27 May 2009
I shall slack on the gory details as well as photos (again) and instead direct everyone to a lovely video snippet of my mother singing to Oliver in Dutch. And for those who are less video-inclined, Oliver's weekend photo album is quite exciting as well.
Much to do! Oh, and jobs to seek, while I'm at it...
17 May 2009
I, in my ever-expanding wisdom, did not bring my camera to capture some of the evening's moments. Heidi however did, and may post a few in the near future.
Anyhow, the following day (today) we came upon the following butterfly in the Abilene front yard of Heidi's landlord:
Abbie has done an amazing job with this garden, by the way...
Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis)
This insect is a "one-brood" butterfly. [In some cases a particular butterfly species passes from egg,larva,pupa and adult stages in a matter of weeks, and the cycle is repeated many times a year; thus many "generations" or "broods" a year. There are, however, some species that hae only one brood per year, and these often have a short flight season. In the North there are some that have even fewer than one per yr.]
So you kind of get one shot at spotting these guys, generally from May to June, per season.
The Soapberry Hairstreak gets its common name due to its affinity for the Western Soapberry tree (Sapindus drummondii), the larval hostplant. The adult butterfly is seldom found away from the soapberry tree. Due to this, it is a highly localized species. It ranges where, ofcourse, soapberry trees range, generally the central & western two-thirds of Texas, parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and extreme northern portions of the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora.
This is only the second time I have observed this species, and I believe a first for Heidi. This bug was seriously cooperative and we took advantage with our cameras.
The evening was a very light-hearted atmosphere of dear friends who have kept me sane (enough) while living, working, volunteering, churching and schooling in Abilene. Several folks still had not met Matt, a few more hadn't quite figured out that I was moving and in general, but for the most part everyone was very understanding that we *got* married and didn't need fluffy/sparkly/poofy madness.
Our triad of hostesses, Shellie, Abbie and Francine, did wonders with the guidelines that I gave them - the menu was to contain no bird, if there were ANY flowers, roots needed to be attached (and dirt, if applicable), and plates/silverware couldn't be disposable. Indeed, the fajita spread of beef, peppers, onions and mushrooms rocked beyond all expectations and the "cake" options were vanilla ice cream in a bucket for the bride - groom's cake ice cream in a bucket for the groom! The marigolds even had roots. Amazing =)
(bucket picture to be added here)
Next post will be back to bug pictures, I promise ;-)
09 May 2009
One may not immediately bring to mind the range for Dendroica crysoparia, as reaching this far south. Alas, they do, and biologists monitor some of these most southerly of the species' breeding populations.
Also the first flight this season of one of my favorite members of the butterfly subfamily (Satyrinae); taking me back to days spent with The Nature Conservancy at Fort Hood.
I have found, in my life, that ultimately home is not comprised of where you are. Rather, Home is "who you are" and "with whom."
06 May 2009
If your browser dislikes our link colors, here's the raw address for each:
To ease your transition into the rest of the blog, here are some typical "Matt and Heidi things" to ponder: we are both avid fans of the Great Outdoors, and as such, we tend to chase birds, butterflies, bugs, reptiles, amphibians, etc. While it may be considered "good, clean fun," it is often good, dirty/muddy fun. But again, the best things in life don't come easy - sometimes you need to flip rocks to find it!
Loitering at the park in Utopia & at the cabin in Concan - photos courtesy of Candy McNamee
I hope that perusing this site will give visitors something of a background on who Matt and I are, how we perceive nature, and our delight in sharing it with others... even if the critters aren't particularly pretty all the time. On that note, I found another awesomely cooperative dropping moth in Somervell Co today ;-)
Thanks for stopping in!