Pelican Prose Thoughts from a Pelican: Louisiana Boy Mon, 07 Mar 2022 18:51:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pelican Prose 32 32 179132543 Lazarus the Monarch Butterfly Wed, 01 Dec 2021 01:40:01 +0000

I'm just an Egg

Monarch Egg 

One November day,  my mother places me on the underside of a Milkweed plant leaf.  Monarch Butterfly eggs are only laid on the Milkweed plant; however, there are around one hundred (100) varieties.  I am only the size of the head of a straight pin.  I will stay in my shell for one to five days (1-5).  I will begin to grow and develop.  As I grow, I will break out and the shell will become my first meal; as I will eat it before moving onto eating leaves.

Footnote: the day range is influenced by the climate.  The warmer (76º and up) climate days are on the shorter side of the time period versus the cooler (75º and down) take longer end of the range.

Now I'm a Caterpillar

Leaves.  The reason my mother laid my egg on a Milkweed plant is that is the only plant leaves that I will eat.  At first, I am tiny only about one-eighth of an inch, I do not eat too much. Everyday I grow, my skin does not.  I will split my skin; known as “molting” and wiggle my way out and then I will be very still giving my new skin.  I will do this five (5) also call “instars”.  I am a Caterpillar for nine to sixteen days (9-16).Monarch Caterpillar

However, this is where my adventure begins:

I was out in the butterfly garden/flowerbed, enjoying eating the leaves. It sure was cold; we Monarchs do not like nor are we active at temperatures colder than about fifty degrees (50º).  The garden caretaker was working in the garden and found me.  He cut off the leaf that I was on and brought me indoors and placed me into their “Butterfly Habitat”.  It is nice, I have my own Milkweed plant to climb around and eat.  Then I found out that I was not alone, there is another Monarch Caterpillar in here with me.  I also have these people watching me from all sides and angles, like I’m in the zoo.  I began wandering around and found my way out of the habitat.  For the next three days I wandered, across the table top, down a table leg, onto and across the house floor.  Wow, no leaves down here; what to do? 

Sure enough as I am wandering the caregiver sees me and reaches down, picks me up, and I am rescued.  Having been missing for three days; I earned a name change to “Lazarus”.  He puts me back in the habitat and right down onto a plump juicy leave.  I spend the next few days eating, growing, molting, and just enjoying being a caterpillar.

Next, it is time to move onto the stage. I am going looking for a place to hang around, upside-down. This will be the “Chrysalis” stage of my life.  Oops, I am off and wandering again, did I get lost again, oh my.

Wait a minute, look what I found, a wall.  I climb the wall and find the top of the habitat.  This looks like a great place to hang and transform into my Chrysalis.  First I will spin a “silk button” to hang from the top.  I start off curled and throughout the day I will begin to relax.  I will get down to the form of a “J” where I will rest until the next day.  

Chrysalis: Just hanging around

I have found the place to spend my next ten to fourteen days (10-14). I am in my “J” form, I now relax to hang straight.  I split my skin, just as I do to grow during my molting stage.   Only this time, as I split my skin I will shake and vibrate to cause the skin to move upward and wad up above my body.  Then I will wiggle until it falls away. Now to shrink down into my Pupa form. Shazam, I am now a Chrysalis.  I am incased in this shape as my body develops and I go into my metamorphosis to come out as a Monarch Butterfly.

Emerging: I'm a Butterfly, Monarch that is

Emerging.The day has come for me to come out of my shell.  I break the shell and climb out.  I have a lot of work to do.  My body is full of all of my fluids; I now have to climb out, unfold my wings and pump all of the fluids into my wings.  I will do this by wiggling and shaking my body.  Once this is complete, I will hang and allow my wings to dry.

Now, I am hungry.  I must fly off to find a flower with nectar.  I will spend the next stage of my life flying around and eating.  Normally between late October till mid November, we Monarch Butterflies spend our days migrating to the Sierra Madre mountains in Central Mexico for what we call “Overwintering”.  We will gather on the oyamel fir trees, tens of thousands per tree. 

