Saturday, December 22, 2012

Winter Wonderland for Sandy Hook Elementary

The kids from Sandy Hook Elementary school will not be going back to school until after the first of the year. When they do return, it will not be to the same school but to an unused school builing about 10 miles away. Work is ongoing to move desks, furniture, and all of the other business of school items to the "new" building. So many people have wanted to know how they can help that the Parent-Teacher-Student Association decided that if folks would send snowflakes to the school district, they could have the new building decorated with a winter wonderland them when the students return in January. Click here to link to the Connecticut PTSA website setailing how you can help in other ways as well.

I spent the day on Thursday helping patients to cut out snowflakes. Some needed to be reminded how to fold the paper, some I worked together on snowflakes, some wanted me to leave paper so they could work on snowflakes independently. I will collect the flakes on Christmas Eve and mail them on the 26th.

Here are the snowflakes that I made. I took these at my desk with my iphone, so pardon the wonkiness.

Zippy and I will be working on more over the weekend.

Mail your snowflakes to:

Connecticut PSTA
60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103
Hamden, CT  06514

Send your snowflakes to the Connecticut PTSA before Janurary 12th.

Thank you so much for stopping by during such a busy season. Can't tell you how much I appreciate it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Let It Snow!

This is my office door. Even though is was easy-peasy drawing that bear, it was great fun. Just sittin' on a snow bank, blowin' bubbles snowflakes. And you thought snow came from the clouds.... silly butterflies. Cutting out snowflakes is one of those things we all do as a kid and then one day, when we're all grown up and want to cut them out, we can't remember how to fold the paper! Fear not- help is on the way. Martha Stewart has a nice resource for folding, as does Snowflakes Info.

However, I think this is the easiest way to fold your snowflake paper. Folding this way gives you the marks for folding the paper into thirds. I'm sorry, I don't remember where I first learned to fold this way so I don't have a link. Just copy/paste/print the image below.

Sorry it got kind of crowded at the bottom of that page but I hope you can make sense of it.

OK, now---- stop back in tomorrow and I'll show you something very special that you can do with all of those snowflakes that you cut. It would be a great activity to share with your kids. In the mean time, thanks so very much for visiting today.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Sommerfugl Tree and an Offer

Check out the end of the post for an offer from Amy Kirkpatrick Art.

Sommerfugl- "summerfly". Norwegian for butterfly. Maybe it's "summer bird". At any rate, we're about butterflies today, naturally. Christmas butterflies, because, well- why not? Last year I took a leap of faith and, since it was my last Christmas working on that unit, decorated one of our trees just for me.

Yup, that's right--- butterflies. But of course! One of the gals brought in this white Christmas tree a few years ago and I've been decorating it in nice traditional ways every year, though not the same every year. The only hesitation I had last year about decorating the tree with red butterflies was that I really hoped the Clerk, who could see the tree from her work spot at the Nurses Station, would like it. She has fairly traditional tastes so I wasn't sure how it would go over with her and I didn't want her to have to look at an ugly tree all season. Fortunately, she loved it. Whew! Looking at it now, a year later, there are things I would definitely change but oh well....

I wanted to go back and do something more with the topper but time got away from me so that's the way it went. I like how it came out and saw a couple folks taking photos of it so guess it was OK.

This year, because of my job change, I don't have to decorate three trees and the entire unit, plan or assist with three parties and a Christmas Eve get-together or all the other little holiday things at work. I don't even have to do anything for the Christmas lunch in the department where I work now- just show up and eat. So that's how the other half lives!!! That also means I have loads more free time for myself and my family now. I've been dreaming of this day so maybe all the commotion and job upset was worth it!

The hospital has a house (small hotel-like setting, actually) for patient families and folks getting out-patient treatments such as daily chemotherapy. They've been having a wreath-decorating contest and auction for the past few years to benefit the Patient Comfort Fund. So guess what? I entered a wreath - wow! And I entered the wreath of my own free will, not someone deciding that "the unit" should enter a wreath, which inevitably meant me. I told one of the clerks to check out the wreaths when they go on display and she will know mine the second she sees it...

Looks familiar, doesn't it? I dabbled crystal glitter glue on all of the white wingtip spots but it doesn't show well in the photo.

 had something else in mind originally but it didn't work out on the greenery wreath- needs to be styro. Again, seeing things I would change but not gonna sweat it. Maybe next year.

