Raider of the left sweatshirts

Cue the Indiana Jones theme song.  I've uncovered clues to three relics, and rescued two.  Sadly, the Hoosiers hoodie was beyond help. Worse, the goofy hat I found in the closet doesn't look like Indie's, but there you go.

Why am I searching for these relics in the empty nest closets? Because it is so chilly at the library. Most of the building has been gutted and/or demolished for a major renovation.  The library remains open, but without the luxuries of central heating, hot running water, or gas fireplaces.

These days it's so wonderful to have a paying job that I enjoy, that I gladly work around  inconveniences. But sixty degrees F is nicer for a hike than sitting at a computer cataloging or reading book reviews.

And so the search for sweatshirts. Now I regret nagging my grown sons to clean out their closets and drawers every time they came home for a visit.

Those sons were graduated from the University of Texas, Texas Tech University, and the University of New Mexico.  Found one Longhorns sweatshirt, but no Red Raiders or Lobos.

Said sons went on exchange and study abroad programs to UMass-Amherst, Paderno del Grappa and Viterbo, Italy. No souvenir sweatshirts. Bummer.

By grad school their laundry habits still included lengthy composting of dirty clothes followed by overloading washing machines and underfunding dryers, then another epoch of soggy strata. The U of  Indiana sweatshirt could have been found in a melting glacier next to a meal-ready mastodon. Saber-toothed tigers had ripped the drawstring out of the hoodie.

No sweatshirts from Georgetown, Northwestern, or George Washington U. This positive note--I found a never-worn navy hoodie from the school of Reebok, and it fits.

Happy New Year!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Bipartisan spirit at the fiscal cliff birdfeeder

Don't know about you,
but I'm feeling like
the tiny gray
standing on the icy
patio way beneath the feeder.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

Reading till the ball drops

My final read of 2012 was David Egger's Hologram for the King. True, the year is not over. I might pull one more National Book Award nominee out of my sleeve. Still, Egger's book just sapped the energy out of me. Should we all just sit around wondering if that lump on our neck is a benign  cyst or a malignant tumor? For me the heart of the book was the question of creating/building/making/manufacturing tangible goods vs. the creation of technological illusions/digital smoke and mirrors.

Closer to the surface the Egger book is the story of a fifty-something man who thinks he is dying.  I've already read one fifty-something man who thinks he's dying book this year, and that one was more fun.  Jonathan Tropper's One Last Thing Before I Go has plenty to consider without slogging through the desert sands.

Books I hope to read in the coming year:

Stockholm Octavo

Flight Behavior
Yellow Birds


Spine of the Continent
Lost Carving
House of Stone
Let the Meatballs Rest
Consider the Fork

The library just got a dictionary of modern proverbs that looks fun for browsing.

Happy reading in 2013, and no, I never did make pie crust.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Sleeping with the sugarplums

Is it healthy relaxing and unwinding, or unhealthy retreating with depression? Is it hibernating, or a dangerous sleep disorder? Is it okay to put on our jammies at seven p.m., burrow under two quilts, and pull the pillows over our head? Can we pretend to be a bear in a cave?

We don't sleep enough. Studies keep reporting this finding. We don't sleep at the right times or in the right places. Worse, our kids don't sleep enough, even though we are glad to see them fall asleep any time anywhere. Phew!

Aging and dementia wreak havoc with sleep routines. So do pain pills, cough meds, sleep aids, job stress and mortgage worry, pregnancy, menopause, restless legs, caffeine, alcohol, parenting infants, parenting teens with drivers licenses, and overdue library books.

This is the first I've heard of a PBS Sprout channel, or its annual Christmas Eve "Snooze-a-thon". I applaud the idea of kiddies sleeping through the night, but their reliance on a tv or online program of sleeping puppets is frightening. Why would the tots even have access to media in the middle of the nighty-night?

Just the idea of snooze-inducing tv brings back in HD my five surreal days in Dad's hospital room when he was hallucinating. A lowly night-shift aide was the savior who tuned Dad's tv to the C.A.R.E. channel. The channel's music helped cancel out the beeping, blinking, dripping, chatting, pages, squeaky nurse shoes, elevators, and floor buffing machines. Don't let anybody tell you a hospital is a quiet place! It's a 24-hour arcade.

