Tag Archives: butterflies

1590. Wasps and things

(The photograph is of Paper Wasps at my front door! No, I didn’t leave them there! But look how organized they are – soldiers, guards, collectors, builders… !)

Garrett was eleven years old. He liked spiders and bugs and stuff. Goodness knows how many insects had perished as he kept them as pets trying to work out the parameters. What do they eat? Where do they live? Under what conditions do they thrive? So far, he had had little luck in keeping insects as pets; except for tarantulas, and with eight legs and not six they were better off being called spiders. Besides, how to keep a pet tarantula was well documented. Also ants. He had an ants’ nest behind glass and he fed them bread soaked in sugared water. They seemed to thrive.

Of course, he also cared for monarch butterfly caterpillars. He knew what they fed on, but for the last couple of years he’d grown a little tired of them. They were so commonplace. No! What he wanted was to keep scorpions, and bumblebees, and grasshoppers, and wasps, and… different things.

As luck would have it, once he visited the insect department of the local museum at the same time as a visiting entomologist. Professor Marinko Magyar was one of the country’s leading experts. He specialized in native species of bees, but he knew an awful lot about other sorts of insects. Garrett told him of the difficulty he had in keeping insects as pets.

The professor could not have been more helpful. In fact, he was so delighted that a young person was enraptured by insects that he offered to help Garrett set up a bumblebee’s nest. It was wonderful! Under a removable wooden lid, the bees were behind glass so everything could be observed. A polythene pipe opened to the outside world where the bumble bees could freely come and go to collect pollen and whatever it was they collected. It was a lot of work setting it up, but the professor enjoyed helping the young lad who had shown such interest.

Next, the professor showed Garrett how to successfully keep crickets. The particular species they cared for required rain before they would lay eggs, so a water spray bottle was kept handy. Fortunately, Garrett’s wonderful and expanding “insect zoo” was in a large spare building apart from the house, so there was plenty of room to expand; and far enough away for Garrett’s mother to avoid having to come near “the horrible things”.

Over the next couple of years, with the help of the professor, different species of insects were added to the collection. Garrett and the professor spent hours working with the little creatures. The collection was going to become famous! It all finished, however, a couple of years ago. Now that he’s older, Garrett is taking the professor to court.

1559. Birds, bees, and butterflies

Flora was true to her name. She had planted her large property in plants to attract butterflies and bees. When summer came there were flowers flowering and butterflies fluttering and bees buzzing. She planted shrubs to attract nectar-eating birds. Who needs wind chimes when choirs of bellbirds tinkle in the breeze? And to lie in bed a little longer in the early hours of a summer’s day and hear… the birds!… oh! the birds! The dawn chorus! It was a piece of heaven fallen from… heaven.

Flora’s new neighbour didn’t appreciate Flora’s slice of bliss. “Those bloody birds wake me up every morning. What a racket. As for the bees – I see you’ve put in a hive. Some people react to bee stings. The bees are a menace. And as for flowers, especially lilies, don’t you know people get hay fever from the pollen? I suggest you pull a few things out and start recognizing the needs of other people who live nearby.”

Flora didn’t flinch.

The neighbour’s property was empty and well sprayed. There wasn’t a weed in sight. For that matter, there wasn’t a plant in sight, not even a blade of grass. “We’re getting ready to put it all in concrete. It’s so much nicer, and easier to maintain, and we’ll charge only a few dollars for every kid who wants to play.”

Flora left her paradise for one and a half weeks to go on the Horticultural Society’s Grand Garden Tour. It was one of the highlights of her year. When she returned her garden was dead; no thriving nectar-producing trees, no bellbirds, no lilies, and butterflies, and bees. Even the hive sat silent. Flora asked the neighbour what had happened.

“I done nothing,” said the neighbour. “We’re putting our concrete backyard into a go-cart race track for the local kids. You could learn a trick or two from that as to how to be neighbourly. No bee stings. No hay fever. No bird poop all over the go cart track.”

And that was that.

Poem 80: When birds begin to sing

When birds begin to sing
I know with joy that spring is near.
Somehow, this time of year,
the birds join up in pairs and build
nests, lay eggs in song-filled
days, feed, are never stilled lest
the fledglings leave the nest too soon.

Fresh things are everywhere!
Flowers bloom! Fruit forms! The air – it cries
new life! And butterflies!
And bees! Yet here, in my old, spent
winter of discontent
I must not not forget to turn
the page, the page, the page.

(Based on the Vietnamese Luc Bat).

829. Baby talkie walkie

829talkie

(This story is best “experienced” by following the written words while listening to the audio)

The mother’s three daughters had all grown up and fled the nest. Once a year, they’d return at the same time and jolly their mother along for a few days and have a few rollicking laughs. Whenever they got together like that, they reverted to baby talk – not just in names (mother was Mumsy-Wumsy, Jennifer was Jenny-Henny-Penny, Sally was Sally-Wally-Bugsie-Pie, and April was Apie-Dopey-Dapey – but in the names for things as well. For example, a cabbage was a cabby-waggy, and a carrot was a yummy-yummy.

Anyway, they would go for walks…

“Look!” said Jennifer. “What an amazing butterfly!”

“Oh! It’s so pretty!” said Sally. April cupped the butterfly in her hands.

“You shouldn’t touch it,” said their Mum. “You might damage it wings. They’re so delicate.”

April opened her hands and tossed the butterfly into the air.

“There you go!” said April. “Free as a bird!”

“A butterfly is not a bird, you silly idiot,” giggled Jennifer.

How they enjoyed their little walks on such sunny afternoons; the four of them: Mum, Jennifer, Sally and April. It wasn’t much, but such walks were filled with moments that will be remembered forever.

Music 11: Butterflies

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Don’t be too taken by this photograph of a butterfly; it’s plastic! Someone gave it to me, but the flower is real.

Butterflies are wonderful creatures, especially when they’re not laying eggs on your vegetables.

The slightest puff of wind and they flutter in all directions at once!

 

161. Butterfly feeder

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Des decided to make a butterfly feeder for his granddaughter, Cressie-Maude. Cressie-Maude was six. She loved butterflies! Des had found the plans for the butterfly feeder in an old magazine.

He got an empty jam jar and drilled a hole in the lid.

He plugged the hole with cotton wool, with cotton dangling from it into the jar.

He filled the jar with a solution of 1-part sugar and 9-parts water.

Cressie-Maude helped her Granddad make brightly coloured petals out of felt. They glued the petals on the lid to make it look like a beautiful flower. The butterflies could drink the nectar on the cotton in the middle of the flower.

They hung it in the garden. Butterflies! Butterflies! sang Cressie-Maude, while dancing in the garden. It was so exciting!

The wasps loved it.

22. Audrey Loved Butterflies

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Audrey loved butterflies — ever since as a kid one landed on her face at the nearby Tropical House of Butterflies. She loved its soft fluttering on her cheek. A butterfly kiss! She loved it when butterflies landed on the backs of her hands. She laughed when they danced around her hair. She called it the joy and laughter of butterflies! And it cost only a dollar for children, so she visited the Butterfly House often.

She kept caterpillars at home too, and tended them carefully until each formed a chrysalis. Then she would hang them in rows on sticks, with a dob of honey as a glue to hold them.

When butterflies emerged she would open the windows and lead them to freedom.

She wrote a butterfly poem that wasn’t very good, but it was published in the horticulture page of her local newspaper:

Butterflies are freer
Than you and me are.
They see with different eyes
And dance in the skies.
If only I could do that.

 When she left school, she applied for a job at the local Tropical House of Butterflies, but they said they didn’t employ blind people.