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All Good on the Home Front

5 Jul

Now that the bag delay issue is settled, there are other matters to tend to.

Official pet number one, Rooney, was confused then happy to see us when we got home. Generally all was good on the home front except for two things – the Marimo Moss balls and the cocoon still hanging on the tree in front of the house.

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He loved his new chew toy

The moss balls would need some serious TLC to recover as they have turned brown but this wouldn’t be an issue to revive them. The cocoon is quite a challenge though. It’s been too long at this stage. Did we miss the emerging moment and deceived by the cocoon shell, still hanging up there? Maybe I should brave climbing up the tall ladder to have a closer look. Hmm…

I’m glad I didn’t gain too much weight, only a pound. I thought it would be more considering the 16/8 diet was thrown out the window the minute we arrived at KLIA and had a beer and indulged in snacks at the Premier Lounge before we boarded.

It wasn’t just the things we ate in the US but when we ate which was always late dinners past seven and sometimes even nine or ten at night, hardly at five or six like we normally do back home. And I ate breakfast constantly eating because it was cold and I needed food to fuel the body to keep warm.

Being back means being back to routine and I am pretty sure that extra pound will be shed in no time especially once I get over my jet lag. So it’s great that all’s good on the home front.

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Be Silly or Be Happy

11 Jun

Today’s the day we leave! But there are worries, silly ones and several of it…

Silly #1: my cocoon is still hanging on the front tree and it’s been seven weeks since the giant caterpillar morphed into it; way overdue from what I checked online to be at this stage. Why is the moth not emerging? Is the constant rain stunting its metamorphosis? Is it even still alive and okay? I dare not climb up the ladder to check because it’s way too high. Whatever it is, looks like we will miss the moth emerging from the cocoon if it does decide to come out during our time away.

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It’s nice in here, I’m not ready for the world

Silly #2: my 1000 and more Days trek on the Daily Bonus for Candy Crush Soda on the retired iPhone5S will be broken because I am not bringing the phone along. And will the iPhone XR and iPad Mini have the trek broken too being in different time zones? I told myself I should stop this obsession but I just can’t shake it off. Silly.

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Day 1016 for the iPhone5S and Day 1023 for both the iPad Mini and iPhone XR

Silly #3: will Rooney, official pet number one miss us?

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Should I chew on it or not? Hmm…

Silly worries aside, there are some happy reasons too…

Happy #1: the pineapple in the garden. It’s been more than two years that hubby’s been taking care of it, and thank goodness it decided to ripen on time before we leave. Harvested last Friday, the fruit of labor and love weighed a whopping two kilos! Needless to say, the juicy and home-grown pineapple was thoroughly enjoyed.

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Juiciest pineapple ever!

Happy #2: the constant rain seems to be good for the habanero plant for it has thrived well and we had a bumper harvest. So much chillies! I ate a little on Wednesday night and oh my goodness, almost died from the fiery burn. This batch is super duper spicy.

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The spicy level of the reds win hands down over the greens

Happy #3: we will be meeting up with M2 in Amsterdam! Yes, our baby will fly tomorrow from Ireland to meet us at Schiphol. And she will miss a few days of Summer classes which unfortunately can’t be helped. I feel it’s important for her to attend her only sister’s Commencement ceremony, hence the plan as such.

Happy #4: we will finally be seeing M1. The last time the family unit was complete was when she came back for Christmas in 2017, so that’s like a year and a half since we last saw our firstborn in person. The weekly Skype video sessions do not count. Can’t wait. A 12 hours and 40 minutes flight for the first leg, then a four-hour transit before the second leg of 10 hours and 17 minutes flight (hopefully no delays) before the family will be whole again. Yay!!!

I guess with the happy reasons outweighing the silly ones, I shouldn’t be too silly and just be happy.

