At risk of boring you – but everyone likes butterflies don’t they? – my earlier prediction (see the previous post) is proving right. It is indeed proving to be a bumper year for butterflies. Many days I have been releasing 3 or 4, and one day was a record at 12.
I’ve lost count, but it will be well over 100 already for this summer, and there are many more to come. Which is lovely. With all the bad news about the environment and the pandemic it’s a little reassuring to see these frail creatures surviving.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
With so much having been said by so many about 2020, I’ll leave any further comment other than to say that for me, among other things, it was a great year for butterflies.
The season’s total was 130, which was a record for me.
And now it seems in 2021 I can look forward to another year filled with butterflies.
This Monarch butterfly season started early here, in November, with more than 30 released by the end of the year.
The 2021 stock are already fluttering their way around the neighbourhood and, as you can see, there are plenty more to come over the next couple of weeks.
And there are more caterpillars chomping their way through all I can provide.
Clearly the Monarch population is set to fare well in the summer weeks to come.
So that’s all I’m predicting for 2021 –
a year full of butterflies.
I hope it’s the same for you!
The roses in my garden are at their late spring best. I just picked this vaseful from one bush - there are so many left I can hardly notice the difference.
For years I’ve been responding to emails and phone calls asking where someone can get a paper copy of my book Mana From Heaven - A Century of Maori Prophets in New Zealand.
The sad reply was they couldn’t, unless they could find one on some auction site – usually at great expense.
Now it’s here again as a paperback - at your usual bookshop, or contact email@example.com
For more details of the content, see the Non-fiction page on this site.
It continues to be available as an e-book, thanks to Oratia Press, via Amazon
Just under 12 months ago, I announced here We’re 250!!
Now we're 300!
What I wrote then is still relevant, so look down this column for the rest. Or find it under Archives May 2019.
Please go to the FlaxFlower page to see review #300
We’re in social lockdown. Forced into isolation. Confined to our bubbles. Just about everything is closed.
A good number of them I don’t miss. In fact, when I think about it, I’d say I’d be happy to forget most of them – at least for a few months. Until I really need them, that is.
Not cafes and coffee bars, though. It’s not as though I frequent them often enough to really use the verb frequent, but when I do drop in to one – usually taking the opportunity while I’m out for another purpose – I enjoy my break, and my long black. Or sometimes my soy cappuccino.
And now, being confined in my bubble, and with not a cafe door in the country being open, I’m missing that treat.
But, they say there’s an upside to everything and one of the bonuses of cafes being closed is that do-gooders, well-meaning though I’m sure they are, have shifted their focus to the cause. Which means they’re not constantly picking on the price of a cup of coffee to make a point.
You know what I mean. “This costs less than a cup of coffee per week”; “If you stop going to coffee bars, over a year you’ll save $XX” etc.
What I want to know is, why does everyone always pick on coffee?
Why not Brussels sprouts?
The local supermarket has Brussels sprouts priced at $5.29 for 350 grams – I just checked online. Telling people to give up half a kilo of those a week would return much greater savings than a cup of coffee.
And I wouldn’t mind in the slightest giving up those.
That’s it in the picture, being released into the wide world with the words “have a happy life”.
It’s one of more than one hundred Monarch butterflies that I’ve tended and released this season, breaking a resolution I made a couple of years ago.
At New Year 2018 I wrote on my blog (check it via the side-bar archive if you wish) –
For years I’ve spent far too many hours each spring to autumn growing swan plants…nursing caterpillars, and tending butterflies. Each year I wonder if I should let nature take its course – allowing predators to get their share instead of bringing caterpillars inside where they’re safe, leaving those that fall, and letting them expire when they strip the plants of food.
Resolution 3 – save the time for other pursuits. I’m 99% sure this one will be broken.
Yes, well I knew then that I wouldn’t keep to that one, and perhaps that’s something to do with the fact that I didn’t make any resolutions for 2020.
This year I’ve produced more Monarchs than any year before. With environmental factors threatening them, it’s a small contribution to their continued existence.
As they live for weeks or months, I rarely go into my garden on warmer days without seeing one or more fluttering around. That’s my reward for the time I spend on them.
😃 I'm delighted to share that 😃
These Islands Here – Short Stories of the South Pacific
has been made a
B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree 😃
That is, the FlaxFlower review page has just published its 250th review.
The process usually begins when I receive a request from an author to have her or his book featured on the FlaxFlower page. I respond to the author, sending the FlaxFlower rules and asking for the needed information. Then I try to match the book with the reading likes of one of my much valued team of reviewers, offer it to them and, when I’m successful, arrange for the book to be sent to me. I send it on to the reviewer.
Yes, this double-handling takes more of my time, but an important FlaxFlower rule is that the author and the reviewer do not know each other. The author doesn’t learn the reviewer’s identity till the review is published - to ensure a robust and impartial review.
When the review arrives I submit it to the author, or their publicity agent, for approval – a matter of yes go ahead and publish it, or no don’t publish. I give that choice because my intention with FlaxFlower is to support my fellow NZ authors – I don’t wish to work against anyone. Some writers take up the option not to publish, so the number of reviews I have handled is higher than 250.
Then it’s a matter of posting the review on my site, letting all on my posting list know it’s there, putting notification on the Flaxroots Facebook page, and tweeting about it to bring the review to more readers’ notice.
From start to finish, each one takes many hours of my time, and sometimes I wonder why I keep on doing it. Most authors are grateful, and that’s what keeps me going. That and the increasing number requesting reviews. There are now too many to take them all on, so some books don’t get accepted.
But I'm not the only one who works to make this successful. The wonderful FlaxFlower reviewers put in their time and their expertise – continuing thanks to you all!
And everyone who takes the time to read these reviews, buys a book or requests it from a library – you all do your part.
New Zealand authors work hard to produce a large number of excellent books – they deserve support.
Please go to the FlaxFlower page to see review #250
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