OK, now, the offer.
This is exciting!

Last summer, I shared this watercolor butterfly painting by Amy Kirkpatrick--

No.42 Blue Rajah Butterfly, 8x10 Signed Fine Art Print of Amy Kirkpatrick watercolor

Amy has graciously offered a discount for you, my beautiful butterfly readers. So--- just in time to buy yourself a Christmas present--- go to her Etsy store, AmyKirkpatrickArt, and use the code butterflyjungle when you check out in order to save 10% on your purchase. I had a terrible time deciding but am anxiously and impatiently awaiting my two beauties. Yes, I couldn't decide so I got two. Merry Christmas to me!

Still running slow here in the jungle but it's been so fun to play Christmas at home this year that I don't really think about much else once I get home at the end of the day. Tomorrow? Finish the tree and the outside lights. Then it's on to lefsa and cookies!!!  Thanks so much for stopping in and I'll see ya next time.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Seasons Keep Changing

I haven't been around much. Sort of hacking my way through the jungle of life lately. Let me explain.

One year ago in November, I was suddenly faced with tremendous job insecurity. The unit at the hospital where I had worked for the past 20 years was closing (converting, really but I'll spare you the gory details) and my job was being eliminated. Sometime, but we didn't know exactly when. For the first time in my life, I was faced with losing my job. When you work in healthcare, the understanding is that the economy can boom or bust but people will always get sick, so needless to say, facing a layoff was a surprise. To be frank, it all came down to money: Medicare cuts have been devastating and our unit, primarily reimbursed through Medicare, could not continue to operate at a loss for the hospital. I'm just going to put it out there- I blame Obamacare. (This post is not about politics so any comments that are political in nature will not be posted. Just sayin')

I frantically weighed options and possibilities, even eventually being accepted into a nursing program, but it was a months long process and to be uncertain for all of those months was extremely stressful. I mean really, unless you've been in the position of losing a job, through no fault of your own, a person simply cannot imagine the stress. I had no idea. I felt in many ways as though I had been victimized. Some of you know that feeling or are in that same position right now and my heart goes out to you. I won't bore you with the details but in the end, after several months of uncertainty, I ended up passing up nursing school (I know, but as much as I would love to have gone, it's a complicated story) and have continued to work at the same hospital in a newly created, similar position. Like all jobs it has it's pros and cons but I generally like it. My "It's good to have a job" quip that I held to be true when the economy was first crashing in 2008 is not such a glib little catch phrase for me any more. I am thankful.

Through all of those months of turmoil and what was, quite honesty, times of fear and panic, I began to put my faith into action. A Pathological Worrier by nature (sooooo not exaggerating that), I began to be able to let go of my panic and fear by seeking out God's presence in prayer, placing my fears at His feet and leaving it there. Leaving it there has been the tricky part for me. I would ask God to carry the burden and rest in His provision but then would say, in essence, "I need to help you carry this because I don't think you can do it." Oh how wrong that is. I thought that I had to control the situation by thinking and fretting, that not doing so would cause me to fall off into oblivion. Really- Poof, I would be gone. I have a mental picture of God and I in a tugging match. You know how dogs will each grab one end of a toy and tug back and forth, growling at each other? That's my mental image of God-wrestling. Good grief. What a long and intense process that was (still is) of continually putting my fears back down at His feet so that He can pick them up, but it's a perfect example of how God can use bad situations to bring us closer to Him. And He has provided and taken care of me and my family.

But now let me tell you the rest of the story.....

As though the job stresses haven't been enough fun this past year, the past few weeks in particular have been brutal. That's simply the only way to describe it. In mid-September, my mom was suddenly in the O.R. for  open heart surgery. Boom! She is technically a senior citizen but in no way elderly. She has good cholesterol levels and takes good care of herself. She has cooked well for years because my dad is actually the one with a busy cardiac history. So it came as a real surprise to everyone that she too was getting a zipper over the sternum.

