Yesterday I battled cookies, both cyber and edible. I’ll write about my tangle with meringue later. Today, I’m writing about this little guy, pictured above. I turned my back on my vegetable garden for a day (because I was battling cyber cookies in a seemingly never-ending effort to upload my approved thesis to the university database) only to find that this little bugger had laid waste to one of my parsley plants. Rather than make the beast pay for its transgression, I ran inside, grabbed a plastic container and scissors and made a little home biology experiment for my youngster. After all, we grew and released an army of painted lady butterflies a few summers ago when we lived in Atlanta. Why not see what this little monster becomes too?
Once I captured our little friend (and a few bunches of withered parsley), I closed him up, punched little holes in the container’s lid and watched as he climbed up the side like this. That is where he has been since last night, when I Googled “caterpillars in South Louisiana” and discovered that he will not turn into an evil swamp creature that will devour us all, but a beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly.
One of the really exciting things about having a vegetable garden is that sense of change and renewal you get as one plant runs its seasonal course, only to give way to something new. Although it is hot as the face of the sun here in South Louisiana right now, the backyard box suggests we are merely on the cusp of summer. Creole tomatoes hang from the vines, plump, but not quite ripe for the picking. Early green beans hang like little needles. Serrano chiles? Oh how I wish they’d hurry up and grow so I can make fresh salsa. And, as pictured above, cucumbers are starting to emerge from cascades of yellow blooms. Within a week, I may have more of them than I can rightly handle, but it’s a good problem to have. Cukes are such a refreshing summer staple, and can be used in anything from salads to cold soups like this one from epicurious.com.
What are your favorite signs of summer and why?