springtime in the desert   12 comments

Pipevine Swallowtail ~ Battus philenor ~ on apricot blossoms ~ 23 March 2011

As mentioned in my last post, I left Bisbee, Arizona, on April 1st and crossed into Canada on April 9th. For now, I’m in Ontario, getting tools and materials together, and fabricating a couple of things to take to the old house in Nova Scotia. Although I’m planning another ambitious summer of work, I’ve also decided to knock back the pace a bit and spend more time going out hiking and maybe even do some paddling on the nearby lakes. I still have a couple of more posts to write about Utah and my visit to Chaco Canyon, in New Mexico. Also, a bit to write about the trip eastward, although I spent most of my time driving and shot comparatively few photos. However, today, I wanted to share a few photos taken shortly before leaving Bisbee.

The top photo (click on all photos to see larger views) is of a Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor). It was taken on March 23rd, when the apricot trees in the garden were in blossom. When at their peak, several butterflies could always be seen nectaring during the day. Around sunset, several dozen White-lined Sphinx Moths (Hyles lineata) moved in to take their place. One evening, I captured one in a plastic bag, put it in the fridge for a minute or two, shot some photos (see below), and then let it go on its way. The concentration of moths on the blossoms was really quite a sight.

White-lined Sphinx Moth ~ Hyles lineata ~ on 22 March 2011

The final week of my stay was hectic. I had volunteered to work on the welcome desk at the MAKE children’s art festival at the Central School (community arts center) in Bisbee. The event was very successful, featuring a lot of talented artists, musicians and other performers, and attracted a huge number of children from the town and neighboring communities.

In addition to getting the van packed and the house cleaned up, I decided to create an art chair to leave with friends in town. They will take it to the annual art chair auction this autumn. I had wanted to donate a chair last year, but the timing of my arrival is too close to the date of the auction. Creating a chair ahead of time seemed like a great solution. However, I’d underestimated how much time and energy I would have during my final days in Bisbee. As it turned out, I spent most of my final 24 hours in town, working on the chair. Of course, nothing ever goes quite according to plan. The day before leaving, with the chair only about 1/3 finished, I was stung on my right forearm, by an Arizona Bark Scorpion like the one that stung me back in December 2009. Fortunately, the sting didn’t hurt quite as much this time, otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have had time to finish the chair. I did manage to get it done, and to pack the van and be on the road by around noon the next day. The art chair was painted indoors the evening before leaving. When mixing the blue for the chair back, I hoped to capture the incredible blue of a springtime Arizona sky. I was thinking that I had made it a little too bright and blue, but when I photographed the chair out in the garden the next morning — well, it was actually pretty close!

Written by bev wigney on April 26th, 2011