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 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.
While she was sick, we really didn’t discuss the plans if perhaps she didn’t survive 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. 
We, the family took a trip there while Mom was in hospice knowing we’d need to choose the perfect spot for her.
We found a great area that we liked called The Pines and Lolo and Linds actually picked THE spot for Mom. Shady, cool and serene.
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 shoebox 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