Once the ball got rolling there seemed to be no end to the surprises, almost none of them any good. Two days after Mom's surgery, my brother-in-law's house burned during a lightening storm. It had been my husband's grandmother's home so a very sad loss. Thankfully no one was hurt. Then one of my husband's cousins lost their son due to an ATV accident and a couple days later the 18 year old son of a very dear friend of mine was killed in a auto accident. Then came the news that another precious friend of mine was diagnosed with uterine cancer and yet another friend's son died of a drug overdose. Just for fun, I hit a deer one morning and ..........

A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves dealing with some struggles that my sweet precious Zippy-Girl has been having. These struggles of hers are very private and I don't think you'll ever hear me mention them again but they are struggles that break a mother's heart.

And now here we are, a year later, and Big 'Un, my precious husband, is the one in almost the same job situation I was in beginning last November. He works in the coal industry and they're taking a hit. Yes, I'm looking at you, Obama. He has worked for the same company for 30 years and has been targeted, along with other "gray beards" for an early retirement offer. He can take it or sit it out and see if he survives the non-optional cuts that come later in December. Or see if he gets the other job within the company that  he applied for. Big 'Un is a gentle giant and much better at handling this sort of thing than I am. His faith through the past month has been amazing and he has expressed comfort in the increasing time he has spent in prayer. All the same, it's wearing on him and I know that feeling of of waiting out the uncertainty. We had another time like this a few years ago: house-hunting misadventures, land sale horror stories, two wrecked vehicles, miscarriages and fertility struggles, loss of two wonder dogs, on and on it went, all packed into a few short months. Big 'Un and I were discussing some decisions that had to be made one morning during this time and he said, "I don't know what to do. I'm almost afraid to do anything because everything has gone so wrong the past few months." That's kind of where we are again.

A couple of weeks ago my mom went back in for a pacemaker but that is actually a good thing because she feels great now, if still weak. And my friend with the uterine cancer had a hysterectomy and all of the pathology came back negative so they think they got it all- no chemo or radiation. So good news.

Most people know about God's promise to Noah after the flood to never again destroy the earth and it's inhabitants by water and that the rainbow is a sign of that promise. But He also maded another promise:

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

My Zippy and I encourage ourselves with this verse in the dead of winter when we think that spring will never come and we might be stuck in the hell of winter forever. We reminder ourselves that God promises the seasons will always follow one after another in the order that He set them in motion. Spring always comes. When talking with folks about times of trial, I often share that I believe life has seasons, just like the earth. Sometimes it's winter, sometimes it's summer but the seasons of our life always change and progress forward so that no matter how bad things look, spring always comes. Things always get better.


Last year, in spite of all the stress and uncertainty, or perhaps because of it, I was struck with how ungrateful I truly am at times for the blessings and provision that I have been given. That horrible time was a genuine wake-up call to give heart-service, not just lip-service, for my blessings. And sure enough, spring and summer  in the seasons of our lives came in tidy order and while I truly hope that the past few weeks have been winter and not fall (because wow! we already feel pretty beaten up with bad news), I know that spring will come.

I am thankful for God's provision, for the promises that He made and that I don't have to wonder if He will keep them. He will. And the great part of winter is that not only is it followed by spring, but God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. Even in winter.

So, in spite of feeling kind of like I've been run over by a train, I'm excited for Christmas. I have some fun things to share with you this December: some craftiness and some yumminess, some birthday garden stuff, maybe some music-y kind of stuff, some hall-decking stuff, and a little bit whole bunch of joyfulness. Because just like bulbs that need a period of freezy-winter cold in order to bloom and thrive, I'm happy for the spring that is coming. Thanks so much for creeping into the jungle with me today; I appreciate the visit.

Fabric Butterfly available from Sew Smashing on Etsy

Come on back on Monday-- I've got a great offer for my butterfly readers, just in time for Christmas shopping!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crock Pot Season Approaches

Tomato, Basil & Parmesan Soup

Yes, that's right, it's coming. Crockpot Season, otherwise known to some people as Autumn. I just love my big red crock pot and use it pretty regularly in the cooler/colder seasons. I generally prefer not to have appliances sitting out on the counters- it's just a funny thing with me. I put away the toaster, the coffee pot, the mixer, cutting boards, spoon rests- any and all appliances. No wooden knife blocks or canisters. I do have a really neat Ulu in a stand from Alaska, but that's it. But when the temperatures fall, there are stretches of several days when my crock pot never gets put away. We just wash it and let it live on the counter because it's going to be called into duty very shortly. The unspoken expectation around our house is that whichever one of us gets home first starts dinner. Since we both have a 45-minute commute (in opposite directions), we don't usually all show up at the house together until 6:00pm or later. Don't feel like cooking because there are still chores, homework, and Doctor Who episodes on Netflix to get through before bedtime. So crockpot to the rescue! And this recipe has all the hallmarks of becoming classic comfort food at our house.

