Monday, April 30, 2007

"Butterflies are self-propelled flowers." -R.H. Heinlen

I have a thing about bugs. The nice ones. The ones going to turn into butterflies. Now that I live in the country, I actually have my own personal 'Discovery Channel'. I found this little guy munching on milkweed. That makes him a Monarch in training. He's only ¼" long and cute, cute, cute. I'm hoping to find a Monarch chrysalis to keep herd on. I guess I'll add caterpillar wrangler to my resume. Rollin', Rollin' Rollin'...Head 'em up, move 'em out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Operation: Make a Butterfly- Complete

These pictures bring to a happy ending, the emerging of Jay, a happy, healthy, bouncing fluttering baby boy (girl?). I introduced Jay in the first Operation entry. I did, so, want to see this emerging. I discovered the 102 way to use duct tape with this little guy/gal. And the pic above is just one day before Jay 'hatched' on Sunday the 22nd. His wing lines could be clearly seen through the chrysalis shell.

Just minutes old.
In full 'bloom'. Ain't I purdy?
Jay having his first two o'clock feeding.

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Ben" Here

Hallelujah! Yes, that will be the vein-vine- and branches of this post. So this is a reader alert: If you have a problem with God's name as praise and not a profanation, then this is not the post for you. However, should you want to hear an amazing tale of Abba Father's monetary blessings- please keep reading. I have changed the name of the gift-giver to "Ferdinand".

This morning started out like any other morning- early. I stopped by my Supervisor's shop to drop off flowers that I had pulled from the bed in the front yard. These very hardy Dianthus -they're usually annuals- had not only survived the Winter but had grown into clumps the size of footballs- lovely fuchsia ones.

One of my co-workers, Ferdinand, had requested them for his yard to please his daughter, whose boyfriend's name is "William", and these flowers are AKA "Sweet Williams". Everybody say "aww, how sweet".

I went to my work site after wishing everyone a "Have A Great Weekend" and was doing normal Shaungrl stuff in my shop. The door opened and in stepped Ferdinand. He started walking towards me saying, "You believe in doing what the Lord tells you to do. Right? To do what He lays on your heart to do?" I respond, "of course, always, dude", still thinking this was a lighthearted moment. Ferdinand walks up and hands me a rolled-up, money-colored piece of paper. "Well, the Lord told me to give this to you."

I can tell it has a one and a zero on it. I gasp, though, as I unroll it and there is another zero. "Ben" is sitting in my hand- $100 blessed dollars- no earthly strings attached. All I could do is stammer "thank you and God bless you, too." Ferdinand was already heading to the door. As men usually do a quick exit when women are about to cry uncontrollably, even if it is from joy.

I mentioned "no earthly strings attached". I thought I might need to define my relationship with this co-worker. We discuss things of God and blessings He has given. And also the heartbreaks and trials He didn't keep from us, but that He did shepherd us through. He tells me about his wife and how much she and his family bless him. I am his sister and he is my brother in the family of Jesus. Branches on the same Living Vine.

"Why me?" could be followed with "Why not me?". I don't know why I was the recipient of one-hundred dollars this day. Most employees at the City are in paycheck-to-paycheck status. I have no worse need than others and usually have all the bills covered. While we do talk about godly things, Ferdinand was not privy to an in depth study of my finances. He was just being the vessel through which God chose to pour out blessings. And although I am in a state of wonderment- I am not confused- for I trust God implicitly.

I am privileged to serve a good, loving God, who Is, Was, and Is To Come. Meaning He already knows of and provides for my needs. As to my wants...well. He takes care of me as if I were His only child- I am not compared to anyone else. What one child needs is different than what another needs. He cares more about the content of my character than the comfort of my body. I know I am deeply cherished by Abba Father, even if at times, my comfort level is a bit thorny.(We can complain that roses have thorns or rejoice that thorns have roses.-- Ziggy) And this day He chose to comfort my body even as He always comforts my spirit. Hallelujah! again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Many Reasons For Not Mowing

The visual aids have developed and they lend support to the no-mow stance I am taking right now. Brilliant yellow dances about in the sun-warmed wind. These flowers and other varieties are blooming profusely in my front and back yards. I've also noticed the beginnings of milkweed- the preferred menu choice of Monarch caterpillars. Diner's open for business.

Jay is developing nicely. I don't know his time schedule, his assistant has yet to call me with the un-draping itinerary. I'm hoping for a Saturday or Sunday morning, as I will be at home those days. An early morning emergence is the norm, according to the websites. Open. Open. Open.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Finding My Wings

I lve the Sound of Spring. Wait. Shouldn't that be Sounds of Spring? No, I think of Spring as a whole package, crafted of layers. Separate- yet, connected with 'audio molecules', at the same time. An ambiance melange. But if I could somehow separate the layers- bird music would always come to the top like cream. A yummy feast for the ears and the soul. And joy calories are the best kind, don't you think.

