Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's Unofficially Summer Now

Tonight, while working in the garden after work, it was starting to get dark. As long as I can see my hand in front of my face, I'll stay out there. That is, until the mosquitoes chase me in, which they did tonight.

As I was walking back up to the house, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look and saw nothing. I kept walking, and then I saw it again. This time, I really SAW it and I couldn't believe it. It was a lightning bug! And then there was another one! I keep track every year of the approximate date that they first appear and this is about two weeks early.

I love lightning bugs and seeing them light up in the yard means summer to me. For the next couple of months, they'll float around in the night air and make me smile. I can't imagine summer without them. But apparently, even in the United States, they're not everywhere. And I guess some people call them fireflies, but not around here.

When I was a kid, I did the usual grotesque things that kids do with them: made rings, wrote on the sidewalk with them, captured them in a jar and kept it in my bedroom for a night light. And when our girls were little, I took them to a local woods that had a lane that went back into it so they could see the lightning bugs twinkling like 'diamonds in the sky'. The woods have a much larger population of them than open fields or yards, probably due to the higher humidity there and the warmer temperatures at night.

I remember one summer not too long ago, when Romie and I sat on the front porch late at night, watching the incredible light show in the sky. It was the 4th of July, and there were thunderstorms in the distance. We were sitting out there to watch the fireworks that were being set off in Fort Wayne, Indiana, 35 miles away. When you live where the terrain is as flat as a tabletop, you really can see that far in circumstances like this.

Anyway, there were private little fireworks displays dotted around the countryside that we could see, as well as those in Fort Wayne. There was the lightning from the approaching storms, and the lightning bugs. I'll never forget that night and what a triple treat that was, sitting there watching that.

I just read that lightning bugs eat slugs. Now I love them even more.

*Photos from National Geographic [1] and Matt BenDaniel [2]


Anonymous said...

The skeeters have been driving me in for about two weeks now, but we haven't seen fireflies yet. Sounds like you're a few hours south though, so have an earlier season start. That does sound early for them. (I'm from New England originally, we call them fireflies.)

Unknown said...

How wonderful, Kylee! We don't often see them here on the hill--maybe it stays too cool and wet--but when I was a little girl, I loved visiting my grandparents' place in Barss Corner, Lunenburg county. There was a meadow across the road from their small farm, and every night in summer (during the week or two we were there, anyway), the lightning bugs put on a delightful display. Your photos are marvelous, too--as always.

Kylee Baumle said...

Seems like everyone has memories - good ones - of lightning bugs/fireflies. :-)

Jodi, I can't take credit for these photos. But thanks for the compliment about mine, anyway. Right now, I'm working on a photo book at Shutterfly containing some of my favorite and best photos I've taken of my flowers. I have a credit for a free one and it expires today, so you know what I'll be doing today!

Knitters Notebook said...

What wonderful photos! I really like being outside at night enjoying the lighting bugs too!


Muum said...

Thanks for sharing your fireflies! I miss them so much, there are none west of the Rockies, and I grew up in OHio, used them as night lights in a jar. We used to sit in the yard and watch the surrounding towns' fire works displays on the 4th, too! Did your family have home made ice cream? I really enjoy reading your blog!

Kylee Baumle said...

Muum, yes, when we'd go to my grandma and grandpa's house, we'd make homemade ice cream. I don't like it but all the rest of the family does.

We'd do sparklers then, too. :-)

Where in Ohio did you grow up?

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

What a wonderful show that must have been.

I've never seen a firefly/lightning bug myself, we don't have them over here. No hummingbirds either. snif!

Thanks for the lovely pic Kylee, now I have at least some idea of what it must look like.

BTW here it gets dark around half past 10 in the evening, what time with you?

Kylee Baumle said...

I'll have to check to make sure tonight, but when I came inside last night, it was 10:00. It probably started getting really dark about 15 minutes before that. I love summer and how it stays light so late! And of course, I'm a big fan of DST!

Andrea's Garden said...

Kylee, thanks for stopping by. I remember lightning bugs from living in KS. Haven't seen them over here too much. I had to laugh when you wrote about living where it is really flat. There are areas in western Kansas where people say you can see on Monday who is coming for dinner on Sunday. :-) Take care, Andrea

MrBrownThumb said...

I haven't seen a LB yet so summer isn't even unofficially officially here for me yet. But I can't wait for the first one to show up. When I get a pic of one I'll do a post similar to yours on them.

Where fibers meet mud said...

I too garden until it is too dark to see - what fun is that!

Tonight I came in early as I wanted to turn the heel on my sock - a woman has to have several things that make her heart sing!

I enjoy your fireflys - ours came out this week too in Southwestern Ohio.

Muum said...

I grew up in Darke County, Ohio, by Greenville........lovely and flat there, too.

Kylee Baumle said...

Oh that's not very far away at all! Not as flat as Paulding County, but still flat! We have the honor of being the flattest county in the state. Not even a dip in the road... LOL

Ki said...

I saw one last Friday too here in NJ! I thought it was really too early. Aren't they a July, August kind of bug?

Haven't heard one yet but I wonder if the cicadas will be up early too? But I hope the Japanese beetles never come up!

Teresa said...

Enjoyed your article about the fireflies. They are great when you see them like that. I had that happen once while camping. it is an awesome sight.

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