I found this recipe on Pinterest but it comes from the blog We Pass The Time of Day To Forget How Time Passes, who found it at 365 Days of Slow Cooking, where you can find a stove top version of the recipe. So here we go-

Tomato, Basil, & Parmesan Soup

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice

1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed*
1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.

2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don't be afraid to always season to taste at the end). **

4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

* The recipe I got has a note that maybe 1 1/2 cups of Half & Half is enough but, nah...
** I actually like to add most of my spices maybe 30 minutes before serving for this very reason. And fresh trumps dried every time.

This is one of those soups that is wonderful with a hearty, whole grain bread along side. We have found that buttered Salt-Rising Bread goes exceptionally well with it also. It also goes well with chenille socks (stay-at-home-socks), fleece jammies, a snugly fur blanket, and a loved one to cozy up with a loved with one with whom you can snuggle. Sorry, fellow Grammar Nazis.


In closing, our butterfly for today comes from Tony at Northrup Photography. This beauty is called a Banded Orange Heliconians (Dryadula phaetusa). It is also called an Orange Tiger Butterfly or simply a Banded Orange. The sole representative of its genus (Drysdula), the Banded Orange Heliconian is native from Brazil to central Mexico, and in summer it can be found rarely as far north as central Kansas.

Thanks for visiting--- see ya again.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Birthday October Babies- It's Calendula Time


Natural Mother's Network

This month's flower can get confusing. Some  sources say October's birthday flower is the Marigold, others say the Calendula, and still others say the month's flower is the Cosmos, all of which bloom beautifully during the autumn. But Marigolds, of the Tagetes family, and Calendula, of the Asteraceae, are not the same flower. Cosmos are a commonly accepted alternative flower. Marigolds are native to the Americas and are the commonly grown French Marigold that Americans use as a bedding plant. Calendula are related to daisies, sunflowers, and asters. I'm going to go with the Calendula as it seems to be the more frequently sited flower for October babies. Besides, I'm an October baby so I get to pick!

French Marigold. Pretty but not our gal this month.

Calendula, native to northern Mediterranean countries, get their name from the Latin words "kalendae" for "first of the month", a reference to the fact that it is usually blooming by the first of each month. Once call "Pot Marigold" to distinguish it from Marigolds of the Tagetes family, the name referred to the fact that calendula were used for cooking. In a cooking pot. Get it? A much more budget friendly substitute for saffron, calendula leaves and chopped petals can also be added to salads or other raw vegetable dishes. The petals, with their slight aromatic bitterness can be used in fish and meat soups, and are frequently used as a colouring for cheese and butter. The whole flower was used as a garnish in medieval times. And chopped fresh marigold flowers can be scattered over rice dishes and even used in sweet dishes like custard or baked puddings.

But it is the calendula's medicinal uses that have given it a reputation of healing. Sometimes called "the mother of skin", it has a long history of use as a wound healing agent and has known skin-soothing properties. Generally used topically, calendula can reduce the inflammation of bee and wasp stings by rubbing a fresh flower on the sting. It has antiseptic properties and has a high concentration of flavinoids which act as anti-oxidants. Calendula has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties as well and is often used in facial toners. The list of medicinal and topical uses for our October flower goes on and on.  In the 1600's the healing properties of calendula were attributed to magic, though today we know that it is the chemical properties of the flower that are the real "magic". It has been used for almost every ailment imaginable for the last 1000 years, from scabs that won’t heal, eczema, athlete’s foot, acne, or even herpes sores. In Russia it was used to treat smallpox and measles, so much being grown in that country that it was once call Russian penicillin. It is one of the earliest known herbal medicines. Calendula blossoms in wine are said to ease indigestion.  I am not an herbalist and am not advocating the use of calendula- I'm just sharing some of the uses of calendula. And be sure that you use the correct plant-Calendula officinalis. The French marigold does not have the same healing properties. The term officinalis refers to the alchemist's workshop, where it was believed that metal could be turned to gold and the skin-soothing properties of calendula were thought to be able to return one's skin to the days of its silky-smooth babyhood. Be aware that some folks do have allergic reactions to calendula so be sure to do a small test patch if you plan to use it topically.

