You might like to check this out.
HA! Resolution #1 achieved. (See below, 1/1/2018)
With the help of an expert, my son, who took more than half an hour - going through the process I had, then working out the next vital step. "Unnecessarily complicated," he concluded.
But, we've done it.
So here are 2 pix. Taken Christmas morning at Takapuna Beach, Auckland.
As predicted, resolution #3 was broken immediately.
But a kaleidoscope of new butterflies are winging their way in the neighbourhood to live their lives and be admired.
I received several personal responses to my previous post (below, 1/1/2018) Thank you for them all.
It seems there are quite a few butterfly fanciers out there. Perhaps slaves is a more apt term. One friend, Susan, seems as enslaved as I am. And more obsessed. She says –
Monarchs! I have a large swan plant by my door and tend them loyally.
1/ I count the caterpillars at least 3 times a day. 122 last week.
2/ I rescue them off the path when they drop.
3/ I insist visitors come and admire them.
4/ I photograph them. Did you know they actually 'fight'?
5/ When the tree is stripped, I am always shocked!
6/ I google alternative foods. Last year, they ate pumpkin. This year it is cucumber and melon.
7/ I joined a Facebook group for them last year. Then I withdrew when I realised I wasn't up to their level of obsession. I do not bring them inside (well, I currently have one chrysalis in the kitchen because...) I do not travel miles to spread them among other swan plants etc.
[Note: a later message upped the inside count to 3]
8/ When a butterfly comes near me, I coo 'My baby!'
9/ I am obsessed. If the tree dies this year I won't mind. They take up sooo much time.
10/ Currently, there are 10 chrysalis (plural) on my walls and downpipe.
11/ I battle wasps and go ape when they attack a caterpillar. Crush them in my bare hands.
12/ I am obsessed and exhausted and hope the tree dies.
To which my response is –
A: Caterpillars can eat a little pumpkin if they are just about ready to go into cocoon – otherwise the butterflies are likely to emerge deformed. I have had very minor success with frangipani leaves – same family of plant, strangely. Even stranger, I think, they’re not interested in milkweed, also the same family and looks much more like swan plant.
B: Caterpillars are stupid. I am constantly saving them from their mindless actions. I have now have another dozen safely into chrysalis stage, at much effort on my part as they insist on doing things like attaching themselves to a leaf rather than to the experienced hanging sticks I provide. Another caterpillar eats the leaf and the chrysalis drops. Whereupon I sigh heavily and attach them to a stick with cotton or a clip.
C: The trees last only a couple of years. Then hundreds of tiny seedlings spring up and butterflies lay eggs on them.
D: Butterflies are stupid.
E: The caterpillars strip the seedlings in moments. So then I am rescuing starving caterpillars and searching for, and buying more plants.
F: I am stupid.
G: I don’t, though, crush wasps with my bare hands. Last summer I was stung twice just by being in the garden minding my own business.
H: It’s a slight relief to find there are others out there who are at least, and even more, obsessed than I am. So, Susan, Val, Anne and others – cheers!
Happy New Year 2018
Because of New Zealand's situation in the South Pacific we lead the world into the New Year, as we do with each new day.
For those on the other side of the globe and who have been including comments about the cold in New Year greetings, here’s a picture I took a week ago on Christmas morning – a fairly typical scene of a day at the beach. Note the red-flowered pohutukawa trees, aka the New Zealand Christmas tree as they flower at this time.
Resolution 1 – work out how to upload photos from this cellphone onto my computer. I should have taken my camera – no problems with that.
Okay, then how about this one instead.
Pohutukawa tree near another beach.
I’ve just counted the number of books I read in 2017 – 90.
A mixed shelf containing fiction and non-fiction, light and serious. Now I’m looking forward to what the coming year will bring my way, and anticipating discovering enough literary gems to provide frequent highlights in the full list.
Resolution 2 – in the case of books that disappoint, make an early decision to abandon them, rather than keep reading in the hope they’ll improve.
As I write I’m keeping an eye on three plants in containers on my desk. They’re fast being denuded of leaves as they’re devoured by a dozen caterpillars.
For years I’ve spent far too many hours each spring to autumn growing swan plants and buying more when they run out of food, 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.
In another room, I have other plants with 10 hatching monarch butterflies.
This morning I released four saying, as I have done to hundreds of others over the years, “have a happy life”.
The same to everyone, everywhere.
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