Unintentionally hoarding

I’m proud to say that I’ve not lost my marbles. I actually found four the other day.
Yeah, I’m bragging.
I vacillate between everything is hunky dory, then remembering that the sky is falling.

I’m staying at home as much as possible; I’m fortunate to be able to do that.

The Coach has been going to work and our business is going on as normal. Most of our employees are hourly and they need to work to live; if the building industry stops wanting cabinets and countertops, then we will slow down, but right now, that hasn’t happened.
The office staff have their own offices or are in cubicles. The peeps doing manual labor in the factory are spread out and not working too closely.

Florida has 195 confirmed cases.
Our county has 7 confirmed cases.
Non-essential stores are closing.
Bars/nightclubs are closed.
You know how much I love a good night club, so this is inconvenient.
(I’m really more of a goodnight, club girl)

***

I was low on my tube of toothpaste the other night and went into my toothpaste storage drawer (separate from my toothbrush/current toothpaste drawer) and realized I was unintentionally hoarding toothpaste.

I felt bad.

If anyone is low on toothpaste, please let me know and I’ll share.

***

I’m about to have my own epidemic here at home though. I’m experiencing butterfly-palooza and I have more caterpillars than milkweed. It might get ugly.

A huge potted milkweed plant can go from this:

To this in 24 hours. 

{For perspective, the cage is 3ft x 2 ft}

You remember that book The Hungry Caterpillar? It was not a piece of fiction.

Monarch caterpillars don’t give two sh*ts about social distancing. 

But, they do leave me a lot of sh*t to clean up.

I feel like a caterpillar hoarder at this point; there must be 70 of these sweet little shi*t making boogers in my biggest cage right now.

I do have milkweed randomly planted and sprouted throughout the property, but they are also covered with caterpillars.

*sigh* Having lots of butterflies flittering around our yard is a fantastical problem to have.

FYI: We never hoarded any TP, but I’m ok with that as we do have several water hoses around the house.
I’m not above and outdoor bidet.

Bee kind
Bee a nature lover.
Don’t bee an intentional hoarder

So, do my friends who live in the computer have anything good to share? 

XOXO

That time I could have done some time for doing a good deed.

Last Friday I was passing through the Home Depot garden center on my way out of the store when I noticed a table full of milkweed plants being destroyed by spider mites. 
(did you hear my gasp-’cause this is a pitiful sight!) 

I quickly assessed the situation (‘sitch’ if you’re 20) and realized that as soon as the HD garden peeps realized this, they would toss every plant in the garbage. I did a search and rescue and took as many monarch caterpillars as I could find, then RAN to my car. 

Ok, I didn’t run because that would hurt. 
But I did feel a slight tinge of guilt, then I felt joy over being a life saver. 
Not the candy.
Once in my car, I only had my tervis to keep them contained in. 
Guess how many times I tried to drink my caterpillars on the way home? 
(3) 
That was my Friday adventure. 
Saving the butterfly world one misdemeanor at a time.


Expanding my butterfly business.

Last fall when I was putting in my veggie garden I decided to add in dill and fennel hoping to attract the elusive Swallowtail. I see them randomly in my yard. As in randomly rare. And I love them.

A few weeks ago I noticed that my Fennel plants were 6 feet tall and an absolute mess with no eggs/babies in sight.  *sigh*

I finally went out yesterday and started cutting them down and tossing pieces into my compost bin when I noticed an elusive caterpillar. Thank goodness I don’t have neighbors too close because they might have thought I’d lost my mind. I shrieked in delight!
I pulled out all the pieces and then went to the ‘still a mess of plants’ to discover a plethora of swallowtail caterpillars.

MY DAY WAS MADE!

I ran in and googled How to Raise Swallowtails and voila-I was an instant professional swallowtail mom.

I didn’t bring them all inside at first, but later on when I was cleaning up from dinner I could see a male cardinal hopping around my fennel-surely he was feasting on my new babies. I went out and shooed him away and then rescued any I could find. *phew* Damn bird should stick to the feeders I have for he and his family.

I’ve ordered a much larger tent for them, but for now they’re using a smaller monarch tent and some are residing on my craft table. I hope they don’t run off before Amazon gets here with their new home.

 

There’s quite a variety of swallowtail in SW Florida, but I think these are the Black or Eastern Black flavor. I’ll know in a few weeks if my guess is correct or not. Stay tuned.

