The one where I’m back on the butterfly and garden wagon.

I’m back in the butterfly business after taking a few days off here and there for traveling purposes. I really have to be HERE daily in order to keep things running smoothly and not starve any caterpillars to death. That would be cruel and I’m the opposite of cruel.

{Be free pretty Mama!}

I’ve released about 15 monarchs and 4 queens since Saturday.
Go me!!

I’ve also finally found the time to start my fall/winter garden. Nevermind the fact that it’s 90* daily.
*raises fists at Florida in frustration!*
But I suppose I should be thankful that the humidity has dropped down to a mere range of 73%-87%.
Better hair days are in my not so distant future.

I was trying to go a more simpler route this time. I planted only the essentials; tomatoes (many varieties), peppers (lots of flavors, mostly sweet) and some Kale. KALE YEAH! I really wanted to do some lettuce too, but I neglected to start any lettuce seeds in advance.
So, in the voice of the Soup Nazi: NO salad for YOU! 
Unless it involves just kale. KAAALLE NO! Or I could just drive to Publix and get some.
Yeah, let’s do that cause my innards require lots of roughage.

{{Diverts from current story}}Oh geez. That reminded me; a few weeks ago the Coach and I were eating dinner and I had a forkful of arugula salad just about to enter my salad hole and I noticed something odd. I looked closely at my fork and saw a cute little green and brown caterpillar. Dead. And it was almost dead inside of me. That’s what happens when you eat organic. 

I was so happy after all the weeding, digging, raking, planting that I did a happy dance right there in the yard.
Well, actually, I did a safety dance, cause my lower back was a tad tired.
We can dance when we want to, we can leave your friends behind….S-A-F-E-T-Y…..try getting that musical artistry of joy out of your head.

In about 60 days I can have you all over for a dinner made entirely out of fiber. Well, perhaps a caterpillar or two; bring dental floss.

Happy hump day.

Ingesting the good herbs {I rue the day!}

I’m sure you remember a few weeks ago when I found my first swallowtail caterpillars on my overgrown fennel. I mean, what else could you have been thinking about all this time?
Well, I raised and released about 8-10 of those beauties. They’re so different from monarchs; very unpredictable. My Monarchs, in chrysalis form, cook for only 9-10 days.

Eastern black swallowtail chrysalis-they look like mini alligators, because Florida. They create their own ‘girdle/sling’ that holds them at a desired angle. Nature is cra-cra!

Some of the swallowtails took 10-20 days to become butterflies, but I still have several in chrysalis form.
They could be like that for over a year.
I’d never heard of such a thing. They come out when they want….like they have NO schedule whatsoever.
Just willy nilly with this beginning of life thing.
As if I have nothing else to do but wait around for them. I have THINGS to do.
I liken it to those 35-year-olds living with Mom and playing Xbox for a living.
Grow up and get out there.

Anyhoo, I wasn’t finding many more swallowtail cats on my fennel, so I ran to my local nursery (not Lowes or HD because they use pesticides on ALL plants, even herbs and for that I hate them) to get some parsley, dill, and rue. Swallowtails love those herbs. They might like the Mary Jane herb too, but I’m not going there.
I’m still flying my Blue Line flag in the front yard y’all, as well as obeying the law.
Well, most laws. Is it against the law to floss your teeth while driving? Asking for a friend.
Wait, what was I saying?
Oh-I found a few nice parsley plants and rue. Honestly, who uses rue? I’ve never had anything with rue in it in my life, but I bought the cute little plant to attract some beauties. And also, now I can pick up the plant and spout out: I RUE THE DAY I MET YOU!
I really wish I’d been offered drama class in high school.

The plants sat on my garage counter for a few days before I took them outside. I don’t even bother putting these types of things in the ground now as the caterpillars will eat them so quickly and then I put the devoured potted plants (mostly milkweed) that are down to the nubs on the screened lanai so they can recover and swap them out again. It’s a whole song and dance with me, which is how I get most of my cardio.
So when I went to deposit these newest plants outside, I realized they already had eggs and some larvae on them. I got a two-fer. They came with swallowtail caterpillars and I didn’t have to wait for the Mama Swallowtail to come to lay eggs; I had a head start.

This baby is probably 5-6 days old here. 

And then it happened. I had a realization. I get them every once in a while.
My jaw dropped when I put it all together.

I bought a parsley plant that had butterfly babies on it.
How many times in our lives have we eaten dill, parsley and (one of you) rue and we (you, me, JoeBob and BettyLou) have unknowingly eaten an egg or caterpillar? How many times do you think?

I’m thinking at least 43 times.

I know for sure I’ve felt butterflies in my belly THAT many times and now it alllll makes sense. 
How about you? Butterflies in your belly? Beuller? Beuller?  It’s all the rue, boo. 


It’s {mostly} all butterflies and sunsets.

A few weeks ago I was in TJ Maxx looking for a gift and I found something for myself. It’s kind of sad how often that happens. I saw this sterling silver butterfly ring and it practically FLEW out of the case and into my paws. 

 And in real butterfly news, I had a few more Easter Black Swallowtails eclose from their chrysalis this week. And, they matched my nail color. Well, isn’t that special? 

