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Lucas Nursery on Slavia Rd. in Oviedo is a place full of too many choices. There are plants and trees, grass, more plants, bushes, pottery and even chairs and tables.  dsc02886 dsc02768 They

even have live lady bugs for sale! But I was not going for plants at this time of the year. I was going for the butterfly encounter which costs  $7.50, a bit pricey I thought.
I arrived at the encounter just before 60 small children were coming through, and though I was able to take many photos. I didn’t feel like I got my moneys worth as I felt the need to get out of the way as the butterfly rooms are actually not very large and have small pathways, so I spent maybe about a half an hour experiencing the nature. The kids seemed so sweet and eager to learn. And I listened in to their butterfly talk and the children were getting wonderful information by the employees which was an important talk about nature so kids could appreciate the surroundings.  There was also a local photographer inside with his equipment and he was busy focusing on a newly
hatched tiger swallowtail.  dsc02777 He said he sells a lot of butterfly photos. And there were plenty all flitting around. Zebra longwings, monarchs, swallowtails and they had the most adorable petite quails called button quail. resizequail they were way too fast and secretive and did not want to be photographed! I so adored them! The plants were all over showcasing what could be used to appeal to the different butterflies for food and attaching their chrysalis to. dsc02809 The Butterfly encounter had a fantastic gift shop with all sorts of fun gifts and knick knacks. dsc05400
dsc05403 They had large net types of houses to buy and have butterfly encounters of your own.

The nursery itself was busy with people buying. The orchids at the front counters were so enticing, but I am a notorious house plant killer. dsc02881 It was good to finally see this business that has quite the reputation for having a multitude of plant and tree specimans. I can see why people are excited and can only imagine what it looks like when more things are in bloom. Within the Butterfly encounter, it is a slightly heated building so the plants looked vibrant, or maybe it was so alive because of all the colorful pairs of wings darting about.
I was drawn to the luna months which are big and fat and fuzzy and live off their stored fat, therefore, they don’t live long. (sorry, they were enclosed in mesh, so no pics.)  dsc05397 Here’s one of a luna caterpiller.
It was certainly a colorful morning and I took a number of what I thought were good shots. AND fishing was excellent and I caught a bass, but that’s tomorrow’s blog, one day at a time…or was that a soap opera?


There is some serious pupation going on here. Went out this morning to take photos of some cardinals, and as I looked up there was an odd shape dangling from almost the middle of my screen door frame. Upon inspection I found a monarch cocoon. This  small, exquisitely decorated ornament dangled proudly for the sun to catch the light on the tiny gold dots making it sparkle. How lucky to be able to watch it’s progress in plain view.
I have repeatedly told my friend Beda, ( ) that she was so lucky to have monarch pupas. She gets a lot of them. I see the larval stage, but never the chrysalis. So now I get to watch firsthand, the progression of the pupa that should take two weeks.
good source for info:

So I am feeling a bit excited watching my proud dangler. And of course, the updates will be here… Oh, and here is my handsome cardinal!



The monarch caterpillers were out and munching today. They are so fat and fluffy and squirmy I had to hold one. It felt like a marshmallow. I gently put it back on the milkweed. It was hard to tell which was its’ face and which was it’s rear, it could say hello and goodbye from both ends.
Away it went gobbling away, dreaming of the day it’s body would no longer be gravity bound. Dreaming of having elegant wings and taking to the sky to reach the flowers more quickly than the encumbrance of having all those short, stubby legs. Wouldn’t that be fun to wake up one morning with wings! I’d fly to Key West and visit my brother than I would go and find where there was an Aurora Borealis — I have always wanted to see one. Ah the dreams of humans dreaming of being butterflies, it sounds so light and happy!

Sunday started off very foggy, could not see houses across the lake, but by 9am the sun lifted and there was beautiful bird of paradise blooming, and cranes flying in for breakfast. The lake is up over 4 inches since Fay has left weeks ago, it is mucky though and fishing is bad, you have to have a pro ball players arm to get the bait out of the gook near the shoreline.  The big grasshopper did not get fed to the birds or bass, he’s eating my plants somewhere in the garden. Speaking of which, it is full of weeds and overgrown, ah, so much weeding to do, let me go and give it a shot!
Don’t forget to look for more photos at

Today looks better for us so far, hurricane Ike is way south of here and hopefully he will stay that way, EXCEPT, he is headed toward where my brother and his family live and have lived for 25 years, Key West.
I don’t want it to go there either as they are just enjoying their house they had to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina flooded it with 2 feet of water. You don’t hear much about what Katrina did to the Keys, but it was very bad down there too. Though their new house is built up nine feet,  the big worry would be the wind.
They love Key West, my sister-in-law and neice will get out of the way of the storm, but not my salty dog little brother. He will stay and hunker down, (or up in his case) and try and weather it out. I am hoping it will have down graded at that point to a Cat. 0ne from passing over Cuba. We have about 36 hours to see what will happen.
The other pictures were my happy wake up flying things this morning. The cranes were happily sitting down over looking the lakes, the white heron was a wonderful unexpected surprise and so many butterflies
are all over. Everyone has told me that they have lots of variaties coming through their yards.
The water level is up which is good because in another 6 weeks that will be about the topper for the winter months. At least so far we have a decent level in comparison to last year at this time. These tropical systems are certainly helping us recover from drought, but some places around here are still too wet. Homes still underwater. Let’s hope that the wings for Sunday include a fast moving Ike that weakens and does not do too much more damage to the people and property it decides to land upon. I feel fortunate that the hurricane shutters can stay in the garage and we can look out at the bright sunshine and breathe a sigh of relief, at least I hope this thing does not come back to bite us….

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