Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Good morning and happy Sunday. As we head into the middle of October, the temperatures in northwest Arkansas have finally dropped—it was 39 this morning! The asters are in full bloom. And, the Ozark hills and hollows are slowly coming alive with fall color.
I LOVE this time of year, this time before the holidays, before winter sets in and I begin to crave sunshine and watermelon again.
I released my last monarch butterfly of the year last week. So today, I am officially reporting the results of my 2021 season of butterfly raising.
Raising butterflies on my back porch turned out to be such a fun and rewarding thing to do. I will definitely continue doing it next spring. (I promise to provide detailed instruction early next year in case any of you are interested in joining me!)
A few highlights:
In addition to the 44 monarchs and 6 eastern black swallowtails, I also raised two spicebush caterpillars to chrysalis stage. Spicebush caterpillars are the ones that look like cute little cartoon snakes! Well, these little guys are so comfy in my butterfly hotel, they’ve decided to overwinter with me. They won’t be emerging until spring. (This sometimes happens near the end of the season when the temperatures fall and sunlight lessens.)
Here they are now, hibernating in the hotel (on the back porch). Sleep well, my friends.
This is the beginning of the most dangerous time at our house. Black walnuts have begun falling like missiles onto the driveway and in the far corner of the yard. They land hard! And I imagine they could really do some damage if they landed on my head, or heaven forbid, on one of the dogs.
Oh, the squirrels are crazy about them. And as tough as the husks are, the squirrels seem to have no problem cracking them open and making a big ole mess—the husks stain everything they touch a yellow-brown color.
We pick them up by the basketfuls just so we can walk without stepping on them. Slip on a walnut, crack open your noggin’. Each year about this time, I think about drying out a bushel of them, opening the husks (somehow), and then cracking the nuts to get to the wonderful meat inside. Has anyone done this? They aren’t easy to open like a pecan.
This article by Backyard Forager gives me hope that I might be able to do it.
Y’all, my Halloween bats have been lost since we moved from Dallas. For seven years, I’ve not been able to find them! A couple of weeks ago, I set my sights on finding them. Again.
This time, success!
Now, once again, they sweep past our front door. And Halloween peace has been restored to our October porch.
Want to make your own cloud of Halloween bats? My how-to post is HERE.
Things Momma Says:
Momma: I took a shower with a frog this morning. He was friendly though.
Me: Maybe your prince has finally arrived!
Staci: I hope he’s a handyman.
Thanks for reading today’s short Sunday Letter. Before I go, I would like to give a shout out to the Arkansas Library Association and to all the Arkansas librarians. Speaking at the ArLA State Conference last week was an honor of the highest for me!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.