Return Migration: I'm Back


During March, as the weather warms, we will began our return migration.   We will fly back north to our “summer homes”, anywhere from south Texas all the way up to Canada.  We will stop to eat nectar from flowers and as “pollinators” we will spread pollen from flower to flower as we travel.

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Pinckard Monarch Butterfly Ranch Sun, 24 Oct 2021 04:58:30 +0000

This all started back in July; every year I try to spend quality time with my grandchildren. My Mother and I try to plan “grand adventures” so that we have quality time and make memories. This year, after our ocean cruise was cancelled, we took a week, traveled to Branson, MO, stayed at a “Dude Ranch” in Northern Arkansas. We day tripped to “Silver Dollar City” and another to ride the “Branson Scenic Railway” and a short visit to the “Butterfly Palace”. We stayed at the ranch for quite time, relaxing, game-time, and horseback/trail riding. I tell you all of this for context.

WOW, the “Butterfly Palace” really struck a nerve. Such beauty and even grace. We could not stop thinking of this part of the trip as it was the absolute highlight event of the trip.

I began doing research, for personal reasons I have had an infatuation and admiration for the Monarch Butterfly for several years. I’ve read articles, purchased books, and YouTube’d all aspects of the Monarch. I started with adding butterfly attractors to the flowerbeds around the backyard. I added several “Butterfly Milkweed” plants. I even added two(2) butterfly feeders.

Would you believe it; we noticed an increase in the presence of several Monarchs. I was admiring the “butterfly garden” and found two(2) Monarch Caterpillars. Knowing that the survival rate of a Monarch from egg to maturity is only ten percent (10%); I had to assist. I ordered a “Habitat”. Upon its arrival, I set it up and potted four(4) butterfly milkweeds for it. I moved the caterpillars into the habitat, up to four(4) now. Everyday (haha more like hour) we checked on the critters. They are growing well, up to eight(8) now. Even two(2) have move up to the top of the habitat and transformed to Chrysalis.

BAM, Ida hits the coast. We are several hours (200 miles) north of the Gulf Coast; however, the storms did come through. Devastated our Chrysalides (multiple chrysalis). Then the remaining caterpillars shrunk, shriveled and died. More research: disease, poison, parasites, …, I do not know and cannot be conclusive.

Oh well, there is next year. Study, research, develop, prepare, plant, grow,…

“MicroMiracle” I find another caterpillar in the garden. I have improved the HABITAT Improved Habitat: I prefer to have live plants for the caterpillars to climb and eat. I am trying to mimic their natural environment. So, I move the new found caterpillar into the habitat. Two(2) days later it went into CHRYSALISChrysalis. As I decided to water the potted milkweed, I noticed some new frass (caterpillar feces). I look more closely to find a caterpillar, about 6 days old. The next day, I find another one in the garden and as well move him in. Checking on the progress regularly. I occasionally put a camera in to observe, photograph, and more importantly to document. As I’m videoing, I locate a newborn; so new that it is white with only a black head and spots for his filaments (tenticles).

Monarchs do not do cold. They shut down at about 50 degrees. As the nightly lows are forecasted to be in the mid to low 40’s; we moved the habitat indoors. I added a led light for sunshine and am developing a stand for my programmable leds to mimic daylight: sunrise, daytime, sunset.

As of today, we have three “CHRYSALIDES3 Chrysalidesand three (3) caterpillars, which have hatched, to our surprise, since moving the habitat indoors Indoor Habitat.

More to come………..

Holding Wilber the Monarch
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Monarch Butterfly Garden Tue, 12 Oct 2021 14:31:04 +0000
Monarch Butterfly Garden

“Monarch Butterflies” lay “eggs on Milkweed” plants only.  As well the Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar only eats the Milkweed plant leaves.  Both the Monarch and the plant are disappearing from across the United States.  I have taken to planting Milkweed whenever and wherever possible.  There are several varieties and they differ  depending on the region. I am utilizing “Butterfly Milkweed” (pictured above) and “Swamp Milkweed” (Swamp Milkweed photo”).  