Dad had been sleeping all day between gurney rides for tests and x-rays. When awake he was seriously paranoid. After dark he'd been hallucinating, but in the very wee hours he was all charm and chatting with anyone who humored his requests for sandwiches and ice cream.

Trying to sleep on the hard cot in Dad's room at night so I could confer with elusive doctors by day, I was getting almost as loony as Dad. Not easy to get shut-eye when the patient is ripping out his IV and believes you are an enemy spy

The C.A.R.E. channel showed outer space images all night, accompanied by relaxation music. Galaxies, Saturn's rings, and nebulae began convincing Dad that night was night and a fine time to sleep. All day the channel showed horses frolicking in a pasture near a mountain range, and other subtle hints that day is the time to stay awake. It was simple, brilliant, and effective. Amen!

Asking your doctor might not lasso relief. Asking Santa might not bring a frolicking pony. Ask your hospital if it has the C.A.R.E. channel for patients. Tell the little sprouts to stay under the covers for another bitty while!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Hat hair

When Santa gets back to the North Pole, does he have a bad hat hair? Went to the Arboretum on this cold day to see the Chihuly glass installation in the snow.  And, yes, I had to wear a stocking cap.

Bad Bad Hat Hair----I'm seeing a beginning-reader book here to outdo the raccoon with the disconnected tail.  I had to keep the hat on all day because of the curse of static electricity.

And the Arboretum in the cold is fab.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Look, it's going to bubbles!

The ancient history of audio-visual instruction 

Once upon a time, boys and girls, just after God said "Let there be light" and there was light, the filmstrip projector came to school. It sat on top of two fat dictionaries on a desk pulled into the middle of an aisle.  Beside it on the desk sat a can holding a roll of film and knowledge, and a little easy-reader booklet.

What is film, Ms Nancy?...Never mind. We'll just skip over this part.*

In the Late Cretaceous, the filmstrip was accompanied by a 45 rpm recording with beeps in the narration indicating when the filmstrip should be advanced to the next black and white image. The beeps caused the student deputized to operate the projector to instantly forget which direction was forward and which was back. [This is similar to the nursing home phenomenon of elderly patients with tv remote controls.]

Why were film strips important?  Because film strips promoted napping at school. Napping is good.(1)

Nebraska was one of the first states to begin educational broadcasting. All the students would walk in two straight lines with their hands clasped behind their backs down the hall to the Eastridge Elementary School library, then sit on the cork-tile floor to watch Dolores Dudley read classic picture books like Rex Parkin's The Red Carpet, and Wanda Gag's Millions of Cats on the school's lone black and white television.  Mrs. Dudley was at the peak of her powers with Marcia Brown's Stone Soup. (2)

That's when I first wanted to be a storytime lady when I grew up. 

Creating bulletin boards was a competitive sport for elementary school teachers. An opaque projector enabled teachers to enlarge a student drawing on a big swath of butcher paper.  Then kiddies could paint the big image with runny powdered tempera paint mixed up in metal orange juice cans. (3)

Every December all the Eastridge students would file into the auditorium to watch a film about the composing of "Silent Night".  The film was quite blue, with people crunching around in the snow.  The highlight of this annual event was the inevitable breaking, splicing, and rethreading of the film into the projector.  We kids would be all hyped up on holiday anticipation, and be anything but silent.

At Millard Lefler Junior High teachers began using overhead projectors.  Students missed the chances to make dusty messes with the chalk erasers.  At least we still got to sniff ditto papers. And wouldn't The Sniffing Dittos be a good name for an oldies cover band?

In Speech class we were allowed to use a tape recorder for the group project "radio broadcast". The technological biggie was the foreign language lab. Each student sat in a carrell that looked like a prison visitation booth and put on headphones. While Srta. Diaz allegedly eavesdropped on our performances, we repeated phrases like

 I would like the chocolate cake.  Yo quisiera el pastel de chocolate.

High school brought new AV technology. Learning to drive meant sitting in a simulator watching films of roads and turning the steering wheel.  Each simulator looked like a cross between an opaque projector and an immovable carnival bumper car.  Crazy that twenty years later my young sons were"flying" simulated dogfights on our computer games with realistic graphics.

Ah, college! Dark lecture halls. Watching art history slide shows. Remember, napping is good. To this day I don't use the exhibit audio tours at art museums. It would be so embarrassing to fall asleep and start snoring and drooling...

