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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

like a moth to a flame...

Good moro' my little Wizards!
Last week brought many correct assumptions that the photo-puzzler was of the moth family! But alas, no one could correctly identify the little fellow or fella ( I never bothered to ask, er check for sexual classification!) 
The nearest presumption at all was Staci from Mommas Gone Over the Wall, our winning Wizard from last week, with a guess of a Luna moth. Very close but, nope. 

Let's take a peek a the whole thing...

Isn't he (or she) handsome! Just hanging around on my dusty downstairs door. What a delight it was to come upon! Hubby spied it first and we both ran for cameras.

Do not look at the dust or spiders and their webs, they tend to be everywhere out here in the boonies. 
So what is this interesting creature called?

An Imperial Moth!

A large American moth with yellowish wings with purple markings.

Wing span: 3 1/8 - 6 7/8 inches (8 - 17.4 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs including pine, oak, box elder, maples, sweet gum, and sassafras. A subspecies pini feeds only on conifers. I have plenty of maples and pines, and with all the surrounding woods I think they have quite a choice for a delicious buffet everyday.

Adult food: Adults do not feed. (too busy looking for dates, pairing up, and you know the rest)

Habitat: Deciduous and evergreen forests.

Range: Maine west to eastern Nebraska, south to the Florida Keys and central Texas. Subspecies pini occurs across the northern Great Lakes basin and the northern third of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. 

Here is one of those nasty spider webs, we are not sure what our moth friend had in mind here, since adults do not eat I assume they do not attack spiders or eggs??
Maybe just testing some acrobatic skills? 
Talk about hanging on by a thread!

There is only one brood a year for the Imperial Moth. Adults emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day (love flies fast into a burning flame!) Females lay large yellow eggs at dusk singly or in groups of 2-5 on both surfaces of host plant leaves. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks. The day before they hatch, the egg turns from milky yellow to translucent white.
As caterpillars they are solitary feeders.  
(must be from all those one night stands!) 
sorry, I am full of groaners today...

The first incidence of instar generally lasts a few days.
An instar is a developmental stage of arthropods, such as insects, between each moult, until sexual maturity is reached. Arthropods must shed the exoskeleton in order to grow or assume a new form. The Imperial Moth caterpillar will sometimes eat the old exoskeleton for protein nutrition (yuck). They normally have five instars before they ready for the next chapter of their lives, to develop into a pupa.
 When these caterpillars are ready to pupate, they burrow underground.  They emerge next season as an adult.

In this instance they are somewhat like the 17 Year Cicadas I introduced you to earlier this year. It might explain why I find so many little holes in the ground during different times of the spring and summer. 
The big holes... well lets just say it could be any manner of beast!

Okay Wizards, before I leave you with next weeks consideration I thank you again for playing along! Mr. Linky will be below for those who like to follow and play the mid-week memes. Reading your comments and guesses are like little tastes of chocolate, once is never enough.

For next week ...

perhaps another??

 until next time . . . 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Give me land, Lots of land, under starry skies above...

~Don't fence me in.........

Well, last well I must of done a good job of of buffalo'in ya'll!

It was a tight close up, which I did turn on its side, but if you would of clicked on it to look at it better you may of noticed a few things... like some spines, ridges, and even some gnaw marks! We had one Wednesday Wizard  I give a big tip of the pointy hat too, that guessed a cacti ...
It was in fact a Saguaro!

Who is this magnificent lone Winning Wednesday Wizard for this week?

Every one give a Wizard salute to

Staci do not forget to grab the coveted Wednesday Wizard badge (over there in the left side ) to post on your blog, home or person (grin) to announce to the world that you belong to our elite club of all magical, brilliant and knowing of unusual things!

Here is the photo the close up was cropped from. Unbelievably this is near the base, where animals have girdled it and had nested and gnawed a few meals. It was still very much alive. I just found this part very interesting.


A short history, hubby and I were traveling back from Arizona to San Diego during a special holiday trip (only one we ever took) to visit our son in CA and then to visit aunts and cousins and other relatives in AZ. We were driving the southern route back from Dewey/Prescott Valley area which I believe is HY 89 down to a little jog on HY 71 down to 60 which finally got us to HY 95 which took us down through 95 and the Yuma proving grounds (the scenic route!). Miles of nothing, so don't be running out of water or gas or breaking down!! That is where the Military sends their pilots to test the planes and drop things. So one side is the Kofa mountain range and is called a National Wildlife Refuge, we did not see any wildlife. And on the other side of the the HY is the Chocolate mountain range that is the proving grounds. I did not find any chocolates either, but that side had barbed wire and lots of signs like this:

We did see some old rusted cans, real old rusted cans, made from metal, not the stuff of today, cans that had been opened with "church-keys" or what was called a can or bottle opener.

