a smaller one commissioned by The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania.  That piece is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Twice before Troy has had sculptures by Seward Johnson as public art displays.  Funding for the displays is obtained through grants and donations.

As a special addition, a full-size replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train was on display September 10 through 13 on Short Street between Hayner Cultural Center and the courthouse. Every time I went by long lines of people were waiting to tour the funeral car.  I didn't tour it but here is a photo of it followed by photos of the engine and the complete train.

The original funeral train traveled across Ohio in 1865, stopping at towns along the way.  One of the stops was at Piqua, a few miles north of Troy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Back to Portrait and Figure Studio, Sept3, 2015

I haven't been to a portrait and figure studio for over a year.  It was good to get back and see artist friends.  It has been a long time since I've seen most of them.

I brought my always-packed painting backpack and a small folding camp table.  I wasn't in the mood to carry a lot of equipment.

We had about two and a half hours to sketch since the model had to leave a bit early.  I drew a pencil sketch with a number two lead pencil and laid watercolor washes on it.

 The sketch is about 8 by 10 inches.

Hayner Cultural Center has asked us to put up an exhibit in their art projects teaching room so when I returned home I looked through old sketches.  Below are the two I framed for the exhibit.

This is in a 16 X 20 frame and is painted with Atelier Interactive Acrylics.  They dry more slowly than traditional acrylics.  Another three hour sketch.

This is a small watercolor sketch, about 5 X 7, in an 8 X 10 wood frame.  I don't remember whether I painted several little paintings that day but I probably did.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Butterfly Transit at Brukner Nature Center, August 29, 2015

The day was hot.  There was a threat of a pop-up thunderstorm.  The mosquitoes were plentiful although there were fewer than a few weeks ago.

The Monarchs are showing up.  We counted four.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)  Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)

We were excited to see an American Snout butterfly.  This is only the second one we have seen in our three years of walking the transit.

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)  Wingspan: 1.6-1.9 inches (4.1-4.8 cm)

This is another photo of the same butterfly.  I like the picture because Jim also caught a Ailanthus Webworm Moth in the same picture.  The Ailanthus larvae make communal webs on the leaves of  Ailanthus Trees.  Isn't the moth pretty?

American Snout with Ailanthus Moth (Atteva punctella)

We found four Silver-spotted Skippers.  This one was posed exactly right to get a frontal pose.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Ruth identified this Wild Indigo Duskywing.  Duskywings are a group of dark butterflies. It is hard to tell one from another.

Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)  Wingspan: (1.3-1.7 inches (3.3-4.3 cm)

We saw a Painted Lady on Wingstem..  I think this is the first Painted Lady we have seen this summer.  Last year we saw numerous Painted Ladies so we should be seeing more on future walks.

On the same plant was a Monarch.  If you look closely, you will see there are also two bees on the plant.

Upper butterfly: Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)
Lower butterly: Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Wingspan: 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)
Plant: Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia)

The most exciting find of the day was a Viceroy Butterfly along the drive.  This was a first sighting ever on the transit.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)  Wingspan: 2.6-3.2 inches (6.6-8.1 cm)


Here is a Monarch photo taken by Tom earlier this year.  The difference between the two butterflies is easily seen by looking at the hind wings.  The Monarch has an irregular stained glass pattern.  The Viceroy has a noticeable black line across the middle of each hind wing.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)

As we were getting into our vehicles, the promised pop-up storm arrived with strong winds and splats of rain on the windshields.  Perfect timing  as far as we were concerned.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Shrimp Factory,Pine Bark Stew

I realized as I started writing this that we were in Savannah five months ago.   But I still remember the delicious Pine Bark Stew that is The Shrimp Factory's signature dish.  Our waitress, a transplant from Michigan, assured me I would be happy with my choice when I ordered it.

Here I am waiting for my Pine Bark Stew.  I'm looking a bit tense.  The ride to River Street was traumatic...all those squares... trying to see everything... looking for the entrance to River Street.

A little of that stew comforted and relaxed me.  The stew was a thick and tasty bouillabaisse.  According to the menu, the ingredients included potatoes, onions, peppers, shrimp, flounder, oysters, crab, scallops, cherry tomatoes, and house seasonings.  It arrived in a thick metal pot with enough stew in it for both Tom and me.  ( He had made other choices but he tasted my stew and declared it delicious.)

I liked the stew because it was thick as well as tasty. There were well-cooked small chunks of its ingredients mingled within the broth. The broth was thick enough that the chunks were not floating, but hidden in it, a pleasant surprise when I took a spoonful of  stew.  I'm getting hungry for more as I write this.

I found the name interesting so I asked the waitress about it.  She said one story is that in the early days at the end of the day, hunters made stew over a campfire and threw in whatever foodstuff they had.  They cooked over a fire which included pine bark.  Others say the colonists learned to make the stew from the Native Americans who made the stew thick enough to be served on a slab of pine bark.  A third theory is that long ago tender little pine tree roots were used as a seasoning in the stew.  Like gumbo, the ingredients in this stew vary from place to place.

I hope we get back to River Street again...SOON.