So, this morning I walked back to Sue's house to buy another dozen eggs--as free range and organic as they get, the hens wander around all day eating the overripe garden vegetables and any bugs that land in the yard--and looked again for more of those black butterflies. After I wrote last night's note, I went browsing through The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies and discovered that what I thought were Mourning Cloaks were, in fact, something else. My theory was that they were the dark version of the Tiger Swallowtail. The place next door to me is a nearly vacant lot with waist high grasses and weeds, with some trees (including a huge elm that I wish I could teleport onto my own property) but mostly, the yard is open to the sun. Great place for finding a black butterfly so I can confirm my guess?
Well, yeah! I found one right away, and yes, it is a Tiger Swallowtail, but what's this? Wading further into the field, which hasn't seen a mower this year, I found the Buckeye version of Grand Central. Buckeye males flying high in dominance displays, singles flitting from the Queen Ann's Lace to the Wild Hops, a pair low to the ground with him trying to court her. Dialogue in my head, "But I love you! But I love you!" as I watched his futile pursuit of the indifferent female. Maybe you should have brought her flowers, dude. There may have been a hundred Buckeyes in this lot, maybe more. All I know is the air was alive with them. And I live next door to all this magic.
I've been looking through the Audobon book since we moved in, studying the photos, and thinking that it reminds me of a catalogue. (I'd like one of these, and one of those...) In our yard we also have Sulphurs, Pearly Crescentspots, some kind of Skippers and some others that I haven't been able to see close up. The fabulous profusion of life is stunning. Wild turkeys and white tail deer casually stroll through the fields and open woodlands this time of year. Sue grumbles about the groundhog who stole her tomatoes--and I can't blame her--but I am secretly excited to think that I live in a place where groundhogs thrive. No sign of owls yet, I've tried calling screech owls from my porch and heard nothing in reply, but just ten miles from here as the owl flies is a large swath of oak savannah, and there are probably screeches and barred owls right down the road.
Speaking of roads, my village has only six or seven streets. I have more friends on Facebook than there are living here in Louisburg. According to the 2000 census, only 149 people called this home. That's about five classrooms' worth of kids when we were growing up in the Lindbergh school district. I like it, though. All those years I lived in Overland, I didn't know my next-door-neighbor's name, (her choice), today I borrowed tools from Billy across the street, shot the breeze with Sue and husband Darryl after buying eggs, found out that her tenant, Paul, plays guitar and have made tentative plans for a jam session with him. Not only that, but I have found some buckskinning pals right here, Spirit Wolf five miles outside of Louisburg, and Running Wolf in the next town over, about seven miles away. I've known both of them for years, but out on the rendezvous circuit. We get to be neighbors, now! Even more odd, they had friends who lived on my property, Spirit Wolf's buddy in the trailer out back, and Running Wolf's best friend in the three bedroom house behind mine. Both of those homes are vacant at the moment, but I hope to get tenants by next spring.
Hey, wanna come live in the boonies? I can heartily recommend it.
Oh, and for those who are wondering why I'm living out here, all I can say is why did it take me so long to make this move?