Saturday, August 6, 2011

The End of Summer already????

Despite the fact it's only August, and the heat is still oppressive & the humidity makes us miserable, we've reached the end of our summer. Here's some pictures of our summer fun....

The 4th of July was a pleasant day off. The cookout & homemade ice cream at ma & pop's were fun. Later, we went to the fireworks display in D'ville...but unfortunately a huge thunderstorm rolled in, and the fireworks were postponed.
Blake & Cole 'pouting' because of the canceled fireworks. Oh well...

Cole turned 13th on July 6th! I can't believe my baby is now officially a teen... and is CONTANTLY hungry and growing like a weed!!! (Lord help us!) We spent his big day at Mountasia playing mini-golf - which he won AND got the only hole in one, enjoying the go-carts, bumper-boats and then later that evening the Youth had Old Fogey Night...where Cole fit right in.
Yes, Ian gave Cole catsup for his birthday. (We've accused Cole of loving catsup so much he'd drink it like a tomato-smoothy.)
And Cole's favorite way to start the day...with a 'bacon birthday' candle.

It's been a BUMPER year for blackberries. Blake picked these in the lower yard, where his old garden spot was. The freezer is FULL of blackberries just waiting for him to have time to make jelly.

Last weekend we had the 5th annual YUCK NIGHT for the Youth at FBCLS. This year's event was just a nasty, gross, and yucky as we've come to expect. The kids had a blast! Ian had the Senior priviledge of helping prepare and plan some of the games...and thoroughly enjoyed being 'Trivia Master' on his event. (The pictures got out of order... oops!) The games were: egg drop into your partner's cup...which is held in their mouth; Cake Face - partners switch places & they have to decorate a 'cake', complete with batter, marshmallows & sprinkles on their partner's face; Balogna Snowflakes...fold/eat/bite into a snowflake...Jonah's looked like a zombie!; Musical Chairs with the looser having 'cat yack' piled, smeared & smooshed all over their head. YUCK!; Team Trivia-loosers have smashed tater-goo splatted into their face.; Hurricane - classic water toss; and finally a little cleaning up via the slip & slide.

And last, but not least, Cole started back to school on August 4th. Wahoo - 8th Grade!! As you can see, he was NOT happy about this. BUT, when I picked him up after school, he was pleased with all his classes and teachers. His last year of Middle School looks to be a pretty good one. (This is the first time I've ever taken our traditional back to school picture with just one kid. It felt pretty weird...but Ian hopes to start school at GA Highlands in Jan. Wahoo!)

Tell me how you REALLY feel about going back to school, Cole!

The Lifecycle of Our guest, Mega Moth

On May 21st, while at Cornerstone Bapt. Church for Cole's end of year band concert, Ian spotted this Polyphemus moth on the sidewalk near an entrance. Fearing the kids would freakout over this size of the moth and harm her, we moved her to the bushes & went inside for the concert. After the concert, she was still on the we brought her home to see if she would lay eggs & we could watch & photograph the whole cycle of moth/egg/caterpillars/cocoon/moth. (We had done once before w/ a Polyphemus moth...pre-digital camera days.) Here are the pictures of our guest moth and the life cycle....

May 21st - Moth began laying eggs.

About 1 week later all those eggs (and there was a BUNCH of them!) started hatching. The caterpillars were wee tiny, but started growing immediately.
We fed them maple leaves.

3 days after hatching.

6 days.

11+ days.


3 weeks.

By this time, the container was getting pretty crowded, so we released all but 3 of the caterpillars into the maple tree. Those little guys knew exactly what to do...climb UP towards the leaves.


July 12th - only 3 left & they were HUGE!

Everything goes better on a Ritz!

" Don't ya just love the little green filled ones? " Name that movie!?!

The caterpillars made their cocoons on July 15, 16th & 17th. It's amazing how those BIG caterpillars tucked themselves into these relatively small cocoons.

Last night, August 5th, our first moth emerged from the 1st cocoon. He was beautiful! We know it's a he because his antenae are all extra feathery. (Female antenna are rather plain.) We immediately released our new moth outside. After drying off & gaining strength he fluttered off into the search of date with a lady moth. And the cycle will begin again. (As the other 2 cocoons hatch, I'll add more pictures as needed.)

UPDATE: August 8th.... our last 2 moths emerged from their cocoons over night. We discovered a brand new male and female moth this morning. We released them outside where they dried off, gained strength and fluttered away. Hopefully they will meet up with other polphymus moths and the life cycle will continue on.

Here's a couple more pictures.

The female moth (note her plain - nonfluffy antenna) - size compared to Blake's hand.

The 'owl eyes' - a defense against birds or other big bugs. The 'eye's scare away a potential enemy that might be thinking about making the moth a tasty snack.

Cocoon - post moth emerging. A remarkably small container and hole for such a large moth.