Monday, March 26, 2007

Palos Verdes Blue...Boy!

I came home from school today to find my "better half" out planting in our garden. Oh joy! She's back, I said to myself. She was planting carpet rose bushes to take the place of several victims of our recent freeze. They are a small, low-lying roses that spread out and cover a larger area than, say a bush.(2' tall and 4' wide) These are "apple blossum" color, meaning they start out pink and change to white. She so loves color in our yards. It makes her happy.

Lately we've also noticed more butterflies flitting around; last season too; yellow and black with a spot of blue or black with an orange stripe. It had gotten to where we rarely saw swallowtails or monarchs anymore. They seem to be coming back? Let's hope. The above picture is from an article in the L.A. Times on Monday, 26th by Deborah Schoch. It is all about the valiant efforts to save the "Palos Verdes Blue", one of the rarest butterflies in America. It is about the size of your thumb nail and a beautiful hue of blue once out of its pupa casing. There have only been 219 seen since the last count in 2006. This is up from less than 50 sightings in 2003. Like so many frogs and amphibians, butterflies and moths are our "canaries in the mineshafts" and their dwindling numbers or extinction is a warning about their threatened habitat and consequently "ours". Their down to just one viable location just north of the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, CA. It is only because it is a Navy Fuel Depot area and developers aren't allow there yet. (yes, I worked for two gigantic "developers/builders" Pulte/Del Webb and Pardee/Weyerhaueser, and there is still some guilt) Because these insects live on the deerweed and locoweed growing on military land, the Uban Wildlands Group is handling this 10-year-old breeding program for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Jana Johnson, a 37 year old, biologist with an affinity for country music is raising and coaxing the latest groups of hatching pupae with music of all kinds in her labs in San Pedro and Moorpark. If the species is to survive, her program must produce enough pupae to establish colonies elsewhere on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The also talks to them in the same soothing tones she uses with her two sons. Johnson say, "If a butterfly struggles, unable to spring free of its pod, or shake off that last casing, its wings won't expand properly. If he doesn't expand, he can;t fly and if he can't fly, he can't mate. If he is not "pretty", he gets rejected." In this race to save the Palos Verdes Blue, everything is about courtship, mating and eggs. She feeds the young hatchlings on wads of toilet paper soaked with honey-water and "Fierce Melon Gatorade" as nectar substitues based on research from the University of Florida which has a captive breeding program for the Miami Blue. (Passion Fruit was second) They need the sugars and electrolytes and the color attracts them like bright colored flowers. It makes them "happy".

I've been wearing blue these last few days too. I haven't quite been flitting around the garden but "I'm in the Flow" of new life, and birth. Our newest grandson was born this last Saturday and his proud parents, Clark and Vi are overjoyed with us. He was alittle early, over 6#'s, 19" and very healthy. Mom and Dad are a bit tired by the long labors. His name? Xavier James Burgan. Quite rare and endangered as a name, I think. I like it. I googled the name and found out it means "Bright" and the most famous namesake is St. Francis Xavier who was the most "successful" missionary for the Catholic Church in the 16th Century since St. Paul in bringing converts to the Faith. He died in China doing "God's Work". His name also starts with the "roman numeral" X = 10. I had jokingly challenged my son and his wife to pick a roman numeral name since his name starts with a C (=100) and his wife's name is VI (= 6). I really don't think they took me seriously, since she says she went to a school by that name. But, who knows. "What's in a name..."anyway? Will it be coo-ed to by his mother and father and family in love? Yes! He will be loved, fed and nurtured as the newest member of our Burgan Clan. He will get to hear his dad's music and his see his mom's beautiful smile everyday. He has "Quantum Probabilities" of growing up to be healthy, happy adult...this little Baby Blue... Boy! Bob!


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