Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Almost Thanksgiving and I'm still messin' with Monarchs!

Well, I'm down to one, and I'm just pampering the dickens outta her.  Facebook and Google Plus peeps already know I'm talking about the one crippled butterfly I've been keeping, and that's Peggy Sue.  She came out of her chrysalis very much overdue and she was suspected of being infected with OE (a protozoan parasite) when it came to pass that her legs didn't work, she couldn't grab onto the shell and expand her wings. Good thing she didn't fall far, and the advice was to euthanize her.  That is to say, put her in the freezer.  As soon as I laid her on the cold surface, she fought back--this was no ordinary disease-weakened insect, no sir.  I couldn't do it; as I've already said to those I related this story to, the life she lives is the one she fought for, so she earned it.

She emerged on October 18, so now on November 22, she's outlived a standard monarch butterfly's average life span (about a month in the wild).  However, I've observed here, and stated before the Enid City Commission, that ALL monarchs that were born in Enid after mid-August are the ones that migrate to Mexico and winter over...so...Peggy Sue is one of those and in terms of the winter months, she's just started her wintering-over session.

I've checked with the veteran "monarch moms" about wintering over a monarch that didn't make it to Mexico, and only one person tried it and it didn't work.  I then set about the business of making Peggy Sue's environment as comfortable as I could until she voluntarily gives up her own ghost.  That meant buying up local nursery clearance in terms of flowers and picking the ones in the yard until I couldn't pick them anymore. I set her up with a nectar feeder, too. That brings us up to just a few days ago, in the middle of November, when Peggy Sue exhibited an enormous appetite and actually got quite porky. The nurseries sold their last fall flowers and were getting ready to stock Christmas trees. Oh my, what to do, what to do?

I looked into what type of tree that monarchs in Mexico roosted on--that turned out to be a fir--and then I researched what sort of firs grow in Oklahoma. Native firs, nada...but there are Christmas Tree farms!  Not around Enid, though.  But then I remembered that in a monarch sanctuary in California, they preferred eucalyptus trees, so maybe monarchs weren't so exactingly picky. Working on that theory, I obtained a sprig of Arbor Vitae, put it in with Peggy's flower assortment, to see what would happen. The verdict is in--she hopped over to the Arbor Vitae, not the flowers. Suspicion confirmed: Peggy wasn't going to go into hibernation mode because she wasn't in what she thought was the right place to do that in. So now I've got her a wee Christmas Tree, and I finished decorating it just today. She's an old lady now but she's still my sweetie-pie butterfly.

BoxingDay UPDATE: My dear Peggy Sue passed away one day before her 10th week birthday.  In the days that passed since her eclosure, she managed to become a member of the family and is now mourned as such.


Adding the following, Aug. 2017, to provide an image link to serve another location:

Monday, November 07, 2016

Oklahoma votes!

Although my last monarch took flight some time ago, I'm still up to my eyeballs in monarch activities prepping for next year AND participating in seed swaps at this time...which takes me right up to election day, just about.  As far as the POTUS race goes, my regulars know already my position on where big business stands, and it ain't with Trump.

But I think this commentary is worth adding for those who blindly follow like sheep the lead of the evangelical faction supporting Trump: in terms of morality, they're supporting a guy who revels in and brags about his repeated commission of several of the Seven Deadly Sins, and the quick fix for that is the claim that he's asked for, and been granted, forgiveness...belied by his Twitter storms, so of late, his campaign management pulled his access to his own Twitter account...which amounts to evangelicals attempting to Bear False Witness out of one side of their mouths and glorifying the Ten Commandments on the other.  I'm looking at you, Governor Mary Fallin and all those in support of repealing the religion money clause of the OK Constitution.

There are a couple of State Questions I feel imperative to address immediately, so I'll comment on those and post this quickly with the caveat that I'll edit this later to add commentary on other issues.

In the name of budgetary concerns as well as justice, I come out in favor of the justice system reform State Question as both concerns will be properly addressed by its passage.

I don't have that same view about the teacher's pay State Question, however, because of the weasel words incorporated in the ads aired by its proponents. They proclaim that the money won't go to administration, that it'll go into some kind of lock box, but when it comes to stating that ALL the money goes to teacher's pay, they back out of that and make the claim that it'll go to the classroom, not the teachers....so...I'm with the opponents on this one, and cite the corruption of the Enid Public Schools people as prime example of a swamp that definitely needs draining. The state legislators in charge of establishing teacher pay should find their balls and pass a better pay rate for teachers and until they do, they remain craven cowards.

