Saturday, October 16, 2010

Being 60, Life Is An Adventure #17-20

by Donna L. Watkins

How exciting it has been to face each day looking for something new.  Before I began this focus on 60 new adventures for my 60th year on earth, I would not have believed how much difference it makes to look for good things every day.  Your brain seems to have an easier time tuning out the bad stuff.  I sometimes feel like I'm being transfused with Pollyanna genes.

That's me in the lower left corner
#17 of 60 - I get involved in our community in various ways and one of them is to write letters to the editor at times, but this new experience was being front page news.

I rarely wrote an editor prior to moving here, but there have been some things I've been passionate about like saving the community from having a deer kill because they are eating garden plants.  That doesn't make sense to me, so I've written and been involved with that issue a lot for the past 8 years.  Since the deer are still alive, I consider myself on the winning side, along with many others who work hard to keep that from happening.

During the past year we've been faced with a huge water rate increase which is beyond imagination.  When asked if I would write my thoughts on it, I did.  When asked if I could send a photo of myself, little did I know that the water increase was going to be the front page story of the next issue of our rural county's weekly newspaper.

Randal walks with friends in the morning and as they returned, one of them took the paper out of their box and he saw my photo.  How funny!  I'm a front page star and neither of us knew it.  Fame for a moment ... but that's as long as any fame lasts when you consider an eternity of time.  At least it qualified for a new adventure for this year of being 60.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins -  Orange Sulphur Butterfly
#18 of 60 - On September 17th I followed a butterfly around the yard thinking it was going to be a Sulphur butterfly I'd already photographed in prior years, but that's part of the adventure ... you don't know if it will be a new experience or not. I don't know many butterflies well enough to ID them in flight.

The exercise paid off since it turned out to be a Sleepy Orange Sulphur Butterfly (Eurema nicippe).

Since we don't have any of the host plants on our property or nearby that I know of, I was quite surprised and excited that we had a visit.

I was intrigued by the name, so I did a little research on Wiki. It mentioned that some people think the Sleepy Orange got its name from the black spot that looks like a closed eye. Others say that the Sleepy Orange is a misnomer because, when disturbed, it has a very rapid flight. I could certainly attest to that point since I was challenged to keep up with it.

Another interesting thing I read is that the color of the underside of the wings varies depending on the season. Summer forms are bright yellow with brick red markings, while the winter forms are browner and more heavily marked. Obviously mine is the browner version.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Hackberry Emperor Butterfly on Side of House
#19 of 60 - The very next day I saw another butterfly that I thought I recognized as a fritillary that I'd photographed many times.  Again there was something that said, "Go after it."  That wasn't very difficult since it was fluttering around on the deck.

I got a few clear shots of it and when I looked closely at it on my computer I realized it was definitely a new butterfly.  It was a Hackberry Emperor Butterfly.

Again, the rotting apples that we'd tossed on the ground from a local orchard was on the list of its favorite foods.  They eat sap, dung, rotting fruit and carrion.

As you can see these are not nectar drinking butterflies.  Not all butterflies drink from flowers, so it's important to provide a variety of foods.  I'm also challenged to expand our list of host plants so butterflies have more places to lay their eggs.  Each butterfly has specific species of plants that the caterpillar must eat to grow up into an adult butterfly.  As you might guess, many native plants are becoming more and more difficult for butterflies to find so that they can reproduce.  The Monarch only lays eggs on species of milkweed so some butterflies are very limited.

This butterfly normally rests upside down on tree trunks, so I now understand why I couldn't get him to pose in a more favorable position.  There is such beauty in butterflies.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Arrowhead Micrathena Spider
#20 of 60 - I am fascinated with the varieties of bugs and this Arrowhead Micrathena Spider is certainly a work of art.   It's like Somebody sculpted his back, gave him brilliant colors and a funny little face.  I wish my photo would do it justice. I used to be petrified of bugs, so I really enjoy getting close up to them these days.  It's rather silly how phobias control our minds and actions.  I'm so grateful every time I get beyond such an irrational fear ... and I've got a few more to go.  It would be nice to list one of them as being a new experience ... gone like my fear of bugs.

I always think of the Scripture, "Love covers all fear," because it was love of God's Creation that took away the fear of bugs.  I grew up as most of us do with people (generally women) screaming over a tiny moving object called a bug.

When we moved to the woods I had plenty of opportunities to scream.  One day I found a Walking Stick on the side of the house on the porch.  It was very interesting to look at and that was my first connection to God and bugs.  Thinking about His creativity and how much I loved the natural world.

Later I saw a Praying Mantis closeup and watched him move his head and then his arms to climb.  I was captivated, hardly realizing that I was looking at a bug.  It was shortly thereafter that I asked God to show me how to love ALL of His Creation and to not fear anything unless the Holy Spirit cautioned me to do so.  It's been all good since then.   But as to phobias, I'm still working on a couple.

See related article:  Phobias.  Continue on the adventure with me ...

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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