Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bronzite, faceted smoky quartz, and mookaite for inspiration.
WIP--Chrysoprase beads and silver necklace.
Sometimes one has the urge to torch things. At such times, it helps a great deal if one remembers to have one's propane torches filled up and ready to go. That is something I failed to do and to complicate matters, my butane torch, the workhorse of my jewelry making adventures, went kaput. There is always the scary hot MAPP gas torch which I use for serious stuff, like reticulation, but it is no fun to use on hot and humid days. The thing to do then is get beady. Today, I am making silver leaves that will be dapped and hammered to form a necklace along with chrysoprase beads. I am not quite sure whether this design is the one I want. I could use silver beads and add cabochons--perhaps opal or moonstone--the the leaves. That would call for soldering and soldering calls for a new butane torch. It seems that I will have to buy one anyway. In order to dangle gracefully, those leaves need soldered findings--loops. Drilling the top of the leaf and inserting a wire loop might work too. I will experiment.
Against my better judgement, I agreed to do a show in Maryland, in autumn. Junior is all for it. Her homemade soap and felted bags are usually a hit and she gets to meet other artisans. My jewelry is too expensive for country fairs and at best I sell half a dozen pieces. The good thing is that a couple of the buyers might become loyal patrons, returning to commission new projects. All in all, we artisans work for the love of the craft. Few of us are able to leave their day jobs and yet we persist, knowing that we are competing with ill-paid Third Word craftspeople for whom a dollar an hour an acceptable salary. My hometown has a silver shop that sells jewelry made in Bali and India and the Smithsonian sells quilts made in China. I am not sure who benefits from globalization. Perhaps it is good that the Balinese, Indians get paid a dollar an hour. I have slightly higher overhead and therefore I need a better salary that is better than that. Perhaps it is ethical to buy inexpensive crafts made by Chinese political prisoners whose working conditions would give OSHA inspector cardiac arrest. You get decide; Third World craftspeople usually cannot.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First cucumbers ever to be harvest at Brambles.
Spring pansies still going strong.

An elegantly dressed bug, saved from a watery death.

First passion fruit.

Glorious gloriosa daisy.

Hydrangeas, daisies and the love of three oranges.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The ideal, Better Home and Gardens.

The reality, my craft room.

The ideal, from Better Homes and Gardens. The reality, my writing room.

Sterling silver pin with citrine briolet, pearls and garnets


"Control of chaos is the stabilization, by means of small system perturbations, of one of these unstable periodic orbits. The result is to render an otherwise chaotic motion more stable and predictable, which is often an advantage. The perturbation must be tiny, to avoid significant modification of the system's natural dynamics."

I think of in German, machen ordnung, to make order. It is a brutal process that requires a brutal language. Basically I have to tear a place apart before I can rearrange in a way that allows me to use for a certain purpose. In this case, the space is my study, the place where I use to conduct interviews and write, back when I worked for commercial newspapers. After I decided to write for non-profit organisations, I moved my writing quarters to another room and remade my former office into a silversmith's office.

Formally trained silversmiths usually have immaculate work spaces. They arrange their jeweller's benches according to an age old pattern. That makes sense. Much of silversmithing is precise work. It requires orderly surroundings. many silversmithing tools are delicate and expensive. Some rust easily and it does not do to neglect them.

Having said that, I will admit to keeping my bench in an apparent state of chaos. That is, to a trained silversmith my bench looks like a pigsty. Yet I can find my tools blindfolded. It is true that I have only killed two sets of aviation grade cutters, but that happened over a period of eight years and I have learnt not to use them to hold piece of silver I am heating wth a MAPP (liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) mixed with methylacethylene-propadiene) gas torch. The combustion temperature of MAPP gas 5300 °F ( 2927 °C ), great for melting silver and one's good, expensive aviation cutters.

Here and there I make a piece of jewelry that makes someone happy. It is a skill to have. Writing is cleaner, but the creative process is no sweeter than making a drawing and rendering it into metal. I practice both crafts in rooms where there must be some order--my kind of order, not decorator magazine's prissy, photographable prettiness. See for yourself.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Vintage Japanese textile from my collection
Andean knitted cap from my collection


See the BLUE exhibit scheduled to run for another month at the Textile Museum, 2320 S Street, NW Washington, DC. The show includes fragments of Greco-Roman and Pre-Columbian textiles, but my real interest is the work of of artists Hiroyuki Shindo, who grows and processes his indigo to make patterned textiles using the shibori method dating back to the 8th. century CE. While kanoko shibori may be considered the equivalent of western tie-dye or bound-resist, muira, humo, nui and arashi shibori include looped binding, stitching and binding, pleating, and wrapping sections of cloth around a pole in order to create a pattern.

