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Lavender Fields Forever

Last fall, we took a trip to a local U-Pick lavender farm. It was their last weekend before closing for the season so we could pick an entire basket for $5. They also grow rows of flowers & we could mix & match our basket.

It was a lovely time. We enjoyed watching the bees buzz-ily gathering supplies for the cooler weather.

We also took a lot of lovely photos & got this recipe for Lavender Lemonade.

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Lavender Lemonade
A refreshing lavender lemonade, perfect for a hot summer day, or as a unique potluck contribution.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 cups water, divided
  2. 1 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons dried lavender blossoms
  4. 1 cup lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups of water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Remove from the heat; add lavender blossoms.
  3. Let stand at least one hour.
  4. Strain to remove lavender blossoms.
  5. Stir in remaining water and lemon juice, adding more water depending on taste.
  6. Serve over ice.
Notes
  1. Make sure your lavender flowers have not been sprayed with pesticides.
When The Bee Stings http://whenthebeestings.com/

Google Maps Turns Disneyland Map in a PAC-MAN Game!

For April Fool’s Day 2015, Google Maps built a game that turns their maps into a PAC-MAN game!

Infest Disneyland with PAC-MAN ghosts & race down Main Street to devour them by looking up Disneyland on Google Maps, zooming in a bit, then center the park on the right half of the screen. Then click the square at the bottom, to turn the map into your very own Disneyland PAC-MAN game!

Google Maps PAC-MAN Disneyland Map
I’m hoping Google will allow us to play this even after April Fool’s Day.

Ladybug Metamorphosis Photo Essay

We were so lucky to have a large ladybug hatch in our yard. I spotted their larva munching on some weeds we were about to pull & we watched them like a hawk for weeks.

Would you recognize this as a ladybug larva? It looks quite alien, no? 

ladybug larva

After they get their fill, the larvae find something to attach themselves to & enter the pupal stage. In this photo, you can see the larval legs up top & the newly forming leg buds of the ladybird beetles final shape. The segments on the very bottom are actually going to form the beetles’ face. The ladybug pupa completely turns around inside in its metamorphosis! 

Ladybug Pupa 1

Here, you can see the ladybug pupa’s permanent legs growing & darkening. Also notice what was the larval skin is shriveling.

Ladybug Pupa 3

The pupa’s face gets darker as it changes.

Ladybug Pupa 2

Happy birthday, ladybug! The ladybug emerges from its shed pupal skin. There’s some neat metamorphosis vocabulary about this stage. The adult ladybug still in its pupal case is called a “pharate”. The shed pupal case (the larva’s skin!) is called the “exuvia”. The verb for coming out of the pupal case is “eclose”.

Ladybug Metamorphosis 2

Ladybug Metamorphosis 3

Ladybug Metamorphosis

Shortly after the pharate adult has eclosed (using those new words!), its elytra (fore wings) are soft & light yellow. And no spots!

Ladybug Soft Wings

Ladybug Newly Emerged

Like the majority of beetles, adult ladybugs have two sets of wings. They do not fly with the wings that we can see. The elytra are hard wing-coverings for their delicate true wings (hind wings). Now the ladybug has to stretch out its hind wings until the blood in the veins dry & harden permanently.

Did you know ladybugs had these hidden wings? You rarely see them unless they’re in flight!

Ladybug Drying Wings

The ladybug is getting harder & darker & spots are appearing.

Ladybug Spots Forming

Almost done! The ladybird beetle is now dark orange, and on its way to turning dark red as the elytra continue to harden. We took this ladybug outside & it flew away, off to eat over 5,000 aphids in its life!

Ladybug Turning Red

Passing Each Other in the Hall

I had a good dream about my brother, finally.

It wasn’t a dream that had a plot, or really made much sense, but it was the feeling of the dream that was good.

We were traveling, my husband & kids & I. We were in a hotel & the hotel room was full of the bustling commotion that comes when everyone’s getting ready for a day in an exciting new city. They were chattering & happy.

I stepped out the hotel room door, into the hall. The hall was full of this sunny orange light. It was warm & cheery.

There was my brother! Coming toward me down the hotel’s hallway.

He was younger & happy & moving so confidently & giving me that look he had when he’d see us again after a long time apart. The look that made you feel brilliant & loved but also a little like meeting your hero. You want to impress! You want to make him think you’re the most clever & cool person in the entire universe! But you know that even though you’re only reasonably clever & occasionally cool, he loves you so much & thinks the world of you.

He’s moving towards me & I’m filled with the same Kid Sister feeling I felt every single time I ever saw my brother. I’m gleeful & nervous/excited.

He smiles at me & hugs me, but he doesn’t really stop moving. He says “I’m sorry, but I really have to be somewhere, to get something done. But we’ll get together & we’ll go see the town.”

My brother moved off down the hall, and like for so much of my life, I watched him move on without me.

 

 

But in my dream & even now, I believe him. I believe that we’ll be together again, in the warm sunny light, happy in the excitement of a trip, as we’re lacing up our shoes for a day together in exciting new place.