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A berry good time

I know the posts are still a little sparse but I’ve been pretty busy with my new job. I did get a much-needed 3 day weekend after working a 50 hour week a while back and Joy and I spent part of one day at her parents’ place. We explored the woods around the house, collecting rocks for our flower garden… I also collected about two dozen mosquito bites but at least I am not as allergic to the ones here, it seems. I saw three lizards, a praying mantis, a cicada, and lots of other assorted bugs and spiders (some of which I briefly caught for a closer look), smelled wildflowers, gorged on wild blackberries and blueberries, and came home covered in dirt and berry-bush scratches. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day 😀

We’re loving Hendersonville and enjoying our new home but in some ways it’s also been a sad time… like the day we unpacked all of our little wooden boxes that had travelled with us and put them up on a shelf… Fox, Nipsy, Pete, Mojo, and Lilly, I cried again for all the ones who could not be here with us. In particular, Lilly… we barely had time to grieve for her before we were off and moving cross country…It’s hard to explain, but we miss her now more than we did in Texas…she had been doing poorly for so long, been a shadow of her former self for years. It’s harder now, here — back in the place where I can remember her sharp and strong and her vibrant (if obnoxious) self. I don’t know if that makes sense.

We’re working on a small garden with a plant for each of them, something that represents their spirit. Tiger lillies for Lilly… maybe daisies for Nipsy… Pete maybe just a few well-placed rocks (he was a consumate rockhound) and for Mojo I agonized over trying to decide between basil and some of that giant pampas grass. I’ve always loved that stuff and wanted some, and I am sure he would have liked it… but he did sure like to eat the basil out of our herb garden at the first house, too. I compromised by planting both basil, which Joy’s sister Kitty had brought us, and some purple fountain grass. We had some mini daisies that were to be Nipsy’s plant but they didn’t make it, so we’ve planted something I forget the name of that has little periwinkle colored flowers and are keeping an eye out for some more daisies. I think it is too late in the year to find a Tiger Lilly. We’re still trying to come up with something suitable for each of the others… pics of the garden will come soon.

Close encounter of the creepy-crawly kind

The other day I had the dogs out in the back yard early in the morning and as I was keeping an eye on them (remember our new yard is not fenced) I was sort of absently aware of something cold and wet on my left leg. I guess I just sort of dismissed it as wet dew-laden grass blades… then realized that we have short grass and the sensation had now moved up to the back of my knee. I peered down and saw a flash of something big and yellow just prior to my becoming airborne.

Anyone who knows me well has probably witnessed the paradox that is my panicked ‘bug dance’. I like bugs. But I don’t deal well with surprise bugs. Yes, it is perfectly normal for me to let out a screech and hop madly about, brushing at something that just crawled on me, only to go back a few seconds later to pick it up and make sure I didn’t hurt it. I think when I saw the flash of fuzzy yellow my first impression had been that it was a bumble-bee. When I went back for a closer look (the large yellow blob was now crawling in the grass) I saw it was not a bee but that’s about where my ability to identify it, at first, ended:

Bug_1

The closest I could come to identifying it was "moth" – but where were it’s wings? Those weird little leathery flaps? I had never seen a butterfly or moth emerge from a pupa before and I guess I always sort of assumed the wings were wrapped around them and unfurled, full size, when they emerged. I decided this moth must be some sort of flightless mutant and placed it on a plant so it wouldn’t get stepped on. A little while later I checked on it, and saw that not only had it stayed in the spot but that the wings appeared to be growing:

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Another hour or so later, the finished product:

Bug_3

I checked on my little friend a while later and now I was confused. Where previously there had been a perfectly formed moth, now the wings looked all mis-aligned and the body kind of mishapen. What had happened? It finally dawned on me that I was now looking at two moths. Apparently my moth was a ‘she’ and had found herself a suitor before she even took flight. The two of them were gone by the next morning, presumably he to find another willing mate and she to lay some eggs that will probably hatch into caterpillars that will eat our herb garden. I am posting the photo that I took (just before I realized what I was seeing) so you can all share in my "eeeewwwwww…. it’s bug sex!" moment of horror. Wink_1

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