My own small collection of vintage textiles includes few lengths of shibori-dyed fabric from Japan, as well as a few Andean knitted and woven pieces. I cherish the creative and the work that went into making them and that is why the prospect of seeing a carefully curated exhibit appeals to me. Junior, an avid knitter who dyes yarn with flowers grown for that purpose, shares my interest both exhibits. I think we will wait until school is in session again. I find museums more enjoyable without the strident presence of busloads of children and teachers. Not that I dislike children. It is just that for me, looking at textiles is a meditative occupation. I recall only too clearly a kimono exhibit I attended some years at the National Art Gallery. The kimonos were glorious, but it was impossible to focus on anything but children running around, teachers loudly admonishing running children. As for loud adults who run around making loud comments in museums, well, I find them unpleasant too. Perhaps I have a provincial's reverence for art. Perhaps I am on my way to becoming a curmudgeon. Whatever.
Quiet is best. Quiet is best. Quite is best. Quiet is best. Quiet is best, @#$%^&!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A child is dead. In a community as small as ours, the children belong to all of us. This one was lost and perhaps none of us knew the right way to help. We share a sense of failed and regret. That this child's vanishing does not leave a visible rent in the universe is a mystery. It saddens and angers us that all that might have been is gone forever. We grieve for the family and for the community. Something in each of has flown away. We are diminished.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black Eyed Susans, perovskia and dill with a Wardian case of sorts in the background.
Think Victorian passions, think pteridomania, think The French Lieutenant's Woman, think Queen Victoria's watercolors, Francis Kilvert's journal. Think ferns, think Wardian case, the first ever terrarium, invented in 1829 by a doctor who sought to protect his ferns from London's polluted air. Fast forward to the present and think about the role of Pteris vittata, the Chinese Brake Fern in detoxing hazardous waste sites. The process is called phytoremediation.
According to Environmental Protection Agency, 20, 000 fern plants are hard at work filtering arsenic from what was once an apple orchard in Crozet, Virginia where the trees were routinely sprayed with insecticides cointaining lead arsenate. The use of these chemicals was banned in 1970, but
" Today, there are still areas of the site contaminated with arsenic that poses an unacceptable risk to public, " says EPA's Myles Barto.
Rather than to rely the traditional method of digging up and disposing of the contaminated soil, the EPA opted for phytoremediation.
"Depending on weather and soil conditions, and the length of the growing season, each fern can extract up to 40-50 mg/kg arsenic from a square foot of soil." says Barto, adding that " The result is significantly less waste, perhaps one or two truckloads of waste, rather than 60 or 70 of soil. This technology has been used at several sites around the country but is still considered as an 'alternative' when it is compared to traditional techniques."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Zapotec pleated romato from Oaxaca, raised from seed!
Is Althaea rosa nigra, aka hollyhock edible? Thompson and Morgan says so.

Zapotec tomato, take two.

Teeny weeny cucumbers


For many years my friend Margaret and her husband have tried to outsmart the deer who feast on the contents of their vegetable garden. It seems that short of erecting a 10' tall electric fence nothing would deter Margaret's unwelcome guests from eating whatever she chose to plant. I sympathized with her plight, saying a praer of thanks for circumstances--longer distance from the Potomac, less trafiic-- that kept local beasties from chomping on my own plants. Sure, I had seen of deer dance across my yard--oh, how cute and utterly picturesque they seemed, the little darlings--fluffy white tails waving in the breeze. That was then. Now, Margaret has stopped gardening, even though it means paying five dollars for a tomato at the local farmer's market and guess whose plants the darling fluffy tailed creatures are eating? Mine, dadblast them. They trim the tops of tomato plants, lop off half the sunflowers, lie on the bean vines and generally behave like utter and complete hooligans.
The good news is that deer are kosher. If I can convince a shochet to lye in ambush in my yard, Bambi is in for a little surprise. Yes, my yard is certified wildlife habitat. No, I do not begrudge the turtles the pound or two of strawberries they nibble every summer, yes, I allow the birds to guzzle the Nanking cherries and I say nothing to whatever it is that gorges on quince and gooseberries. But one has to draw the line somewhere and I draw mine at the expensive tomato plants that took so much effort to raise from seed, water and electricity being costly items hereabouts. I am flinging the glove. Let Bambi come into the garden at her own peril. I am partial to the idea of deer steaks in a wine and mushroom sauce.
Narcissus is one of the flowers that decorate the the Taj Mahal's. Unfortunately for us, the British of the Raj did away with the original garden and replaced it with their idea of paradise on earth--green and boring.
Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan'