The lore and legend of the calendula is also extensive. It has been used over the ages in love potions and charms as well as for prophesying, psychic energy, seeing magical creatures, attraction, and renewing personal energy. A fresh flower can be worn to court for a favorable outcome of a trial. If you place blossom in your mattress, you will have prophetic dreams... and if you place it under your mattress it will make whatever you dream come true. If you dig up some soil where your lover has walked and use that soil for planting calendula, myth says that your lover would forever by faithful. Add calendula to baths to win respect and admiration. If you’ve been robbed, it will give you a vision of the thief. Simply looking at calendula will draw out "evil humours" as well as strengthen your eyesight.

There are many other uses as well:

  • Yellow dye can be extracted from the flower, by boiling.
  • It's a good companion plant as it discourages pests in the garden.
  • In Asia it are mainly used to make garlands and for adorning buildings and statues of spiritual significance
  • An infusion of the petals can be used as a rinse to lighten and brighten hair.

Porcupine Creek Farm

The colors of the calendula flower, yellows and oranges, are said represent the path of the sun throughout an autumn day. It is thought that the flower holds all of the sunlight of autumn. Those with an autumn birthday are said to be warm, friendly and easy going. You can even use calendula to predict the weather as the blossoms are said to close before a rain.

Calendula Soap. Love In The Suburbs

As for the language of flowers, our calendula has a variety, even contradictory, range of meanings depending upon when and where you are. The hidden message of the calendula during  the Victorian era was "My thoughts are with you" or to symbolize "winning grace". The flower has also been used to symbolize saddness, grief, mental anguish, or despair and is known as the flower of death in Mexico because it is believed that the flowers sprung up from the blood of natives that were killed by Spanish invaders. Calendula is used to adorn gravestones on the Day of the Dead in Mexico. But my favorite meaning of the calendula is for joy. Like I said, contradictory.

Yellow Tomato and Calendula Salad. Prospect: The Pantry
Generally a prolific and easy growing plant, calendula are grown from seed. Though they prefer rich, well-drained soil, calendula will tolerate average garden soils. Yes, they like plenty of sunshine and the blossoms will follow the sun over the course of a day, just like to sunflowers to which they are related. They do well grown in a pot, whether a cooking pot or a garden pot. They bloom from June through the first frost but you may notice a decrease in blooms during the very hottest part of the summer. No worries- they'll start up again when the weather cools. Deadhead for repeated and increased blooming. Though annuals, calendula reseed prolifically. I have seen that there are some "moderately" perennial or biannual calendulas. Strongly attractant to butterflies, the main pest of our gal is the aphid.


And there you have it- Calendula officinalis!

Happy Birthday October Butterflies!
(Happy Birthday Big 'Un)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Bit of Paper For Zippy

Just wanted to share a bit of paper play cutting that I did for my Zippy-Gal. It's not very fancy or complicated but it sure was fun to try. My Zippy-Kid is not really a flowers kind of girl so I'll probably do something more in step with her tastes, such as a Tardis, Minecraft, or tree-climbing theme.

I used water color to paint a tie-dye looking effect and then cut from that sheet of paper. Originally, the letters were just cut out but they didn't stand out enough to actually read readily so I highlighted the letters with a copic marker. Not perfect, as you can see, but huge fun to work on. It sort of has an antique-Bohemian look to it, I think.

I think it looks nice on the mantel with my husband's stick figure drawing of us he made soon after we married. We had bought a 30-acre parcel of land and we laughingly called ourselves the Land Baron and Baroness.

Speaking of paper cutting, how about my Zippy's little bit of work?

This "mask", as we call it, was a third grade art lesson in symmetry. We had just re-done her bedroom in a jungle theme and the mask seemed to fit so into a frame it went and there it is. With the Tardis. And Ten. And a Ood.

Today's butterfly is .....


