Sunday Garden Chat: Monarch of All She Surveys

maryg 14 jul monarch-on-cosmos

From faithful commentor MaryG:

There have always been a lot of Monarch butterflies around here, passing through to and from Mexico, I guess. For the last ten years there have almost always been five or six of them in the yard at a time almost year-round. This spring they seemed to vanish almost entirely. I saw a single one maybe three times total from January-May. In June, though, we finally saw more butterflies and in bigger groups, even back to five or six. I have been trying to get photos and had hundreds of blurred pictures on the SD card. I had given up for the day and was going back into the house when I saw a solo feeding on some cosmos in the driveway. Every time I pushed the button, he would fold up his wings and disappear. So frustrating! I thought I had missed another chance, but when I came in and looked, there were 74 shots of a closed-up butterfly but two good ones with open wings I hadn’t even realized I had captured. Hurray! So nice to have them back. According to the Internet, this one is a female because there are no pheromone sacs on the lower half of the butterfly’s wings.

I bought milkweeds seeds but was told they are better planted in the fall here so I got some bare-root plants from Michigan. Most of them died in the shock of moving from snow to Santa-Ana-wind 99 degrees and 6 percent humidity, but one survived. Last week I was encouraged that the leaves were starting to look ragged and hoped it was because caterpillars were eating them. Yesterday there was nothing left of the plant but its stem. Can caterpillars move?

maryg 14 jul strawberries-and-tomato

maryg 14 jul green-tomatoes1

Tons of green tomatoes are waiting to ripen.

maryg 14 jul first-peach

The low-chill peach tree is full and they are ripening much earlier than usual.

maryg 14 jul corn1

The blue corn was a disaster, but the Japanese corn has ears with tassels and everything! I have never grown corn before and in the raised bed, it is as high as an elephant’s eye!

I can see the Italian white sunflowers next to the corner of the arbor through the window when I am in bed. I am so lucky.

maryg 14 jul white-sunflowers

Another question for you knowledgeable gardeners: I’ve always taken the lazy-gardener stance that in my yard fungal diseases are something all tomatoes will succumb to, sooner or later (and thank goddess for Serenade, also those of you botanists who recommended it). But I’m noticing this year that the first yellowed, black-spotted leaves are showing up on tomato plants down-drift of the yellowed, black-spotted cherry tree leaves from the yard behind them. I’d never considered the possibility of “cross contamination” between a tree and an annual vine — is this possible, or is it just one of those weather-driven coincidences?

How are things in your gardens this week?

76 replies
  1. 1
    sm*t cl*de says:

    Sometimes I get impatient with the Monarch caterpillars for stripping their habitat bare and condemning themselves all to starve rather than opt for a sustainable population, but at least they have the excuse that they don’t pretend to be intelligent. FWIW, when they’re large enough — the last one or two instars before pupation — you can take them off the milkweeds and put them in a container with sliced raw pumpkin, and they will (reluctantly) survive on that instead.

    We have milkweeds here in the South Pacific because the milkweed kapok was used for packing purposes during 18th-century shipping (and also for sleeping-bag insulation).

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Love the Monarchs, and am glad to hear they’re beginning to return. You may know that Rosalynn Carter is spearheading efforts for schools, communities and individuals to set up “butterfly stations” throughout North America. Friends of mine in Kingston, Ontario are championing these efforts in Canada.

    As for today, I admit I’ve been dreading July 13th just because it was such an awful day for Balloon Juice a year ago (we learned about General Stuck in the morning, and then Tunch in the afternoon). I still miss them both, as, I imagine, do most Juicers. Remembering both with love, and looking forward to a nice summer Sunday in Atlanta.

    But for now, I’m going to try to snag a couple of hours more sleep. Stupid insomnia.

  3. 3
    Betty Cracker says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Wow, it’s been a year already, huh? Damn. Right there with you on the stupid insomnia thing. I should try to snag an hour or two of sleep myself. The dogs will be bouncing all over me at sunup, clamoring for a trip to the dog park. Le sigh…

  4. 4
    Amir Khalid says:

    I too had quite forgotten the anniversary, for the General and Tunch. May they rest in peace, both of them.

    Just last month we were having a sudden population boom in tropical swallowtail moths here in Malaysia. They’re brown and big, with a six-inch wingspan. They’d sometimes gather in huge flocks, and in the morning you’d have masses of dead ones to clear away.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @Amir Khalid: Things you learn on balloon juice, thanks. I enjoyed the part when the reporter said not to worry, the moths are not poisonous but they can cause skin irritation and breathing problems.

    rip Stuck and Tunch.

