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