https://vermontalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/VTALMANAC_LOGO_STACK_TAG-300x150.png 0 0 Dave Mance III https://vermontalmanac.org/wp-content/uploads/VTALMANAC_LOGO_STACK_TAG-300x150.png Dave Mance III2021-01-10 13:15:492021-01-25 13:17:18Both male and female downy and hairy woodpeckers are supposed to begin their territorial drumming around this time, now that the days are getting longer. But some have been heard practicing over the past couple of weeks.
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If you’re working outdoors in the heat of the day, consider taking some switchel with you: roughly three cups of cider vinegar in ¾ of a gallon of water, plus some honey and some ginger. Cider vinegar supplies potassium and the ginger helps potassium absorption. Honey both revives your energy and reduces the tartness. Variations of this concoction have been used by farm workers since before the Civil War.
Insect frass all over your picnic table this year? You’re not alone. Matt Ayers, an ecologist at Dartmouth is happy to see them. He writes that caterpillar abundance fluctuates by 20-fold, depending on the year. It’s all good, not an outbreak, and many different species of caterpillar are providing food for birds this year.
Most Christmas tree growers sold all their trees a while back. Has Covid somehow brought out a longing for the sweet smell of balsam?
The ground beneath female white ash trees is littered with seeds. Almost white, they look fresh and optimistic. Makes me think there’s hope.
The green frog tadpoles that overwintered in our pond are getting legs, mostly back legs at this point. Meanwhile, adult females are laying small eggs in big masses. It takes a year to make a green frog.
Every green thing is fully leafed out now and so far very little has been eaten by insects or has been food for fungi. A short-lived lushness that’s almost tropical.
Virginia creeper and grapes are foodplants for Abbott’s sphinx moth caterpillars. Large green spots – much like the immature grapes nearby – cover the back of this striking insect. They will pupate soon, so check for them now.