Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple Pleasures.....

Living rural has so many pros and cons.  Driving long distances to get anywhere is one of those "cons".  However, over the past 2-3 weeks those long drives have been welcomed because I was able to experience something I've never seen before.  Butterflies!  Butterflies you ask?  Yes, thousands of them.  More butterflies than I have ever witnessed in one place before.

Our roadsides in Missouri are kept cut back only a few feet since the gas prices went up.  So many of the wild flowers and other plants have been able to take up residence and thrive.  One such plant is the thistle.   I remember many years ago the dried thistle was so coveted by home crafters and flower arrangers that you hardly ever saw them anymore (I lived in Michigan at the time).  I guess that hobby never took off here in Missouri since we have an abundance of them!

Driving the other day I was amazed at the sheer number of butterflies.  There had to of been 1,000's of them.  The Thistle on the side of the road, for about 12 miles, was just black with butterflies.  All moving to the open flowers to eat nectar.  It was a beautiful sight to see.

After some searching via the internet I discovered that the butterflies were called a Pipevine Swallowtail and they look like this (photo credit to Charly Mann).  Their iridescent hind wings practically glowed in the sunlight.  Bright blue toward the bottom and black top wings.  It ranges from the US down into Mexico and as far away as Costa Rica.  They can be seen from April - October in the Northern part of it's range and from February - November in it's Southern range.  They have 2 hatchings in the North and usually 3 in the South.

All scientific descriptions aside they are beautiful.  Their graceful movement catches your eye and you can't help but watch them.  Hopefully you have either stopped your car and pulled off the road or you are watching them from your patio!  I have had the blessing to be able to of done both this Summer.  Sometimes I think that the world would be a more peaceful place if we all pulled off the road once in a while and just sat to watch the butterflies.....