Not Suz’s photography



Have you found anything that made you shriek out loud lately? 

Queenstown to Mt. Cook, NZ ~~They said getting there would be the most fun.

Our first adventure after enjoying a few days in Queenstown was a drive to Mount Cook to see the famous Tasman glacier.

We’d noticed the day prior that it was getting REALLY windy as we were exploring the area. Someone in a shop mentioned something about a cold front coming through the next day, hence the wind.
We didn’t think much about it. We woke up in the morning and started getting ready when I opened the curtains and noticed some snow flurries.
What? 
It’s spring in NZ.
I put on the tv and the local news said that a lot of roads would be closing as well as the airport.
I was thinking: These people are really exaggerating….it’s just a few flurries.
Again, I’m a Florida native, so I know winter weather.

By the time we were dressed and we ate our breakfast, it was FULL-ON WINTER.

I don’t have any photos of the full-ON winter because I was FULL-on driving on the left side of the road in the right side of the car while it’s FULL-ON snowing.
It was at least 3 /12 hours before we arrived in clearer weather.
I was stressed to say the least; both hands on the wheel the entire time. My body so tense it would take at least 3 glasses of wine and a full body massage to get back to my normal.

We were about an hour short of our destination when we the weather cleared up and we found a spot to stop, stretch our legs and thank the good Lord that we made it through the snow storm.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we came around a corner and saw this huge BLUE lake; we had to stop and take it in.

After about 10 minutes we were back in the car towards our destination: Mount Cook.
We didn’t know what to expect at a hotel that was located in a national park, but we loved our quaint little bungalow.

It was really overcast and dreary again by the time we arrived at our room, then the sun went down. The next morning we opened the curtains and were able to see the view from our window.

It was a beautiful, clear and crisp morning and we were ready for our glacier tour.
We were driven to a national park, and had about a mile walk till we reached the boating area.

We were so happy for clear skies!

They loaded us onto small boats/rafts that held about 15 people and we zipped around the lake and learned all about glaciers and icebergs. 

Iceberg

How did I make it on this planet for 51 years and not realize that a glacier and an iceberg are two different things? Apparently, my Florida public school education didn’t focus on such things.

mountains behind us
Iceberg
GLACIER!!
Behind us here is the Tasman Glacier. The huge lake we were boating on was once part of the glacier, but like everything else, it’s melting. In about 40 years, the (very large) glacier will most likely be gone. 

We got up close and personal with an iceberg. Inside it are rocks, dirt, debris….whatever the glacier picked up from the earth as it formed. When the iceberg breaks off of the glacier, it floats around, melts and drops all the debris into the lake. Our tour guides said that every day (sometimes by the hour) the view of the icebergs changes as they melt and others come off the glacier.

It was a really cool (brrrr) learning experience and also a bit sad. This is proof that our ecology is changing at a really rapid pace and it appears that we’re not going to be able to halt it the way we (humans) live. 
I skipped a great day on our wine tour on the Southern part of the South Island before we moved onto Mt. Cook, but I’m going to combine it with our wine tour of the Marlborough region. 
So.much.good.wine. 
XOXO

Sappy, Sweet, Queens & Bloomers


Happy Veterans day to all our wonderful vets out there; many thanks for your selflessness! 



This past weekend while the Coach was away coaching, I ended up watching two Hallmark Christmas Movies.
TWO.
After all that sweet sappiness, I needed a good cleansing.
One episode of The Walking Dead did that.
I’m back to my regular self now.

***

One of my favorite sweet treats lately is smeared peanut butter on a banana.
And not just any regular ole Jiff or Peter Pan. 
The Coach and I think this freshly ground peanut butter from the Publix deli is the bomb.com.
I love it so much I’m thinking of committing bigomy and marrying it.

***

Everyone’s all “Trump this, Hilary that” and I’m over here ooing and ahhhing over butterflies!
I had FOUR monarchs emerge one morning. I’ve had 7 total (as of Thursday) this week and they’re all females. Seriously…..how are they even being conceived? I’m so confused.

I frequently spot Queen butterflies in my garden too; they’re also fans of the milkweed. At first glance they could be mistaken for the monarch. 

A queen enjoying the milkweed. 

Anyhoo…..I’ve also found several Queen caterpillars amongst my monarch caterpillars this week. See, we can ALL get along just fine!

The queen caterpillar look almost identical to the monarch caterpillar;
the queen has an extra set of antenae. 

