Thursday, March 26, 2009

Phishing in Phrench

Now I'm getting phished for in languages I don't even understand:

Subject: S'il vous plaît rétablir votre compte d'accès

Chers membres PayPal: Attention Votre compte PayPal a ete limite !

Dans le cadre de nos mesures de securite, Nous verifions regulierement l'activite de l'ecran PayPal.
Nous avons demande des informations a vous pour la raison suivante:

Notre systeme a detecte que votre compte PayPal utuliser sur plusieurs adresses ip differentes que la votre,nous avons essaye de vous contactez sur votre mobile sauf que vous etiez injoignable.apparament vous etes victime de fraude internet.

Numero de Reference: DK-129-158-XN (Tentative de fraude)
gardez cette references.

C'est le dernier rappel pour vous connecter a PayPal, le plus tot possible.

Une fois que vous serez connecter. PayPal vous fournira des mesures pour retablir l'acces a votre compte.

une fois connecte, suivez les etapes pour activer votre compte .et veuillez marquer un numero de telephone valide,car des que nous receverons vos informations l'un de nos agents vous appelera pour verifier avec vous les dernieres utulisations de votre carte de credit.Si vous constatez le moindre defauts sa sera pris en compte et vous serez rembourser par virement bancaire

Cliquer ici pour commencer la verification
Nous vous remercions de votre grande attention a cette question. S il vous plait comprenez que c'est une mesure de securite destinee a vous proteger ainsi que votre compte. Nous nous excusons pour tout inconvenient..

Departement de revue des comptes PayPal

Copyright c 1999-2009 PayPal. Tous droits reserves.

PayPal (Europe) S.a r.l. & Cie, S.C.A.
Societe en Commandite par
Siège social : 5eme etage 22-24 Boulevard Royal L-2449,
RCS Luxembourg B 118 349

Email PayPal numero PP086

I assume this is a phishing expedition, because the link (removed above) to "Cliquer ici pour commencer la verification" (whatever that means) is clearly a phishing site.

Sorry, French dudes. Even if I took your bait, I can't read the labels on the form, so I don't know what personal information to spill to you in what fields.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Polydamus Swallowtail sighting! And laying!

Today we watched a Polydamus Swallowtail lay eggs on the Dutchmen's Pipevine!

How grand!

To top it off, I inspected another pipevine and found a lot more eggs. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but the Polydamus is unique among butterflies in that she lays her eggs in bunches, rather than singly and scattered. The caterpillars move together in bunches, too. The reason for this is not known for certain, but one theory is that they are trying to appear like a single, much larger creature, to make them less appetizing for predators.

Judi's, of course, don't need to worry about predators: They've already been placed in protective custody. She expects to have Polydamus Swallowtails to release at some point, after having raised some truly ugly caterpillars. You can see a picture of one of her earlier Polydamus butterflies in this post, and some pictures of their truly ugly caterpillars here.

In other news, Monarch eggs are hatching in the milkweed gardens, and Judi has been harvesting a half-dozen or so Monarch caterpillars every day. Lots and lots of Monarchs on the horizon....


Monday, March 23, 2009

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

This is the northern bro who, upon seeing the most recent entry by the southern bro fought and then gave into the urge to note a sign that we saw over the weekend.

Neither my wife nor I are fans of big box stores. With book stores in particular we will often browse in the mega-stores and then go to the locally owned independent bookstore to order our books. It is the least we can do to support those hardworking souls who keep our communities alive and vibrant.

So we both got a kick this weekend when we saw the sign posted on the back of the door leading out of the lower level of the excellent Millworks used book store in Montague MA (the slogan of which is "10,000 books you don't need in a place you can't find"). The sign read:

"If you must steal then steal from Barnes and Noble"

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Seen, on a bumper sticker....

