Monday, August 28, 2023

Tagging Monarchs

 Last weekend, I went to a state conservation education program on Monarch butterflies.  We learned about butterfly biology and migration, and learned about the current generation of "super generation" monarchs, the butterflies that will make the massive migration south to Mexico (from the upper midwest).

We also learned about infections with something called "OE" (read more at Monarch Watch).

I had thought that Monarchs eat exclusively milkweed, but that's wrong.  They only lay eggs and have larva succeed on milkweed, but once they're adults, they eat all sorts of flower nectar.

Finally, we got to participate in a monarch tagging project.  Here I am, squeezing a tag gently into place on a monarch wing before turning it loose again.

The tags are marked pieces of plastic (I think) with specific numbers and adhesive on one side.  You record the number, then press them into place.  (Check Monarch Watch for more info, linked above.)

Anyway, it was a superb program, very interesting and a lot of fun.  The other people involved were mostly seniors, like me, with a few teens. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023


 I finished painting the bench (see this one and also this other one for previous bench adventures), and with help from a visiting grad school friend, reconstructed it and moved it back to my little porch:

It's bright and cheerful there.


In bigger news, I've made reservations for my next couple of big adventures.

First, I've bought tickets and made arrangements (except for the rental car) to go to my Peace Corps group reunion and also to visit a friend and a second cousin and her Mom (my first cousin once removed) on the way back.  So that's pretty exciting.

Second, and this is so big it's almost scary:  I've made reservations for a trip to Europe and bought tickets.

The plan:  fly to Amsterdam and stay there a few days, then go to Barcelona and stay at an air bnb.  Then go to Berlin and stay at an air bnb.  Then back to Amsterdam for a few days, and fly out.

Exciting and terrifying.


I've also been working on getting into better shape.  My garmin tells me I have the fitness level of a 79 year old, and that's bad.  So I'm trying to run a bit (couch to five K), bike a bit, and walk a bit.

I have until mid October to be in shape for, say, a 5 mile hike with my RPCV friends.  And then until early next year to be able to wander all day in Amsterdam or wherever.

I rode 18 miles on my bike on a very easy trail at 13.5 mph average yesterday.  And the day before I walked in a local park (so paved, but up and down) for 4 miles.

More to come...