Earth Journal by Gary Pendleton
August Means Vacation
Can Joe fill in for me?
To: Sandra Martin, Editor, Bay Weekly
From: Gary Pendleton
I hope that you are having a nice summer. Here at my place, the garden is lush and we are having a typical August.
The catbird is stealing from our potted blueberry bush, just like he did last year. The plant produces a few ripe berries each day, and that darned bird is always a step ahead of us. Hummingbirds are fighting over the feeder, but they are fun to watch, as are the goldfinches taking seeds from the sunflowers and purple coneflowers. And I think I saw a hawk moth feeding on the phlox. The tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash are producing well. Did I mention green beans?
I imagine that everyone must be taking some time off for vacation. After all it is August, and I know that they want to relax and get away from work. Now that I mention it, I don’t think that I have ever taken a vacation from my Bay Weekly duties. Think of it, almost 10 years and no vacation. What is Bay Weekly’s policy on that? I might want to take some time off now. Perhaps you can print something from the archives, an article from years past? Remember the one I wrote about the tiger swallowtail butterfly on Joe Pye weed?
If you recall, the tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is a big and brightly colorful insect. It is a subject that merits repeating. Tiger swallowtails are common in flower gardens, meadows and marshes. You can find them along the B&A trail, at London Town Gardens or at Calvert Cliffs State Park.
Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) might be a little harder to find, but it is common in wet meadows, and I know that I have seen in at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary.
I think we would be doing our readers a service by telling them again that, according to Timothy Coffey’s book Wildflowers, Joe Pye might or might not have been a Native American from New England who treated typhus with this plant.
Finally, the illustration that I created is, if I may say so, very good. I am certain that our readers would be delighted to see it again. So, have I made my case? Can I take my vacation now?