Imagine a day when our schools are fully funded, and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to pay for a bomber.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

The Waters of March

This weekend we saw multiple Gulf Fritillaries flying in the gardens. Yay! Spring has definitely arrived. And a week or so ago Judi saw a Giant Swallowtail -- our first spotting of this enormous (at first Judi thought it was a bird) butterfly in her gardens. She has three citrus trees -- host plant for the Giant Swallowtail -- so we hope to see more.

Speaking of Spring, I received this email message from my brother in New Hampshire. He could have posted this himself, but didn't, as he explains below. However I did get his permission to post this in his name:
I was going to post this to your blog but couldn't do it as we now live too far from Smith College....

You see, although I do enjoy the change of seasons, every year about this time I, and everyone else around here, gets really tired of winter, white snow, hibernating trees, etc. When we lived in Vermont we were just an hour's drive from Smith College and their wonderful collection of greenhouses. They have about half a dozen huge greenhouses, one is done up as a tropical rainforest, another is a temperate forest, then there is an orchid room, fern room, etc. It was a good cure for the late winter blues since I could go there and pretend, just for an afternoon, that the world was not cold and dead.

Well, now since we can't easily drive to Smith College your website fills that void. I have enjoyed the butterfly updates at so many levels. As we sit up here in this cold white dead world it is very reassuring to know that somewhere there is new life. I just couldn't bring myself to pollute the experience by posting something about snow, so instead of posting my thoughts I’ve sent you this email.

It's March, which means that every warm day I sing a verse or two from one of my favorite songs, The Waters of March (I have the Susannah McCorkle version, I am sure there are many):
And the riverbank sings of the waters of March,
It's the promise of life, it's the joy in your heart
I am convinced that the song is about the coming of spring; that the waters of March are the waters of melting snow which does indeed bring the promise of life and joy to the heart, just like your butterfly pictures. My belief is not shaken by my recent discovery that the song was written in the southern hemisphere. Oh well....

So last weekend it was 65 degrees on Saturday. We took our chairs out to the driveway and let Evelyn walk around in 'bare piggies' as we call them. Here is a picture of her working away at the pile created by months of snowblowing, and the moisture on the driveway? That's the waters of March.

And just for kicks, a picture of Evelyn helping her mom at the stove.

Evelyn and the Bare Piggies
Evelyn and the Bare Piggies

Evelyn and Mom Cooking
Evelyn and Mom Cooking

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Help me kiss the pig

My employer is supporting the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life campaign, and one of the fundraising events is a competition among fifteen employees to see who can raise the most donations for the cause. The one who raises the most money gets the prize, which is... er...

...he (or she) has to kiss a pig.

Wanda Jean
Wanda Jean - Isn't she cute?
Yes, the local organizers have procured the services of a porcine beauty named Wanda Jean, and the candidate who raises the most money is required to give her a big smooch, in front of the entire workforce and recorded on video for posterity and YouTube.

Dear readers, I am proud to say that I am one of the fifteen candidates. And I'm crazy enough to say that I want to kiss the pig.

Why, you ask? Well, there's the glory. That's a draw. More important, though, we recently lost Princess Sunni to cancer, and so I have a special, personal motivation, because research into human cancers carries over to canine oncology. So go me!

Except.... There's one small problem. Of the fifteen candidates vying to kiss the pig, fourteen are managers. Only one is not. Guess who: Me. You can see that this puts me at a huge disadvantage: All fourteen of my competitors have employees who work for them, and these employees are highly motivated to donate so they can force their to boss kiss a pig. I mean, who wouldn't get a lot of satisfaction out of watching their boss kiss a pig? I, on the other hand, am a lowly helot with no subordinates to lord over, so I don't have anyone who reviles me enough to donate.

At least, I don't think I do.

So you can see my dilemma.

Dear readers, I know finances are tight out there, and times are tough, but if you can see it in both your heart and your wallet to donate a few bucks to help me defeat those oily-voiced, shifty-eyed managers and earn the right to kiss the pig, I would be grateful. Again, I know times are tight, so I don't want to pressure anyone. Just if you are able.

