Thursday, June 30, 2016

more about catalpa worms

My blog has a "statistics" page that I can look at. It doesn't tell me who is reading my blog...but it tells me things like what country the readers are from and which posts get the most views.

It's surprising to me - but a post I did about Catalpa Worms two years ago, gets readers more often than anything else I have put on here.
Either someone has linked to it somewhere or it's showing up in a search engine.

The original post is HERE.

So with that in mind, I would like to show a few more photos that were taken by the Sasquatch, who has a huge Catalpa tree in his yard.
If this is interesting to you, you might want to biggie size the pictures.

There are lots of Catalpa worms on the tree right now. Those bubble-looking things are the eggs that were laid by a Sphinx Moth on the underside of a leaf on the Catalpa tree.
The clear eggs near the top center have already hatched. To the left of those you can see a couple of yellow eggs...those haven't hatched yet.
A little lower, you can see small black pointy things. Each one is on the back of one of the worms.

Here are some tiny, newly hatched worms.

Here is a group of slightly older worms.  Look how they have been munching away at those leaves!

All are Catalpa worms - not sure why some are mostly yellow and others are mostly black.
 Eating all but the skeleton of the leaf.

The end with the pointy thing is the tail. It isn't sharp and doesn't sting. Maybe it's to fool predators?

A smaller one...

And a larger one...

And you can imagine...with all those worms eating leaves there is a copious amount of poop!

The Sasquatch said, when you are standing near the tree, it sounds like rain drops are starting to fall on the leaves...but it's a rain of worm poop!

Some years there are just a few worms and other years they eat every leaf on the tree.   It doesn't seem to harm the tree at all. If it's still early in the summer - it grows another set of leaves...but there may be a new cycle of worms that will eat the new leaves.

 More info about Catalpa Trees HERE
More info about the Sphinx Moth HERE

Can you believe the Sasquatch took all those vivid close up pictures with his phone?
This last photo is one that I took of his Catalpa tree with my camera.
Huge difference in picture quality! it the equipment or the operator?

Later in the summer the tree will be full of long bean-like pods that are filled with seeds. The Sasquatch has a couple of other smaller Catalpa trees on his property that have come up from the seeds.
I started one of the seeds in a flower pot here a few years ago and planted it when it got big enough.
It's about seven or eight feet tall now. They grow pretty fast!

The moths don't seem to lay eggs on the small young trees. We assumed that they "know" there aren't enough leaves on them yet to feed their babies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

movie matinee

A cool dark theater is a nice escape on a hot humid afternoon...and we just happened to have a gift card...for Xscape, the newest theater in Louisville.

(I keep wondering why they chose that spelling of the name. It kinda makes you think it's an X-rated theater - but it's not)

There wasn't anything we particularly wanted to see, but we finally settled on "The Conjuring II", a horror movie, even though we aren't normally fans of that genre.

When we were getting our tickets, the cashier told us their "gift card reader" wasn't working that day. We just stood there, waiting for her to come up with a solution.
She just stood there waiting for Lonnie to pony up some cash... then, when the line started backing up behind us, she called a manager over and he told us we would get in for free!
Pretty nice!

The best thing about this new theater is that they have big, soft reclining seats!  So comfy!

The movie had lots of scary parts and was entertaining, but after it's over you start thinking about all the holes in the plot and realize how goofy it really was.

Looks like we'll have to go back and try that gift card again on another scorching afternoon!

Monday, June 27, 2016

ordinary Sunday

I like the long daylight hours in the evening, but this early sunrise is for the birds!
It's hard to sleep when it starts getting light outside so early.

Nothing new or different for Sunday dinner...beef and cheese burritos with enchilada sauce, refried beans with colby-jack cheese, baked sweet potato halves, corn muffins made with Chi Chi's cornbread mix, and a tossed green salad with blueberries, mandarin oranges and pumpkin seeds. 

When my Chopper and the Sasquatch got there, I found out they had just eaten at a Mexican restaurant on Friday, when they were running an errand together.
But, they didn't seem to mind having Mexican food again and they were willing to take home a few leftovers.

 Lonnie has been thinking about coconut cream pie since last week when I took one to my Dad for Fathers I decided to make one for dessert and a chocolate pie too.

The chocolate pie set up nicely...

But the stupid coconut pie there in the back, turned out to be one of those pies that just pours out of it's crust when you remove a slice.

I'm pretty sure it will all be eaten anyway.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

oil change - easier said than done

With our old riding mower, Lonnie always had the oil changes done when the mower was in the shop for a belt replacement or blade sharpening, etc.  They would even pick up and deliver the mower since they are right here in town.

With the new mower, the dealer is farther away...and we don't have a vehicle that can pull a trailer with the mower on I told Lonnie that I want to learn to change the oil.

At 20 hours of operation, it was time to change the oil and filter (not so often after this first time).

Look, it explains everything right here in the manual.

Trip to the store #1 - Lonnie goes to an auto parts store and buys recommended oil and oil filter.
While looking at this first photo - notice how large that opening is on the oil drain pan.

Somehow, I missed having it positioned correctly when I removed the drain plug.  Oops.