Fast forward FF. I still can't cope with the tv remote, but I'm making computer slideshows for my young art students. Trying to connect with kids who can scroll on an iPhone before they can wipe and flush. Trying to connect the raccoon's tail without too many technical diffooooculties.

What do my students like best? Look, Ms. Nancy.  It's going to bubbles!


(1)  Concurrent technology available in homes included single view handheld slide projectors, and tray or carousel slide projectors for subjecting the neighbors to long evenings reviewing your tent-camping trip to Yellowstone. Comic relief came in the form of slides loaded upside down or backwards.

(2) We also watched Mercury and Gemini blast-offs in the library.

(3) The View-Master was a concurrent "educational slideshow".  Children could click through images of Our Nation's Capitol including Jackie Kennedy's White House renovations, Disney's Peter Pan, and Yellowstone geysers.

*Judge Maxwell: I think I want to skip over this part, too. 
Howard: That night, I went back to my room and she was in the bath. 
Judge Maxwell: Who was there? No, don't tell me, just go on. 
Howard: When Eunice walked in and the drapes caught fire, everything burned. They asked me to leave. I really don't blame them. 
Judge Maxwell: Good boy. Is there more? 
Howard: Sure. 
Judge Maxwell: There's more. 

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder



Since the very exciting day of December sixth when the raccoons visited we have been making raccoon art.  The raccoons were not invited guests.  It was a surprise party.

"Boys and girls," I announced, "there is a BIG raccoon outside the window."  Indeed, there was a large, curious, unafraid male raccoon strolling by and staring in the windows. Where was my camera?  AWOL. A maintenance man and a mom with a big purse were trying to shoo Mr. Raccoon back toward the creek.

Not white as snow, but it did make the children laugh and play to see a raccoon at school. Later that day we saw Mrs. Raccoon wandering around near the creek across the parking lot from the playground. Pruning crews have recently removed lots of brush along the creek, and may have disturbed the raccoon's habitat.

Some animals capture our imagination at an early age. We are curious about them the rest of our lives. We care and even worry about them. I care about raccoons because of the Little Golden Book of Baby Animals, illustrated by Garth Williams. My copy is pretty crumbly these days, and I hope it survives a trip through the scanner!

It's silly really. The animals that tug on me are not pets. I'm sure not a shaman, although that's an intriguing visual possibility! Way back before I even had a baby brother, my dad had eyeglass frames that looked just like Baby Racoon to my young eyes. That's my life-long connection! Build those ties early and visually...

Question: Is there 2 ways to spell raccoon?  

Opinion: Yes, if you have a brother Darryl and another brother Darryl.

Answer: The word raccoon can be spelt with, or without a double C, and therefore can alternatively be spelt "racoon"

Detour: And spelt is also known as dinkel wheat, but not by Darryl.

And wouldn't Dinkel Wheat be a good name for a band?

I want my young students to connect all the body
parts in their drawings.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

Na na na na Hey hey hey Goodbye

Neither gnomes, nor gnats, nor naugahyde will adorn the preschoolers' gift to their lead teacher, so you mightn't have expected the knife, knots, and knitting. Preschoolers can't give a gift of nothing to their teacher, so in the handmade spirit we have made a box of Nn. Naturally, the motives are twofold.

  1. The students might learn something about the "Nn" sound.
  2. This project will cost nada, nil, nothing, zip.  (Preschoolers often confuse N and Z)

The inspiration was part nasal exasperation. Our class is a championship caliber nose-picking team, no matter what measures we've take.

Our class rabbit is named Norton, so he's the star of the Nn box.

Having taught some of the kids to "turn sevens into stars", a few turned that back on me by refusing to practice writing numbers or letters. It's stars and only stars from morning until night.

Our box of Nn is almost done. And it's a good thing the semester is almost done, too. Enjoy some noodles, but use your napkin!

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


On tree ornaments and sadness

Right after I shipped gift boxes to my sons I discovered The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell. Shipping a big box of nothing via UPS or USPS would cost less, but would my sons still know their mommy loves them?

Decorated my Christmas tree during odd moments this week, for the first time in two or three years.  Haven't felt very Christmassy during the years of tending to my dad. I opened the boxes of my mom's ornaments.  Many were decorations I'd made or purchased for her, just as many in my own collection were gifts from Mom. It was a tradition we loved sharing, marking special memories with tree ornaments.