Lastly (for now) but definitely not the leastly, is the Constitutional Right to Farm State Question. There are very valid points on both sides and I was on the fence for a long time on that one.  After hearing all the arguments, and remembering the huge spate of family farm foreclosures in the 1980s under the Reagan administration, a situation that caused Willie Nelson to create his Farm Aid event and movement, the argument that "Oklahomans already have a right to farm" falls flat on its face. The right to farm State Question is decades too late for the 1980s, but in my view, in view of what happened in the 1980s, I hereby state that ALL STATES should have a clause that gives a constitution guarantee of a Right to Farm...so...I stand strongly in favor of State Question 777. 

Further, I endorse Roland Pederson. We need more farmers and ranchers in state government, not fewer.

More to come later as time permits.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I've been up to my eyeballs in monarchs!

...which explains why I haven't been blogging as frequently as I have been in the past. I also discovered a Facebook Group specializing in monarchs (The Beautiful Monarch) Wherein I learned a truckload of things about ensuring the survival of monarchs in the wild by rearing them in captivity. There are a lot of insect predators out there, from spiders to parasitic flies to parasitic wasps, and just plain ole wasps) that diminish monarch populations to the point where scientists say that, in the wild, monarch survival is put at 5%.

For the near decade that I've been observing these beauties come and go through the yard (Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project site 2519) I still didn't have a clue as to how many are actually out there and how many perish from predation AND the City's ordinance on mowing, and by the City's own mowers.

What's important about the Facebook Group is that I'm not the only person up against the Code on yard maintenance and we give each other tips and advice on that, and I'm thinking we should get organized in that regard. I was pretty much celebrated for making the statement that I show up at each and every City Commission meeting. Not only do I enjoy local support for doing so, for other matters, but I enjoy the backing of monarch enthusiasts elsewhere, so...the work continues.

And yes, the photos have accumulated although I've already posted a good number of them in my Google Plus Collection, "Back Yard Zoo"...fact remains I'm very much behind on posting them on Blogger on the main page as well as on my 2016 Monarchs page of this blog.  As the work load of shepherding more monarchs than I ever imagined here to adulthood and subsequent migration draws down as frost approaches, you can bet I'll be posting that backlog of pictures as time permits.  Right now, the monarchs come first.

This is a case where I used a wing tag to repair a tear.
The pupae box.

Freshly hatched 1st instar baby on Honeyvine leaf. When people think of milkweed, it's not the Honeyvine they usually think of first.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Congrats to Roland Pederson FTW! Plus busy with monarchs--Tis the Season.

Traffic to this blog dropped off considerably since my previous entry, and no wonder; no new posts for a while.  Well, not on the front page, anyway.  I've been making updates to my monarch blog page for this year, though, and sending pictures in to both Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project and Journey North/South.  Making a mental note to say something to the City Commission about designating Dillingham Memorial Garden as a monarch journey landmark, since I've observed them using that for both northward and southward excursions. My yard is just a side stop on the way through to and from Texas.

As I said on my monarch page, the first migrant arrival came in at 7:30 pm on August 20, and it was a female. Upon discovering all my milkweeds, she did numerous loops at a fast clip, kinda doing a happy dance. As the sun sank lower, she checked out my pecan trees and decided to turn in at its topmost limbs for the night. Next day, rather late in the morning, she left...and hours later returned with her mate, both of which did happy dances with each other while partaking of nectar until afternoon...when a third monarch showed up, a smallish male.  The happy couple departed for elsewhere without returning but the small male came back...I netted him and he got the first Monarch Watch wing tag.

Before the couple departed, though, the lady of the two spent time checking out other growths and apparently decided to leave an egg. Well, at least one egg, which I discovered today. Other monarchs have arrived and departed in the interim, but they just flew right on by, always from north to south, without stopping.  The first lady brought her husband, stayed 2 nights, and then departed with husband in tow--do the math, ha.  The pictures are on my monarch page, but as of this writing, I haven't posted the pic of the egg yet.  So...for the first time this year, a monarch baby picture!!

