I Like Big Checks And I Cannot Lie, Twinning, and A Spidey Upside Down Smacker.

We had a quick jaunt to the East Coast this past weekend; a mere 20 hours that included giving away some big checks, visiting with our amazing friends and driving through our old stomping grounds.

Boy have things changed. The high school the Coach and I both attended used to be in the middle of Crack Town. Since we’ve left, it’s all cleaned up and seems to be such an affluent area now. We were all: Man, I remember seeing drug deals going down right where the Cheesecake Factory now resides.

GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY NOW

Remember our Songwriters for Vets event we had in June? Well, I say ‘we’, but I’m a teeny, tiny cog in the machine that my husband is driving. Anyhoo, the money was counted and we were able to give a good amount to two different Veteran charities.

I’m getting gas and groceries tomorrow, so I’m gonna need another one of those checks.


Doppelgänger

Linds was assisting a friend in looking for a rescue pup earlier this week and sent this pic (left) to me stating this dog was at Domestic Animal Services and it’s Lillie’s twin.

I mean, it kind of looks like her, but it’s weird seeing ‘her’ with two ears. I knew the dog looked familiar and not just because of Lillie. The day before I saw this dog on our local lost/found dogs FB group.

Don’t you hate it when dogs just ‘wonder’?

I.do.not.need.another.dog.

That being said…

I could.not.stop.thinking.about.this.dog.

But Thank you Baby Jesus because when I looked today, he’s been picked up by his owners.

*phew* *wipes beads of sweat off forehead* *bullet dodged*


Upside Down Nature Porn

I’m so happy I threw that butterfly post together on Monday; you seemed to like it.

You like me, You really, really like me!

I was out perusing the yard yesterday when I saw two Monarchs fighting.

Then it dawned on me, they’re not mad, they’re fighting like a couple in love. ❤️

I know it’s not polite to watch, but I was mesmerized and this reminded me of something.

No, not my honeymoon.

Something else…

And then it dawned on me!

Raise your hand if you felt this was a was a cringy moment then AND now.

So, have you seen any nature porn lately? Goodness, I wonder how many weirdos who will find my blog now that I typed porn twice.

Wait, now I wrote it THREE times!

Someone, help me stop the madness.

XOXO

In Which I Share My Butterfly-ing Method With You. AKA: Welcome To Monarchs 101

It’s been a while since I’ve graced your presence with butterflies. Did you miss them?

Do you see the second monarch? twinning!

It’s been a challenge to save the world butterflies while traveling so much. I became busy. Life got in the way. I became distracted.

What was I talking about?

Oh, yeah! Last week I was checking on the irrigation near one of my Giant Milkweed plants when I noticed my biggest nemesis: an effing wasp who was trying to eat monarch caterpillars. It’s what they do.

At that moment, I could not recall where my electric swatter was, so I did the next best thing: I took off my flip flop and proceeded to chase the bastard away from the caterpillars. He got away and I knew he would be back as soon as I was out of sight.

*raises fists in dispair*

I gathered as many caterpillars as I could save and brought them in for safe keeping. Apparently if I don’t control nature, bad things happen. I’ve not been collecting them since we’ve been gone so much. I can ask my house/dog sitter to do a lot of things for me, but feeding and cleaning up after caterpillars might be over the top.

I easily fell back into my old routine: delivering fresh food to them daily; Uber eats without the extra fees.

BABIES

Do you see those little tiny black spots? Those are eggs that are close to hatching. When the egg is first laid, it’s whitish-yellow and get’s darker as it progresses.

Fun fact: When the baby hatches, its first meal is its shell. Which is the equivalent of a human baby eating its amnionic sac. Which is probably better than your toddler eating processed chicken nuggets.

SPEAKING OF POOP

Caterpillars poop A LOT. It’s generally dark green from the milkweed leaves; their poop is little blobs that are small for the tiniest of cats, but get larger as they grow. I was feeding them some purple flowers from my Giant Milkweed and I noticed the cats eating the flowers had purply poop. Science ya’ll.

I knew that telling you this would enhance your life greatly.

SKIN YA’LL

Did you know that monarch caterpillars molt five times in their life cycle? They’re so efficient that when they shed their old skin, they EAT it. The molting process takes about 18-20 hours.

This guy and his old skin. He’s contemplating on which end to start eating first. Choices elude me too buddy. . .

When they grow out of their skin, they also grow out of their FACE (cap).

I often find old face caps laying around. You too?

New face

Just like humans, caterpillars have personalities. Sometimes when I pick one up, they’ll crawl all over the place (while leaving a silk trail on my skin in case they fall) and some will just shut down, curl into a ball and wait for me to put them down.

introvert VS extrovert

Another Fun Fact: Here in hawt Florida, we have butterflies all.year.round. There is no migrating for My Monarchs, as they love the weather.

The other day I went to add in some fresh food after someone contacted me via my Milkweed Eats app and I noticed this guy was getting ready to create his chrysalis. Please admire this sped-up video because I thought I might need an arm transplant from holding the damn phone for so long.

Ok. Sorry. That was a lot of movement. If you now have debilitating vertigo, please do not contact a lawyer. I swear, I thought I was moving in SLOW MOTION while using Time-Lapse.

Here is the shed skin that I often find after they create their chrysalis.

Now that I think about it, these guys are slobs. They poop everywhere and leave their skin and faces for me to clean up as if I have nothing else to do.

