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.




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.