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    In memory of Stuck and Tunch.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    JPL says:

    @raven: Nice picture.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    That’s gorgeous!

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: very nice. a real wall hanger.

  11. 11
    satby says:

    @raven: Great shot!

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Gorgeous!

  13. 13
    satby says:

    I planted milkweed and passed out extra seeds to my neighbors with a flyer about how important the plants were to the butterflies, and I have noticed milkweed growing around, but don’t think I’ve seen a single monarch at all this year. To be honest though, the mosquitoes are so overwhelming that I barely stay outside. Normally I spend the entire evening out on my deck, this year so far it’s been impossible.

    Edited to add: can’t believe it’s been a year! RIP Stuck and Tunch, never forgotten!

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    Here’s a canna lily the mister is growing:


    He’s growing both yellow and red ones. We’ve got tons of butterflies, but I’m not sure I’ve seen a Monarch so far this year. Loads and loads of butterflies of the Gulf Fritillary and Zebra Longwing varieties, though.

  15. 15
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @raven: I was going to comment on how beautiful Anne’s pictures are, but this one blew me away.

  16. 16
    debbie says:

    When I moved back to Ohio in 1995, I could watch the Monarch migration outside my 4th floor window. They often stopped to rest on the brick wall. It’s been years since I’ve seen one anywhere around here.

  17. 17
    Josie says:

    @raven: That is so beautiful.

  18. 18
    Karla says:

    I have some milkweeds that appeared to die the year they were transplanted, but they came back the next year and have been robust since.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: It is a great picture! It also brings me back…

    All I could think was do do do do do do do do do – Batman!!!!!!

  20. 20
    WaterGirl says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: It think those photos are from Mary G.

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: My life was chaos last year after the tree hit my house on may 31, it was like my old life stopped the second the tree hit and had been replaced by a whole different life. I don’t think I was on BJ twice in the 6 weeks after the tree, but for some reason I sat down on July 13th to look at Balloon Juice.

    The first thing I saw was John’s post about Tunch, which hit me like a ton of bricks. Then I read about Stuck, and more tears were rolling down my cheeks

    I don’t think it was coincidence that led me to BJ that day, and I was grateful that I could at least be grieving with Cole and all of you instead of finding out about it months later when my life finally got back to normal.

  22. 22
    satby says:

    @Karla: Last year I bought “butterfly weed” from a garden center and when I realized it was milkweed, which I used to hate before I learned how valuable it is to monarchs, I tried to rip it out. Actually, I thought I had ripped it out, but it came back double this year, and now I know to leave it. Even planted more. I’m learning to love it ;)
    Very durable weed I think.

  23. 23
    satby says:

    I would love to have a lazy day puttering in my small garden beds, but I have 100 little bridal shower gift soaps to make.

    The chipmunks in residence under the deck have decimated the blue potatoes I was growing in a potato bag anyway, and I never got a single strawberry because they snatched all of them while they were still green. I need to get some strong repellent to see if I can at least get a few tomatoes out of my plants. But I have a bumber crop of onions, evidently they don’t like those.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Shared grief, like shared joy, is very powerful. And this is a great community for that.

    I’m glad your life is back to normal — in fact, I hope it’s even better than it was before the tree fell.

  25. 25
    gelfling545 says:

    After some serious rainfall in the past week my tomatoes are starting to set fruit. I’ve noticed that for whatever reason (winter snow cover, cool spring, lots of rainfall, wishes from the good fairy, whatever) my perennial plants are about twice their usual size this year. Also, while the spring flowers were late, the summer/autumn stuff is blooming early. I’m so confused.
    I’ve seen a lot more butterflies this year than I have in a very long time. Probably not coincidentally, I see that many folks in the neighborhood are doing interesting stuff with their front gardens while still keeping the back in grass for the kids’ swing set or whatever. I’m enjoying seeing what plain folks, not landscape architects, are doing with their little plots.

  26. 26
    satby says:

    @WaterGirl: I think we had speculated about Stuck being gone at that point, but the shock of the Tunch post was incredible.

  27. 27
    Betty Cracker says:

    @satby: That’s my recollection as well. I felt like I’d been walloped upside the head when I read the first sentence of Cole’s post about Tunch. It was so horrifying that it just didn’t seem possible.

