This is Henrietta. She's feeding on a zinnia. If you look closely, you can actually see her proboscis dipping into one of the flowers. One of the flowers? Huh? Well, I did not intend to launch into flower botany 101 this morning, but here goes: zinnias are compound flowers; compound flowers are flowers that appear to be one flower but upon closer inspection are actually a bunch of flowers. So, to be technically accurate, the actual flowers in this photo are those little yellow, trumpet-shaped buggers in the middle. Hence, Henrietta is dunkin' her tongue into one of them. I should add that Henrietta stands alone among the butterflies that frequent my garden. She sat still for numerous shots; most butterflies have ants in their pants. They don't sit still.
The honey bees, on the other hand, don't give a damn about me. I've poked them before with the tip of my lens. They just go about their business, a business that is just as serious as any I know. Don't tell a roofer that a bee works harder than he does, but the next time you see a roofer chucking an old shingle onto a garden, think it. One time I told a dude in the construction biz that the raccoon we were watching pick through a garbage can was "earning a living." This did not go over well. "Earning a living" was exclusively reserved for people, preferably people who sit in cubicles, pay cellphone bills, and pump gas. (Oh, gas...I'd nearly forgotten that we're racing toward the end of this Oilchanges X-Country Road and Farm Fun(d) Drive month. Click the gas can.) Anyway, we're all earning our living, even the plants.
This wild member of the onion family opened shop and immediately attracted customers. In this case, just this one honey bee, George. On both ends of the time continuum that surrounds this photo, George can be found extracting onion nectar from each of the open flowers. What's the price of that nectar? The onion shopkeeper told George that he could have the nectar if he would get some pollen on his body and move it from flower to flower. George agreed heartily. He carries his wallet on his fuzz. I have one last point I want to make about the activity centre.
I love a green lawn as much as the next guy, and if I didn't have a lawn to mow, by my calculation I'd be 14% less happy, so don't start thinking I'm a lawn hater, because I'm not. I'm a lawn lover. Still, though, lawns do come at the great expense of possible activity centres everywhere. My neighbor's house is exactly the same as mine: same layout, same lot size, same amount of front yard. His, however, is crabgrass. Mine's garden. His front yard is bug-free. Mine's bug mania. Mine's activity centre. His is go away. If your heart doesn't bleed for bugs, you might appreciate the human consequence of a crabgrass exterior. I have all sorts of neighbors that stop by my porch and shoot the breeze with me. I give them dill and flowers. They give me chicken manure and eggs and bottles of craft ale on my birthday. I don't know what my neighbor's yard and porch attract. A lawn mower, junk mail and bills. We share that base-line existence. I just personally think it's important to encourage a little community, from the bottom of the food chain up, by planting some flowers and letting some wild plants grow. The rewards are many and nice. According to the poet, A.C., I am my garden's "animal." I work for it, and it works for me.