We’ve been getting out on the boat and enjoying it as much as possible. The Coach has had a standing ‘fishing date’ each week and he’s really loving it. Summer in Florida is HOT, but it’s also wet. We have daily showers that usually include lightening so you have to plan accordingly. 
(Clockwise) Sunset from the boat, sunset at the beach, going out on the boat to see the fireworks, Fireworks from the boat. 
We had a great few days around the July 4th holiday. I hope you enjoyed yours as well. 

Lolo is getting ready for her big move to start graduate school full time. She has officially left her job as the cutest POPO on the planet and I’m sleeping better already. Now I just have to worry about Nathan(her BF). And all the other good police officers.

Speaking of good people.
A few weeks ago we had our employee/company picnic and both of the girls were able to attend.
It was nice to have the four of us together even for a few hours. Right now Linds is in New Zealand (SO far away!) for a few more weeks and then Lolo and I will be heading to VA to set her up in her new life. We’ve never lived that far apart and I just hope I don’t die.

Please tell me I won’t die.


Bee safe.
Bee sweet.
Bee a person who survives change.

Beach wedding, Butterflies & Jenga

My Brother in law got married this past weekend. It was a super simple and sweet ceremony on Captiva beach with drinks before and dinner after. It was only immediate family so it was a great time to catch up with my niece/nephews and all my inlaws and outlaws. 
Lindsay was the only one not in attendance because she flew to New Zealand this past Thursday for a little vacation; she was missed.
Nathan and Lolo
It was SO freaking hot. I think the heat index was 108*. Yes, I melted and then had to put myself back together again. I’m the Humpty Dumpty of Florida. 
My great-niece was able to spend the night with us and it was a treat having a person shorter than I in the house. She is just as much in love with my butterflies as I am.  We released one of my Eastern Black Swallowtails; she was just beautiful. The butterfly and Layla. 
The Coach is the self-professed Jenga King. And Layla delcared herself the Jenga Queen. 
I am the self professed Jenga photographer. 
It was a toss- up; they’re both awesome at Jenga and Layla certainly loved having a worthy challenger. 
That made for an awesome family weekend. The Coach and I are taking off for another adventure later this week. God willing that we make it back so I can blog about it. 🙂 
Have a great day.
Bee sweet. Bee in love. Bee fun!

All the good stuff: dolphins, ducks, zebras, rugs and an eagle.

Last Saturday was an epic day for me. Nothing big or crazy happened, but the small things that happened were ALL positive. I had some good mojo flowing.

It started with my cup of coffee. I was drinking it and looking out onto the bay. (When our little condo isn’t rented, we use it when we have time) I saw a porpoise frolicking around our dock and I’m just a tad bit obsessed with dolphins.

What a way to start my morning! I was thinking of joining him in the water, but then I remembered I was still sipping my coffee….what kind of person can have physical activity before they’ve finished a cup of joe? 

Shortly thereafter I had to head home to release some butterflies. 

On the way home I watched as several cars in front of me stopped to let a mama duck cross with her 6-7 babies. I just love it when people care. It was a very busy street, so otherwise, they might not have made it. 

I had two healthy monarchs and then I checked my gardens. I planted passion vine a long time ago and I always have a lot of Gulf Fritillary larvae on them. I had been reading about Zebra longwings lately as I see them in our yard too, but I’ve never seen the larvae before….until Saturday! I found one and I thought I might pee my yoga pants.

It doesn’t take much to get me excited lately or pee my yoga pants for that matter.
Also, if you plant it, they will come.

On my way back to the condo, I hit green light heaven. If you live in my town and you know of the street I had to take for the 8-9 miles…it’s riddled with traffic and stop lights.
I had every GREEN LIGHT. I couldn’t believe my luck!

Then there was a Pottery Barn Rug sale event that landed in my lap. (laptop) I got the most beautiful wool rugs for SUPER CHEAP and I couldn’t believe how happy that made me. Cocoa had many accidents on our dining room rug and we threw it out months ago, so I’ve been on the hunt for one there and a matching one for our sitting area. booyah!

Later Coach and I went out to dinner at the Marina. After eating we were walking around and looking at all the BIG boats and just chit chatting, working off some of our dinners when out of the blue a huge bald eagle flies right over us only about 15 feet in the air.
I was giddy with joy! And maybe giddy with that glass of wine too.

I don’t recall having a day like that or perhaps I was just more in tune with all the positive things. I’m going to try and relish the little good things daily and see if maybe it’s happening more than I think.

Has anything awesome happened to you lately? Sharing is caring.

This and that

This: I’m having a grand month with the monarchs. I’m not working as hard at it as I had been this time last year, which was becoming a bit overwhelming with all the feeding/cleaning/maintaining.
But even so, I’ve released 15 so far this week without stressing myself.

I’ve also given some plants and caterpillars to Lolo and Lindsay’s kindergarten teacher for the school. She said they’re having a blast watching the caterpillars eat and are anticipating the arrival of monarch butterflies.
See, I knew my obsession would pay off sometime, I’m gonna be richhhhhh. 
Or maybe not so rich.  

That: Lolo and Nathan came for a visit the weekend before last and brought along “Mad Dog-Mattis” for a visit.
He and Callie had a ball…it was nice to see Callie having some fun. She’s been pretty low-key since Cocoa has left us and she seemed to really enjoy having a friend over for the evening.

Mattis has grown so much. And yes, SO MUCH HAIR.

I’ll be very excited to share some great news about our Lolo soon; she’s got some big changes coming and we couldn’t be happier for her. For right now, she’s still the cutest Popo in town.