Florida Butterflies- The Monarch Butterfly

21 Nov

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The Monarch a beautiful butterfly that can be found all over America, southern Canada and Mexico.  Like all butterflies, Monarchs lifecycle consists of a series of changes called metamorphosis. After mating (below) life begins as a tiny egg about the size of a sesame seed.
The female lays about  100 – 200 eggs on milkweed leaves, their host plant. Within a few days the baby caterpillar starts squirming. It’s ready to hatch.
It chews a hole in the side of the shell and emerges into the world. It’s only about two millimeters long. It snacks on the nutrient-rich shell. But soon it starts feeding on it’s main diet, the milkweed. Monarchs store a poison called Cardiac Glycosides for defense by feeding on the milkweed. The Monarch lets it’s predators know of this poison by the bright colors it wears.
As the caterpillar quickly grows, they shed their skin several times. The caterpillar stage lasts for 9 to 14 days.
Watch the complete alien-like transformation from caterpillar to butterfly below:
 It sheds it’s skin one last time on the underside of a twig.
Firmly attached, the monarch begins pupation, shedding it’s caterpillar clothes for the last time. The “pupae” as it is called now wiggles to release the pullled up skin.
It then stays motionless for about one and a half weeks, as the pupa undergoes a wonderous transformation. The green changes as the exquisit colors start showing through the pupae shell. It’s final metamorphosis accomplished, the new butterfly emerges
At first the wings are quite small, but over the next half hour or so, fluids are pumped into the wings expanding them to their full size. Adult monarchs feed on nectar and water by sipping on it using a sucking tube called a proboscis that lies coiled under the head when not in use. When the butterfly emerges, the tube is still split in two pieces. It will work to mesh them together to form the tube.
Finally the monarch will take to the air for the first time. The adult Monarch will spend it’s life feeding on nectar, pollinating and reproducing. …beginning the lifecycle once again.
The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do. Unlike other butterflies that can overwinter as larvae, pupae, or even as adults in some species, monarchs cannot survive the cold winters of northern climates. Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) perform annual migrations across North America which have been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world”.
Starting in September and October, eastern and northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle.
The fourth generation of the Monarch butterflies are the only ones that migrate.
They live for six to eight months until they again get ready to undertake the return migration.  How these butterflies take a particular direction for migration is an unsolved mystery of our generation.  They fly at speeds ranging between 12 to 25 miles an hour.
Similar to the migrating birds, the monarch butterflies use the clear advantage of updrafts of warm air, called “thermals” and glide as they migrate, to preserve the energy required for flapping their wings all the way through the long 2500 mile voyage from the Great Lakes in Canada to the warm Central Mexican Oyamel fir forests in the Michoacan Hills. They rest there through winter and then complete their migration Northwards in search of milkweed plants in the Eastern United States.
 At the wintering sites in Mexico, they roost in the millions in huge groups in the trees.
The females will lay their eggs on the milkweed leaves, and the cycle goes on until the next fourth generation starts the return migration to complete the cycle north in the spring.
 The Mexican authorities, In 1986, converted 62 square miles of forests in the Sierra Madres to the now renowned Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, home to hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies during winter. The government further extended the reserve area to an area of 217 acres in the year 2000.
These butterflies use their eyes to locate flowers, they use their antennas to smell the nectar and the minute receptors lodged in their feet called “tarsi” come in handy to taste  sweet substances.
A black spot on an inside surface of its hind wing distinguishes the male Monarch butterflies from the females that have no such spot as the female in the second picture from the top.
Next week I will show you how to raise your own Monarch butterflies to be able to see and experience them close up and populate your garden.

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Heaven is in Your Future

20 Nov

My Take

Divoran Lites

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:12 Paraphrase

Comforter-Heaven is in your Future

You do not see things clearly. You’re squinting in a fog, peeking into a smoky mirror. It won’t be long, though until everything clears up. When you see the Kingdom of Heaven you will know Me as thoroughly as I now know you. You will see with your spirit. Wondrous things you have seen on earth will be as nothing to you.

Until that completeness comes you have four things to do. One, trust steadily in Me; two, constantly hope for the best; and three stop considering the worst that could happen; four, love with all your heart and with all My power.

Trying to imagine what old age or Heaven will be like is the same as worrying about the future. Faith, hope, and love is your focus now. You can never understand until you get there, so don’t dwell on it. It’s a promise that will come true and that’s all you need to know.

Faith, hope, and charity. And what is charity? It is goodwill toward others. Liberal giving of all kinds. Mercy. Minimal judgment. I will give you plenty of people to love and help. Your love will not come out of your need, but out of the power of My Holy Spirit who is your Helper.