Didn't open the boxes of decorations from my sons' childhoods this time as the tree was already full. That was before the horrors at the week's end.  Now I keep thinking of the mothers and grandmothers who won't get to collect tree ornaments marking the milestones of childhoods.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Rama lama ding dong

Who put the loop in the doop di doopdi doop? Who put the slide cord lock on the bomp di bop? Who was that man? I'd like to shake his hand! He made it so much easier to attach the insulated cover over the outdoor faucet than the old kind with the hook on the inside and the wingnut on the outside. 

And no, I am not the wingnut crouching in the cold between the yaupon and the half-dead hedge to attach faucet covers. Got the new covers with the loop and slide cords last winter for my two faucets. Found one of the old hook and wingnut covers behind the holly bush to put on my elderly neighbor's faucet.  He's pretty shaky these days, and not up to the task.

We go together like insulated faucet covers. 
Remembered for winter.
Boogedy boogedy boogedy boogedy shooby doowop shebop
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop
Our faucets will always be warm wa wa wa wah

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


The Nancy Awards

My friend Jeannie can predict the Oscar winners every year.  Most years she has seen every movie nominated in a major category.  Most years I go to one movie max.

I went to see "Lincoln" at the movie theater, and enjoyed it greatly. The last time I'd gone to a movie theater was to see "The Conspirator" a year and a half ago.  Seems like Abe has to go to Ford's for me to go to Cinemark. I loved Daniel Day Lewis' interpretation of Lincoln as storyteller.  Sally Field was amazing--I completely believed her, but still remembered to go home and take my calcium pills. I never could cross over into total suspended disbelief for Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens.  Curmudgeon Tommy Lee was still crusty Tommy Lee, just with a bad wig and no sunglasses.

But now I present the Nancy Awards for the best new books I read all the way through during 2012.  I will have to add poetry, children's literature, and audiobooks to the awards in 2013, and maybe an old timers hall of fame.



I would laud on the praises for these memorable reads, but I need to fold laundry, make the Krunch, walk, make soup, vacuum, pay bills, and Skype with my grandbaby.  I'll just say they made me cry, get angry, laugh, feel wrapped in a cocoon of wonder, understand myself and others better.

Happy Sunday.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


The Case of the ImperturbableTurtle

Perhaps it's the last warm day of the year, but I still used the a/c in the Buick after my brisk walk through the woods.  My brain needed serious numbing out after a week of standing beneath falling anvils and player pianos. A fast walk was needed. I've been perturbed on several psychic fronts, but thank heaven for the Online Etymology Dictionary! Without it I would have called the turtle un- not im-.

imperturbable (adj.) Look up imperturbable at Dictionary.com
c.1500, from M.Fr. imperturbable and directly from L.L. imperturbabilis "that cannot be disturbed" (Augustine), from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + *perturbabilis, from L. perturbare "to confuse, disturb" (see perturb). Related: Imperturbablyimperturbability.

Photographing turtles on logs is more difficult than getting little kids to eat raisins on peanut butter-filled celery. Turtles don't want to be tagged on Facebook, or tacked to Pinterest. They usually bail out before I can pull the camera from my pocket.

This turtle did not want to go for a swim.  It sat and sat while leaves floated down all around and onto it. The December light was already low at 4:30, but the turtle did not want to put on flip-flops and shower in the bathhouse. If it pretended the photographer was not there, it might extend the season a little bit longer. I took photos from three sides of the little pond before it finally dived.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Taking Five with Dave Brubeck and Howie

Almost a decade passed between the time my parents filled out their free copies of Aging With Dignity's FiveWishes advanced directive and my father's final decline.  By then Dad had lost all interest in music or tolerance for most sounds.  It's embarrassing to admit that I had envisioned a farewell concert that was about me and not my exiting dad.


Dave Brubeck passed away yesterday, one day short of his ninety-second birthday.  Experiencing a live performance of his quartet in 2009 was a highpoint of my life.

Filling out an advanced directive is a huge help for your family when the time comes that you can't manage your affairs or tune your radio to 88.1 KNTU.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Popeye feeds a family of five

There's nothing like a block of frozen spinach to make you feel bad about your family dinner.

