Twofer Tuesday: Monarch Butterfly edition

When I was in Florida visiting my mother last October, we took many walks around her community. On one of those walks, I spotted the familiar orange-and-black-and-white markings of a Monarch Butterfly. It was completely intact but no longer of this world. I gently cupped it in one hand for the rest of the walk and, when back at my mom’s, carefully wrapped the body in a tissue and tucked it inside an empty medication bottle.

I forgot about my little treasure until today.


While we have lovely butterflies in Colorado (lots and lots of Swallowtails), I have never seen a Monarch here. I know they’re struggling as a species, and that hurts my heart. It’s strange to have lived a childhood filled with these beauties feeding on milkweed plants, and then exist without them.

I was very happy to find this one on our walk, even if was no longer in flight. Nothing else looks like a Monarch.




Stand tall, y’all

When I searched my photos to see what image spoke to me today, I decided to use this picture from two months ago:

And as I looked at that slightly freaky, somewhat off-putting creature, I pondered the connection for today. Clinging? Holding on for dear life? Prayer? None of those resonated with me so I did an online search for “praying mantis facts,” and found my answer:

Instead of running away from a threat it will stay put and try to look bigger. It will raise its wings and raptory arms and try to stand as tall as possible. Maybe even rocking from left to right to seem more intimidating. Does it work? Actually, it does! Animals that are not particularly interested in eating the mantis or have not yet experienced this are a bit suspicious of a prey that does not run away.

In light of the current political freak show and our soon-to-be bully-in-chief, aka the Circus Peanut, I think we should all take a page from the praying mantis.

No running away!
Stand as tall as possible!
No running away!

And, if necessary, rip the bastards’ heads off and devour them.




Seeing Things and Doing Things

Saw this beauty sunning itself on deck rail and captured with telephoto lens:
Doves + Maple leaves + Christmas cactus 002

The maple leaves are turning and I leaned over deck rail for a close-up look:
Doves + Maple leaves + Christmas cactus 009

The Christmas cactus sits next to the window so I zoomed in on its delicate beauty:
Doves + Maple leaves + Christmas cactus 015

Haven’t only been looking at lovely stuff, but am keeping my oath and making great progress on the final scenes of my YA. The End is in sight!

Backyard Photographic Safari

We just had a gentle rainfall and then the sun came out
so I ventured into the backyard with my camera,
searching for some images.

Here’s the untouched documentation (you may click photos to enlarge):

Bumblebee and Lamb's Ear

Bumblebee and Lamb’s Ear

Valerian and Moonshine Yarrow

Valerian and Moonshine Yarrow

Wild Rose

Wild Rose

Apache Plume

Apache Plume

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything
else in the universe.  ~  John Muir

The Holiday Gut


As a result of the increased caloric intake due to Thanksgiving and my birthday,
I've felt a bit like this:

                                                                                          © Tracy Abell 2008

No, I haven't turned green and bulgy-eyed.
I'm referring to the sensation of a bloated belly dragging on the ground.

Time to get those stick-legs moving!


Friday Five: The Will-Wonders-Never-Cease Edition


1)  Wildebeest thanked me this week for not letting him watch much television
when he was little because he believes that made him a good reader.

2)  While I drove Zebu and his friend to school Tuesday morning, Zebu laughed
at one of my jokes! In front of his friend!

3)  Wildebeest ate an entire helping of Zippy's curry the other night and said,
"This is really good."

4)  Last month Zebu complimented me on my texting speed. 

5)  Grasshoppers have some seriously trippy gription going on:   

                                                                                                     © Tracy Abell 2011 

Wishing everyone a wonder-filled weekend!


Name that Beetle

This little beetle has been roaming my bathroom for the past few days. Caught him here on the rim of the bucket we use for catching water as it warms up. Anyone know what kind of beetle it is? Whatever the name, it’s a beauty.