I was fortunate, one day taking “B Roll” footage in the backyard, to capture a Monarch laying an egg. Granted the footage is shaky as I was utilizing the camera handheld and extreme zoom; non-the-less, I have the footage: “Monarch Butterfly Laying Egg”.   

In addition to the Milkweed, I have planted several butterfly friendly plants: “Pentas”, “Butterfly Bush”, “Sedum”, “Zagreb Coreopsis”, “Summer Yarrow “, “Phlox”(thanks to my sister-in-law), “Lavender”. The summer bloomers and the autumn bloomers are quite beautiful and colorful.  As mother-nature would have it, for some of these beautiful blossoms, we will have to be patient and wait for spring. When planning your garden remember that most of these plants are seasonal; therefore, mix in a variety for the duration of the presence of the Monarch.  They begin their Northern migration from Mexico in March and return back south in November (dates vary depending on your latitude) for their “overwintering”.  

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We’ve lost our “community” Sat, 17 Oct 2020 19:23:01 +0000 The mere fact that I am a “truck driver” had me voting, early, today as I will be out of the area for November 3.  I have not missed an election since my eighteen(18) birthday.  I believe that voting is a “civic responsibility” and should be undertaking seriously at every election. There is never a point that any election is too small or insignificant: local only to national they all need input from the local citizen.

Let me set the scene.  My local early polling location has extended the available hours to 8am to 7pm for 10 days.  I decided to be early and arrive at 7am and sure glad I did as my place in line was one and a half city block from the entrance.  There I stood and after time to reflect on the day, say a prayer, and a rosary (as a devout practicing catholic this is important to me), I became engaged in conversation with the gentleman in line behind me.  We did not discuss politics in the sense of this election; however, we discuss today’s society.  As life deals you cards for your hand, play with the hand dealt.  This gentleman and I are of the similar age group and looking at us this would probably be the only shared commonality.

FATE you might say stepped in as he shared with me some of his “life story” and we now share the fact the we have both buried children: 451 days ago he lost his son and  he commented almost as ashamed of his recollection of the days (his friends think he should not be so attentive of the details).  I reassured him that “details are important to keeping the memory of a loved one alive, present, and active. You see I lost a son 2526 days ago and another son 2443 days ago, by the way that was almost seven(7) years ago. Not a day goes by that they are not part of my day.”  With this simple statement we have a bond.  He became interested in my thoughts of our society.

“People are good as a whole and a rule; there are bad and/or misguided, of course.”  I continued with, “we’ve lost our “community”.  Now do not be short sited with this.  Community is the area/neighborhood in which we live, true enough. However, it is more than that.  It is also a state of mind or even better stated: a GROUP of PEOPLE with SHARE or COMMON INTEREST: the conversation between him and I is the basis of community.  The overall “shared and/or common interest” is the best for people, neighbors, and country.  People disagree mostly on how to get there, but not on getting there.

I like to think of and explain politics more like a vehicle. The destination for most Americans is the same, in general: a safe, free country for chase and fulfill our dreams.  Politics, how to get there.  Allow your neighbor to be your friend, he probably drives a different vehicle than you: make, model, color.  Share with people and let us get back our “community”.  We can be friends with strangers.  Each of us has something to offer: kind words, words of encouragement, a smile of joy, a consoling smile, etc.  If we sell our neighbors short we are actually selling ourselves short: we’ve cheated ourselves as much as we have denied them.

As we near the door, I expressed my sincerity for a very engaging and enlightening conversation. We finally introduced ourselves and he is a candidate for the City Marshall’s position.  I believe that we shared, enlightened, and consoled each other    and we shall both be better for it. I am grateful for the people and experiences that found in my path. 

Finally, do not live life with regrets. Smile and/or greet a stranger. Assist a friend, neighbor, or friend-to-be. Make memories and happy thoughts.