    My husband was there when I read it, and he thought I’d received some terrible personal news at first. When I tried to explain, he didn’t understand how I could be so devastated by the loss of a cat I never met. But how can you explain what Tunch meant to his legions of fans? He was our floofy mascot.

  28. 28
    satby says:

    @Betty Cracker: This! It was so sad, and yet the only people who would understand were the other BJers. But I hope our shared grief was a small bit of consolation to John at the time.

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    We had been wondering and speculating about Stuck for a while. Someone (don’t remember which commenter it was) did a bit of detective work, and then John was able to confirm through a priest or funeral director or someone in the family that the man we knew as General Stuck had died, I think several days or even weeks earlier. But confirmation came, and we learned about it, I think late morning or early afternoon on the 13th. I remember thinking at the time, wow, how many blog hosts would go to that trouble for an occasional, albeit highly valued, commenter? And we were all so worried about Charlie, and glad to learn that he had found a good home.

    Then several hours later — late afternoon, early evening — came the devastating news about Tunch. I still have trouble thinking about that without tearing up, and that first news was just a balled fist to the gut.

    And then came the news that George Zimmerman had been acquitted….

    That was one fucked-up day. July 13, 2013. Go away and never come back.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    He was our floofy mascot.

    Still is, still is.

  32. 32
    Pogonip says:

    I’ve seen 2 monarchs this year. I hope they were one of each sex and got together to make more monarchs.

    Also, in my little patch of the Great Lakes region, I’m seeing a dead robin or two about every other day. Anywhere and everywhere. With the neighborhood hip-deep in feral cats, dead birds usually don’t stay around long enough to be noticed, but these remain untouched. Is anyone aware of a disease outbreak among robins this year?

  33. 33
    danielx says:

    Gardens are okay, though I am still trying to improve the condition of/keep alive a river birch which is about a third dead. Heavy watering, iron supplement/fertilizer (ironite) and so forth….it does seem to be losing fewer leaves, but even so it’s getting kind of discouraging. More fertilizer (12-12-12) today, so here’s hoping for some more visible improvement.

    Now about cats. News flash: cats are bad patients. Our boy Eric, who has become famous in the local veterinary community for surviving a pit bull attack, is not doing well. Had to go back in for IV fluids Friday night due to low glucose levels, and was doing better when we picked him up. He has a Fentanyl patch, but still is something less than comfortable, been peeing in his kitty bed, etc, with lots of howling when we move him, although he did drag himself into his litter box and back out of it. He had no interest whatsoever in a bowl of water or plate of tuna, but managed to get through the cat door and out to the garage and thence to the front door walk on his own, who knows why. And trying to get him to eat or drink requires administering sugar water and his antibiotics from a syringe. Typical session:

    Human: come on, buddy, let’s get some water and get your bed cleaned up.
    Cat: fuck you!
    Human: we need to get you your medicine, after we get you some water so you can swallow.
    Cat: fuck you!
    Human: how about some tuna, fed to you by hand?
    Cat: fuck you sideways, twice! Lemme alone!

    Got to get him to eat somehow, but he doesn’t seem to want anything. Vet says that if a cat doesn’t eat for three days, it’s pretty much all over, and he hasn’t eaten since Weds evening except for a little tuna yesterday….getting discouraging.

  34. 34
    Anoniminous says:

    “cross contamination” between a tree and an annual vine — is this possible, or is it just one of those weather-driven coincidences?

    It is possible and wind is one of the primary ways plant pathogens use to find a host.

  35. 35
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Betty Cracker: I can’t believe it’s been a year. I was visiting family and just peaked at B-J before we sat down to dinner. I couldn’t even try to explain to everyone why I was so teary-eyed. I couldn’t even eat.

  36. 36
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @danielx: There is a high nutrient paste that you can often get them to lick off their nose and even get in their mouth without too much trouble. It’s gooey enough that they have no choice but to lick it off. It can bridge the gap until they feel well enough to eat. Sending you good thoughts.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Oh, I really am sorry to learn this. I hope he perks up and regains his appetite very soon. If it is not to be, may he have a gentle and painless transition, in the sure knowledge that he has been loved.

  38. 38
    stinger says:

    @raven: Wow!

  39. 39
    Betty Cracker says:

    @danielx: Poor kitty. Here’s a second rec for that gooey paste TaMara mentioned. A friend of mine used that technique to revitalize an ailing kitty — worked like a charm.

  40. 40
    max says:

    cross-contamination is entirely possible – the great thing for killing fungus is sunlight. Mushrooms don’t survive in direct sunlight and this form shouldn’t, either. The great thing for growing fungus is too much water. So, tons of fungi should mean too little sunlight, too much water, and a source of infection. The sunlight cooks off the water and the UV staerilizes it.

