Sunday, July 31, 2011

What to do with Excess Fresh Produce?

Tired of all the excess cucumber, zucchini, squash and tomatoes that keep producing and producing???? Too much produce to preserve??? Want to give them away?? And where and how you ask???

Food banks are located all over the country. Here are some of the ways to locate a food pantry to deliver your fresh food.

Feeding America is a website dedicated to listing food banks in each state. Click on the state and there is a comprehensive listing of information about the food bank.

Ample Harvest is an on-line organization which lists food pantries in different states across the country.

Google is helping to fund this website.

Hunger Free Colorado Campaign to end childhood hunger in Colorado. Call the hotline and they can assist with locating food pantries to food stamps.

Hotline Number: (855)855-4626

American Gardening Association has a website where you can register your community garden and assist with other community garden issues as well as a database to connect with other gardens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

In the caterpillar stage of every complete metamorphasis of certain insects, this stage does the most damage because it is feeding itself before it goes into pupate and transform itself into a beautiful adult.

In fact, this beautiful butterfly, the Mourning Cloak Butterfly is the adult stage of the spiny elm caterpillar. The spiny elm caterpillars feed on the leaves of elm, hackberry, willow, aspen, cottonwoods and poplars. It can defoliate small trees, but may defoliate a section from a larger tree.

The Mourning Cloak Butterfly is often found in Colorado. It is named the state butterfly for Montana. Yet is quite common throughout the United States.

The first picture on the left above are the eggs once initially laid. The picture directly to the left of this sentence is after the eggs mature. Females lay the eggs in spring and they hatch in ten days. The female dies shortly after she lays her eggs. She can lay up to thirty to fifty eggs on a tree branch.

The picture directly below is the spiny elm caterpillar before it pupates and transforms into an adult butterfly.

And finally to the left the Mourning Cloak Butterfly in the adult stage. These butterflies have a wing span of 2 3/4 inches to almost 4 inches. This butterfly has a unique characteristic whereby it overwinters in a semi-frozen state called "crypto-preservation".

The name of this butterfly refers the resemblence of a traditional garment used while in mourning over the death of a loved one. This butterfly has several generations a year because they are year round. They live a period of ten months.

The other unique feature of these butterfly are with their legs. Most butterfly as with most insects have six legs but this butterfly has only four legs. So look for this butterfly throughout the year. It can be a nuisance and it can defoliate smaller trees. If find it in your landscape and it starts to create a problem, then you need to contact your local Extension office for control methods.