Hummingbirds twitter-chitter at each other, noisily arguing over feeder rights. Their wings beat incredibly fast and the sound of tiny helicopters comes to mind. The picture below was taken just outside the kitchen window. (The same window that was at the top of the must-have-list when I had my home built.) The sip-meisters waiting to see who blinks first and then...Whirrrrrrrrrrr.

House finches, to my ear, have a most delightful song. I call them my 'redheads'. They are only here for a short while in the Spring, as it must get too hot in this area for nesting and baby raising. I have them at my work yard, now, and when Autumn arrives, they'll be singing again.

A couple of years ago, there was a sweet couple who would visit me, inside my workshop. The little male would fly in the front door and sing, brightly, for his lady to join him. And in she would fly. The first time it happened, I thought they would panic and fly about in distress. No, not at all. They did it several times that Spring. It was their concert, conducted by the Great Maestro, just for me.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Operation: Make a Butterfly

Sweet Mother of Pearl. What is that? That's my happy solution in the trying-to-grow-a -butterfly saga. Last Saturday, snow was on the Texas weather menu and caterpillars don't do well in possible freezing temps. I couldn't bring it in and I was fresh out of teeny-tiny parkas. Duct tape and a faucet cover sufficed nicely. And the elevation in property value...priceless.

I discovered Jay or Jaynette on Friday, April 6th. The little orange and black striped 'cat' was rippling along the siding. I thought- aw, wouldn't it be neat if it were about to make a chrysalis. Bingo.

About an hour later I found it in the "J" position, hence the original name. Apparently, this is butterfly lingo in the Entomologist world. The best I can tell from fuzzy pics on butterfly sites, is that it is some type of Fritillary.

Butterflies are treasures at my house. I love to watch them dance through my property bringing Spring on their wings. Last year, I had a Monarch hatch from my porch railing and I let the Milkweed re-seed itself.

I'll keep posting updated pics as he/she develops. Hopefully, I will be on hand for the unveiling.

This is just an hour after noticing it wandering about.

This was on Wednesday the 11th.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Platter Up!

My parents can not be blamed for this. The name they chose to be my middle name is not 'procrastination'. Ask my friends, and they will tell you my chant for the last year has been, "I'm going to start selling my pottery on the Internet".

TA-DA! *Clarion sounds* I am pleased to announce I have, finally, set up an account on Etsy. This site provides a venue for the crafter/artist to show their wares without overhead and very small fees per listing. I have opened the virtual doors to my store: bogshaunproductions. While the platter above is the only listing, so far, I have many more pieces to list. I am not so techie when it comes to uploading, counting pixels and fitting images- so it is a chore. Whoa Moma, my head hurts- but I did get to cross this off The-Weekend-To-Do-List... dodging roses (not veggies), drunk on the applause- she exits the stage.

A New Beginning and Happy Easter

As this is Easter, which is the paragon of all renewals, I thought it would be a fine time to introduce a new feature here. Jesus gave me my 'new' on July 16, 1983 and I have never been the same. I am blood blought, cleansed and forever adopted into the Kingdom of God. I know Whose I am and that makes me a Daughter of the Most High, adopted and never to be forsaken by the Father.

So I will be calling this new feature, "Daughter of The Most High Moments" or "DoTMHM". I hinted at these moments in my profile by calling them "Abba loves His daughter moments". This idea comes from Clare at Three Beautiful Things. She is kind enough to allow anyone to copy her idea: blogging three things, daily, which bring you pleasure. I don't know if I can do anything, everyday, on a blog. I shall attempt to convey the wonder I feel when I come across a thing, person, or event that causes me to pause. Prepared just for me, just for that moment and just so I would notice His "I--You-Daughter" whisper. So I will do my best to give you accounts of these moments, as they bless me deeply, and I would love to share Him with you.

And I want to wish each and every visitor a Blessed Easter. May His life shine for you and through you. Thanks for stopping by. (And wishing you ch♥colate)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Feathers Were Flying: A Tale of Almost Tragedy

Oil and Vinegar. Shake them together and they combine to make a fab salad dressing. I can say, with surety, that you don't get the same results when shaking together a kitty and a hummingbird.

Yesterday dawned bright, albeit, very chilly. About mid-morning, while I was about my weekend chores, I bopped down the hall into the kitchen. Finch, my striped kitty, was hovering over something on the throw-rug (sometimes throwed-up on rug). This is usually where he and his sissie, Enoki, come to spit out their awesome buggy prey so that I might 'ooh and aah' repeatedly. I also murmur silly statements to them, alluding to the greatness of their hunting abilities.

