Today is my father’s birthday, and I’m posting a flower he would have liked, the Cliff Fendlerbush.
We were climbing up a ridge in Colorado to Chimney Rock to see the full moon rise and this fragrant bush was everywhere. (more of that in another post).
Stan Watkins always said that nothing of note happened on May 29th, 1888, except his birth. (As you can see he was a very modest man.) He would have been 128 this year.
From childhood, Stanley loved nature and would spend many happy hours in the local green spaces around his London home. He captured and collected butterflies, moths, and insects of all sorts with a sweep net. He kept a ‘killing bottle’ in his pocket to keep the best specimens. At home he mounted them on long thin pins and dried their wings stretched out by fitting the pinned thorax in a slot between two blocks. He wound a soft thread around the wing and block, and when dried, transferred them to glass fronted boxes with labels. There was a small muslin package in the corner soaked in some kind of alcohol – I can’t remember what, but it smelled awful. It was to keep the bugs out of the box of bugs. No cannibals wanted there.
We still have many of these boxes – Grandpa gave them to Danny who had a interest when young, but they were left in the attic when he moved to Sweden. And the boxes have lost their preservatives so the insects and butterflies are being eaten by their relatives.
There are lots of websites today describing how to kill and preserve insects so that popular Victorian hobby, which doesn’t sit well with our ecological era, apparently still continues.
When I hung out the washing this morning, a bright yellow Swallowtail flitted among the flowers of the desert willow tree. I enjoyed watching it flying free.