    (You can always farm mushrooms! :-) Also, this tablet sucks for typing.)

    Resquiat en pace, O Rotund One. You too, Stuck.

    [‘The deer came along and ate my ready-to-ripen tomatoes. Jerks.’]

  41. 41
    sacrablue says:

    @danielx: I’m struggling with two sick cats at the moment, both who had been refusing food and water. The vet has administered fluids for them and they have been prescribed an appetite stimulant, mirtazapine. It has definitely helped Mikey, too soon to tell for BugBear. I’ve cooked chicken, cod and shrimp with limited success. I bought some Royal Canin Selective 31 Aromatic attractant dry food on Friday. It was a huge hit. Everybody ate some. Best of luck to you and Eric. I’m so happy he has survived.

  42. 42

    @danielx: My orange kitteh had sworn off food and drink last year due to a bowel obstruction because of hairballs in her gut. I made a slurry of the high protein paste and homemade yogurt and would use a syringe to feed her. She hated it but being a gentle soul she never retaliated like I almost certain my boss cat would have.
    The vet would also give her fluids through an IV.
    Good luck, I hope your kitteh boy makes it.

  43. 43
    Amir Khalid says:

    I just love The Guardian‘s live blogs. Today they’ve dug up a YouTube video from David Hasselhoff. The dude has more fans in Germany than in America, so I can understand him being a Germany supporter today. But sheesh, couldn’t the Hoff at least learn to say viel Glück properly? The pronunciation is not “veal glook”.
    ETA: And that looks like A&W rootbeer in his Bierseidel, not echtes Deutsches Bier.

  44. 44

    I have a post up about a sweet and sour drink made from green mangoes, if you are tired of lemonade and want to try something different.

  45. 45
    J R in WV says:

    Garednwise, our sole Monkshood plant bloomed for the first year. They kinds of hang on out there, without ever really thriving, may be a little too shady for them. But it came back and bloomed this year, so maybe we just need to plant a few more in that corner.

    Walking over to the shop, which is like 150 yards from the house, yesterday, I spotted a peculiarly blue-green foliage laying out about 3 feet from end to end. Mrs JR said that’s the Rainbow Moss I tried to get going over by the steps that died. Figures that a dropped potful of the stuff would take root and do well right by a parking place we use a lot. Miracle it didn’t get driven over! No sign of it where she planted a bunch last year…

    Here directly I’m gonna make a brunch of cornmeal pancakes with fresh blueberries. We got auite a few by not noticing half a big box and buying a little box Friday… not enough for a pie or crisp or anything like that, so lots of pancakes is the answer! Fried in butter, drenched with maple syrup.

    Life is good today. So much better than last year!

    RIP everyone…

  46. 46

    I replied to your comment from the now dead late night thread about the Marigold Hotel:

    I loved the British cast but they could not rescue the movie for me. The less said about the Indian characters and the actors who portrayed them the better. Maggie Smith’s transformation did not seem plausible either.
    Just like you can’t bury people anywhere you want, you can’t cremate people any where you want either. They got a lot of details, both major and minor, about India wrong and because of that I could not enjoy the movie. I had similar problems with Slumdog Millionaire.

    As for English language movies set in India are concerned Mira Nair is among the few directors, whose movies don’t make me yell at the TV screen in exasperation when I am watching them.

  47. 47
    J R in WV says:

    @J R in WV:

    Gerrrr, no edit button! The Rainbow Moss is actually a fern that has a blue-green tint that is really striking. Mrs found it in the back corner of one of her favorite garden centers… hoping to be able to transplant lots of it next spring or so!

  48. 48
    currants says:

    MaryG, thank you for the wonderful pictures! I love your strawberry containers (much more elegant than my re-purposed resin olive barrel), and the idea of planting corn in a raised bed would never have occurred to me….so now I’ll have to think about that for next year.

  49. 49
    currants says:

    @Anoniminous: oh….my. That makes complete sense (and is really useful to know).

  50. 50
    satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: How about some specific recommendations?
    I loved Best Exotic, but then I’m not from India.

  51. 51

    @satby: I loved Monsoon Wedding. The Namesake was good too, especially when the focus was on Irfan Khan and Tabu’s characters, I found Kal Penn’s character excessively whiny.

    ETA: Gurinder Chadda’s Bend it Like Beckham was light and enjoyable too.

