I discovered Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars on the fennel today. I am really pleased to see them. The reason I grow the fennel is to attract the butterflies. The last few years I have seen hardly any caterpillars munching on the fennel and that means fewer butterflies.
The first year I grew fennel, there were caterpillars for several weeks. Sometimes there would be fifteen or twenty of different sizes one day, but the next day about half of them would have disappeared, probably as a result of birds and wasps. Each day there would be fewer and fewer, until I could find none at all. The next summer I decided to make a butterfly house out of tulle netting and embroidery hoops to keep a few of the caterpillars in. They had ravenous appetites and I had to buy more fennel to keep them fed. I called the butterfly folk at Callaway Gardens to see if there was any butterfly mush that I could make to feed them. The kids had raised Painted Lady butterflies in second grade and the caterpillars had been packed in cups with a green gooey mush for them to feed on. No such luck for the Black Swallowtails, though. The Callaway Gardens folk told me I'd just have to get more fennel.
It was fascinating to watch each caterpillar grow large and fat and form a chrysalis, then eventually get to see the lovely butterfly emerge. I would release them from the butterfly house and place them on the fennel plants as soon as their wings dried. I decided that I might try putting some netting over the fennel to keep away predators this year. I headed off to the fabric store to buy tulle, but I didn't get the fennel covered.
I was T-boned on the way from the fabric store to the office supply store before heading home. The driver of the other vehicle just broadsided us as we were traveling west in the right lane. We ended up headed southeast across both lanes. The force of the impact made us skid into an arc during which the van almost flipped over onto the passenger side. We made part of the skid on the two wheels on the right side of the van. As it tilted, I wondered how we'd get out if it ended up on its side because I was pretty sure my door would probably not open. Fortunately, it righted itself before we had to figure that out, but the door did have to be opened from the outside. It also damaged the right rear wheel rim as the initial impact pushed the van into the curb.
The original position in which the van came to rest after impact.
Another view after I moved the van out of the lane of traffic and into the turn lane while trying to decide where to move it to wait for the police.
The man was driving a maroon GMC Acadia. When the man saw me get out of my vehicle, he drove away. I ran after him on foot while my son called the police (this portion of street runs between two strip malls where it dead ends, so I wasn't running down an extremely busy street filled with traffic). Eventually he turned around and came back. However, he was no help and very uncooperative. There was only minor damage to his front bumper and two strips of metal trim were knocked off. Oddly, he threw those into my van. He claimed he never hit me, got back in his vehicle and drove off again after almost running over me as I stood in front of his vehicle to try to keep him from leaving and trying to get him to pull into a parking space to get information from him. My son got a picture of the man's license plate with his cell phone--thank goodness for camera phones! Another gentleman in a jeep followed him and photographed it, too. Finally, while we were talking to the police, another man drove up with a good photo of the man's vehicle. I am very grateful to those men for their help, neither of whom actually witnessed the collision. The police ran the license number and got his name and address, so they know who he is and where he lives. In the meantime, I've called my insurance company.
The damaged right rear wheel rim.
FROM THE PRINCESS ...
3 years ago