Recenly I've noticed a strange visitor to the flower garden in the back yard. To me, it looks like what would happen if you crossed a ruby-throated hummingbird with a crayfish from a nearby creek, but there it was, flitting among my bee balm like a bee. I called Dan over, as he has spent most of his life on this farm and is well aquainted with everything that lives here, but he was as surprised as I was. After some research on the internet, I found a picture that looked like my little creature...it is called a Hummingbird Clearwing moth. Among the food sources listed for this insect were bee balm, mint, butterfly buish, red clover and lilac, all of which all grow here on the farm, so I'm pretty sure I have a positive ID. I know in recent years honeybees have become scarce, we have notice far more bumblebees acting as our pollinators, so my first guess was that these moths have moved in to take the bee's place since they are benificial pollinators too. However, I was thrilled to notice that all the melons, squash and pumpkins were being pollinated by real honeybees this week. I've seen limited amounts of the bees, mostly on the clover that grows in the yard, but not as much in the garden. It makes me hopeful that maybe our space, free of chemicals, really is benifitting the local wildlife. I'm not the only one noticing the moths though- a local gardner snapped a photo that ended up on the front page of our local newspaper just yesterday!
We are anticipating a busy weekend here at the farm stand. Tionesta's Indian Festival ends this weekend with a big parade on Saturday. If you're in town, we will have the stand open from 10-2 and our special this weekend is fresh sausage made right here at the farm. We'll have our secret family recipe loose breakfast sausage, plus mild and hot Italian sausage links, perfect for cookouts! We hope to see you Saturday!