On the first (or second!) Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us, with a particular focus on animal activity, farmers’ fields, and environmental holidays.
Ahhh, we love July! We are well into summer, yet have quite a bit to go. Both of us celebrate our birthdays this month. The food is fresh and delicious, the days are long, and the ocean is finally starting to warm up. Although, we’re a bit scared to go swimming this year; more on that below. While we had a fantastic vacation last week, Calder and I are surprised that we haven’t been able to get out on a camping trip yet this summer, so we’re hoping to make that happen this month. We’re also focused on our watermelon intake, throwing a minimum of two in the grocery cart every week! What are your oh-so-serious mid-summer goals?
The photos throughout this post are all wildflowers that I found blooming in either CO or CA this past week.
While in CA, I had the opportunity to go on a couple of hikes in the Sierras. The hikes were full of wildflowers! More wildflowers than I’ve ever seen blooming at one time in terms of both quantity and variety. In addition to the photos in this post, I’m hoping to put together a hike recap that will include flower IDs (once I do a bit of research!). I can tell you that in my yard, the wild cactuses and flax are in bloom, and I can’t wait to try harvesting both this summer!
Animals + Insects
Let’s talk about sharks this month, because they’ve been all over the news, and unfortunately for us, they’ve been popping up a bit too close to shore for our comfort. Oh, and it’s Shark Week, too!
Have you heard about Mary Lee? She’s a 3000+ pound Great White Shark being tracked by Ocearch. Mary Lee has become a bit of a celebrity this summer as she’s been sighted close to the Atlantic coast of the US. Mary Lee wears an electronic tracker that “pings” a satellite with her location data every time she surfaces the ocean. Mary Lee was caught and tagged by Ocearch in 2012 off the coast of Cape Cod. Since then, she has logged over 19,000 miles swimming up and down the East Coast. She spent this past winter in the colder and deeper waters off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia and was relatively unknown until she made headlines a few weeks ago by surfacing just off of the Maryland and Virginia shorelines in the Chincoteague Bay. Since this is where our family spends time each summer, it sent shivers up our spines!
Now that Sarah lives in North Carolina, she keeps an ear out for shark attacks on the Outer Banks. This year she doesn’t have to listen too hard because there were eight in June alone! What’s the cause? Humans swimming in their feeding tanks of course! Sharks frequent the shallow waters to wait for sea turtles that are crawling back and forth laying eggs on the beach all throughout May, June and July. The two teens who both lost arms less than ninety minutes apart, were swimming on the same stretch of beach near a shark fishing pier on Oak Island. While shark attacks are low compared to the throngs of people swimming off the coast of North Carolina each day, Sarah said she’s not risking it. She will stay safely on the sand next weekend during her vacation at Kill Devil Hills. I think Mary really scared her off this year.
And did you hear about the Hammerhead sharks in the Ocean City, Maryland area? First there was the Hammerhead that got caught by a fisherman and gave birth to up to 20 pups before dying. Then there was another hammerhead sighting a couple of days later!
Bugs, Fire flies, Beetles
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to gaze at these nocturnal, luminescent beetles at least once this year, but it really depends on where you live. Plenty of species don’t flash at all, especially those west of the Rockies. We talked about fireflies last month, but Sarah says the rains are really drawing out the Fireflies in North Carolina these past few weeks with all the summer storms that have rolled through. Fireflies loves moisture and females usually lay their eggs in wet, decaying wood. Firefly larva hatch and feed on snails and worms in the wood before growing into adult beetles. Beetles, huh? For some reason I never thought of fireflies as beetles, but it totally makes sense. Both have elytra, the harden forewings, that protect the delicate hindwings, which are used to fly. When at rest, the fireflies elytra rest in a straight line down the back just like ladybugs, the second cutest beetle ;).
And speaking of lightening bugs ~ I always thought that they only lived in the eastern half of the US, but I just learned that we actually have a few species in Colorado. They just don’t light up (seriously)!
We know they’re not July specific, but boy are they biting! Sarah spent twenty minutes in her yard tonight until she ran inside complaining. We’re not here to
bitch, but we’ll leave you with a few skeeto-suggestions. Try planting some mosquito repelling plants or if you’re on the move, mix up some natural repellant from our essential oils series.
Like I said last year, “What’s in season? It’s easier to list what’s not. It’s time to buy local, buy ripe, and enjoy every nutritious bite!” Can you believe at this time last year we were going to the Boulder market for the first time? Now it’s a Saturday staple and even Sarah has been there three times since last July! Sarah is lucky to live near a great market too – the Carrboro market is having their annual tomato day on Saturday. If you’re in a fifty mile radius, you should probably make a morning of it. Sarah’s stopping by the Wednesday night market tomorrow to pick up a bunch of blueberries, blackberries and a big
old fresh watermelon for her road trip to Pennsylvania on Thursday. We like to think blueberries were the original fast food.
- July 10th – Katie’s Birthday!
- July 11th – World Population Day
- July 18th-26th – National Moth Week
- July 25th – Sarah’s Birthday!
- July 26th – National Tree Day
- July 29th – International Tiger Day
There’s so much going on out there! We hope you take the time for a good long walk in the woods, a visit to your farmer’s market, and a good old sit on the porch (or nap in the hammock).