If you want to donate $10.00 or more, you can give directly to Relay For Life (link and instructions in a moment), but Relay for Life requires a $10.00 minimum, and so for those of you who can't go that high I've set up a PayPal account at, and you can use PayPal to send me as little as you like. Believe me, no donation is too micro. You'll have to trust me, but I promise that all Paypal donations will be converted to cash and stuffed in my "piggy bank" collection jar at work. Just go to PayPal and "Send Money" to

On the other hand, if you can spare $10.00 or more, then you can also donate directly through Relay for Life's Web site. Go to this link: Here you will see a picture of Wanda Jean, and also a list of the fifteen candidates, including me, Greg "The People's Choice" Smith. Click on the "Donate" button. For some reason, you must type my name -- which is "Greg Smith" -- in both the Recognition Name and Personal Note boxes on the donation form -- I don't know why, but it sounds like bad software engineering to me. Remember: Greg Smith.

Thank you! Even if you can't donate, I would appreciate your well wishes. I would appreciate your well wishes even more if I knew about them because you left them in the comments on this post. Thanks again. I'll keep you posted. :)


Saturday, March 07, 2009

What a difference a year makes

Today the local university, Florida Institute of Technology, sponsored its annual Botanical Fest. It was at last year's Botanical Fest that Judi conceived the idea that she wanted to plant a butterfly garden, and purchased her very first butterfly plants. At the end of that day, just a year ago, all we had were a bunch of plants in pots, for which Judi had paid too much (we were just learning), sitting on her deck. That was it.

Now, a year later, we have Butterfly Garden 1, Butterfly Garden 2, Butterfly Garden 3 (aka the Native Garden), Milkweed Gardens 1 and 2, the Herb Garden, a couple of grass gardens, a bed of bidens pilosa, a bed of Partridge Peas (where, just this past week, I watched a Cloudless Sulphur lay eggs), an extensive series of plantings in a Shade Garden (hoping to attract Zebra Longwings), and three citrus trees (Giant Swallowtail hosts). Not to mention the huge mesh enclosure that houses an entire Cassia tree in a pot, and numerous smaller mesh and screen houses that shelter plants, caterpillars, and butterflies when needed.

Since Judi started with nothing more than that assortment of overpriced plants in pots on her deck a year ago, she has raised and released 359 butterflies, comprising nine different species.

On the one had it seems like she has come so far. On the other, it seems like she's just getting started....


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Some Sulfurs

The yellow Sulfurs haven't been emerging in the same volume as the Monarchs, but there's still been a bunch of them. This is a Cloudless Sulfur on Judi's fingers:

Cloudless Sulfur on Judis Fingers

And for her next trick, Judi has two Cloudless Sulfurs on her fingers at the same time!

Two Cloudless Sulfurs on Judis Fingers

It's very hard to get pictures of the overwings of a Sulfur, because they typically fold their wings at the instant they land, and so the overwings are only visible when they're in flight. But we did manage to get a picture of the overwings of this Orange Barred Sulfur. The underwings don't have any orange markings, so when you see these flying, they flicker orange, as the wings open and close:

Orange Barred Sulfur Overwings


Monarchs, Monarchs Everywhere

Judi has released scores of Monarchs over the last couple of months. Here's a crowd of caterpillars devouring a milkweed (remember you can click on any of these pictures to see a large version):

Mass of Monarch Caterpillars

Some of the favorite places for the caterpillars to forms chrysalises are the roofs of the mesh enclosures that Judi uses to protect them:

Lotsof Monarch Chrysalises

When chrysalises can't be left in their original locations, for whatever reason, they are transferred to skewers, and the butterflies emerge there, too:

Chrysalises and Emerged Butterflies

Four newly emerged Monarchs hanging in a row:

Four Hanging Monarchs

And finally, I like this picture of a male Monarch (look on the lower wings -- see that black dot in the veining on each side? That's how you know it's male) on Judi's rainbow jammies:

Male Monarch on Judis Nightgown


I just like this picture...

