Brief Monarch Update: The Heat is On

If you note dates, I posted about taking tiny caterpillars in on the porch less than a week ago.

We now have chrysalides. The warmer it is the faster caterpillars eat, and it’s been hot. Blazing hot. Cook-you-on-the-sidewalk hot. So hot the weather report gives warnings about not letting your pets walk on asphalt, they’ll burn their feet, it’s that hot.

Well, was that hot, when it wasn’t raining. For the past couple of days we’ve had scattered thunderstorms from a front sitting on top of us, meaning the local environs have gone from broil to simmer and steam-bake.

Hmm, steamed buns….

So. We also have very denuded milkweed plants. Note, for six caterpillars you really need at least three well-grown milkweeds for there to be ANY leaves left. (There are some.) Granted the milkweeds tend to sprout out again later, but it’s always shocking when they get eaten down to bare stems. Yes, caterpillars eat flowers and buds, too. In fact they’ll usually eat those first – less toxic!

And the porch is still swarming with tiny frogs. And sometimes tiny lizards. Anoles are even faster than frogs. All in all a good year for herps, looks like.

The Mexibell pepper thrives, but we’re not getting that variety again. It was advertised as a mildly hot bell pepper. It is instead, unfortunately, near-jalapeno levels of hot with a bitter taste. And a heat that takes a minute or so to kick in, lulling you into a false sense of security. The heat I can forgive, but not the bitterness.

The basil plants are doing well, even with surprising occupants. The tiny treefrogs love the basil. I’m used to treefrogs blending into the leaves of pepper plants, but our basils are full of froglets. They’re about the right shade of green (at least the green basils are), and the flowers do attract insects.

And if anyone’s wondering – yep, a lot of those froglets are local endemic Pine Barrens treefrogs. They look like tiny green and gilded jewels, hiding in the leaves.

…So, a dose of nature to counterbalance all the politics lately. I think we need it.

11 thoughts on “Brief Monarch Update: The Heat is On

    1. Bingo. I used to think jalapeños were hot, back when I was a teenager. Now I live in a country where I routinely eat food a lot hotter than that. So my reaction when I read your line about “near-jalapeno levels of hot” was to think “so, mildly hot then?” 🙂

      In other words, you can never assume that something claimed to be “mild” is truly mild (or that something claimed to be “hot” is truly hot) without knowing a little bit about the tastes of the person making that claim.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Another example: a few years ago, I went back to my old college town to visit some friends who still lived there, and there was a restaurant serving food from $COUNTRY (the one I live in) downtown. They offered spiciness levels from 1 to 5. I figured that since I had lived in that country for a while and gotten used to the spiciness levels, I should order at least a 3… but then I overheard the people cooking the food speaking to each other. They were speaking the native language of that country. At which point I decided to order a spiciness level of 2 instead of 3, and I’m glad I did. It came out very hot to my taste, but within what I could handle. Had I ordered a 3, I might not have managed to finish my plate.

        At other restaurants serving that country’s food, I have to order a 5/5 spiciness level to get it hot enough to taste right. But at this particular restaurant, I’m very glad I asked for a 2/5.

        It’s all relative.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Isn’t there something in the watering pattern that makes peppers hotter or less hot?

    I just remember someone complaining because they ruined their super-hot ones by doing it wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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