Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bad Rabbits

The (possibly fatally) wounded crabapple with new wrap

A pair of rabbits girdled my crab apple tree last night, despite my twilight attempts to scare them away. All that remains is a ½” strip of bark connecting the canopy to the roots. I planted that tree in memory of my beloved Nana and I can’t believe it might be destroyed. I had wrapped the trunk of that tree and many others in the fall, but we’ve had so much snow that most of my protection is buried. In the spring I am going to try bridge grafting the bark, but I think the damage may be too great. I am devastated. The crabapple is not the only casualty—my flowering dogwoods and magnolias are badly damaged, my mugho pine stripped of needles, and my sand cherries, which I don’t care about so much because they grow so vigorously, are virtually chewed to the ground. I am channeling Elmer Fudd right now, but I’m sure my efforts to control the rabbits will be just as ineffective as his.
For the first time in my life I am considering a pet dog.

This afternoon I was looking out at my wounded crabapple and watching the birds at the feeder when I was sure I saw a butterfly flit by. I did! And here is my proof:

I have never seen a butterfly this early. Where could it have come from? I have no idea of the species. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a photo of it with wings spread, but it is more dramatically marked inside with some bright pale spots and darker wings. If anyone can identify it, I’d love to know what it is. This must be one of the earliest sightings of a butterfly in our region. It’s certainly mine.
Does this look like butterfly weather to you?

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