Sunday, August 26, 2012

Off Topic: That Was the Week It Was - August 26, 2012

Good Sunday morning to you! Since it's Sunday morning, it's time for my weekly off television topic reflection on the week gone by in both words and photographs I've taken. If you're looking for the latest on Big Brother, you can see all of those posts using this link. I'll be writing up the overnight events soon. If you want to stick around, feel free to do so. If you're not interested, I totally understand.

The weather has been what summer should be instead of tropical. But we really can't forget (in this area) that we're coming up on the anniversary of the Hurricane Irene hit. Last year I was recovering from my knee surgery and, other than being without power for a few days, the hurricane didn't personally affect me so much after the waters on my street receded. I hope this hurricane season goes easy on everyone. 

A side thought -- who was the genius who planned the Republican Convention in Florida at what's usually the height of the hurricane season? Duh!

Although we've had little rain this past week, the mosquitos are out and about. I haven't been bit by one for a good ten years locally (in the Outer Banks last year, I was their daily meal), then a bite on the wrist a few weeks back. Now, in one evening, I have a bite below the elbow and one on my butt. Yes, you read that right! I seem to be having really bad reactions to the bites as far as inflammation and swelling go. Not cool. It's like I have a second elbow! And ...

"Does this mosquito bite make my butt look big?"

Couple that with the fact that I saw a dead bird on the sidewalk by the Union County College Campus, I'm leery of the mosquitos. Supposedly, dead birds can be indicative of West Nile Virus. This bird didn't look like it suffered any trauma from an automobile or hawk. I was on my way to the train station and hope that, since it's a college, they had it tested. Since there has been nothing in the news, I'm guessing they just threw it away or did have it tested and it tested negative. No, I'm not feeling ill. I'm fine. I just have a second elbow on my right arm and a big butt.

Other than that, it's been life as usual -- work, BB live feeds reports, sleep very little, eat (probably more than I should), rinse and repeat. For some reason, most of my photos are bugs this week. They gave me the best fodder. I met two different butterflies in the same spot two days in a row, thus I have two butterfly series in this post. 

Eastern Swallowtail 2
Eastern Swallowtail

I met this male Eastern Swallowtail butterfly yesterday on my way to work. I know it's a male as it has very little blue on the wings. Yes, I Googled them. Bridgewater, NJ.

Monarch Butterfly 2

The day before (Friday), I met a Monarch butterfly in just about the same spot on the same bush. 


Monarch Butterfly 5
Closing wings

Monarch Butterfly 4
Wings closed

Monarch Butterfly 3
Cooperating with the paparazzi

Monarch Butterfly 1
Hanging in there

Eastern Swallowtail 4
Not as cooperative with the paparazzi

He kept moving! A man in a car was watching me take the photos. Heh.

Eastern Swallowtail 3
Looking majestic

Eastern Swallowtail 1
Hiding behind a leaf

I'm pretty, too! Aren't I? Aren't I?

Just after I left the Monarch butterfly on Friday, this little moth buzzed me and landed on the leaves nearby.

Hello there
Here's lookin' at ya!

Perhaps not as pretty, but isn't that face way cool? This is a large carpenter bee in the same bushes as the butterflies. While they're HUGE, they aren't aggressive at all.

Carpenter bee
I ain't no butterfly!

Another view of a carpenter bee.

I ain't no carpenter, I'm a honey!

A honey bee got into the photo shoot, too. Again, not really aggressive unless threatened. Mind you ... I really dislike yellow jackets! They're an example of aggressive!

Carpenter bees
Carpenters at work

Early morning
Sunrise is coming later

The days are getting noticeably shorter. I'm catching just after sunrise when I leave home in the mornings for work. Last evening, my later day at work, it was just about dusk as I returned home around 8pm. Plainfield, NJ.

Orchard spider - Tuesday

I've also been keeping up on the orchard spider. I Googled her, too. It's a Venusta Orchard Spider, a long-jawed orb-weaver. I will call her Venus. Anyway, I know at least one tiny spider came out of the ever-changing egg sac last week, but she's still working on it daily. It looked like this on Tuesday.

Orchard spider - Thursday

By Thursday, Venus had reinforced the whole thing. She was spinning (?) gobs of spider silk, balling it up, then adding it to the sac. Fascinating. Bridgewater, NJ.

Weed flower
Weed blossom

Chicory blossom
Chicory down low

They mowed the grounds at the Plainfield Train Station, but many chicory blossoms survived the poor job they did.

The End
The End

Vincent does comfort very well, doesn't he?

How was your week?


Palmaltas said...

Love, love the photos, Jackie. We had a "pet" spider named Charlotte who spun her web near the entrance to our house. We left her alone and she lived there happily (I hope) for many months. Then the new yard men came and Charlotte and her web disappeared.

Jackie said...

Venus is between a tall chain link fence and the tree that had the fuzzy fungi. No one really goes there. I take the photos through the fence. Up in the field of geese, they set up fireworks for the ball park. But I doubt a human has been in that one little patch for decades. So she's safe from people, at least. And, I can monitor her progress.

Russ said...

Astoundingly good photography, as usual! You are the only person I know who can capture the facial expressions on insects...

Anonymous said...


We have problems sometimes with mosquitoes and West Nile here in California. It can be quite serious potentially if you have been exposed. There are blood tests, better safe than sorry?

JOEY said...

Jackie,Great photos as always, you are really good at that.
Your 'does this bite make my butt look big"was really funny. We have them very bad now too.
We are getting prepared for the storm coming to fla and hope it stay in the gulf, we are not sure if we will be able to see the show dues to the storm but we are so thankful for my trusty laptop and your blog to help us keep inform.
Thank you for all you do.
we love all of you and hope you all stay safe as well.
looking forward to the funny posts most of you have.
Thank you

meb said...

BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHY Jackie! Even the spider ones. Of course Vincent is always welcomed.


Judy said...

Jackie, I have been asking the same question about the choice of Tampa for the Convention. Tampa floods when it's just a tropical storm!

I hate to mention it, but sometimes those big, red, reactive bites are from spiders - they tend to swell and grow more than mosquito bites. Tea Tree Oil works wonders for me...

Thanks, as always, for your blog.