Live now as you did under your parents’ protection, never worrying about the future. Whether earthly parents were good or bad really makes no difference, though. I have always been the one who looked after you and I always will be.

Circuitous Travel~Part 13

19 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

Today’s adventure in greater London was a bus tour to Windsor Castle.

 

Credit Google Search and Wikipedia

 

Fred and I had visited this magnificent castle back in 1970, and I shall present some of the pictures we took at that time in this post.

We were told that Windsor Castle is Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite castle. While I don’t remember going inside anywhere, I can still see why she loves it so much.

We saw many beautiful parts of this castle. We saw the King Henry VIII Gate.

 

 

We saw King George’s Chapel (here with a corner of the barracks).

 

 

We were allowed to be and see the inside courtyard, and took several pictures from different angles.

 

 

 

 

I really loved the stoneworks that make up this castle. It’s just lovely.

Back in 1970, as we were walking toward the castle, we were told by the guide to be very careful during the changing of the guards. Especially as they headed toward the barracks. He said that, because they had been on duty and were tired, that they stopped for no one on their march to the barracks!! So watch out!! Don’t get in their way, or you will be run over!

Outside the castle itself, we saw the castle from the distance, along with a bronze statue of Queen Victoria – in the middle of the street! It is well kept.

 

Credit Google Search and Mapio.net

 

While we enjoyed our tour of the castle grounds, Fred and I had the pleasure, back in 1970, of seeing a part of Windsor that is seldom seen by the general public. We were told, back then, that we would be able to see the Queen’s Apartment Gardens – but only because she was not in attendance at Windsor at that time. We were thrilled!! That was a once-in-a-lifetime event for us. Here are the pictures we took – of the Queen’s apartment, and the gardens she saw when she looked out her windows. Beautiful!

 

The Queen’s Apartments from the gardens

The Queen’s Gardens

 

Back in 1970, from one point in Windsor, we were able to see Eton College. Here is a picture from then.

 

 

From Windsor, we went to Hampton Court Palace.

 

 

This is another lovely piece of English history. The building was begun in 1515 by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. In reading some articles on Google, it seems that King Henry VIII more-or-less confiscated it from Wolsey following a falling-out between them, in 1529. Henry then enlarged the palace for his own pleasure.

 

Anne Boleyn’s gate with clock tower

 

 

 

 

Hampton Court is a great place to visit if you are ever in the London area. And I would like to say here, that if you ever come to Orlando, and go do Disney World, and EPCOT especially, when you get to the country of “England” – look at the front of the store and you will see Hampton Court. The store front looks like Anne Boleyn’s Gate. But also look up at the brick chimneys – they remind me so much of Hampton Court! I hope they were built at EPCOT with that just in mind. Delightful!

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

Best Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe

18 Nov

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

 

 

My friend stopped by the other day. We sat at the kitchen table and chatted. She rumbled in her purse. “You have to see the pictures I took during our trip,” she said.

I smiled.

“Oops,” she added, “I always forget you…well…that you can’t see.”

“I forget myself,” I said with a chuckle. (I like folks with a sense of humor.)

For me, having no sight is a way of life…actually a wonderfully blessed life. My days sweep by with gratitude, so much thankfulness that I can hear, walk, talk, and love. I am truly rich with so much.

And for that reason, I thought I’d share my unique recipe for this Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t mind if you copy it and serve it to your loved ones.

  1. Gather the ingredients stored in the cabinet of God’s Word.
  2. Stir together large portions of His promises, spoonfuls of His direction, and dashes of His admonitions.
  3. Place in a large bowl several cups of commitment to read His Word.
  4. Add generous amounts of faith to cover all traces of doubt.
  5. Blend together, adding sprinkles of laughter, of enjoyment, fun, and unexpected surprises.
  6. Bake in the oven of your heart till triumph is golden brown.

With songs of thanksgiving playing in the background, present it to the guests who come into your life. And unlike the rest of the world, instead of entering the doors to stress, gloom or anxiety for the days to come, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).

Why? “For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

It’s your turn, can you share some things you’ll be giving thanks for this year? Would love, love to read them. You can send them to me via comment.

Did you know most of my writings are drawn from my bestselling book, Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta? Did you get your own copy yet? And how about one for that person who needs encouragement and a reason to feel joy again?

Simply Salsa is available HERE.

Janet

Video sneak peek:  https://youtu.be/Ox9zAIeRRTA

Source: http://www.janetperezeckles.com/blog/best-thanksgiving-dinner-recipe.html#comment-961

 

 

 

It’s in the Air!