     Dr. Oz in the Time Magazine 12/3/2012 issue

My mom, Fritzi, never heard of pesto.  The only way we ever ate spinach was dumped out of the can, heated, and seasoned with vinegar or lemon juice.  I had learned to like this at Camp Kiwanis where Camp Fire Girl food whiners were never tolerated. A week at camp and I was dang happy just to get some stewed whole tomatoes.

Seems like lately we are trying to feed ourselves and our families farmers market foodie-style at considerable time and expense. Yes, it is fresh, nutritious, and aesthetically pleasing.  But wait. Are we wearing ourselves out and busting our budgets?

My sons will surely tell the judge that I served them horrible meals and they were lucky to survive.  I would tell the same judge the same sad story about my mom's cooking.  We lived and thrived, though, without fresh kale, pomegranate juice, or that tiny $4.99 bag of pine nuts.

A friend was feeling  guilty because she fed her 87-year-old father canned soup and toast for supper when she had a killer sinus infection.  Soup and toast reminds me of a desperation meal my mom used to make.  She heated a can of salmon in a double boiler with a can of cream of mushroom soup, and Tabasco Sauce to season.  She diluted it with milk to stretch servings, then ladled over saltines.  Fritzi would open a can of pear halves or splurge with a can of Royal Anne cherries, and we would fill up on carrot sticks and conversation.  Mind-blowing.  Three cans = supper for a family of five.

Canned and frozen foods are much lower in salt than when I was whining at camp in the Sixties.  At least Dr. Oz said so in the Time story.  And yes, I made pesto with some frozen spinach, garlic, faux parmesan cheese, walnut pieces, and "sadder but wiser" olive oil.  Gonna have the leftovers tonight without guilt.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder

I've fallen and I can't make Krunch

Got out to Oregon for our family Thanksgiving, and my gathered sons asked in unison,
"Where's the Krunch?"

Who am I? Clara Peller? Of course you know that Clara was the short octogenarian shouting the Wendy's catchphrase in those memorable television ads way back when my sons were babies.

Fell down on the mom job, as it didn't occur to me I should fly with a carry-on full of Chex Mix.  But now I've pushed my Life Call button and help is on the way!  It is good to have an area of perceived expertise, no matter how misguided that perception.

Back in Texas, I'm assembling vast quantities of Chex cereals and Imperial margarine. I've settled on Rold Gold pretzel sticks, and splurged on designer Cheerios. The "kids" and I sat around the big dining table bewailing the loss of Mister Salty Thin Pretzel Sticks, the gold standard, no longer sold by Nabisco.

I've taken a straw poll.  Although two sons are okay with mixed nuts, all three want peanuts in the Krunch.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Silent E, Holy E

My calm and bright student is working through the silent e words for the fifth, and lowliest, of the vowels. The words with their illustrations make a peculiar group:

mute  butte  cure  pure  rude 
fume  prune  tune  flute  cute 

What image can illustrate "pure" for a five-year-old? The picture that goes with the word is a child in a winter coat and hat starring up at the stars.

The image for "cure" shows EMTs unloading a patient on a stretcher from an ambulance.

"Mute" and "butte" present problems stretching from here to Montana.

"Tune" shows a kid whistling, and "cute" is a baby, although not the cutest grandbaby on Earth, with whom I'm acquainted.

Gave myself a stern talking-to about finishing the pile of ironing before putting up the Christmas tree.  The pile is still there, should you need a silent e illustration for the third vowel.  The lights are untangled, and most of the strings still work. Maybe I should pop "Hunt for Red October" in the old VCR in honor of the USS Enterprise, and fire up the steam iron.  I'll just let the lights blink on the living room floor.

Employee overheard at the copy center in a national chain office supply store patiently explaining to a customer who might have been off his meds:

You need Dobe to print those puddiffs.

[In this case Dobe does not rhyme with Kobe Bryant.]

Long ago I taught a girl who sang "Dudolf da Ded-Dosed Deindeer".  Dudolf could never get his pdfs to print with or without the latest version of Adobe, and my Christmases have never been the same since.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Harold and the Purple Crayon

No purple Christmas lights to be found at Walmart yesterday.  I've always been a blue light person, but I'm on a rare purple tear.  Nabbed a roll of purple foil gift wrap for the Purplopolis.