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Split Second, Every decision has multiple impacts Sun, 20 Sep 2020 22:50:58 +0000  What happens in a “split second” often has an impact on your immediate and distant future.  As a “professional truck driver”, it is easy for me to relate events that I see and/or experience on the road to the broader meaning of life.  Take this moment as an example:  I am traveling along a very curvy LA highway, it is a two lane and winds down through the swamp, over and around bayous.  Key point to remember: if there is a shoulder (in this case NONE), it is soft; especially because of the current rain and the previous storms.  My cargo is 1) liquid, which moves naturally to level and if the trailer leans the liquid move with it and is not centered, 2) oh yes, it is flammable, 3) it is a lightly raining and has been for an hour or so.  As I am exiting a right-hand curve and preparing for the upcoming left-hand curve, an oncoming truck is coming through the same series of curves in reverse.  Oh look, he is wheels over the center dividing line: What to do what to do? First – Do not panic, ease off the accelerator and hug the fog line(that white line to assist you to know where the edge of your lane and the road is). Now trust (and hope) the other driver, his is a professional also, realizes his situation and also eases off the speed and pulls his rig back into his lane.  If not you are prepared for a bump and should not loose control and can maintain your vehicle through any disruption (you know collision).


Sure enough you pass each other, key up you cb radio and say, “Well done driver, well done.   See you on the other end.”

How does this relate to “REAL LIFE”?  Simple. Throughout each day you have moments of time that added together make up your day, week, month, year, and life.  How we react to each little moment affects the next as well as other people around us.  

Sit back and think for a moment.  Your last moment of “crisis“, how important was it in the scheme of the day; more importantly, has impactful was it in the outcome of the year.  Some are drastically important with life-altering consequences; however, most are really not that imperative.  I spend a lot of time during my day observing and going through “what if’s”.  This cuts out the hesitation of reaction in a given circumstance.  I do this not driving but throughout my day; I do not like surprises; therefore, I have built up some situational awareness.

We can exercise this method in all aspects of our lives.  I even challenge that it would decrease some of the anger and hatred which our country is experiencing.  Be present in the moment and stay in self control mode.  The next/other person would also be present in his moment and then maybe we will not react and judge too quickly, but stay composed and controlled.

We should not be consumed with “blame and fault” but with “compassion and understanding”.  If I spend my time concerned with being responsible for my actions and well-being, I have less time to worry about your responsibilities.  Try it, give a stranger a “Howdy” and friendly nod and/or wave. Politeness and courtesy are contagious.  You might the the one person that makes a huge impact on someone and change their day from bad to good.

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Slow to Judge Tue, 11 Aug 2020 14:06:19 +0000 So it has been said that everyone’s life is a story.  We even hear some people state that their life is an “open book”.  Give this a thought for just a moment.  Even if someone’s life is a open book, there are aspects that is not now.  Even moments in time that have been overlooked and/or forgotten.  

Think about about it for a moment:  Some of your closest friends or relatives, are there not moment or aspects that you do not know about.  These are not necessarily secrets as they just have not be shared for one reason or another.  Each of us have secrets, thoughts and even events that we have not shared with anyone much less everyone.  It is not that we are hiding as much as we are not publicizing.  The occasion just has not arisen that prompts the sharing, or maybe we are slightly embarrassed or even for heaven’s sake we might be ashamed to divulge such information.

As a rule, I am a private person; however, more than that is I am “guarded”.  I am cautious to protect my friends and loved ones.  Most stories or incidences included other people and sharing might infringe on their privacy or emotions.  

If we are a private person or even guarded for self or others, what about the next person.  Umm, did think of that did we.  With this thought in mind, maybe we should be slow to judge peoples actions or inaction.  This would include the actions of conversation or sharing of ones thoughts.  Maybe we do not know the “whole” story or the “back” story.  What has this person been through or is going through?

How many times have we thought or even stated, “I would do …”, “I would not have done it that way.”, or judged someone.  Honestly, “Do you know their story?” Nope, nope, nope, not in its entirety.  Each of us have a very distinct set of “live experiences” that make up who we are.  Do to this we each think, act, and react differently.