It's things like this which prompt me to put the message out to Oklahoma voters just how important it is to have more farmers and ranchers in the State Congress, so it's with great elation that I find Roland Peterson in the tractor driver's seat from the primary run-off. This state is in the sorry shape it's in because of the urbanized focus on only petroleum, forgetting entirely that our OTHER backbone commodity is AGRICULTURE.  No urban medic (either Vanhooser) has a clue.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Florence Foster Jenkins won't be showing in Enid; AMC thinks Enid's customer base is too small

I got the bad news when trying to see the movie in Enid this past weekend. Enid's AMC theater was certain--on the phone at least--that they WERE going to get to show it, even though it didn't show it scheduled on their website.  Going by phone info, showed up and saw the manager rolling up the poster for the movie and got the bad news that AMC decided that it wouldn't show in Enid after all.  This may explain why my complaint, earlier posted on this blog, about the fact that Enid wasn't showing "Twelve Years A Slave", had a different explanation than the one I speculated.

Enid powers-that-be still claim that Enid is growing despite consistent losses, in the millions each time, of sales tax revenue. I did state at a previous Commission that if you don't have a customer base, you got nothin'.   Our local theater has been struggling for a long time, changed hands a couple times, and is now owned by AMC, which, in turn, is owned by Chinese. They call the shots according to market and the market just ain't there, and it's not just AMC that thinks so; whomever was in charge of the distribution of "Twelve Years A Slave" clearly held the same opinion prior to AMC's ownership of this same theater.

Oh whoopee, we've got a Schlotzky's now....except we used to have one, and we simply got it back.  Oh whoopee, we've got a Pizza Inn now....except we used to have one, and we simply got that one back.  Oh whoopee, we've now got 2 Walmarts, not just one (a Neighborhood Market, not a full-blown big-box Walmart like the first one)...except that when we had just one Walmart (the big-box Walmart), our sales tax receipts were pretty darn good at the time.  Now that we have the big-box AND the Neighborhood Market, we're still bleeding money.  The Commission has blamed the decline in oil business which also causes the state-wide shortfall...except that our county (Garfield) is right next door to Kingfisher County which consistently makes a liar out of 'em.  If things are bad all over, then Kingfisher shouldn't be as prosperous as it is.

Think about that hard, Enid, before you vote for another tax for the Kaw Pipeline project. If we were growing, sure, we'd need it NOW.  But we're not growing, as sales tax revenues consistently show, and with AMC's opinion of our market size.  We used to have a TV station and we don't have a big enough market to keep it on the air anymore. The open house events that our banks hold every year have been getting more spare and spartan, so they're not doing as well as they used to, either, AND have attracted the interest of predatory Wells Fargo.

The little city of Crescent still has a full sized Pizza Hut, and we don't, nor do we have a Cici's anymore...so...just getting a Pizza Inn back from the dead doesn't change the fact that if there's a customer base there, it ain't much.

Thursday the 18th mini-UPDATE: Enid's Official Welcome Wagon made yet another appearance in this 'hood. Come on over and enjoy the fragrance of the summer's eventide. You're welcome!

Monday, August 08, 2016

Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs report: Enid Public Schools shenannigans with bonds is statewide. Ready to be taxed again, Enid?

Ernie Currier wants to sell Enid on another bond he can skim; this time it's for the Kaw Pipeline water project.  People who have tuned in either on cable or online to the Enid City Commission already know how all a-drool that Main Street Enid and the Ward 5 Commissioner are about their piece of that juicy pie, in the name of arts.

But just this evening, KFOR aired a segment about that Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs report  about how schools have millions in the bank but pass bond issues for construction projects all the same and then whine about how bond money can't go for teachers when it's teachers Oklahoma schools need most.

When it comes to schools building new sports facilities, the term "Taj Mahal was used...remember when part of the sales pitch for the EPS bond was "world class art center"?  Yeah--they don't focus on skills useful in industry because then their students would be too smart to be such suckers for their next sales pitch to pick your pockets again and again and again. Oklahomans avoid paying teachers because of teacher unions, and kids getting taught by adjunct-quality warm bodies produces the biggest suckers that fall for crap just because like in sports, you're on the Enid team, rah rah go team, bend over and let 'em have the full field of your wallets.