Next - I didn't know that you couldn't remove an oil filter with your bare hands...but I had a lightbulb moment and realized what that tool I've seen laying around here for years is used for.

But after a search through the basement and out-buildings I couldn't find it anywhere. So...

Trip to the store #2 - I went back to the same auto parts store and bought a "strap wrench" and some oil-absorbing material for the driveway.

The guy who waited on me was the same guy that had waited on Lonnie earlier in the day. He remembered which filter he looked up for our mower and he made sure I got a strap wrench to fit it.
Unfortunately, when I got home, the wrench would not fit the filter I wanted to remove. 
So I called Lonnie, who was on his way home and asked him to stop and get the next larger size.

That was Trip to the store #3.    

 I removed the old oil filter! Yea!

Then it was obvious that the new filter was the wrong filter for our mower. So....

Trip to the store #4 - I went to Lowes (where we should have gone to begin with) and bought the correct filter and put it on.   Remembered to replace the drain plug before adding new oil, too.  
 Ta Da!

I'm so happy! A little blurry, but happy!   It should be easier next time.

Trip to the store #5 - It was Lonnie's turn to go, so the next day he took back the wrong oil filter and strap wrench for a refund.

There are a couple of other things to check for routine maintenance, but I had about all I could stand for one day!

Friday, June 24, 2016

storming outside, sewing inside

One of my quilt groups meets at the extension office in the evening.  This month, nearly everyone was late because traffic was stopped and backed up both ways.

But we all made it in before a huge thunderstorm moved into the area.

As usual, the ladies were wotking on lots of interesting projects.

Linda was pin basting this quilt for a young toddler.
I should have taken a close-up of the fabrics. It's all different colors of bandana fabric. Very cute!

Jan was in the final stages of getting a top assembled that had been a "mystery quilt".
She is working with all polka dot fabrics in red, white and black. 

Below, Lee is making a quilt with these log cabin blocks, all in wild and colorful prints. She has a talent for knowing what fabrics look good together.   Look - even her shirt sorta matches her quilt blocks colors!
Last month when Lee and I were talking, we discovered we went to the same high school at the same time. We were in different grades though.

Rita likes to sew by hand.  Look how tiny these hexagon flowers are that she is making!  Her plan is to applique them to solid white (or maybe color) blocks when she has enough for a quilt.
Rita is expecting an order of more of these '30s fabrics when a new line of them is rleased in a couple of months.

Joan had 400 green and white squares that she was sewing together. I will have to find out next time what kind of a pattern she is working on.

Get ready for this one....

Isolde's Mariner's Compass quilt.  Isn't this a beauty!  A real work of art.  Isolde has been working on this one off and on for several years.  Now she is finishing up just in time to enter it in the state fair this year.
She will sure have a lot of admirers of this quilt!  She has machine quilted this one herself.

(Those clips around the edge are just there to hold the binding on while she sews it down,)

Not many brought their May block of the month. Only three of us. 
Mine is the non-purple one in the middle.

And here is mine with the blocks I've made so far on this quilt. Right now it looks like that blue "snowflake" block doesn't belong, but I'll be using more blue in next month's block so that will help to balance things out.

I haven't been doing much sewing at home so I can't figure out why my sewing room is in such an uproar. I need to get it straightened up and begin quilting that flying goose quilt I have been working on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

we're surrounded

My friend, Diane, didn't like seeing those photos of snakes in the yard, that I posted here a couple of weeks ago.
So Diane, if you are reading this, look away now!

I was just going up the stairs, when I glanced over toward the front window, where that stupid Cardinal is always fighting his reflection. Instead of the cardinal, I noticed something black caught on the creek rock just outside the window.

He was moving verrrry slooooowly.   I was wishing that cardinal would show up and the snake would eat him...and put an end to that annoying pecking and smacking on the window!

It's funny, we had occasionally been laying this black plastic snake inside on the windowsill - trying to scare the cardinal away.  It had even startled me a couple of times when I forgot about putting it there. 

I got tired of watching Mr. Snake and went on about my business. When I checked again, he was gone...but I will remember him the next time I have to squeeze behind those shrubs to wash windows!

The next day, at the other front window, Squirrel appeared...searching around in the shrubs for helicopters (maple tree seeds) that were caught in the branches.

And, this is a horrible photo, but a big golden reddish deer was in the back yard eating some of the immature pears that the squirrels pick and drop on the ground.  He saw my movement at the window and spun around and bounded into the woods.

I've also seen three small raccoons together, in that same area..also scrounging around for pears, but can't get a good photo of them at all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

county fair ribbon winners

The Bullitt County fair has ended and it was pick-up day for items that were entered.

Bear in mind that this is a small county fair, with not a lot of competition in some of the entry categories, but I did get a ribbon on everything I entered.

In the center you see that last quilt I finished. I got a 1st place blue ribbon in the "machine pieced/machine quilted category.
To the right of that is my small quilt in Christmas won 2nd place in "holiday quilts", and also a 2nd place win for the small Christmas stocking. Stockings had their own category.