Kalimeris pinatifida Hortensis, orphanage plant

Phlox paniculata 'David'

Lilium Casablanca


Moon gardens are a Victorian invention or are they? Long before crescent-shaped flower beds planted with white flowers appeared in Europe, there were gardens intended as places where to worship the moon goddess. Persia, India and China all had moon gardens predated Vita Sackville-West's famous moon garden at Sissinghurst Castle by centuries. The lotus blossoms carved on the white marble spires of the Taj Mahal seem to me the most enduring of moon gardens. The living flowers Shah Jahan caused to be planted in the Taj's garden--jasmine, roses, daffodils--must suffice for those of us whose princes lack a Mogul emperor's budget.
Finding out which roses were available during Shah Jahan's time is a a pleasant prospect that involves e-mailing Michael Shoup, of Antique Roses Emporium. Zimmerman and McClure, purveyors of that lovely narcisssus, the little known obesus, are the right folks to query about heritage bulbs. As for jasmine, those of us in Zone 6 must be content with Jasminum granduflorum 'single', the poet's jasmine, but gardeners in warmer climates--say, Zone 9--can opt for the intensely perfumed Jasminum sambac 'Duke of Tuscany' known in my native country as bogari ( from the Sanskrit mbogari.)
Any of the flowers pictured above perform well in a moon garden. Add lamb's ears, achilea Moonshine, white roses--Sombreuil is an excellent choice--hosta Sum and Substance and you are all set. Rose petal sherbet, Persian poetry and dark eyed swain optional.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

For Alex Shoumatoff, friend and mentor,
with love and admiration.

"Constroi tua casa de pedra em pedra, de tabua em tabua, de caibro em caibro, de telha em telha,
Sem te deixares seduzir pelo facil comforto de edificios completos,
Sem quereres levar sobre teus ombros o peso esmagante de predios por fazer.

Forma teu ceu de nuvem em nuvem, de estrela em estrela, de sombras repetidas de azul sobre azul.
Nao confundas a luz fugitiva um unico cometa com o fulgor deslumbrante de mil constelacoes.

Faz teu jardim de grao em grao de po, de semente em semente, de raiz em raiz; flores nao sao que a soma do que plantas,
Havidos frutos, avidos pomares ainda por nascer.

Grava teus proprios simbolos na tua propria pele,
Faz do teu corpo o corpo de tua estoria,
que estorias nao sao que a soma do que somos,
E nos, soma do ja foi e ainda ha de ser.
P'ra viver o teu conto, mora em teu proprio chao, em casa tua, feita a luz de teus astros,
que em teu proprio jardim hajam musica nova e infinito cantar.
Cordulina Sete-Estrelo, idos de julho, 2008 da Era Comum

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hungarian linen hankerchief circa 1940s


Egyptians used them. So did Romans and Greeks. Medieval knights coveted them. Catullus, Shakespeare and James Fenimore Cooper wrote about them. Penniless in Paris, Post- Impressionist Chinese painter Pan Yuliang embroidered them for the Gallerie Lafayette. With the advent of Kleenex these little squares of embellished fabric vanished from fashionable pockets to become nothing more than collectors items.