Sure, kids need a quality education but buildings don't teach; teachers teach.  Sure, Enid needs more water WHEN it grows, but anybody going to any Enid bank already knows that if Enid were growing, the banks wouldn't have yanked the popcorn and coffee, and Bank of America would still be in town, and Roserock Bank wouldn't have needed to change its name, and Wells Fargo wouldn't show such a sudden interest in making a quick real estate buck in this city.

Yeah, I've noticed recent frequency of Wells Fargo ads in the paper, and Wells Fargo is a bank that isn't just brutal with residence property, it's a bank that takes over other banks.

WHEN Enid grows, it will need more water, but it's not growing so we don't need to take on such a huge bond debt to grease City palms NOW. I for one just don't trust this current City Commission getting its greasy hands on any of it, much less getting a juicy cut of that large pie. Vote for the thing if you've swallowed the old pitch that was used on you for the EPS bond, sucker, but as for me, I'll be happy to vote on a water bond proposal when all the faces on the City Commission are different from the ones that are there now.

Hime should make a priority of visiting Enid High's University Center for the Taj Mahal that nobody voted to build or fund. That Taj Mahal was build by skimming bonds that the voter approved for other projects.

Alright--certain of my fellow Republicans wanted me to weigh in on the national situation with the GOP.  First, I'm going to tell my fellow local Republicans that the City government is in the mess that it's in now because you took your eye off that ball while concentrating on Washington. Thanks to your lack of vigilance in your own back yard, you let the liberals loot the City treasury and let them get away with buddy-buddy patronage as well as the government take-over of the corporation once known as PEGASYS, which was a privatization, a public-private partnership. You abandoned your principles here at home.

Conservative principles were abandoned in this supposedly conservative state on the day Oklahoma voted for foul-mouthed, anti-corporation, pro-labor Trump. I've heard just now that members of the GOP establishment won't vote for Clinton but they won't vote for Trump either, and the fact of Trump's rise was the fact that he's anti-establishment.

Said another way, your traditional conservative principles weren't persuasive to all thoe voters you thought were traditional conservatives.  But you knew that when you courted the Tea Party, who thought traditional conservatives weren't conservative enough.  What you're looking at is traditional support + Tea Party support put together is less than Trump support. Do the math...if you can, you who are dead set against Common Core (English plus Math).  Yeah--your animus toward consortium-developed Common Core is irrational, if you'll pardon another math term there.  While the world calculates circles around your head-scratching, you're why we're falling behind in jobs as well as world leadership. Without world -leading skills, you're the ones who are convinced that America can lead the world from behind the basic skills 8 ball.

As Trump proved, he loves the under-educated because they make the biggest suckers.

Seriously.  You need to re-examine those things you think are important, and stop making the claim that conservative economic principles bring prosperity in the face of what's happening in Kansas and Iowa which had enough of the red to start turning blue.

There is a ray of hope here for the GOP, but you need basic math skills to grasp this one too: No primary candidate got the majority of total votes. More than half of the GOP ;in any given state did NOT vote for Trump.  Oklahoma does something smarter than you do, Reince Priebus: it recognizes that a clear winner is somebody who gets 51% of all votes cast. 39% is not equal to 51%.  Most of the GOP voters voted for somebody other than Trump, and all Trump won on was a bigger percentage of votes than the other candidates. NONE of the other candidates got 51% of all votes cast, so this is not a case of offering a wide choice of a "deep bench" to voters when you shouldn't have. It's a case of offering NO candidate that is a recognized strong leader.

The choices are good to have, I don't have a problem with choices.  But what you have here is a leadership problem, AND the fact that most voters just aren't buying what you're selling. I should add that Trump supporters, including those in Oklahoma, think it's just fine that Trump flatters the Communist leftists with which he does business: Russia and China. The Trump GOP has turned left of Clinton.

Thursday Trupdate: GOP interventions, and now a "come to Jesus meeting" is being called by the establishment, after the primaries where "the people have spoken".  Not a majority of people, mind you.  Just the small band that could be called The Donald and the Trump Suckers. Trump is just one man, people. Its the numbers of people who are his followers that you gotta worry about, and you need to talk to THEM.  What, you're not on speaking terms, even after you courted them election cycle after election cycle and they believed your line about how the country was right of center, and now they're supporting somebody who is left of Clinton? What planet were you on?  More importantly, are you still on that planet and still need to come back down to Earth?

I'm guessing you are. Do you miss Michael Steele yet, GOP? I'll bet Priebus does.