|A lacy doily made out of petals of a cudweed|
Spilling out of the old pig pen, the bank on which the mysterious farmyard doilies appeared used to be a weedy jungle, a common problem around farm buildings where the soil gets enriched by animal waste. The pigs are long gone and the pen is falling down, but every year I spend a few sweaty days there pulling out manure-robust mustard and thistle plants.
|Mustard plants are common weeds around farm buildings.|
|Plum tree blooming above the barn|
|The fruit trees on the Dipper Ranch are old and irregular producers but they are also a historical legacy and a reminder of the people who used to live on this land. Photo by Debbi Brusco.|
|Certain cattle develop a taste for mustard|
|Native cudweed plant sprouts up where mustard plants removed.|
As I have been slowly ridding the farmyard of weeds, I have discovered native plants coming in. My neighbor (who incidentally is also a fabric artist) says, "Native plants bring native wildlife." That brings us back to the tatting caterpillars. In early August when I was enjoying the scent of the cudweed bush, I looked down and noticed a miniature doily made out of the pearlescent cudweed petals. I touched it - it was as soft as a pillow. I looked further and noticed more cudweed doilies on the bush. What was going on?
|American painted lady caterpillar inside its pillow nest.|
|Painted lady inspects coyote scat.|
|One of Grandma Marie's doilies.|
|American painted lady caterpillar stitching its blossom pillow back together again.|