Once the chrysalis has hardened, (at least 24 hours later) I’ll spritz it with some water to loosen up the silk and move the chrysalis to a more convenient-for-me-to-release spot. (I use an old styrofoam cooler; I pin the chrysalis by their silk into the side of the cooler and cover with cheese cloth)

Monarch chrysalis on left, Queen chrysalis on the right

{BTW: Moths create cocoons, butterflies create chrysalis. When I hear someone refer to a butterfly coming out of a cocoon, I want to gently poke them in the eye with a spoon.}

In 9- 10 days, they will eclose; generally in the morning and I’ll release them in the afternoon IF it is dry and sunny. If it’s a stormy day, I’ll keep them contained as they don’t eat for the the first 24 hours anyway.

This is a Queen Butterfly, before and after. They are very similar to monarchs; they eat the same food, create the same chrysalis and have the same lifecycle, but for some reason there isn’t the same amount of hoopla over them.

Did you enjoy my Master Class?

I really should charge money for this, but I’ve always been more of a giver than a taker.

XOXO

Where The Weekend Went: Early To Bed, Aqua Cleaning, Multitasking And Again, My Poor Feet.

Hello, it’s me.

For your viewing pleasure: some orchids I found in the yard this weekend. To be clear, they weren’t hiding, but I don’t always know where or when they are gonna bloom.


The Coach was home the entire weekend. That is a first in months; he spent most of it finalizing plans for a Veterans Charity Event coming up in a few weeks and tackling a few honey-do’s.

We resumed our Friday Date Night. I made a reservation on Open Table for a place not too far from us for 6pm. We departed our home at 5:45 and we were back home at 6:58. Our dinner was lovely, but getting home at that time on a Friday night must mean we are steps away from the hereafter. No?

I’m definitely not on The Cocaine. I can’t even have iced tea after 2pm.

Getting home early meant we could finish the last episode of Ozark. I have issues watching shows like that too close to bedtime; they get me riled up and I can’t sleep. I was happy to end Ozark; I’ve had it up to here *reaches for the sky* with Wendy and Marty making bad decisions, and usually against each other. If it sounds like fictional characters were stressing me out, it’s because they were.


Photo of a male monarch I released on Saturday where zero stressing was involved.


If you had the inkling that my life is all glitz and glam (that always ends by 8pm), it is not. I spent a good portion of my weekend pulling weeds, trimming plants, planting plants and spreading bags of mulch. While wearing my flip flops, of course. When it was time to cool off, I went in the pool. Did I relax in said pool? You bet your sweet biscuits I didn’t. Our beautiful newly installed glass tile has calcium buildup/haze around the water features and the entire waterline.

*sigh* Do we have anything that is low maintenance?

The answer is NO.

That ain’t pretty.

I started the cleaning process in the shallow end last week with CLR and a scrub brush. It was taking more chemicals and elbow grease than I was comfortable with. So on Friday I went to the pool supply place and purchased a chemical spray MADE for just this situation and a large pumice stone.

Again, lots of elbow grease and by this time my toes were raw from the rough ass pool floor. *raises fists in the air wishing our pool contractor a lifetime of cold sores*

Have you ever tried to clean with a chemical spray in one hand and a scrub brush or pumice in the other WHILE TREADING WATER? That my friends should be an olympic sport.

Finally a few of my brain cells actually connected long enough for me to have an AH HA moment whist almost drowning in the deep end; I remembered I had some of these:

AQUA SADDLES: YEE HAW

What a life and toe saver.

I’m not sure that my toes will ever be the same; it might be too late. If I had to do a Toe {finger} Print, I’d be doomed. I ordered some water socks for my pool time in the future as I try to do some water aerobics whilst in there between cleanings.

Why can’t I just DO ONE THING? Multitasking is a disease and I need a Dr. ASAP.

Spacey dude…now my feet tan lines are going to even weirder.

Nance, are you happy I covered my tootsies?

Are we the only ones who are having dinner earlier and earlier? Pretty soon we’ll be at Morrisons Cafeteria for their 4pm early bird special and cramming free crackers in my purse.

Do any of you remember going to an event that started after 8pm? I know we did, but now? Being out after 8pm wearing clothes and being pleasant towards other humans, well, that sounds like torture.

XOXO

How Easy Going Am I? And The Services I Offer Are Pretty Special.

I had my annual eye appointment last week; I had put it off for two years and couldn’t any longer. I filled out all my paperwork online, but when I arrived, they had this additional survey for me; the scale on the bottom made me giggle.

Where would you be on the scale? Closer to easy going, or near perfectionist?

FYI, my eyesight is still 20/20. Thank you laser vision surgery. Now, if only I had actual Laser Vision, I could rule the world.

BTW: I chose closer to easy going. If the Coach reads this, he’s laughing his azz off. But I think it’s true. Maybe. Kinda. Actually, I think I was just caught off guard as I was pondering taking up Shooting/Hunting as a hobby for myself.

HUNTING CUTENESS

I found a milkweed plant in one area of my garden that was DECIMATED; Stripped down to a bare stalk with not a leaf to its name.

And then I found the culprits.

The natives monarch caterpillars were getting restless looking for food. Luckily, I had a full, healthy milkweed plant on the other side of the yard, so I did what any normal EASY GOING person would do: I transported them to the full plant.

Hello, my name is Suzanne, and today I’ll be your travel agent and chef.

Hay, ladi, coud u pease put me were da fud is?

Thank goodness that survey didn’t ask anything about my trying to control nature.

The feet! The filaments! I think they are the damn cutest things ever. I have to hold back on hugging them tightly because, you know, squishing.

So, would you classify yourself as Easy Going? More importantly why would my Eye Dr. Care? It’s not like we’re going to date or anything.

XOXO