I started to say- "Oh, Finchers, what a good kittles. Such a mighty hunter". Huh?! It's newly Spring. Nothing in the Bugworld has had a chance to grow that large...NOOOOOOOOO. Finch has a hummingbird. I begin to scream hysterically, as I am seeing one of my favorite things in the process of eating another one of my favorite things.

Of course, wrong. Wrong to scream. Finch streaks down the hall, with bird in mouth, and disappears under the bed like a rabbit down a hole. I hit the floor next to the bed, still doing my best impression of Linda Blair. He spits out, what I think is, the poor little carcass. I gather it gently in my hands, all the while weeping and wailing- "I'm sorry birdie, Oh, poor little girl"- over and over again. I'm, now, sobbing in meltdown mode.(don't ya love being pre-menopausal?)

I start to inspect the catspit soaked little body. Astonishingly, she flies out of my hand and begins to orbit, wildly, about the room. I get all the Furkids out of the bedroom, closed the door and shut off all light sources. She finally landed on the wall vent. I gingerly plucked her- oh, such a rapid tiny heartbeat. But it was beating. I held her for a few seconds, hoping to see if she was leaving any blood trailing on my fingers. Amazingly, there was none! I went outside and opened my hand. The little girl whirred, strongly, off into the sky. I thought I would never see her again, as she would probably go off and die. A casualty of 'kitties doing what kitties are wired to do'.

Well, I am happy- ecstatic- to show you a picture taken just three hours later. Daniella, named after the Biblical Daniel, was sitting fluffing in 'her' tree. I know it's her because of the white markings on her wings. Apparently, she had landed on the patio string-lights, near where Finch was napping. She didn't see him until it was too late. I found feathers and scratch marks where Finch got at her after knocking her off the wire. I also know that she doesn't come near the patio anymore, and Finch can't get to the tree. She's there, right now, trying to plump up against the 40º (Spring!!) temperature. But about the temperature- that's another story, entirely.

Daniella: "The Survivor"

Finch: "The Lion"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Brrr. Spring sprung, but who turned down the outside thermostat? All the grass (weeds) were drenched in dew, and the ethereal mist was rising from the meadow in the crisp 50º morning air.

I am happy to say that we had nearly 3" of rain on Friday. I am also happy-as are my neighbors-that I got to mow last Wednesday before it rained. Well... I 'kinda' mowed. I am of the opinion that the countryside needs
wildflowers- even if said countryside is actually a lawn. If you mow before they bloom, you then miss out on the flowers' awesome petal power. And they won't re-seed. So I partially mowed my ¾ acre, leaving two large areas to bloom. You may call me "Dances With Butterflies", too, as newly arrived Monarchs swirled and twirled all around me while I mowed.

And speaking of arrivals...sound of announcement trumpets, please...
The Hummingbird Channel began its broadcasting yesterday at 8:30 am. I think I may have the rare 'Capistrano' hummingbird, though. I looked on last year's calendar notation...March 31, 2006. Yep, same day last year. Must be very tiny watches, with date function, they be wearing.

I mentioned it was a bit chilly this morning, but I did not let that stop me from having a Fruit Smoothie for breakfast. My regular readers know that I am trying to get healthy (also, ahem, smaller). I have acquired a habit- a good one this time. Breakfast. I developed a recipe that I think is yummy. It can be adjusted to accommodate different fruits and flavors. Silken Tofu can be used instead of Firm. I use firm because I like the mouth-feel it gives the Smoothie and then I always have the right kind for cooking, as well. Nutrition facts says "serving size is five per container". It's just so much easier to divide it into four even servings. I keep a glass in the freezer, at all times, in which to pour the ambrosia.

Fruit Smoothie ala Shaungrl
  • ¼ of 14 0z tub Tofu (firm)
  • ¼ C. Water
  • 3 TB Powdered Milk
  • 1 Banana OR 1 serving of another fruit
  • Sweetener to taste (I used 2 tsp Splenda)
  • 8 or so Ice cubes

Blend all ingredients, except ice, at highest speed in a blender until smooth. Add ice, and again blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glass. If you like Peanut Butter and Chocolate together- 1 TB of both Peanut Butter and Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) can be added to the above.

That's my fave: PB-Chocolate-Banana. This morning it was Chocolate-Banana-Sugar Free Hazelnut Syrup. But Pear-Vanilla Syrup-Cinnamon might just nudge into top billing, though. I had that Friday morning and was delighted by the combo. I use both the Da Vinci and Torani syrups- it only takes a splash. They have many wonderful flavors (sugar free, too) and can be found at World Market, Central Market Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc. and on-line. Watch out for on-line, though, shipping is quite expensive. Cow-a-bunga, dude (or dudette)...Slurp's Up!!