Sunday, July 1, 2012

                                          Summer Nights

It’s that time of year when sultry, humid nights bring out a host of animal and insect species. Of these, Luna moths number among my very favorite critters.

These huge, pale-green moths with the “tails” have become increasingly scarce, mostly due, I’m told, to pesticides. So when a Luna moth does show up, it’s a very big deal…at last for me.

My friend Suzie Gowie has kindly sent me a photo of a Luna moth that visited she and her husband Art’s place in Bangor. That is the photo you see posted here. Thanks, Suzie.

Next, I mentioned this to someone recently and I don’t think they believed me. On these hot summer nights, you can actually hear corn grow. Remember, the stalks have striations and these help the thing vibrate as it literally shoots from the ground. Just put your ear next to a cornstalk on a good, warm night and listen for a gentle, squeaking sound. I’m somewhat hearing impaired and I can hear it, so I’m sure most everyone else can as well.

It’s time now for a bunch of wild plants and prominent among these are common cattails. Go now and collect the green spikes atop the plants. To test for ripeness, try and crumble the spike with a thumbnail. If it is too hard and resists, it isn’t quite ripe. But when you can easily make a dent and crumble it, it is at a peak of ripeness.

Pick as many of these as you want and boil them for perhaps 10 minutes. Season with butter, salt and pepper and eat like corn-on-the-cob. Delicious.

Meanwhile, back to nighttime doings, rural people hear the constant trilling of gray treefrogs. These lend a pleasant background accompaniment to the croaking of aquatic frogs and the distant howling of coyotes.

So enjoy these summer nights. This season won’t last long, so embrace it while it lasts. 

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