Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Saga Continues

So the 4 little caterpillars turned into 20 voracious ones. (I don't really know how that happened, but I know it did - maybe they divide like amoebas or whatever it is that divides.) Anyway, our poor little milkweed was devoured. Just twigs now. And the squigglies crawled away. No idea where they went. Supposedly they don't go much further than 40 feet from home, but there's nothing within 40 feet worth eating, so desperate times must have called for desperate measures. One little caterpillar is left on the milkweed trying to get sustenance from the stalks. We have found 3 chrysalises (???) on the fence, so that's exciting. There should be a bit of fluttering in a week or so!

Sorry I don't have pictures. One of these days I'm going to get a digital camera. It's hard to keep up with all my technological needs. And it's embarrassing when my parents have more tech toys than I do. I may have to get cable before I get the camera though. The fancy digital converter box is not all it's cracked up to be. Or maybe satellite radio - then I wouldn't need the cable because we could listen to the baseball games. Oh and an MP3 player or iPod or something would be cool. And the GPS thingy. Or just the phone that does it all. But, let's see, where was I? Oh, yeah, caterpillars.

Actually, butterflies - they are the coolest things. How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? It's goofy! And these caterpillars were way too big to fit into these little cocoon thingies. The whole idea is even ridiculous. Who would come up with this!? And yet, somehow it's just a beautiful cool thing. Could it be a picture of the new life that happens when a person is born again? MMMMMaybe. Interesting, too, how butterflies don't make new butterflies, just new caterpillars.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mike's Garden

Once upon a time, I married Mike. We had a 1300sf house with a huge backyard, large deck and bricked in grill, lots of mature landscaping and no irrigation. We made a deal - I take care of the inside of the house; Mike takes care of the outside. Pretty sweet deal really. I'm handy with a plunger, and I know how to change a light bulb; my standards of cleanliness are much higher than Mike's, so I beat myself up over housecleaning long before he would ever notice the grime. I don't like to sweat or get dirt under my fingernails. I hate bugs.

Fast forward 12 years and 8 addresses. Oddly enough, although we've mostly lived in apartments for the last 7 years, Mike has clung to this deal. So even when exterior maintenance is covered by landlords or HOA's, our deal stands. (Doesn't seem quite fair to me, but a deal's a deal, right?) So now we own a townhouse (exterior maintenance part of the HOA responsibility) and we have a teeny, tiny back patio. The majority of the patio is the sidewalk from the carport to the back door (our main entrance), the rest is split between the a/c unit and some little spaces of dirt. This is now Mike's domain.

I have to admit, it's pretty amazing what he's done these last few months with that space. His vision is to have a butterfly garden, and he's spent much time and effort to get just the right plants (you need caterpillar food and butterfly nectar). I am partial to orange flowers, so I really like the Mexican milkweed (a must for Monarchs) and the potted hibiscus.

A few days ago, Mike noticed a sticky residue and bugs on the milkweed. Then I pointed out the webs, and that pushed him over the top. The internet research frenzy began. We have aphids and maybe some kind of spider mites. You can't use pesticides if you want to have caterpillars, so Mike began trying to spray off the aphids with water and wipe down the leaves, etc. Plus there were lots of little nibble spots on the leaves. And then! He saw these little tiny wormy things that he thought might be aphid larvae or something. More research! Wonder of wonders, they're Monarch caterpillars! Eureka! We have caterpillars! They're growing like crazy (at the expense of the milkweed, which was the point after all)! I haven't seen Mike this excited in a long time. I don't think he's named them yet, but he's pretty sure there are four of them, and he checks on them regularly.

The garden continues to flourish and we look forward to lots of butterflies this summer. For our 12th and 1/2 anniversary we got ourselves a little (really little) patio set, so we can sit outside and enjoy the fluttering. So, all in all, I think our little deal has been ok. Besides, once I set the trash outside the door, it becomes exterior maintenance and Mike has to walk it to the dumpster.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm funny, really

Seriously funny - that's me. At work, at church, everywhere I go, I keep 'em laughing. But I can't be funny on my blog. What is up with that? I read a lot of blogs, and bloggers are funny. They have great stories about their everyday lives that are just hysterical. But I can't come up with a thing. Maybe it's my writing skills (or lack there of). Or maybe my life really is dull and boring, and I just haven't noticed yet.

I do know you can't be funny on purpose or it isn't funny. So I will NOT try to be funny. Absolutely not. Ever.

My cat is looking at me like I'm a nut; it must be the anguished expression on my face and the forceful clacking of the computer keys. OK, I admit it - I'll probably try just a little bit.