Now a bit of history on the Saguaro:

The magnificent Saguaro Cactus, the state flower of Arizona, is composed of a tall, thick, fluted, columnar stem, 18 to 24 inches in diameter, often with several large branches (or arms) curving upward in the most distinctive conformation of all Southwestern cacti. It is only found in the Sonoran Desert.

The skin is smooth and waxy, the trunk and stems have stout, 2-inch spines clustered on their ribs. When water is absorbed , the outer pulp of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion, increasing the diameter of the stem and, in this way, can increase its weight by up to a ton.

same cactus taken from different directions

The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- it takes about fifteen years for a young saguaro to reach one foot in height, and forty years to reach ten feet in height. It is about then that they can begin to bloom. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old Saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.
 The Saguaro Cactus has an amazing root system. The root system is very shallow for such a tall, heavy plant. The Saguaro Cactus has one tap root that is only about three feet long. It also has two sets of radial roots. One is a thick root system, which is only about one foot long, and there is also a thinner root system that grows to a length equal to the height of the Saguaro Cactus. These roots wrap about rocks providing adequate anchorage from winds across the rocky bajadas.

Kofa Mountains

The slow growth and great capacity of the Saguaro to store water allow it to flower every year, regardless of rainfall. A dense group of yellow stamens forms a circle at the top of the tube; the Saguaro has more stamens per flower than any other desert cactus. A sweet nectar accumulates in the bottom of this tube. The Saguaro can only be fertilized by cross-pollination -- pollen from a different cactus. The sweet nectar, together with the color of the flower, attracts birds, bats and insects, which in acquiring the nectar, pollinate the Saguaro flower.

 photo credit J. Hedding

Over a period of a month or more, only a few of the up to 200 flowers open each night, secreting nectar into their tubes, and awaiting pollination. These flowers close about noon the following day, never to open again. If fertilization has occurred, fruit will begin to form immediately.
The 3-inch, oval, green fruit ripens just before the fall rainy season, splitting open to reveal the bright-red, pulpy flesh which all desert creatures seem to relish. This fruit was an especially important food source to Native Americans of the region who used the flesh, seeds and juice. (Many people today are enjoying this delight) Seeds from the Saguaro fruit are prolific -- as many as 4,000 to a single fruit -- probably the largest number per flower of any desert cactus.

photo credit Do Life Right Blog

 The Gila Woodpecker and the Gilded Flicker are who like to make their home in the Saguaro Cactus by chiseling out small holes in the trunk. As well as other natives purple martins and house finches. Since the Gila Woodpecker likes a new home every nesting period, many of the vacated holes are used by Elf Owls.
Saguaros provide shelter and food to many species of animals and insects.
One last important fact: Harming a saguaro in any manner, including cactus plugging ,is illegal by state law , in Arizona, and when houses or highways are built, special permits must be obtained to move or destroy any saguaro affected.

Before I show next weeks innuendo for you to noddle on for comments and guesses, I remind you that Mr. Linky is below for all who play along in the mid-week games. I also repeat that I love all your comments and thank you so much for playing, I hope you are enjoying yourself and find my mid-week amusement a bit entertaining.  

Here is this weeks noddle :

anyone care to guess as to "what kind"??

Enjoy, keep your eyes open and your mind awake!

   until next time...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Take 2 and call me in the morning...

It is rather strange but centuries ago last weeks clue may over been ordered by at an apothecary!

Chew two and you can call me.... well, I don't think it went exactly like that!
Those are pretty red buds though aren't they? We had lots of great guesses and lots of Wizards as well! Our crackerjack Wednesday Wizards remembered this little beauty from an earlier post of mine, their own gardens or from digging in the vast reaches of their cranium-hardrives... the answer was a Peony
I realized I never got around to showing you my tree peony once it bloomed. It was full of beautiful buds this year and I forgot to count (hits self in head) how many.

Some of the odd facts I discovered about this very popular garden flower :

The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower. I always liked mythology, but most of things I remember are from those terrible hollywood movies they made all about Hercules, Zeus and Clashing of all those Titans!!!
The peony was used for medicinal purposed for many ages. Ancient Chinese used parts, of the peony plant, primarily the roots, for treatment of fever, muscle cramps, liver ailments, atherosclerosis, hepatitis, and even PMS! While ancient cultures may have used peonies in medicine, it is listed as a poisonous plant so NO homemade remedies, okay.

Mischievous nymphs were said to hide in the petals of the Peony thus causing this magnificent flower to be given the meaning of shame or bashfulness in the Language of Flowers. But if you look in other origins the peony is often used as a wedding flower for the claims of prosperity and goodness. Maybe those little nymphs play both sides of the coin?