A Behemoth Munch Pot, Part 2

23 Apr

Yesterday was a typical morning like any other as we got ready for work except that we had a caterpillar to check on. We looked for our behemoth Munch Pot, straining our necks upwards to look at the branches of the tree in front of the house. And we couldn’t find it! It was there on Sunday night. No… nooooo……

 

Just when we thought something so monstrous in size could thrive, being so hidden under the leaves, tragedy struck? But hubby said, there was poop evidence on the lawn, so perhaps it’s still around but just not at its last place we saw the day before.

Last night when we got home and checked again, nothing. Even with the flash on the iPhone XR to take a picture, there was no evidence, compared to the picture taken the night before. Oh dear…

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The glow on Sunday was a giveaway on its position, but no glow on Monday

Perhaps it has reached the pupal stage and we should be looking out for a cocoon instead of the four inch fat caterpillar.

This morning, lo and behold, we spotted a cocoon! Thank goodness. I had to climb up the ladder again to take the picture. So now it looks like our behemoth Munch Pot has safely reached its next stage, and it will stay like this for a month.

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A Behemoth Munch Pot

22 Apr

I couldn’t contain my excitement when hubby told me he spotted a huge caterpillar on the branch of the tree in front of the house. I didn’t realize how huge it was until I saw it with my own eyes. Dang! It was gargantuan. All the earlier ones we found on the Calamansi Lime tree were puny compared to this fella.

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Utilizing the zoom-in on the iPhone XR

 

I had to get the ladder to climb up close to see. And standing two-third high on the nine-foot ladder (the ground wasn’t even to be higher safely without falling), we figured the big fat fella’s at least four inches long. It’s a stupendous sight and discovery indeed!

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This may sound disgusting but even its poop was big, peppering the front lawn untidily, as I took my ruler to measure – one centimeter wide. Eeesh…. Eeeesh. This is the real munch pot!

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The behemoth creature was proving to be a delight in other aspects too. We discovered that it sort of glowed in the dark. I took a picture of it in the evening and it stood out with much contrast from the foliage. Pretty cool.

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We are no caterpillar experts and had to google to find what species it might be because the features are not similar to the earlier Munch Pots at the garden. The exceptional features were the long tubercles on the body and no other color markings. As I researched, I found some interesting caterpillar facts and eventually, managed to identify my behemoth Munch Pot.

It’s an Atlas Moth caterpillar. Wow.

And looks like I will be monitoring the branches the next few days because eventually it will morph into its next stage. I just hope it can last till then because these fellas, being at the bottom of the food chain are easy meat for predators if discovered. So far, it’s survived well to reach this size, hiding under the leaves and branches to eat and eat and eat.

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Quite a sight this behemoth caterpillar

The Predator

2 Apr

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It was a sad ending for Munch Pots 5.1, 6, 7 and 8 over the weekend. Right after discovering the Calamansi Lime tree having four caterpillars to my delight, they all mysteriously disappeared the next day to my dismay. What a quick turnaround within a day!

Initially, I thought the rain displaced them or even some birds came swooping down on them for food. And I found myself standing in front of the pot, staring intently at the branches looking for caterpillars! It was quite a funny yet sombre scene. And it’s something more sinister that I discovered…

A predator.

One level higher in the vicious food chain, I found this grasshopper lurking amongst the leaves. And it could only mean one thing, feasting on juicy fat caterpillars. Oh my poor Munch Pots…

5.1, 6, 7, 8!

28 Mar
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A day in the life of Munch Pot 5.1

It’s a bittersweet moment as far as the caterpillars are concerned. While Munch Pot 3.1 is clearly no more after so many days with no evidence of metamorphosis or a shrivelled body or pod in sight, Munch Pot 5.1 continues to grow. And to our delight, we found more babies, 6, 7 and 8 to be exact on the Calamansi Lime tree! Hahaha… the poor tree.

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Top: Munch Pots 7 and 8 saying “Hello”! Bottom: Munch Pot 6

I guess there’s a never ending supply of caterpillars on this particular tree to keep me enthralled.