17 Nov

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

author of Window Wonders

 

 

 

Something stirred in my soul today,
an excitement deep within.
The “Little Kid” in me wants to express herself.
“It’s holiday time again!”

 

There is something so special in the air,
It reaches down deep within our soul.
To glorify Christ in all that we do
should be our ultimate goal.

 

Look up. Around, and deep within.
His presence is truly made known.
How comforting it is for us to know
God is always “on His throne”.

 

Our mission on earth is to glorify Christ.
Our actions speak volumes. that’s true-
Think carefully before you speak.
Let others see Christ in you.

 

Let Others See Jesus In You by Eliza E. Hewitt

 

Road Trip~Amarillo, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico

16 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

September 11, 2017 Day 5

I awoke early, tired from a restless night and anxious to hear from our daughter who had decided to ride out Hurricane Irma alone.  She sent a video text of her back yard around 7:30 am and I was relieved that she was safe and her property as well.  It was with a thankful heart that we began the next leg of our trip.

You can read her story of Hurricane Irma on her blog, Rebekah Lyn’s Kitchen

Leaving Amarillo we passed fields with beautiful yellow flowers. Unfortunately, the flowers were not the scent we were smelling.  Amarillo is  home to of a number of Cattle and Livestock companies. If you would like to know more about livestock auctions, I found an auction house online.

I hadn’t noticed when I was in the planning stages of this trip, how close Amarillo is to New Mexico. In no time we were crossing the border!

 

 

 

Judy Wills, a blogger here on Old Things R New wrote an extensive series about her life in New Mexico and I was anxious to visit some of the places she wrote of. You may enjoy reading her posts, Memories of New Mexico .

Once we entered New Mexico, the cattle ranches fell away replaced by arid landscapes. One of the most fascinating features of New Mexico was the variety or rocks in their mountains. More about that next week.

 

 

We arrived at our hotel in Albuquerque around  3pm and after carting up our ridiculous amount of luggage, we set off to explore. I had asked Judy which restaurants in the Old Town she would recommend. I wanted to experience real  Mexican flavor. We decided on El Pinto. What a beautiful restaurant. It has extensive garden seating with more fountains than I could count and the landscaping was lush. Our server was a delightful young man. He asked where we were from and he was surprised to learn with both grew  up in Orlando!  Even more coincidental, he lived in a subdivision our where our daughter once lived and his grandparents were still there. Small world!  We asked how they fared during Hurricane Irma and were happy to know they were safe. I asked him why he decided to move to New Mexico and he said school and the weather. He hated Florida’s humidity. We could certainly agree with his feelings!

 

 

 

After supper we decided to visit Old Town to walk off some of the delicious meal. There was a lot of road construction in the area, so it took a couple of tries before we made it into the entrance. It is a beautiful and quaint area and we enjoyed exploring it.

 

San Felipe de Neri Church, the oldest building in the city, which was built in 1793.

 

We managed to get turned around leaving Old Town. We went down a couple of alleys that seemed a bit dodgy but eventually found an on ramp to the interstate.

Only one more day of driving was left until we would reach Denver where our daughter and a friend were flying into the international airport to meet us. Rebekah had spent the day assessing  a leak in her kitchen due to the storm and trying to find someone to go up on the roof to find the source.

America’s North Country Trip~Part 9

15 Nov

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites

Bill

 

Day 9 (Saturday)

This morning I had to do a little back tracking, as I headed south out of Missoula on I-90, back thru Butte, to pick up I-15 south toward Idaho Falls. The first stop was to visit the Beaverhead County Museum located in Dillon, MT. This was a small but very well kept museum situated in the Old Pacific Railroad train station. The station has been restored and now contains the Old Depot Museum, with local artifacts and memorabilia, the Old Depot Theater, and the Lewis & Clark Diorama Bird Display. Outside there was a restored one-room schoolhouse, a restored 1885 one-room log cabin and an early 1900’s Shepard’s wagon.

 

 

Now as I was leaving town, I happened to pass a curio shop with the sign that read “Bitterroot Trading Post” and I just had to stop and take a photo. For some reason, that sign just yelled out loud at me, “Come See the Pioneer West Here.”

 

 

At the suggestion of the tour guide at the Old Depot Museum, and just a few miles down the road, I visited the Bannack State Park located in Beaverhead County on Grasshopper Creek. The town of Bannack was founded in 1862 after a major gold strike was made in the area, and got its name from the local Bannock Indians. The town of Bannack grew so big that it served as the capital of the Montana Territory until the capital was moved to Virginia City. After the gold ran out and the last inhabitants left, the abandoned town, and its 60 buildings continued to decline, over the years, from wind and weather until finally becoming the ghost town that it is today.