Peonies are a common subject in tattoos, often used along with koi-fish. The popular use of peonies in Japanese tattoo was inspired by the ukiyo-eSuikoden, artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi's illustrations of the a serialized novel from China. His paintings of warrior-heroes covered in pictorial tattoos included lions, tigers, dragons, koi fish, and peonies, among other symbols. The peony became a masculine motif, associated with a devil-may-care attitude and disregard for consequence. Who knew that pretty peony could mean so many things to all these different people!

Peonies are extremely easy (ahem... so they say) to grow in many areas from zone 3 to 8. They like full sun in all but the hottest climates. They normally can tolerate late afternoon shade to part-shade. Mine are now in a mostly shady spot, and I have noticed that the blooms seem to be getting smaller. As seen above, mine is still about dinner plate size, it could just be my eyes, they may be getting smaller from too much shade( have to get chainsaw-hubby to work on that.) Though this year I had the largest number of blooms since planting it. Another puzzler I throw back into this summers wacky weather.
Once planted the Peony likes to be left alone and punishes those who try to move it by not flowering again for several years. I can attest to this also. We had to move our bush variety peony and it did not bloom for 2 years, and has had 1 or 2 flowers since.
Peonies tend to attract ants to the flower buds. This is due to the nectar that forms on the outside of the flower buds, and is not required for the plants' own pollination or other growth. Bush varieties can be divided for more plants or if getting too large for the area. If you are adventurous and have patience you can harvest the seed pods from the tree variety. I am told the actual seed with look like a large dark corn kernel, and give them a 'season' of cold in the deep, dark part of your refrigerator ( I may try the freezer, then a week in the refrigerator), then plant in a small pot of good soil, keep in a cool to warm room for 90 days. What I have read says that it usually takes 2 'seasons' of this before you may see any germination. You can try to plant any seedling (if it does germinate by the 2nd 'season') slowly moved  to the outdoors to harden off like any other plants you may of started from seed indoors. I saved my pods this year, I will see if any seeds are inside once dry. If I ever get to a point that I have a seedling, I will post on it (wish me luck).

Peonies, like roses, have ancient pedigrees dating back to around 1000 BC.! Peonies have their 'roots' in two areas of the world. Common Peonies originated in southern Europe, all other types seem to originated in China. Including tree peonies. Tree type have woody stems that stay during the winter months, when all herbaceous peonies drop their long leafy stems and die back to the ground. The Chinese peonies have double blooms and are more fragrant than their european cousins. They produce colorful, showy blooms in late spring to early summer. There is a wide range of colors to choose from, including white, red, crimson, yellow, and rose. It is kind of hard to tell from the different pictures but mine is more of a purple red.

whewww! Did your get pooped out on peony 101??
How about our list for this weeks Winning Wednesday Wizards!! 

I believe we have a few new Wizards to add to the growing list!!
So if you are a new Wednesday Wizard be sure to grab the special Wednesday Wizard badge (in the side bar, yea over there) to proudly display on your blog, home or where ever you seem fitting ;)

This week Wizards are :

Marilyn from A Lot of Loves
Uyen of Ramble Road Ramblings
Beth from Musing Mainiac
Evan's Mom of A Little boys Blog
Henrietta of A Hen's Nest

Yippee!! I am so proud of all of you! Just so you know... if I wasn't picking out the clues I'd have a hard time with 98% of these! No kidding!

Here is the evidence below you will need to figure out next weeks solution!

Mr. Linky is below for anyone who plays along on all those fun mid-week memes. So leave your links and visit a few. And don't forget to leave your guesses for next weeks puzzler in your comments below!!
Open up eyes and look around, you never know what you will find and what ginormus knowledge you will have to pass on to ... well whoever you tell it too! 

 until next time!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

9 - 11 Never Forget !

A reminder to pause today in a moment of silence to remember the victims, grieve with families and friends, and honor the heroes who have sacrificed, lost and were injured on this horrible day in recent American history.

A special thank you for all those heroes that went to give aid, from all walks of life all across America and other places. Many are still helping and fighting to keep our freedoms safe today.

Our freedom was attacked that day, by those that hate our way of life and all our special freedoms. Remember that those freedoms never come free, that someone at sometime fought and many have died so we can live in the free America we do today. We must never let anyone try to blindly or clandestinely take ANY of them from us. 

Freedom is never free, it is paid for by the brave!


click any image to enlarge


Never forget.

God Bless  


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Red, red, as the fire engine says...

Down the Street the Fire Engine goes -
The Firemen fight the fire!
Up the fire trucks ladder with their hose -
Out goes the fire!

A simple sing-song taught to children to teach them fire safety, along with that important one
  Stop, Drop and Roll!

