Summer is in full swing and so far I’m enjoying every second of it!  Just in my small front yard, bees are buzzing around the bergamot we planted years ago, our tomatoes are finally taking shape (not ripe yet), crickets are in full chirp-mode, and baby bunnies can be seen darting frantically this way and that.  This is the time of year when I regularly think about the months of January through March and how during those months I dream of being here and now in the midst of summer.  It’s a gentle reminder to soak up the now and try to enjoy every bit of it while it lasts.

For those new to this email series, this is my attempt at documenting nature month by month throughout the year.  There’s so much to cover and so little time, so with that I invite you to join me on a quick virtual tour of how I’ve been soaking up the now and experiencing nature this month.

Sorry for interrupting…

If you’ve ever been around milkweed, you’ve probably noticed several of the leaves dotted with these little red and black beetles.  These are called red milkweed beetles (surprise surprise) and they rely on milkweed to survive.  Like other insects that feed on milkweed, the milky sap that they eat from their host plant is toxic (not to them) and serves as a defense mechanism against predators that try to eat them.  The toxins build up in their body making them very unpalatable.  If you see one, try to avoid eating it (should be easy enough).

Busy bee on my bergamot

One of my favorite photo subjects lately are the bees that congregate on the bergamot in my yard.  Despite it being a very small 3’x3′ plot of flowers, it brings in countless numbers of pollinators.  My favorite are the various bees since most of them amble from one flower to the next, making them relatively easy to photograph.  If you are able and have the space, I encourage planting your own bergamot (also known as bee balm) since it’s such a great flower for the pollinators that we depend on.

Bunny nest beneath my tomatoes

Recently, we had a mother cottontail rabbit sever one of our tomato plants at the base.  I replanted it in another location and it’s doing great (FYI)!  The reason it was severed, was because the cottontail was building a nest in a burrow just beneath.  It’s possible that my constant watering of said tomato plant was making her nest soggy, so she took matters into her own… hands?  Paws? Feet?  Regardless, once I found out she had a nest there (we saw her nursing above the burrow) we gave them space and they’re also doing great!

Mama bunny alerted by her baby that fell in the window well

One morning we heard some scratching from one of our window wells and it ended up being a baby bunny that fell into it.  We scooped up the baby bunny and handed it to my son for a quick photo before releasing it back into my tomatoes (I have more than enough tomatoes to share with our wildlife).  It’s a memory he won’t soon forget.

My son Jay holding one of the baby bunnies

Well, I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour of nature as it’s happening.  However you experience the outdoors or nature, be it physical, virtual, spiritual, or anything in between, I encourage you to do it!

See you next month!