Last year, Hannah Carlson, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Boston University, where she is completing her dissertation on the cultural history of the pocket and pocketed possessions in nineteenth century America, wrote an impressive article on handkerchiefs for Cooper's attempts to market his novella, The Autobiography of a Handkerchief, which eventually appeared as a serial in the 1843 January to April issues of Graham's Magazine. Having valued many antique furnishings and clothing for the stories they embody, as well as for their quality, I find Cooper's idea intriguing. After all pocket handkerchiefs have been, primarily, objects of beauty, rather than practical items. Though far from flourishing as it did in earlier times, the manufacture of fine embroidered handkerchiefs endures to this day in some Asian, European, and Latin American countries and perhaps it might experience a worldwide revival as more of us embrace to a greener lifestyle. More and more young greenies try to distance themselves from a culture that cherishes throw away objects. Whether this means that they will start carrying lacy handkerchiefs to match their hybrid cars remains to bee seen. If they do, I plan to be ready. I have a stash of Irish linen beauties Desdemona herself would have loved.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Arcimboldo? Not quite.


Last year, a dinner guest brought me a bottle of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo wine. I hope it was not the gentleman with whom I have severed diplomatic relations due to his irrepressible anti-Israel bias. My friend Margaret's husband, John, is the prime suspect. He is an oenophile, a generous gift giver, a man of impeccable manners and taste. Though I cannot say that I detect notes of green apple, in the white Burgundy John shared with me me more than once, I am prepared to swear that if it is part of his stash, it is bound to be very good indeed. But John comes from a French family and he has a penchant for French vintages. Could he finally have understood that Italians are far more creative, far more elegant, far better wine makers than the French? Jamais de la vie.

Could the wine bringers have been the cosmopolitan Ukrainian couple? Their gift was probably a filigreed silver box of preserved lark's tongues, an alabaster jar of doormice in honey or little Cavaillon melons planted by the light of a Provencal moon. They are that sort of people. The unexpected guests brought nothing. They confined their talk to professional glories and their astonishment at how low was the cost of a local building--a mere million dollars! They talked of "good people, good Christian people, presumably to differentiate them those who are not good since they are not Christians. Three of us were Jews and two were descendants of Jews and we were not amused. When the talk turned to Israel bashing I I did is something regrettable, something known in mountain folk parlance as "throwing hissy fit." I admit that a gracious host does not throw hissy fits. I am deeply aware of having failed to advance the cause of peace, but just wait one cotton picking minute here--too much c'est too much. I am way past sophistry, way past this "Islam is a religion of peace thing." Let us have peace, by all means. Let us be ecumenical and understanding, but let us also remember that the religion of the Taliban, the Egyptian brotherhood and the Dogmush tribe's is not a religion of peace any more than Meir Kahane's was. So there are war mongers in Israel who would was bomb hell out of Iran just because it is there. Fairness demands that we remember that the fallacious argument according to which every Muslim is a victim of Israeli oppression is nothing more than utter poppycock. The catalog of grievances on all sides is long and it is not appropriate for the dinner table. If returns to my table, I may have to quote my Ukrainian friend,
"Everyone has all been genocided. Let's move it on." That should stimulate civil discourse.
My life, dinner parties aside is not all that eventful. Shall I tell you that I have mountains of unironed bed and table linens, woe, woe ist mir? No starches and iron bed linens anymore? It wastes electricity and spray starch helps create hole in the ozone layer, but if you are a well brought up Braziian of a certain age, why, you must have starched linens, preferrably handwoven and French. Geography is destiny.
Shall I write of the Great Dane's traumatic visit to the vet, the upcoming car inspection--note to self, get new windshield wipers-- the bills from the dentist and the ophthalmologist, the villainy of the horde of deer who persist in eating the tops of my sunflowers? I could, but as someone who spent years writing a lifestyle column that kept legions of young editors in clover, I think I'll pass. It isn't that I have not had good role models. Once I worked with a columnist rumored to have been nominated for a Pulitzer in her previous capacity as reporter at The Humongous Newspaper in The Capital City. In our much maligned provincial newspaper she wrote, among other things, a memorial piece in which she mentioned her dead mother's black lace underwear. Another rime, she wrote in detail about her husband's need for Beano. Yet another columnist wrote about her dog throwing up. Rabelais they were not, but hey, one of them was Pulitzer nominee, what? "Et moi, et moi, et moi..." as Jacques Brel used to say, moi did not dream of syndication. I may have edited some experiences, but I did not--with a view ri demofraphics, target audience and such--write about kids long grown and gone as if they were still toddling and tugging at my apron string. No, I never got nominated for a Pulitzer. I type like a vache espagnole, I can't punctuate in English to save my life, and I digress like mad. But listen to this, once a man brought me rose petal jam after reading something I wrote about love. Maybe it was he who brought the Montepulciano. My Kobi, my general, light of my eyes, was that you?



