Living On The Ledge; Potted Goodness & Nature Orgies.

Since Lillie {the dog who loves to pee in the house} has joined our family, I’m spending even MORE time outside; the other night, we were out back and I was admiring my potted herbs, veggies, and flowers and the fact that she CAN pee outside. I realized I’d not shared the update in this area, and I didn’t want you to think I was keeping secrets.

Ally recently mentioned how much she loves potted flowers, and I was all OH HELL YEAH with her on this topic. Also, I’ve nothing interesting to blog about this week so let’s visit the garden, shall we? I hope you put on your sunscreen because Florida.

This area behind our pool lanai was a dedicated veggie garden for many years. And for many years I would tend to this veggie garden all while cussing like a sailor. That’s not very zen-like is it? I could NOT for the life of me contain the weeds. It was beyond frustrating and I tried everything known to man. Paper, cardboard, praying, digging/pulling & mulch. It basically looked like the Sanford & Son of veggie gardens.

So last summer, we ripped it out, and I was going to throw in the towel altogether. Then I thought maybe I could mulch it thickly in most of the garden, then just use pots for all my veggies; fewer weeds: YES PLEASE.

This is where the Coach intervened and I don’t always like it when he intrudes into my department; but this time he had a good idea. He thought he could build a ‘shelf’ (minus the elf) on top of the area and I could then use it for all my pots.

Wow, the pic up there was May 2020. I can’t believe my salvia was that SMALL. (Maddie, do you see that? It’s five salvia plants!)

I planted butterfly friendly stuff in one end IN the ground(milkweed, salvia, blanket flower, verbena) and then the rest of the area was to be a ledge.

Coach purchased composite decking and had our guys in our manufacturing shop build it to his spec. Brilliant idea. Except it weighs about 500lbs; you should have seen our 3 friends trying to get this from the front of our property to the back of it using manpower and our sissy golf cart. Oh, for shits and giggles, they had to lift it UP and over to line it up over the irrigation poles that were in place. I can’t believe they are still our friends. They were cussing Coach for making something SO large and heavy; sadly, that man does not know how to do anything small.

It will NEVER be moved from where it is.

What am I growing on the ledge? Smiles, tomatoes, peppers, chives, parsley, basil, rosemary, oregano, some various flowers because why not, and for my swallowtails: rue, fennel & dill. Potted plants are so much easier to maintain than weedy ass beds.

This area truly makes me happy. I especially love going out here in the late afternoon when the sun has moved to the front of the house and I don’t feel like I’m melting. The area is always swarming with butterflies and buzzing bees pollinating here, there, everywhere. It’s practically an orgy out there.

Speaking of orgies, these two were getting after it right in front of us. 2021: Modesty has gone out the window.

Luckily Lillie didn’t witness this incident or that would have brought on “the butterflies & the bees” conversation.

Speaking of nature orgies: Happy Hump day.

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of potted nature!

XO

Literal Butterfly Kisses and I’m Creating More Than Food In My Kitchen; Spoiler Alert, It’s Not Edible.

One day this past week, I was releasing some monarchs, and one of them decided to come in for a closeup. I was all, “Oh, ok. Make yourself at home”. I was impressed with myself that I had my phone in my pocket as she sat there gazing into my soul.

Why did I convert this to black and white? I was in a hideous state when this occurred. I’d been working the yard, flush from the heat; honestly, my hair hadn’t been touched by a comb or brush. Or, as my Dad would lovingly say, “You look like you brushed your hair with the leg of a chair.” 

Speaking of butterflies and weirdness. This is the cool thing I wanted you to witness

The monarch caterpillars LOVE to make their chrysalis on the edges of milkweed pots. Had you heard? They’re famous for this. BUT, this was an anomaly; two of them using the same exact spot for their silk. I wondered how this was going to work out with them being ALL UP IN EACH OTHERS BINESS. 

They always create this “J” formation for a good part of a day before going into the chrysalis state. J as in J’AMAZING. 

I could tell that they were going to create their chrysalis around the same time, and I didn’t want to miss it so I brought them into the kitchen. Which, by the way, they said Holy mackerel, nice digs, lady! Even caterpillars know a good kitchen design when they see it. 

Do you want to see something cool? 

HOLD ON TO YOUR SOCKS. 

Are you wearing socks? No. Then what the heck are you holding on to? 

I recorded it in time-lapse because I care about time. And lapses of judgment time. The guy on the right was SO annoyed with the guy on the left; he kept bumping into him with all his life-changing. Life-changing CAN be messy and wiggly. 

By the way, that’s the guy on the left’s skin that I picked up. Cool right? They shed their outer layer. Talk about exfoliation. 

For real, I’ve been at this butterfly thing for many years, and I have two observations: 

  • It is still amazing to watch
  • I still don’t fully understand how it all works. 

Oh, and guy number two made his chrysalis about 30 minutes later while I was in the shower. I should have taken them to the shower with me so I wouldn’t miss it. They might have been equally impressed with our bathroom but also traumatized from seeing me nekkid. I can hear them now: What in the world happened to her chrysalis? Body shamed by a caterpillar; that’s a new low.

Can I top this with anything cooler for next week? Well, there are rumors in the ‘hood that Sasquatch has been spotted riding a unicorn; I’d better check the surveillance cameras.

Until next time.

XO

The One Where I {should} Finally Get A Network TV Show

Tuesday evening I was in the backyard with the pups and they were doing what pups do and I was doing what I do; checking out my plants, caterpillars and having gentle conversations with butterflies passing me by. (I feel the need to tell each one how beautiful they are; I can’t help it) I noticed an old, withered monarch sitting in the grass. They don’t usually hang out in the grass, so I picked her up and put her on a salvia bloom safely out of Lillies mouth reach. I immediately recognized her as I’ve seen her flitting about my various garden areas over the past few days; she was recognizable by her one partial and almost see-through wings. She has seen some days and lots of weather. Monarchs here generally live 2-6 weeks and I’d say she’s seen close to six weeks from the looks of her.

I decided she might need a little help in the food department and who can turn down a juicy tangerine? No one, that’s who.

You can see her proboscis reaching out for nectar; this is the little tube they ingest their food from. I squeezed the tangerine to make more juice for her; this is the equivalent of a bartender filling up my wine glass. MORE, please.

Honestly, we don’t hear that many planes over our house so I can only assume that was the Discovery Channel or Nat Geo coming in close for a story.

*Still waiting for them to make an offer I can’t refuse contact*

I saw her a few times on Wednesday as well; still flying, eating, acting as she should.

On Thursday morning we found her again in the grass and moved her onto a plant for some nutrients. She’s missing a bit more of her wing but seems to be in good spirits. I mean, if she was in bad spirits she was disguising it. One thing I’ve noticed over the last few days was that the males were still coming in hot for her. Just goes to show you, Cougars also have a commodity in nature.

Meow.

I’ve thought about bringing her in and placing her in a mesh cage to keep her safe and happily fed, but decided she was meant to be out there, doing her thing for the rest of her days.


I do have one monarch that I’ve had in captivity for almost 3 weeks. Don’t get all crazy and call PETA this one has a virus (using layman terms here) that is very contagious to all the caterpillars/plants/butterflies in the gardens, so it was either keep her away from the others or go all Jack Kevorkian (freezer) on her.

Suz: making life & death decisions on the daily.

Happy Friday my sweet friends. Wishing you all a peaceful (easy feeling) weekend doing something that doesn’t require life & death decisions, but if you have to: CHOOSE LIFE.

Now leave a note or I’ll put you in the freezer with the others.

XOXO