Rescuing My Caterpillar

25 Mar

Of late, caterpillars have become very fascinating to me. It’s so fun checking on them every morning and evening, and taking pictures of them. Honestly, I like it when all the leaves on the Calamansi Lime tree gets gnawed on and even hubby doesn’t mind this.

Munch Pot 5.0 before it evolved

Munch Pot 3.1 doing a vertical stand

3.1 up close

The munch pots are growing and happy. Munch Pot 3.1 have grown beautifully and even 5.0 have evolved. So now, it’s 5.1.

What a cutie 3.1

5.1 on Friday night, having evolved

But on Saturday morning, a slight mishap occurred and we couldn’t find 3.1. Oh no, it’s gone! Lunch for the birds? I couldn’t accept this so we looked and looked. And lo and behold, it actually fell off the tree onto the ground. Oh dear…

Poor 3.1. I wonder if it’s traumatized?

5.1 looking good

Looking disheveled but hopefully not traumatized, hubby picked it up with a bamboo stick to place it back on the branches. I thought our little deed was whimsical, rescuing a caterpillar that some people consider a pest. I hope 3.1 will be okay and evolve to its next stage. It was still okay on Saturday afternoon when I checked on it again.

Unfortunately after that, the last two days as we stood in front of the Calamansi Lime tree to scrutinize every branch looking for it, we cannot find Munch Pot 3.1. Sniffle…

Munch Pots, Part 2

21 Mar
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Munch Pot 3.0 in the morning

Munch Pot 3.0 has evolved and is now 3.1! What a beauty I must say. Within a day, in the morning, it was still its old self; then that evening when I got home and checked on it, it has morphed into a glorious green caterpillar. And to my delight, we found another caterpillar on the same tree, 5.0.

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Munch Pot 3.1 in the evening

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Eat ’em and poop

But sadly, I cannot locate Munch Pot 4.0 on the other tree.

Now 3.1 and 5.0 have grown very fast, being munch pots that they are. And when they eat so much, they poop just as much too, as evidenced by this morning’s photographs.

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Munch Pot 5.0

Munch Pots

18 Mar

This caterpillar business is so hard to keep track! Last Friday, Munch Pot 2.1 could not be found at its usual spot on the branch of the Calamansi Lime tree. I suspect the final same fate as Munch Pot 1.0 has befallen 2.1. We couldn’t find any cocoon on the tree.

Either a bird came down and had it for lunch or it could have fallen off the branch because the pelting rain was too strong for it to hold on tight. I am disappointed. Munch Pot 2.1 is no more. Sigh…

But while we were searching for it, we found a new baby. Munch Pot 3.0 I guess. The tiny hairy fella measured at only 1cm and have grown since then. It’s funny, people take care of plants and here I am ‘taking’ care of caterpillars. On top of 3.0, I found another one, 4.0 at another Calamansi tree. This one’s a wee bit bigger.

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Meet Munch Pot 3.0

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Munch Pot 3.0 have grown since the first sighting

 

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Munch Pot 4.0

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Up close and personal with Munch Pot 4.0 the munching machine

Let’s hope both 3.0 and 4.0 live longer than the others.

Munch Pot 2.1

14 Mar

For two days, I didn’t check on Munch Pot because we had to leave the house early and got home late due to work. Then yesterday morning when I had a little time before leaving for the office, I went looking for the dark hairy creature.

But I couldn’t find it! Oh no… has the same fate struck it like Munch Pot 1.0?

I looked again and to my delight, I saw a green caterpillar instead. Munch Pot has evolved! Awesome!!!

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Munch Pot 2.1

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The Calamansi Lime tree where Munch Pot 2.1 resides

Quickly I went inside for my ruler and took its measurement. A slight increment from my last sighting of it. This is getting exciting. Munch Pot is now at its next stage, hence 2.1. Heheheh…