This, from Matt Beynon Rees, who writes with the flawless grace of good Welsh bards,

"My first Omar Yussef Mystery has won its first big prize. Last week in London, I was awarded the Crime Writers Association's John Creasey New Blood Dagger. It's the CWA's prestigious award for a first novel. It's a great thrill, recognition for my book (titled The Bethlehem Murders in the UK; The Collaborator of Bethlehem in the US) and my work. The prize is a real dagger -- I don't know how I'm going to get it through airport security and back to Jerusalem... For this award, I truly want to thank everyone who has worked on my book at my publishers around the world, and all the reviewers and readers who've made the book a success, too. The novel is nominated for two other forthcoming awards (in the US, the Barry and Macavity awards), so perhaps there'll be more good news soon. The second book in the Omar Yussef series, A Grave in Gaza (US)/The Saladin Murders (UK), is already receiving great reviews and the third novel, in which Omar finds himself caught in a sinister murder mystery in Nablus, will be out early next year under the title The Samaritan's Secret. I'm now writing the fourth Omar Yussef Mystery, which takes place in the famous Palestinian town of...Brooklyn.

Best wishes,


For the full announcement on the CWA website and to see the winners of other CWA awards this year:"

Way to go, Matt!
The lab at Washington Homeopathy Works, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.


Passiflora incarnata 'Maypop' is a native of the United States of America winters over in the outdoors as far north as New England. Last year, vision of passion fruit creme caramel dancing in my head, I ordered yet another Maypop from Logee's Greenhouse, in Connecticut.

Ir looked so vigorous on arrival I stuck into the vegge garden and forgot it. It was nowhere to be seen earlier this year.

Intensive planting made it possible for tomatoes, green pepper, beets, lovage, snow peas, pumpkins and beans to cover ever inch of the tilled space. I ordered the fourth or fifth Maypop and planted it in a half whisky barrel where it sulks and looks fit for killing. Imagine my surprise this afternoon, when I discovered a bedraggled Maypop flower among bean vines.

Jubilant, I told my daughter that I had finally succeeded in growing a maracuja vine, almost the same that grew wild in my native Brazil--the Brazilian variety of my childhood was Passiflora edulis, maracuja--and she remarked,

"Oh, I saw a weird flower there the other day."

Such lack of enthusiasm can only be attributed to her paternal Norwegian DNA.

Passion flower vines are valued throughout the Americas for the calming effect its fruit juice has on type-A personalities. Washington Homeopathic Pharmacies, --located in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, recommends Passiflora incarnata for insomnia. The fruit and root of both Maypop and Passiflora edulis contain passiflorine, an alkaloid alleged to act as a mild tranquilizer effective in the treatment of dysentery, neuralgia, sleeplessness and dysmenorrhoea, as well as a possible, repeat, possible reigniter of the male libido. Considering the needs of Baby Boomers, I could probably get rich selling the the stuff, but I suppose that practicing medicine without a license is an incarcerable offense.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Below, Asian radish pods.Below, johnny jump ups and Asian salad greens.

Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes

Below, Oaxaca tomatoes.


Oh the shamelessness of the small Iranian chap, who allowed his underlings to Photoshop his missiles in order to give the impression that he can strike at Israel from the comfort of his office. The phallic war toys of his his are ugly enough in the singular; presented in the fake plural, they are ludicrous. Better that he should grow a garden--Iranians have a rich and ancient culture and gardens are very much part of it. Gardening teaches respect for human life and no one who has nurtured seedlings, amended the soil into which to plant a food crop, revelled in the pleasure of serving homegrown fruit and vegetables to friends and family contemplate the possibility of war without taking its long term impact into account. Maybe the little Iranian chap likes to spice his salads with enriched plutonium. Maybe he thinks that the entire Middle East should share his taste for hot hell. I happen to think that he is in error. I happen to think that imperialistic jihadism is the greatest of follies. Al-Andalus is lost to Islam, guy. Get over it. Grow tomatoes, grow daylilies. It is a more productive and honest occupation than trying to push Israel into a war the United States will be forced to support, Israel being our only democratic ally in the Middle East.