....the Rice Paper Butterfly, also called the Paper Kite, Wood Nymph, or Large Tree Nymph. It is native to Southeast Asia and lives in wet, evergreen forests flying high in the canopy or in tall forests near rivers in dryer zones. Just look at that striking pattern. Hmmm..... my paper cutting knife is getting some ideas.

Short and sweet today- just sharing a bit of what I've been fooling around with. It's about time to get on to some holiday festivities, isn't it? Thanks for visiting and please do pop back in again. October's birth flower is up next.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Heart Full of Love

Well, life has certainly been interesting around here the past few months. The past few weeks in particular have been, um... a surprise. Yes, I think that's mainly what we've all felt around here. Less than a month ago, my mom went to her physician because she was just so tired all the time. While my mom is considered a Senior Citizen, she certainly isn't "elderly". Always busy, active in a variety of pursuits, interested and engaged in life and the people she meets, it came as a great shock to everyone when her appointments progressed from "a visit" to Stress Test to Heart Catheterization, winding up a couple of weeks ago with open heart surgery.

Cardiac issues do tend to run in my family but mainly it comes down the tree from my dad's side. Mom and I have had the discussion about what to do and how to proceed when my dad knocks over from a heart attack. I figure he'll be on the roof running antenna wires for his Ham radios when it happens. But I never had that talk with my dad about mom. It has seemed sort of surreal around here and even mom has said that she was surprised and even a bit cheesed because she has tried over the years to feed Dad good cardiac food. She really is a wonderful cook and very conscientious about what she feeds her family. No one ever guessed she would be the next one to have the next round of cardiac adventures. In fact, one of the surprises that came out of the medical detective work was that she has apparently had a heart attack at some point in the past.

"My Dishonest Heart" by Audrey Kawasaki
Print available here.

Even though October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I'm going to put in a plug, right here and now, for women's cardiac health. This just can't wait until February, the usual Women's Heart Health month: one of you lovely butterflies might need to now this now.

As many of you know, signs of heart attack in women can be very different than for men. Ladies-- LEARN THESE. Gentleman, LEARN THESE for your female loves and friends. Because no fooling around here: heart disease is the Number 1 killer of American women.

Women are more likely than men to have the "other" common signs of a heart attack. These include shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and pain in the back, neck, or jaw. Sometimes the signs of a heart attack happen suddenly. But they can also develop slowly, over hours, days, and even weeks before a heart attack occurs.
Graphic via Women's Health

A note about women's milder symptoms - About a third of women experience no chest pain at all when having a heart attack and 71% of women report flu-like symptoms for two weeks to a month prior to having more acute chest discomfort or severe shortness of breath. The discomfort is not necessarily centered around the heart. These milder symptoms are under-reported to emergency room staff.

Areas of pain or discomfort associated with heart attack.
Heart Currents

Feelings of anxiety or impending doom are also associated with heart attack.

Please check out the links below, even just one, even if you think you already know enough about women's heart disease. My family is acutely aware of heart disease but still, Mom nearly feel victim. I've had my own heart scares and it never hurts to remind ourselves of how import it is be vigilent about our health.



OK- now for some cool butterfly heart stuff, because you know I love to dive in and discover cool new things in life. That's the point of this blog, after all (see Expecting Butterflies). The question of the day is:

Do butterflies have hearts?

No. Yes... Sort of.

Butterflies do not have a closed circulatory system as in vertebrates (you and I with our vertebral spines). The heart of a butterfly is called a dorsal tube and runs the length of the butterflies body. It pumps hemolymphitic fluid from the back of the body to the front, bathing the internal organs. The heart(s), or area of pumping action, are not much more  than enlarged areas along the tube. Hemolymph is not blood (it is not red and does not carry oxygen) but carries nutrients and wastes.

Dorsal Tube shown in red.
Britannica Kids

Oxygen exchange takes place separately through the trachea which open directly from the body through spiracles on the abdomen. These spiracles are also present on the caterpillar. Seriously, how cool is that?

Well, talk about getting distracted....  I just think the world is an awesome place. Full of surprises and beauty. Sometimes those surprises take the form of unexpected open heart surgery, sometimes it's an incredibly beautiful butterfly. Sometimes it's the beautiful heart of a loved one---- take care of that heart.