...of a Black Swallowtail in the sunshine:

Black Swallowtail in the sun


The First Polydamas (should have been posted 6 January 2009 -- catching up!)

The Polydamas Swallowtail does not have swallowtails -- it's a tailless Swallowtail. They can remain in chrysalis form for a very long time. Judi has several Polydamases in chrysalis, but one has emerged -- her first of this species. Here it is, in her hands:

First Polydamas Swallowtail

The host plant for this species is the pipevine, which Judi has growing over the back fence. I hope we see a lot more of these this year!


Cassius Blue (should have been posted 19 December 2008 -- still catching up!)

Judi found tiny chrysalises from an unknown species on her red powderpuff bush and took them into protective custody. Eventually, three Cassius Blues emerged. This is a very tiny butterfly -- the smallest of all the members of the butterfly family -- and a very fast mover. We had to temporarily sedate one in the refrigerator to able to get these pictures. These butterflies have a total wingspan of maybe an inch -- did I mention they were tiny? -- but they're very beautiful:



The literature says that the plumbago bush is the host plant for this species, but we've never seen them near Judi's plumbagos. On the other hand, they're always fluttering around the red powderpuff, and we've watched them lay eggs there. It seems that the red powderpuff is an undocumented (or at least I can find it documented) additional host for this species.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


John Mellencamp's old song "I Need a Lover" came on the radio the other day, and for the first time my attention was caught by the old line:

"I need a lover who won't drive me crazy."


If love doesn't drive you at least a little crazy, then what's the point?


Sunday, March 01, 2009


These are a few pictures that I was able to take of a monarch feeding on Amazon Dianthus flowers. He really had to shove his head down into the flower:

Monarch Feeding

Monarch Feeding

Monarch Feeding

Monarch Feeding

Monarch Feeding


A Medley of Caterpillars

In my continuing catch-up of happenings in the Butterfly Garden, I present to you a medley pictures we've taken of caterpillars that Judi has raised (as always, click on any picture for a larger size):

These are all different kinds of sulfur caterpillars. First, there's this black-banded specimen:

Sulfur Caterpillars

Here we have one that's blue and green:

Sulfur Caterpillars

Sulfur Caterpillars

This blue and green beauty adds a yellow stripe down the side:

Sulfur Caterpillars

Sulfur Caterpillars

Sulfur Caterpillars

Sulfur Caterpillars

Here's a yellow and black one:

Sulfur Caterpillars

And here's a different yellow and black cutie who's going into his chrysalis:

Sulfur Caterpillars

Sulfur Caterpillars

That's it for the sulfurs. Sometimes we just find caterpillars in the wild, or other people find them and bring them to us, because they know of Judi's interest. These don't always make it to butterflies or moths, and we don't know what kind they are, but that doesn't make them any less interesting. Here are some unknowns:

This one is one the end of a paintbrush. We use paintbrushes when we need to transfer caterpillars, even very tiny ones:

Unknown Caterpillars

These two are pictures of the same dude:

Unknown Caterpillars

Unknown Caterpillars


The Princess's Butterflies

In this post I told you how twelve butterflies -- eleven Monarches and an awesome Black Swallowtail -- emerged from their chrysalises and ventured into the world on the day that Princess Sunni began her journey to England -- twelve butterflies for the twelve years of her life. Here are some pictures of those butterflies from that day, including one of a Monarch resting in the hair of the Princess's brother Kyle, and one of a Monarch in Judi's hands (click on any picture for a larger version):

Three Monarches

Three Monarches and Orange Juice

Monarch in Kyles Hair

Monarch in Judis Hands

This is the Princess's Black Swallowtail:

Sunnis Black Swallowtail

There's one more picture of the Black Swallowtail, but it's too painful to post here, and so to see it you will have to jump to my other blog that I mentioned a while back. To see that picture, click here. You will need to be approved to read that blog (reason explained in the aforementioned post), but if you would like to be approved, all you need to do is ask. Click here and send me a message. That's all you need to do. I will approve you (as long as you're not Certain Someone). I promise.

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