  52. 52

    @satby: Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding and Gurinder Chadda’s Bend it Like Beckham.

  53. 53
    danielx says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Is this high protein paste available from a Petco or whatever, or is it a prescription item?

  54. 54
    kc says:

    Great pic!

  55. 55
    Betsy says:

    @danielx: I’m really sorry about your kitty.

    The last thing you want is advice about your river birch, but I would def lay off the fertilizer. Iron is prob OK. Make sure the soil is acid enough. 5.5 is good. Water enough and leave it alone, they do drop leaves when heat and water stressed. They easily come back after what seems like catastrophic leaf drop, if the twigs are still green when scratched. If there are green leaves at the tips, it will be OK.

    In more important things: I hope your kitty pulls through.

  56. 56
    Newdealfarmgrrrlll says:

    RIP Tunch. Even tho I’m mostly a lurker, the news left me weepy.

    As for milkweed … check with local native plant nurseries. Up here in Minnesota, I use Prairie Moon Nursery which ships seed and plants all over the country. There are all kinds of native milkweeds (search “Asclepius”). I have finally got the common milkweed (Asclepius syriaca) established in my yard, as well as swamp milkweed (Asclepius incarnata). I ordered three more types of milkweed seed from Prairie Moon, can hardly wait til they germinate! A handy thing about Prairie Moon’s website is that each plant has a range map so you can see if it is native to your area or not.

    This year I’ve only seen occasional solitary monarchs, and no caterpillars :( and yes, caterpillars can move pretty darn fast when they’re motivated. Especially when instinct tells them it is time to form a chrysalis and they’re looking for a hidden & protected spot.

  57. 57
    kc says:


    Aw, poor guy. I’m sorry to hear that.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne (iPad Mini) says:


    IIRC, you get it from the vet, but pretty much any meat paste without onions will work in a pinch. Warm it up in the microwave a little (but not too hot) and it will smell better to him.

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I adored Bend It Like Beckham! And I’m pretty sure that film was my introduction to Keira Knightley. I will have to watch it again — it’s been years.

  60. 60
    JaneE says:

    @danielx: We have a cat that is ailing, too. The vet had an A/D Science Diet wet food that she does eat (after not eating for 3 days). It is very soft mush, and can be diluted with water to a slurry for syringe feeding if you need to. It is also supposed to be a high calorie nutrient dense food. Expensive – over $2.00 a can. It is very “stinky” for a cat food, which cats like. Our cats also like the water from regular cans of tuna – you can put a little of the meat in and make it a slurry also. It is high sodium, so I your cat is not drinking water, just use the canned food. If the cat is weak enough, syringe feeding is not that difficult. If they are strong enough to keep you from getting food down them it is a good sign.

  61. 61
    wenchacha says:

    I love the scent of the milkweed flowers, so I have been growing them for quite a few years. I have yet to see any eggs, or chrysalises, and probably not any Monarchs, either. It’s usually too hot and steamy for me to linger outdoors in the summer, but I keep searching through the grove of sweetly fragrant milkweed plants.

    Does anyone in WNY see Monarchs beyond the school-grown ones the children set free?

  62. 62 says:

    Mary…I’m an avid lurker in these parts, but just HAD to make a quick comment on this subject. My son and DIL are in town for my birthday weekend, and I have to get ready for my public. From my scant reading on the subject, the milkweed needs to be seeds that are collected from locally grown stock. I live in the beautiful Rogue Valley, and we have a local man that is the Johnny Appleseed of milkweed, trying to spead and encourage anyone who wants it, to grow it on their property to save the declining species. I grew up in the Willamette Valley, and visit often to give my sis a break from taking care of my 94 y/o sweet mommy. Off to get ready for some fun with my hippie- preacher-son…yesterday it was Crater Lake…today maybe a winnery if it isn’t too hot. Celebrating my birthday, and him being an Oregonian again after 21 years away, most recently extricating him from TEXASSS!!!

  63. 63
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @danielx: Yes, you can get it at the pet store. It comes in a tube.

  64. 64
    Emerald says:

    Fond memories of General Stuck and Tunchie. I so loved them. They were my very favorite people on BJ except for Cole. I remember noticing that I hadn’t seen anything from Stuck in awhile and I was really worried about him. I so appreciated that Cole put a lot of effort into finding him, even though the news was the worst possible. I also appreciate that he named his new cat “Steve,” which was Stuck’s real name. Most appropriate.