There is many online sources and from your local fire departments and schools as well to help you teach your youngsters how to stay safe if they ever encounter a fire and what NOT to do as well. Let's also take a moment to thank all the firemen and women that bravely help protect us and our homes when ever the need arrives. Just one of the many brave working people we meet every day, stop and thank them for all they do.

  So if you have not guessed it, my teaser from last week was a Fire Truck! We had 13 winning Wednesday Wizards by my last count, and lots of new ones and many of them first time visitors! ((Yippee! new visitors!!)) 

Welcome and congratulations! I will list the Wizards below. But just to refresh your memories and for the new comers all new Winning Wednesday Wizards are entitled to claim the coveted I am a Wednesday Wizard badge over in the left side bar (with code) to post on your blog, home stationary or vehicles (giggles)!
Wherever you wish to flaunt that you have awesome brain powers so full of useless.. err use-full and matchless knowledge that it is surprising to all that know you that your head has not exploded from the sheer volume of it all!!! (ahem...)

The Fire Truck the clue was cropped from:

Cambridge, WI Fire truck #17
named for home town boy- NASCAR and Winston Cup Champion
Matt Kenseth, driver for Roush Racing
please ask permission to copy photos

These were taken when we attended one of the Matt Kenseth Fan Club events since we are members. We do not live far from Cambridge, another small WI town. Hubby has been a NASCAR fan for a long time and finding a Cup and Nationwide racer in our back yard was exciting!

Kenseth and hubby
please ask for permission to copy photos
click to enlarge

Matt is just a year older than one of own sons and reminds us of him in many way. He is polite, kind of quiet, uses his car to do the talking and doesn't push others around. A very likable guy. The Kenseth family that we have met, all seem very down to earth as well. You feel like part of the family around them :)

Table with some of the many door prizes from that years picnic.

This fellow above always donates his time and talents to decorate some special cakes that get raffled off for charity at any of the events we have been at. Please excuse my scattered brain, but I do not remember his name, I just remember he is a fan from another state who comes on his own dime to the events and offers to this for charity. They look yummy, but we have never been lucky enough to win one. We always have a great time when either watching Matt Kenseth race or attending one of his live events or just visiting his fan club whenever we are in the area.

Okay on the the winning 13 this week! 
Click on over to their sites and check out what they like to write about or share with their readers, you may be missing out on another fun, new favorite blog!
winning wizards image

The Winning Wizards in no particular order this week are :

Laura from Dogsmom
Sukhmandir Kaur of A Guide to Sikhism
Marilyn from A Lot of Loves
Alison from Being Alison/Me
Cats from Wildcat Woods
Evan's Mom of A Little boys Blog
Carletta of Round the Bend
Henrietta of A Hen's Nest

Now on to next weeks "tip off" ...
before you leave me your sneaking suspicions on what it could be, Mr. Linky will below for all those who play in the different Wednesday games and since I am showing so much Red this week I am also posting and participating in Rednesday over at It's A Very Cherry World  where you will find all kinds of neat things in red for today and other things with a Linky as well.

Here is the close up for this weeks clue...

red clue
click to enlarge photos,
please ask to copy

I look forward to your comments and guesses. 
If you leave me a way, I will be happy to repay with a reply in kind :)

 Until next time ...

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The last long weekend of summer...

Labor Day Weekend has arrived. I already have seen signs of it approaching even though I did not want it to come. Leaves on the maples changing, some already falling. We have had a few nights with a nip in the air. Migrating birds gathering... sigh.... 

Labor Day symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events. The last long weekend of summer. Maybe a Bar-B-Que with friends and a swim for the last time before you put away the pool for the season. Fireworks. Sales. For most children and young adults it also represents the start of back-to-school year.

But what is it really? If you are one of the lucky Americans that have a job in our present economy, that alone is a reason to celebrate whether or not you get a day off with or without pay. But there are many that do not have that luxury. Oh they have the day off, but with no pay. No unemployment, no hand-outs. Not that they want one, a job would be more honorable and self serving!  There are still plenty of Americans that have pride. The pride that started this country. That brought families with little or nothing from other lands, to start whole new lives to work hard and become American citizens because they could do it with hard work, make a new life and live free!
 Yes, there are still people here that are more than willing to work for their daily bread and the roof over their head and want to keep their American freedoms just as they are.
They just have not all spoken up yet. But their time is coming. Peacefully, determined, educating themselves and not willing to be pushed back 200 years. They want to be heard. They will be heard!

The last long weekend? What is it really...
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the prosperity and well-being of our country.

Unwilling to be pushed back 200 years,
Determined, Educated, Waiting to be heard,
God willing. God Bless.
Happy Labor Day~2010