Because I wrote this essay last year, I remembered that it was at lilac time that we found the checkerspot caterpillars. And because we didn't find a single monarch caterpillar last summer, I knew I for sure wanted to at least raise some checkerspot butterflies. So I set out to recreate the same walk, with Z and M in tow (E was not in the mood).
We saw no turtles at the pond, but instead saw many gray tree frogs, fat little lumps sunning on the rocks.
One decided Z made a good tree, temporarily.
In the woods, we found the same magenta honeysuckle, as bright and startling as when I didn't expect it (we also found a lot more poison ivy).
And in the field, bees (this one is kind of normal-sized, but most of the bumblebees I've seen this year are as big as kittens. Have you noticed this?).
And, gratefully, caterpillars. Lots and lots of caterpillars.
We brought a bunch home to keep in our butterfly jar. Z and I went across the street to collect lilacs. My poor secret lilac bush has gotten so shaded by the encroaching woods, that it's down to making just a few clusters of flowers (at the same time my own bushes are finally putting out more than a couple).