Over the weekend the outside overnight temps dropped into the forties. Since inside heating/cooling system was still on the summer setting, Renee and I woke up to a house with a temp in low sixties. Instead of coming into my room and jumping up on my bed as usual, Renee snuggled deep into her pillows and warm blanket on the sofa in the living room. When I got up, I added her winter sweater and she spent the rest of the morning snoozing in warmth until the furnace started sending up heat.
It’s time for me to continue my visit to the Saint Louis Zoo and the ZOO PARENTS PICNIC OF 2014 with my own family. I arrived from the north entrance, so my first stop was to the INSECTORIUM. I had planned on visiting there in August right before the heat wave hit us. But it really was too hot to venture out into the broiling sun and into the park back then. Friday, however, was jacket wearing weather and I briskly walked down to the insectorium and big, bad bug that guards its door.
There are more than 300,000 species of beetles, and I have no idea which one posed for this sculpture. A good guess would be one of several possible species of rhino beetles. The insectorium has a double set of sliding doors that keep the outside bugs from becoming inside bugs. And if you have and aversion to big, hairy bugs … move quickly past the next photo.
And this one, too!
Hopefully, you can see him in the picture.
Then next exhibit was a wall-sized display featuring the insects of the south west.I passed on putting my eye up the eye-hole of the skull of the long departed bovine just to see what the Red Backed Darkling Beetle looked like. You never know what can jump out of the eye-socket of a long dead cow.
And my favorite … THE OWL EYED BUTTERFLY! This extra-large sized butterfly appears to have the eye of an owl on the underside of its wings, and when flying it looks like an owl which scares anything that would prey on it. I’ve simulated this by putting two pictures of the undersides together to give you an idea how this looks.
Here’s the full-sized photo of one side.
And you know what kids do when they meet a giant beetle on which they can climb! Featuring great-nephew and niece Jake and Nichole.
COME BACK TOMORROW FOR PART THREE – OUR JOURNEY ALONG THE RIVER’S EDGE.
FEARLESS LUKE AND THE GOLDEN COBRA
LITTLE LUKE AND THE BIG HIPPO AND LITTLE FISHES
THE LITTLE GOAT GIRL NAMED NICHOLE
JAKE AND NICHOLE THE CLIMBING COUSINS
See, you don’t need a lot of words when you have cute kids!
In case you don’t recognize it, that is BUSH HONEYSUCKLE and it is destroying my beautiful yew hedges. It is a sneaky invasive plant that is quickly taking over cultivated plants, shrubs and trees across the Saint Louis area. Sneaky, because it sets its roots in the center of an established hedge and slowly grows unnoticed by the hedge owner until it bursts out into the open with blossom laden tendrils waving to the sky.
This is a young tree that has been totally encapsulated by this noxious alien WEED!
And they’re everywhere … EVERYWHERE across the city scape because residents don’t recognize it as an alien menace. All they see is the innocent white blossoms looking like hands folded in prayer.
They’re not praying, people! They’re aliens! And they’re preying on our struggling native plants. Stop the invasion NOW!
They eat the aliens down to their roots!
Yes, boys and girls, I managed to survive yet another birthday last weekend. And only a couple of the cards I received commented on my impending senility.What I was not expecting was a surprise birthday party in my honor given my family. I was expecting a small family gathering to celebrate all of the family birthdays that occur during the month of September … (there happen to be four of them) … and I was enlisted to make a batch of my baked mini-mostaccioli. So I got up at seven in the morning and began making twenty pounds of Italian delights. (I know that sounds strange for someone with German, Polish and French grandparents, but then my DNA analysis says my ancestry is 75% Scandinavian. Guess they might have been Italian Scandinavians.)
And I realized that something was up! And once inside, it was verified when I discovered the house was full of three odd generations of my family. OMG! Would 20-pounds of Baked Mini-mostaccioli be enough?
It was very impressive! And my six-year old grand nephew Jake built me a cute little birdhouse.
A special thanks to all my loving family. OMG, I just realized that I’m the official patriarch of this bunch of crazies.
Yes, yesterday was that time again! And yes, I’ll admit it … I’m growing older!
And that kid hanging on the fence wasn’t even invited to the party.
Over the years, I’ve collected a list of famous and/or infamous people who also were born on September 5. From the high-born King Louis XIV of France (aka. The Sun King), Freddie Mercury, Jesse James, Michael Keaton, Raquel Welch, Bob Newhart, Jack Daniel, George Lazenby, Dwezzil Zappa, John Cage, Carol Lawrence, Werner Herzog, Bill Mazeroski, Jack Valenti, Loudon Wainwright III, and also me. Only one person on the list was born on the same day and year as I was though
As a Virgo born on September 5th, we are known for our great organization skills and will power. Even in hectic situations that would overwhelm others, we can always find a way to bring control and order. Our skills become especially evident in group settings, where our understanding of others allows us to naturally take on the leadership role. When dealing with challenges that we find particularly important, our friends and family are amazed at our ability to do whatever necessary to get the job done. I also doubt if anyone on the list is very humble.
And yes, I am no longer thirty-nine, but to borrow a few song lyrics from Bob Merrill …
The Moon has a few new wrinkles
It shines a bit more silver now than gold
I’m stayin’ young, I’m stayin’ young
But everything around me’s growin’ old
The house has the creaks and trembles
And winter leaves her shiverin’ from cold
I’m stayin’ young, I’m stayin’ young
It’s wonderful the way I hold my own
When everything surrounding me has grown so old