It's kinda funny, so many of the PBS shows tell us to get outside and get out into nature (Nature Cat), and yet usually, there we continue to sit, vegging out in front of the tele waiting for the next kid show about getting outside (Wild Kratts or Dinosaur Train). It's almost as pathetic as the station's fruitless attempts to get us to get up and get moving during the commercials. "Clap your hands! Reach up high! And jump!" [yawn]
But this weekend we've been feeling like we have been obeying Dr. Scott the palentologist's advice to "get outside and make your own discoveries." On Saturday morning from the kitchen window, Mel and I noticed a monarch flying around our yard and landing on the milkweed. We went outside to see and she fluttered around us. We checked the leaves for eggs and found atleast 15 eggs! And, as we checked out all the milkweed, we heard a buzzing overhead. We watched and saw it was a humming bird. It hovered around us for a good 5 minutes, and I wondered why it was staying around and not flying away. We kept watching it go from branch to branch, and then it landed on a little nest! A little nest that we never would have noticed without the bird landing on it - it was/is very camouflaged. Of course, it's really small too, that might be part of it's hiding secret. Last night I went out and took a picture of it.
the turkey vulture, not to mention the deer that still come by and eat the roses, plus squirrels and the skunks (ok, skunks aren't so magical... The kids saw a few baby skunks in the backyard last month and we've had a few stinky nights with them close by, but luckily no one's been sprayed...) but it's all pretty incredible when I think about it. I don't know many other neighborhoods like this. I told the kids "Do you realize that you are living in a idyllic childhood dreamland? It's almost straight out of a fairy tale with all the animals, they're so lucky!
We've had nature coming to visit us in another form too these past few weeks - we've had some kinda bugs that are all over the house. Hyrum thinks it's a box elder bug, but they aren't red and aren't as big as those are when full grown, but they do kinda look like smaller versions of them. They are creeping through the cracks around the front door and we find them everywhere on the main floor and upstairs. The kids have been on a mission to seek and destroy them. Probably not politically correct to protect and nurture caterpillars but then kill the little bugs. They are harmless (I hope) but kinda annoying. We've been vacuuming them up, Ethan drowned some, Abi likes to squish them with a fork, all the kids are involved. Even Natalie went outside last night and took off her show and smashed on against he window. I'm not as eager to kill them right now, but if I see a few, I'll get out the long duster, catch them in it, and then go shake it in the toilet. We've never had a bug problem before, and wouldn't you know, I paid for pest control for some reason this past year, and now that the contract is over and I didn't really see a difference in anything, NOW the bugs come. But I'd rather have bugs. I'd rather spend the $100 bucks getting my carpets cleaned every quarter instead of having the bugs exterminated. Anyway...
So, about the monarch eggs, we kinda lost track of how many there are out there, but I think it's easily in the 20s. I'm sure there will be more laid in the next few weeks, cause this time of year, right before we leave for Park City, seems to be our peak monarch season. We're reconsidering our approach given our unsuccessful caterpillar farming experience last year (plus they gave me bad dreams!). I have a neighbor who is in the know about monarchs. She gave me some advice on how to cut the milkweed and scrub the stem to be sure the milk doesn't become like a glue that seals off the water from getting into the plant. That was a problem last year - the milkweek would go limp so quickly, so if we can avoid that this year we might be able to take care of them. So, despite my initial feelings that I just didn't want to get involved with caterpillar farming this year, ...I brought in 6 eggs last night, ahh! Grow little creatures, grow! But I can't take the stress you could cause, so we'll pray for you to make survive but you'll have to do your part (and please don't invade my dreams.)