Maybe next time before we judge someone’s action or comment; pause, take a breathe, give an honest thought to the situation.  Then act or react.

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Drive Aware, Be Safe Mon, 20 Jul 2020 22:29:35 +0000 Everyone on the roadways of America needs to stay aware.  Keep informed of your surroundings.  A friend and fellow driver shared this clip of a very close call and almost fatal incident. He was traveling loaded with Liquified Petroleum on I-10 through a construction zone.  Been an experienced and seasoned driver, he was staying aware of his surroundings and ready for things to happen and very possibly go wrong/sideways.  We try to anticipate careless acts around us; he approached and entrance ramp with merging traffic and was slowing as a car was creeping toward the travel lane.  However, the second vehicle jumps the lane and stops.  Correct, STOPPED! the second vehicle pulled into the travel lane and stopped as to allow the vehicle ahead of him to move into the travel lane.  The truck driver was able to slow and change lanes enough to miss this vehicle and just ahead of a vehicle in the lane to his left. Not to be outdone, the vehicle in the left lane, now behind him, chanced a pass utilizing the left shoulder instead of slowing.  Don’t take chances, drive aware, and a small amount of “courteous driving” could be just what we need to each arrive to our destination safely.

#DriveAware #DriveSafe



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RoadTrip 2020 Done Wed, 15 Jul 2020 23:13:29 +0000 Well, RoadTrip 2020 has officially come to an end: check that box, close that book.  We have completed the trip to DFW and placed my GrandGirls onto their flight back home.

We had the absolute best time entertaining (or being entertained; not sure which) my older two grandchildren.  Our RoadTrip went as perfectly as possible; memories made! Twenty-one (21) days including the ten (10) day road adventure of ten (10) states, three thousand five hundred sixty (3560) miles, and multiple sites and places observed and/or explored. 

Now brainstorming and planning has begun for next year.  How to top this; it’s coming.

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Day Eight: Homebound however Terry Bison Ranch is a Must see Wed, 08 Jul 2020 00:33:52 +0000 We arrived to the Terry Bison Ranch on Monday evening.  Just in time to set up for the night and enjoy fabulous Bison meat supper.  Clean up and rest up for a short day of Buffalo/Bison Ranch life.

Sure enough, up for breakfast at the “Tombstone Cafe“; WOW the Southwest Bison Omellet! Southwest Bison Omelet  Then over to the “Terry Bison Express” and the bison tours: short open-air train ride through the pasture and a chance to feed the bison their favorite treats. Be warned they love these treats, slobber a lot, and have a long tongue (about 10″).  

All Aboard the Terry Bison Express    Feeding the Herd Mammaw  

Then let’s saddle up for a trail ride across and up the hills of the pastures.Trail Ride Ready Lynzi & Camryn




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Day Seven: Onto Yellowstone Mon, 06 Jul 2020 23:16:46 +0000 After a good night of Food, Family GameTime, S’mores, and Rest; it is onto Yellowstone National Park.  The drive from Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone is full of beautiful sights.  After navigating the so very many turns and turns and hills, enjoying the sights with a few stops to appreciate the beauty, we arrive to Yellowstone National Park.

Game TimeSign

As if my travels are not complete enough with my current troupe; my daughter meets up with us for this brief leg of our trip. We set up our campsite (disappointment as we are on the side of the road and not allowed to utilize our  generator after 8pm therefore limited on game time and lighting) enjoy supper, conversation, and Family Game Time.

Morning arrives; cleanup done, jack stands up, time to explore the sights and go see the geyser, Old Faithful.  

This is quite a site to see, amazing!!!  We enjoyed breakfast at the site and then time to drive again.

There are many sites to be seen.  Steam Pool are around the area, this one is at the side of Yellowstone Lake.

Once the sights have been visited, it is time to drive onto our next adventure, Terry Bison Ranch and towards home.

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