 

 

As I continued south on I-15 I stopped at a rest stop to check out a sign for the Nez Perce War. As it turned out, the Nez Perce War was between the Nez Perce tribe and their allies the Palouse tribe and the U.S. Army in 1877. This conflict was motivated when the Indians (called “non-treaty Indians) refused to move to the Idaho Indian reservation. In fact it was a violation to the 1855 Treaty of Walla Walla for the Army to force the Indians to leave their established ancestral lands. The Indians resisted, and the Army chased some of them all the way to Canada.

 

 

Next I visited the Pacific Fighter Restorations, located at the Idaho Falls Regional Airport in Idaho Falls, ID. This was a one-hanger warbird restoration facility that had several WWII aircraft in various stages of restoration. The folks were very friendly and allowed me to walk thru their shop and take photos of their various projects, while they watched the airshow going on from their hanger door.

 

 

During the planning of this trip, I had researched 2017 airshows to be held in the U.S. and discovered there was one in Idaho Fall on the weekend of July 22-23 at this airport. That worked into my scheduled route, and I had purchased an online advanced ticket for the 23. While I was at the airport today, I checked out the parking area with Greta so I could drive right to it in the morning.

 

 

Now I headed south on I-15 for a quick trip to visit the Idaho Potato Museum located in Blackfoot, ID. This museum is located in what was the original Union Pacific Railroad train depot there in Blackfoot, and displays all sorts of potato industry related artifacts and memorabilia. I found the “Timeline History” of potatoe consumption in the U.S. very informative, as well as the 1600 year old Peruvian-made vessels that are believed to be the first ever containers used to store potatoes.

 

 

As part of the museum, they have a small “Potatoe Station Café” where you can get potato-themed foods of all kinds. I’m sure DiVoran would have liked their chocolate dipped potatoe chips. And then of course there is the Spud Seller” gift shop. They had a series of catchy video advertisements that I thought were very creative. Try the link below to see what I mean.

 

 

Now it was time to head back to Idaho Falls to find my motel and look for a place to have dinner. On the way, I stopped in Shelley, ID to see if anyone was flying model airplanes at the Red Baron R/C Modelers field. Greta had a hard time finding the field since it was located within the North Bingham County Recreation Area. The club has a nice field, but no one was flying this afternoon.

At tonight’s motel, there in Idaho Falls, I ask the desk clerk if she could recommend a good restaurant. She said she liked Jalisco’s Mexican Restaurant located not far from the motel. That sounded good to me, so I gave Greta the address and we were on our way. I tried their “Casa Ranchero” and it was wonderful. Of course there was way too much for me to eat at one sitting, so I would have plenty left to enjoy again tomorrow night.

 

—–To Be Continued—–

Creating a Florida Butterfly Garden

14 Nov

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

 

God might just have designed things in our world to bring us pleasure – that it might have given Him pleasure to create such a diverse and interesting world of color and intricacy to point us to Himself!

I feel close to God when I am in my butterfly garden.

 

 

Anyone can create a welcoming haven for your local butterflies. It takes some planning, but the rewards are great! You can even attract butterflies in a small container garden on a porch.

 

 

Let’s start with finding out what zone you are at the link below.

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Each butterfly species has it’s own nectar flowers and host plant. Find out what your common butterflies are and what are their nectar flowers and what are their host plants. Some plants may not be possible for you to grow, so pick at least two species of butterflies that you can provide for it’s life cycle. For the Monarch, it’s nectar plant and it’s host plant is the same. The milkweed.

 

 

There are several kinds, but the most common is the tropical milkweed. It is not native or the best one, but it’s rare to find the swamp milkweed which is native. One advantage of the Tropical is that you can grow it from seeds or preferably cuttings. You will need a lot of it. The caterpillar is a voracious eater, capable of consumming an entire leaf in less than five minutes. They gain about 2700 times their own weight.

 

 

Here is a link to butterfly garden designs.

The location of your garden is important. It should be an area where no insecticides such as malathion, Sevin and diazinon will be used. Even benign insecticides are lethal to butterflies.

It should have some shade but mostly sun. Butterflies feed in the sun. They are cold blooded and need to warm up and dry out from the dew in the morning.

 

 

 

Try to choose plants that bloom at different times of the year for continuous flowers.

Here is a link below for butterfly nectar plants in Florida

http://www.nsis.org/butterfly/butterfly-plants-nectar.html

These are the plants I have had the most success with.

Milkweed, tall red Pentas, Mexican sunflower, Firebush, Firespike, Jatropha, Butterfly bush, blue Porterweed, coral Porterweed, Lantana, Salvia, Parsley, Dill, Plumbago

If you can, plant for each stage of the butterflies life.