On the left is my big 3rd place ribbon that I received in the "Chocolate Dessert" contest, and beside it is a 1st place ribbon for my Sugar Cookies (photo below).    That pile of cash is a total of $36 in prize money!

I had also taken a few wood crafted items that the Sasquatch made and entered them in his name.  The competition was more fierce in the wood categories, with things like a table and stool made from whiskey barrels, carved wooden boxes and a toy dump truck made of wood.

So, I feel like he came out pretty good too...with 2nd place for his bottle stopper in the "miscellaneous woodcraft" category and a 3rd place ribbon on his "natural wood" miniature vase.
In the center is his wood pencil, which is one of my favorites, but no ribbon for that. Prize money for him was $5.

This year, I had a chance to walk around and look at the rest of the fair...and it really is small. Just that one building of exhibits and booths. The rest is the carnival rides and food booths.
There are events each beauty pageants, truck pulls, cattle judging, frog jumping, watermelon eating and so forth. I haven't been to any of those. 
Maybe next year!

Monday, June 20, 2016

no water

I woke up and made coffee Sunday morning, but a few minutes later, when I went to fill a pot with water to cook noodles for macaroni salad, just a trickle of water came out...then it completely stopped.

Yes - we did pay our water I called the water company to report the problem, then woke Lonnie up to tell him he might as well sleep a while longer (hee hee) since he couldn't shower and get ready for Sunday school.

I really figured the problem would be taken care of pretty quickly and I could start prep work for Sunday dinner as usual.  But no...we didn't have water until nearly 1:00.

Meanwhile, I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out what I can cook without water.
I had planned on bratwurst and sausages on the grill - no problem there.
A can of Busch's baked beans with bacon added - okay.
Had most of the ingredients for Texas Cole Slaw, though I had to improvise some ranch dressing.
And how about Scalloped Tomatoes, easy enough.

Hmmm, now what about the potatoes? We had wet-wipes to clean our hands but I didn't think those would be appropriate for cleaning potatoes.

So, I have to admit, I went out and scooped up a bowl of water from the pool, to wash the green peppers and potatoes.  I wouldn't have used pool water for cooking, but I thought it would be okay for rinsing, since both items were cooked afterward.

No one will ever want to eat here again, right?

Lonnie fired up his new grill and he did a fine job of cooking the sausages. 
The no-water challenge made cooking dinner more interesting and makes one think about what they'd do in a real emergency. 

Dessert was some of the chocolate cake left over from the contest, but I also baked these cookies from a mix that the Sasquatch brought over for us to try.

Yep, Maple Bacon cookies.

I had noticed those mixes in the grocery back last Christmas and I was curious about them.
It turned out that they were okay - fun to try- but we wouldn't want them again.

It was Fathers Day, and I had taken this Coconut Cream pie over to my Dad a couple of days before.
My sister usually takes him a sweet treat on Fathers Day too. This way he can spread out his goodies over a few days time.

I have given up on ever making a pretty, non-weepy meringue, so I took a bowl of sweetened whipped cream on the side (easier to transport that way).

Saturday, June 18, 2016

chocolate dessert contest

Each year there is a "Chocolate Dessert or Treat" contest at the Bullitt County Fair.
It's different that the other entries of baked goods, because the judges are tasting and scoring the goodies as we watch.

Last year was the first time I entered, and I walked away with the 1st place blue ribbon and fifty dollars!

This year I had a hard time coming up with something unique and delicious.  I finally settled on entering this Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.  It has a brownie-like cake layer, then a layer of chocolate mousse and I topped it with sweetened whipped cream and grated chocolate. 

Appearance is judged as are a couple of nice looking entries....

I think this was chocolate chip chocolate cake...

Not sue what all this one had...but after the judges tried it, I could see it had liquid chocolate in the middle.

Now here is my friend, Linda with her contest entry. I knew she would bring in something really good. She is also in one of my quilt groups and she's always bringing in a yummy dessert to share with the group.

The three judges had it lucky this year.  They were inside an air conditioned plastic tent - inside the un-air conditioned building. 

That guy in the middle really liked my cake...he kept taking more bites!

Nine people entered the contest.  

When the judges had scored all the entries and points were added up...two of the desserts were taken back in the tent...these candies that Linda made (chocolate with peanut butter and white chocolate chip filling)...and also my cake!

Linda and I asked, "what's going on?", and we were told there was a tie.

Well, we were all excited because we thought we were tied for first place!

But no, it turned out we were tied for second place...and Linda's candy won the extra point.

I got the third place ribbon....and twenty dollars in prize money!

Which makes me pretty happy!

After the judges left, we Homemakers who had desserts in the contest, slipped inside the air conditioned tent and taste tested each others entries in the name of research and education. 

We concluded that everything was delicious! 
 On the back left in the photo above is Barb, who won first place, with an all chocolate Boston Cream Pie (behind that water bottle on the left).  
 After having a taste, I have to admit that she deserved the ribbon. Her dessert had a simple and good chocolatey flavor, the cake was light and moist and the filling was smooth and creamy. 
Hope I can somehow get a copy of her recipe!