Inspired by Harold, all my art classes are working toward a low relief paper sculpture aka 3-D mural of a purple city.  Exactly what the final product will be is unclear, but we are collaborating big time. The goal is to contribute to and recognize a group effort.

The youngest preschoolers are learning "purple" and maybe the recipe of red + blue.  We also made inside-outside houses.  Best of all, according to the kids, was adding brads for doorknobs and then going all group hysteria "ding-dong doorbell".

Pre-K kids are working on folding and cutting, and glue stick protocol. The elementary students are doing printmaking. Shaving cream marbling is on deck for next Wednesday.

Reentry to normal life after the wonderful Thanksgiving family gathering in Oregon has been rough. Most of the family stayed in a 1901 Craftsman vacation rental house in Salem. The house brought back many memories of chilly visits to Pierce, Nebraska.

Grandma's house was a bit younger than the rental, but the floor squeaks were the same. After a big meal of Grandma's cooking, Dad and I would walk all around town. I would soak up his stories of growing up in Pierce in the Depression, and of all the characters who lived in the little old houses.  I'm so thankful for these vivid memories crowding our recollections of Dad's final months.

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Please help t.p. tiger relief fund

Standing almost still running last week's art through the laminator. Must write school newsletter art update.

How to explain what the kids do in art class, and why it is important?

How to explain that adding vocabulary to the physical act of perceiving changes looking into seeing?

That tickling the brain with funny words can make kids more curious about the world around them?

That just learning to put on their own art smock is a major accomplishment?

That tigers have stripes, leopards have spots, kids wear plaid shorts, and lions don't?

That if your eye looks down through the toilet paper tube you will see the tiger finger puppet and a spiral?

But if you squint a bit and use your imagination you might find yourself in a dark cave with your Neanderthal boyfriend while a saber tooth tiger paces outside?  Have a Clan of the Cave Bear moment maybe...

Standing almost still I got no closer to the newsletter deadline, but I ran the Neanderthal boyfriend and the finger puppet through the laminator. Turned out a bit lumpy, but I think it will hold.

Tyger tyger, burning bright,
in the forests of the night;  
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Thanksgiving with Dad and butterflies

Snout butterfly on White Mistflower. Heard Sanctuary.
There coulda been a rumble on the crowded white mistflower today, but the skippers were too hippy dippy blissed-out to battle the snouts for turf.  All kinds of snouts, skippers, painted ladies, queens, assorted bees, and flashy-dresser webworm moths were imbibing, snorting, and pollinating with scandalous abandon. I haven't seen such a traffic jam since the wheelchair gridlock at the nursing home.

Been thinking of my dad, Howie, as we approach a first Thanksgiving without him.  For several Thanksgivings he was way, way out there, completely unfiltered, and uninhibited in his speech, and unable to control mucus secretions while eating. Dad in his holiday attire of terry bib, plaid flannel pjs and Depends ramming his wheelchair into the wall over and over took much of the enjoyment from the holiday meal.

Just in the last couple weeks I've been able to replace some visual memories of Howie in his protracted, degrading decline with better memories and visual associations.

Watching the common checkered skipper and the checkerspot butterfly sucking down smoothies while wearing their plaid jammies, I got a momentary flash of peace about Howie and my seasons as his "responsible party".
Common checkered skipper.

Party snouts.

Queen butterfly.

Ballerina spider.

Ailanthus webworm moth.
Catching butterflies was a family hobby Dad encouraged.  It probably started as a way for me to earn a Camp Fire bead.  Dad bought one net, then immediately made several others.  Our backyard was a good starting point, but Dad was happy to take us places where we could run around, up and down hills, waving nets, getting worn out, and occasionally catching butterflies. My perfectionist mother mastered the mounting of specimens. We studied field guides to identify our catches.

Now I just catch butterflies with my camera, but I still get exercise and fresh air. I get out the field guide to identify my sightings for Dad.

The flashy dressing webworm moth looks like a skinny beetle, since it rolls its wings around it.  I never did get a photo of one in flight. These are diurnal and good pollinators, not the evil fall webworms Dad used to cuss.

The very fragrant White Mistflower causing all the ruckus is a Texas native.  Ageratina havanensis is tolerant of drought and rocky soil. It blooms from mid-October until very cold weather

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...