    Tunch will be Tunch forever. He and Stuck still live, for us anyway, in the BJ archives.

    July 13, 2013 was a bad day. Bad.

    Best wishes to your kitteh, danielx. Yes, if he’s fighting you that hard then he’s got plenty of life in him yet.

  65. 65
    Jane2 says:

    @danielx: Having a sick kitty is just so tough….best wishes for his recovery.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @danielx: I really hope the paste works for you. Sometimes they are so weak from not eating that they aren’t interested in food, and it’s just a vicious circle.

    I lost my kitty soulmate to kidney failure nearly 4 years ago. Several weeks before he died we were at the “didn’t eat for 3 days, maybe it’s time” spot. I had tried a million things by then, and nothing had worked. I got it into my head to try one last thing, and it worked! I got some ground hamburger meat and cooked it in a pan with some salt. I didn’t drain the grease, just scooped up some of the greasy cooked ground beef and put it in a bowl and he made this mewing sound I had never heard and he went to work on the ground beef, eating like he was starving.

    Also, if you haven’t already, try some thin sliced ham, that worked like a charm when he wasn’t much in the mood to eat.

    Crossing my fingers for you guys, truly.

  67. 67
    Anne Laurie says:

    @danielx: The folk remedy for cats who don’t want to eat is baby-food strained chicken, the kind that comes in the little jars. It’s like carnivore ice cream, gooey enough that you can let the cat lick it off your finger, or smear it on their mouths, or probably use it in a syringe for that matter. Not a long-term solution, but for an ailing animal it’s food and water…

  68. 68
    Mary G says: I have been reading up and saw that local species are the best. Wooly pod milkweed (Asclepias eriocarpa) seems to be the hot ticket for our area, but I haven’t been able to find plants or seeds so far. I’ll try again in the fall.

    We went up to check out Green Thumb Nursery (thanks, Martin) yesterday and I bought two more milkweed plants. Higgs stuck them on my potting bench when we got home and this morning when I went out there was already a lady monarch laying eggs on them. (She stayed away from the flowers and kept sticking her very swollen abdomen into the corners of branches and stems, so I assumed she was laying eggs, anyway.)

    This attracted a fascinated audience of my cats, who sat on the driveway watching her do this like it was the best movie they had ever seen. Unfortunately, once she finished and was flying around celebrating, she got a little low, and my cat Shiloh, who could play basketball if cats did that, caught her. I yelled and he let her go right away, so I hope she is OK.

  69. 69
    WaterGirl says:

    @Anne Laurie: My kitty flipped me off with the big kitty paw when I tried to give him that chicken baby food stuff.

  70. 70
    Karen in GA says:

    @danielx: Late to this. Keeping Eric in my thoughts. Hoping he pleasantly surprises you and the vet.

  71. 71
    satby says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Ok, loved both of those too. I even liked that cheesy Bollywood -lite movie Marigold, though I never thought for a second it was a realistic portrayal of life in India.

  72. 72
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: @satby: For a throwback movie, check out Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala starring a young Denzel Washington. Yum! Interesting exploration of racial tension too.

    I felt the same way about “Marigold”–it didn’t portray India very accurately. I really enjoyed the British actors–they were such fun to watch–but the story line wasn’t that great and the Indian part was unrealistic. It’s worth seeing just for the acting though.

    I adore “Monsoon Wedding”. Tremendously fun film.

  73. 73
    Cervantes says:

    Anne — Sorry, I did not see your e-mailed question until a few minutes ago. Yes, feel free to use the material as you see fit, in combination with other stuff or not. No special credit needed, your suggested “a commentor” will do. I may have more information tomorrow and, if so, I will send it along or post it.


  74. 74

    @Violet: Love Mississippi Masala. Even the minor characters are well sketched and portrayed. Especially, Mohan Agashe’s character, who quizzes Young Denzel, plying him with tea and being patronizing and borderline racist.

  75. 75
    daverave says:

    I have no garden this year :(
    The drought in the Central Valley (with just twice a week watering) has pretty much taken all of the possibility away. Several 105 degree days in a row will wipe out most anything that depends on water.
    Oh well, I believe that it is occasionally a good idea to let the soil lay fallow for a year. Maybe the damn nematodes will die off. This fall I plan on conditioning some straw bales and will try that style of gardening next spring for the first time.

  76. 76
    bk says:

    We have lots of milkweed and in the fall we’ll have lots of seeds for anyone who wants them.

    I would like to see a nationwide milkweed plantathon before the monarchs are extinct…

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