Here are some fun pampering you can do for your butterflies

Make a puddler

 

 

Many species of butterflies congregate on wet sand and mud to partake in “puddling,” drinking water and extracting minerals from damp puddles. In many species, this “mud-puddling” behavior is restricted to the males, and studies have suggested that the nutrients collected may be provided as a nuptial gift during mating. It provides salts and minerals for egg making.

Fill a container or bird bath with play sand and add about 2 tablespoons of manure. Mix well and push to one side to leave an emply area for some tiny gravel and flat rocks. Pour enough water in to soak the sand, but don’t let water sit above the sand or the rocks.

Feed them a fruit treat. Some butterflies enjoy the sweet nectar that comes from fragrant fruit.

http://butterfly-lady.com/butterflies-and-fruit/

The cute butterfly houses you see with the slits in them are a nice decor, but the butterflies do not use them.

A group of butterflies is called a “Flutter” Often times you will see a female with more than one male following her scent. Eventually one will win and they will fall to the ground and connect the tips of their abdomen. The male will transfer his package of sperm. Sometimes they fly connected for a while. The female has about 100 eggs to deposit on her host plant.

 

 

She lays one egg at a time and each are fertilized as they pass by the sperm package. Only about 2 percent will survive. Ants, wasps and other pests will devour most eggs and caterpillars.

 

 

Next week we will learn all about the Monarch butterfly. See ya then…

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Wisdom From a Nonagenarian

13 Nov

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

 

I’m reading a memoir by a 91 year old author that I met at a community sale on Friday. From it, I gleaned this valuable tip on living a good life.

 

 

 

 

Circuitous Travel~Part 12

12 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

We are getting close to the end of our week in London – much to our sorrow. We love all things England, and the greater London area in particular.

However, we were excited about the day ahead of us. Our first venture was a bus tour to Warwick (pronounced War-ick, not War-wick) Castle.

 

Gatehouse

 

We were eager to able to visit this beautiful castle. We were told that many motion pictures that involve castles are filmed at this site. Makes sense – it is a beautiful site.

 

Castle grounds and gardens

 

From “Primary Facts” I gleaned: …..facts about Warwick Castle, located near the River Avon, in the county of Warwickshire.

 A motte-and-bailey castle was built on the site of Warwick Castle. This early castle was built in 1068 by the Normans following William the Conqueror’s victory in the Battle of Hastings.

The motte-and-bailey castle was upgraded to stone during the reign of Henry II. A curtain wall was built with buildings up against it.

 In the 14th century, a gatehouse was added and several towers were constructed.

 In 1469, during the time of the Wars of the Roses, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, imprisoned King Edward IV in Warwick Castle.

 Richard III ordered for two gun towers to be added to Warwick Castle in the 1480s. These were called Bear Tower and Clarence Tower.

 During the 16th century, Warwick Castle started to fall into disrepair. In fact, when Queen Elizabeth I visited, a separate building had to built for her to stay in.

 

Caesar’s Tower

 

We were pleased to see the Red Knight on display for us.

 

 

When Fred and I visited back in 1970, the castle was in private hands. At this point in time (1983) it was owned by the Madam Tussaud’s company, and the company had added animated figures in some of the rooms. Quite interesting.

Following our visit to the castle, we went on to Stratford-Upon-Avon, and we especially wanted to see Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

 

The town gate

 

Again, when Fred and I had visited in 1970, the thatch on the roof of the cottage was being repaired. Seems that a young man in the village wanted to impress his girlfriend, so he set fire to the roof! We were fortunate to be there at the time the roof was actually being repaired. It gave us a true insight into how a thatch roof is constructed. Most interesting and entertaining.

 

1970 – Anne Hathaway’s Cottage with Reconstruction sign

 

 

Wikipedia provided the following: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a twelve-roomed farmhouse where Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, lived as a child in the village of Shottery, Warwickshire, England, about 1 mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon.

We also found the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon to be quite entertaining. While we knew, of course, that it was the birthplace of William Shakespeare, it had other interests as well.

 

Shakespeare’s birthplace

 

The official Stratford-Upon-Avon website states:   Stratford-upon-Avon, a medieval market town in England’s West Midlands, is the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare. Possibly the most famous writer in the English language, Shakespeare is known for his sonnets and plays such as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Hamlet’. The Royal Shakespeare Company performs his plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and adjacent Swan Theatre on the banks of the River Avon.

 

The Old Weaver’s House – built in A.D. 1500

 

So much history in England…and we thoroughly enjoy it!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

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