I have been writing many blog posts lately, in my head.
There is so much stuff going on around here lately that I just have to start writing.
We had a trip planned to Michigan to visit our family and friends and we ended up staying here to nurse Miranda back to health (literally) after a crazy four day fever.
Weirdly, the morning after we were supposed to leave we found some eggs in the geckos' water dish. So, we have a lot of critters in our house and garden right now and some pretty exciting things are happening and it is bringing us all a lot of joy. Now, I am a nature lover not really a pet lover, but watching the kids with the geckos may convert me.
- We have five geckos (loaned class pets from Jup's school) and two of them have laid three egss and we think we have more eggs to come. We are incubating the eggs. Geckos are smarter than I previously thought: they poop in one corner of the cage and the first egg layer laid her eggs in the water dish since they needed to be moist. We have since created a moist spot in the cage for subsequent egg layers.
- A couple of weeks ago we found a caterpillar in our carrot plants. I thought it might it be a Black Swallowtail because I had seen some of the butterflies in the back yard and they could have laid their eggs. So we bring it in and feed it carrot greens, it attached itself to the side of the container, shrunk by exuding a liquid and turned into a chrysalis (pupa) while we were camping. A few days after we got home our butterfly emerged. The picture of Munchie as adult butterfly is above. It was very exciting. Today we found another caterpillar in the carrots and we are going to rear it into a butterfly. When you touch them they poke out two orange osmetria and release a stinky smell. Jove noticed this with the first one and I got a picture of it this time.
- Look at the picture with Jove observing a green critter covered in small white pupae. I couldn't believe we found this today. The other day while watering my tomato plants I noticed some caterpillar poop on the ground. I looked at the plant and didn't see anything and then today while discussing why our tomato plants are doing so poorly: one has a fungus issue (a humungous fungus, as Jove would say) and the other one seems to be suffering from the sawdust that gathered on it, we saw a parasitized Tomato Horn Worm. I knew that wasps often lay their eggs in a caterpillar so when their larvae hatch they are surrounded by mushy food and then the pupae emerge from the skin. Adult wasps would then emerge from these little white pupae. But, this is the first time I had ever seen it. Jove was very interested and we showed the whole family and our neighbor before freezing it for posterity. By the way, the caterpillar was still alive, but not very feisty. Don't worry, wasps don't lay eggs inside humans, just Bot Flies do that and they only live in tropical America.
- You may know that honey bees, originally from Europe, are suffering from catastrophic collapse in population and farmers are experiencing a pollination problem, both in terms of cost and effectiveness. The other day I read an article about native pollinators (bees, wasps, beetles) and how important they can be when honeybee survival rates are low and now I am noticing all of the different pollinators we have here. Miranda stands in front of our marigolds and watches the bumblebees and says "bee" over and over again.
- All of this talk and reading about insects and other animals has Jove using the word "attract" many times a day. If I try to coax Miranda and Jove away from some dusty spot in the kitchen, Jove blames it on Miranda, "She attracted me over here." Cracks me up.
- The TV has been off for the kids almost completely this summer (Psst, I really want to get rid of the TV completely, but Jup won't let me yet). So now, if Jove is completely wiped out from being outside or running around all day he asks to have the fish tank light put on so he can sit and watch them. He will also watch out the window for fireflies or watch what is going on down our street. We have now been asked by two different visiting cousins if our TV is broke. For the record, I don't think all TV is bad, but I think it is a very slippery slope with kids and I feel better staying away from the edge of the cliff.
- I have begun the homeschooling journey and it is very exciting. We had a small playdate with two other homeschooling families yesterday, a little Bronx collective of sorts. Since Jove is still young, it feels like we have the best of both worlds: a lot of his friends that do or will attend school are still pretty available since they are in pre-K or kindergarten and we are meeting some really inspiring new friends that are completely available to share time and learning with once the school year starts.