Our commander in chief would do well to plant a garden too. He might see the light then, bring the troops home and literally turn swords into ploughshares. Enough of this nonsense about being policeman of the world. We have enough to do home. Just the other day I met a family whose property is being foreclosed. Their material poverty is shocking. Our country has the resources to keep American families from homelessness and here we are frittering away these resources in Iraq. There four little children in this family I met and I will not go into detail about the way they are living because they have their dignity. They deserve justice, not pity. It ius enough to say that not since I left the Third World have I seen anyone struggle with such difficult living conditions.

Here is how I met these folks--I joined the local Freecycle chapter and posted a request for peonies and irises. Two people responded. The first lives in a middle class enclave; the other lives in a working class neighborhood. Both wanted to share their plants with a complete stranger because good gardeners practice generosity. Should not their example shame Iranian PM and our president out of their selfish warmongering? Isn't self-evident that kindness is better than war? Apparently not, therefore I have a proposition--let the Iranian PM and Mr. Bush trade places with lady whose house is being taken away by a bank. Let them learn the kind of courage it takes to lose everything but the ability to be generous. Gardening helps; killing people, on the other hand, is highly unproductive. Everyone knows that, right?
Kandahar and Isfahan readers, shalom and salaam.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Census takers need not fear. My fava beans are in full bloom, but not only am I out of good Chianti, liver is not my favorite dish. I plant favas for their blossoms, arguably the most beautiful ever to grace a pedestrian vetch--for vetch is the family to which food old Vicia fava belongs. Think silk organdy, picture hats, elbow length gloves and you get an idea of how supremely elegant these five-petalled white and true black flowers are. Just look at the Worth silk chemise pictured above and you will agree that the designers who fashioned it must have had a potager in which favas grew. Not that John Frederick Worth' sons, Jean-Philippe and Gaston would have mentioned the source of their inspiration to the Marquise de Polignac, for whom they created the ethereal gown seen above. Favas might have seemed too proletarian. They were then and continue to be are the basis for ful medames, that most democratic of Middle Eastern concoctions. Try as one might, one cannot imagine the Marquise chomping on one of the staples of the average Egyptian's diet, though by the Second Empire many Parisians must have heard of the exotic tidibits Napoleon's troops tasted in Egypt.

Egypt may well be the home of favas. We know that the humble vetch became part of Mediterranean diet around 6 000 BCE. For all we know, Cleopatra feasted on ful medames-- cooked fava beans seasoned with oil, garlic, lemon, salt and cumin. We also know that Cleopatra was an elegant woman whose family tree made most French aristocrat's look like a weed. Eating fava beans is a gastronomic a way of absorbing the strength of peasants without whose hard work the elegance of Egyptian and French courts would not have flourished. After all, gardeners are part peasant and part aristocrats, part food growers, part dreamers, part artists. They may be forgiven if they think of antique Egyptian trinkets--little alabaster makeup boxes, turquoise bracelets, carnelian necklaces--when they look at fava blossoms. If they place a drop of Worth's Je Reviens behind their ears prior to weeding the fava beds think not of it as extravagance. Hel Marts, the great equalisers, puts it within reach of the working classes. At the New York Metropolitan Museum all and sundry can see House of Worth gowns. John Frederick, a Lincolnshire lad of the people , would approve.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A friend sent me this link to Benjamin Zander's gig on on TED. Zander is one the foremost interpreters of Mahler and Beethoven. He is the conductor of the Boston Philarmonic and co-author with Rosamund Stone of The Art of Possibility. Enjoy! While you are on TED, do not miss Stephen Hawking in zero g and South African Vusi Mahlasela singing "Thula Mama."

Friday, July 4, 2008


These are some of the butterflies that frequent our neck of the woods. The zebra swallowtail is rare and so is the luna moth. Perhaps due to the clumps of mustard I have allowed to grow in sunny areas of the garden, cabbage whites are constant visitors. Monarchs come and go, looking for nectar and I make a note to myself,

"Plant more sedum. Plant milkweed. "
This quote should awaken one's sense of wonder,

"The best known migrating insect is the Monarch Butterfly of North America. These butterflies can fly for up to 3000 km in their lives. They spend the winter in Mexico and in spring they fly north to Canada. On their way the females lay their eggs on milkweed plants."