rose_cat: (cats adorable trio)
Part one is here.

The theme of this year’s parade was “Echoes of Success.”

All of the floats in this parade are required to have all surfaces covered by natural materials, such as flowers, plants, seaweed, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts. For more, see the 2014 post Decorating parade floats, at my journal.

1.

Escuela Secundaria Técnica Industrial No. 3’s Buhos Marching Band from Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
Photo by Leo Jarzomb


twelve more pics and one embedded video, all child/work-safe )
rose_cat: (damselfly)
Monarch count today: 28 eggs, 60 caterpillars. 59 of the cats ranged from about 3-4mm; one was about 31mm. That's 22 fewer eggs than three days ago, but only 5 more cats. The 31mm cat has got to be one of the ones that were 25mm on Monday, but the other two are gone. Aside from that, how many eggs hatched into caterpillars, how many died, and how many cats died is anybody's guess.

I wish I knew a good way to mark the caterpillars. Even if there was something that was harmless and could be applied to a soft-bodied creature as small as 1mm, it would just be molted off with the old skin. A microchip would be good, since I could just wave a scanner over the plants. A very small microchip... Dream on, I guess.

It was after 10 PM when I finished the count. By then I had a desk lamp out there, but because the cord is so short and the electrical outlets so few and so oddly placed (who the hell designed that?), the sliding door had to be open quite a bit. This being the time of year for June bugs (which are actually not bugs, but a type of scarab beetle), several showed up and thunked off the lamp. Of course some of them ended up flying into the bedroom.

When B gives Missy her nightly treats, he throws them up and down the hall, in various rooms, etc. Tonight one toss ricocheted off a door frame and disappeared. Missy hunted all over until she spied a spot on the rug. It wasn't the treat; it was a confused June bug. Missy sniffed at it and then turned to stare at me expectantly. Sorry, Missy. Mom will do almost anything for you, but even she can't turn beetles into treats.
rose_cat: (damselfly)
(and I'm staying away from the bathroom scale)

A couple of days ago, I noticed a tiny swallowtail caterpillar on one of the newly-leafed-out wild fennel plants. Today the plant was all adroop. The stem had broken off somehow. I couldn't find the caterpillar :( but I did find a swallowtail egg :D I've never seen an actual egg! I tucked the dying plant in amongst the foliage of the others, so the hatching caterpillar will be able to find a good feeding ground.

The milkweed plants are well-leafed too, which is good, because I counted eight monarch caterpillars in the big pot, ranging from .5 to 1.5 cm (1/5 to 3/5 of an inch) in length, vigorously chomping away. No paper wasps in sight yet. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed...
rose_cat: (blergh)
I woke up at 1 PM (PST) this morning to see B looking through his T-shirts. Having washed his dress shirts the night before, my first thought was “oh shit, he just found them and they’re not dry yet.” (Uhh, casual Friday, dear?) Or maybe he was going for a walk first?

“Going for a walk, honey?”

“Um, no, my car’s still up the hill...”

(our street was resurfaced yesterday)

“…and it’s 102 outside.” (Fahrenheit, of course)

“A hundred and WHAT?! Are you kidding?”

I really thought he was kidding -- I was still under a light blanket and didn’t feel the least bit hot – but, no, he was not.

“It’s already eighty in here.”

The Santa Ana winds had arrived.

A few minutes later, B left, his work clothes in a bag. I leapt out of bed and raced outside -- almost burning my hand on the outer doorknob -- looking for a way to shade the tiny monarch caterpillars in the big milkweed pot from the blasting sun. (The last batch was lost to heat and wasps, and damned if I was going to lose another.) Reassured that I wasn’t too late by a couple of caterpillars vigorously chomping away, I put something together with patio chairs, an old tomato cage, and a towel.

Then I noticed that -- even though I’d watered them yesterday and they were in partial shade -- the milkweed plants in the ground were desperately limp. I turned on the hose and suddenly it was raining. Hard. HUH? But – the sun’s still shining, and this isn’t Seattle, and – OH. I’d been wondering when that crack in the hose was going to give way. And it felt pretty good, anyway.

It was a little awkward, though, watering with a loop of hose.

I was worried about the three large swallowtail caterpillars, but when I poured a bucket of water around the fennel plants, one of them charged out of a tuft of grass. (I hope that’s where the others were hiding.) As it climbed up the wooden fence, I worried that it was going to get too hot before it could get into the shade, so I gave it a gentle boost. It stopped dead and bobbed its head at me like a stubborn donkey or something. So I just leaned over it to keep the sun off. Eventually it got going again and got itself into the shade.

Let’s see: high temperatures, low humidity, hillsides covered with brush as dry as a bone, Santa Ana winds. All we need now is a spark.

It’s supposed to be hot tomorrow, too, but by Sunday it should be starting to cool down.

SUCCESS!

Oct. 4th, 2011 01:52 pm
rose_cat: (ten wow)
A swallowtail butterfly emerged from its chrysalis this morning. It’s the first one I’ve caught in the act. And I got PICTURES.

The details, written while bouncing joyfully in my chair. )

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