{{I noticed that my thumb nail looks so pretty up there. Don’t let that deceive you, the rest of my digits appear that I’ve spread several bags of mulch, dug some holes for drainage and played with rocks in the garden this week.}}

***


Meanwhile, back in the big ole oak tree that houses a lot of my orchids, theres a mess of color happening. And a token sun-worshiping dog. 

Wishing everyone a stress-free weekend full of color, pretties and maybe a hallmark feel good movie? Just don’t go overboard like I did.

Joining Tanya and friends for Willy Nilly Friday.

Butterfly-ing

Remember back when I started planting milkweed in my yard to attract and feed the (disappearing) Monarch butterflies? Well, I just couldn’t leave it at that. 
Thanks to my friend Claudia, who showed me I could take this (obsession) a few steps further to assure the birthing of monarchs. 
And it works.
And I didn’t get stretch marks this time!
A few milkweed plants being devoured by a gang of monarch caterpillars. *nom nom nommmm*
See the other chrysalis on the top of the enclosure? I sure wish they’d do that in a more convenient spot. 
I brought in several caterpillars to a few enclosed containers with milkweed cuttings. 
They ate. They pooped. They ate and pooped. They ate and pooped. 
They turned into chrysalis. (sometimes before my very eyes-the coolest thing ever!)
This was my very first release. I was super excited. 
And apparently one went rouge, escaped and made his chrysalis on our outdoor dining chair. 
(I moved the chair outside so he could give birth in the open air and not in our screen enclosure)
I stared a few weeks ago and I’ve (given birth) to at least 7 now. They’re the prettiest things with wings!
In the wild the caterpillars have a 20% of survival because of predators.
(I’m battling wasps and hornets who think my babies are yummy!) 
In captivity, they have a 90% of survival!
Sometimes they like to linger on my finger….saying “thanks FOR my life human lady”! 
Here’s a before and after IN the garden. 
I hope ya’ll are doing well and enjoying your summer. 
We’re super happy it’s almost over…..it’s been a steamer! 
XOXO

Life, Death, Margaritas and traveling to Ireland. Part Uno

So many things have been a’happening.
We’ve been busy busy prepping the house and our lives for the ginormous renovation AND my Mom’s interment service.
My Mom’s service was something SO darn special. I really wish she was there IN person so I could see the smile on her face; I know without a doubt that she loved it.
If someone ever has another funeral and invites me, I’ll refuse to attend.
Ok, maybe I won’t, but I’ll be disappointed that they didn’t have a celebration instead; I’m telling you, it’s the way to go.

First off, months ago, even before my Mom became ill she told us all about this great place that she had visited. The Monastery of the holy spirit in Conyers, GA. She and a girlfriend took a day trip and loved the tour so much. (I had been there a few times as a teen with my church group; it is a beautiful place) Mom mentioned that near the Monastery they did green burials on protected land. She was fascinated by this….and you know, with me being green and all, I was too. What a great concept.
While she was sick, we really didn’t discuss the plans if perhaps she didn’t survive the cancer…but
she’s been telling me forever that she wanted to be cremated. She never wanted to take up precious land space when she was gone. This worked out well since you can place your remains in a spot on the green cemetery. 
The family took a trip there while Mom was in hospice knowing we’d need to choose the perfect spot for her.
We all found a great area that we liked; Lolo and Linds actually picked THE spot for Mom.
Something really cool about this place is that the Monks pray daily for those who are resting here and this land will never ever be touched. It is protected until the end of time.
And you don’t have to be a certain religion OR any religion at all….it’s open to all of us. 
You can go and visit any time too; it’s a beautiful place to walk and enjoy nature. No headstones; nothing obtrusive, Only a simple stone engraved with your name. They are truly green; if you wish to NOT be cremated, you’re wrapped in a shroud or placed in a pine box. Everything has to be compostable. We decorated a cardboard box for my Mom’s cremains….I really should have used a shoe box though; she was a fan of shoes. 
 
We finalized her plans back in June but we didn’t have the wherewithal to actually HAVE the service back then. The Coach had the idea to wait until Labor Day weekend…which was a great idea. Between cleaning out her apartment, organizing finances, etc…waiting was the way to go. Also, it gave us some time to heal emotionally. 
 I’ll share some photos and details from her service (and then some) soon; it was quite spectacular if I don’t say so myself. 
I hope all my blog friends are doing well; you’re missed!!!

XOXOXOXO