Butterfly food and babies

Not only do the caterpillars depend on milkweed as their sole food source, adult monarchs enjoy milkweed nectar. There is no boring variety of milkweed - how many can you find in your region?

In our countryside milkweed grows wild. But if you live somewhere without plenty of butterfly food, consider these top-12 varities to plant.

We’ve got winter-looking milkweed (pineneedle milkweed)

and summer-looking milkweed (tropical milkweed)

all at once these days! Plus a few other that I haven’t identified.

Any monarchs passing through will enjoy them.

If only nursing moms could survive on weeds - we see so many skeletal dogs in Mexico–apparently this is a puppy season, cause now many of them are nursing. We share food every chance we get, but that’s only a taste of relief.

We celebrate with our neighbors that Tostada and Guayaba are now sterilized - no new puppies in this stretch of Monico Arias!

A few weeks ago a dog lunged out at us as we biked to Cafe Gabi’s for coffee. He barked ferociously, inches from our skin. This was at a corner, and of course, not on a paved road (so extra dangerous for bike maneuvers). Dogs that get in biting range when I’m on a bike freak me out because they’re risking life and limb to intimidate.

On our way home I decided to just walk my bike so at least I wouldn’t fall if he came at me again. At walking pace I could see how this gorgeous brown dog (looks like our cousin-dog Bailey, so maybe part German pointer, part lab?) was a mere sketelon. I decided to make friends and try to help.

(The corner with horse, before skinny dog)

I’ve been going back with food and treats every once in awhile, and this shy dog never barks, just appears out of nowhere when I reach the corner, shy and scared, and eats anything I put down. One day I almost got him to come to our house by tossing food every few meters (probably good I didn’t succeed, as Tostado and Guayaba were in heat then).

The last time I went I didn’t see him, but talked to the neighbor (who I’d met before when he helped me get my bike over the ravine - I can’t pull off Phillip’s trick). Turns out the dog is Sparky, and Rodrigo says he’s fine, just skinny. Nah, this dog has parasites or something. But he also has a family, so I’ll back off.

During our conversation, Rodrigo asked how many kids I have, which is a fun cultural difference. In India, Palestine, or some parts of the US, too, people ask “are you married?” and other family questions, but don’t ask “what kind of work do you do?” – which is the first question my home culture asks when getting to know one another.

Rodrigo agreed that there are many children in the world who need homes, and seemed to wholeheartedly accept that we’re having adventures now, and might adopt some time in the future. Ezekiel, whose cab I rode in recently, also seemed to think that’s a good plan. In the meantime, he drives day and night to feed his four kids, he said.

I believe it! While we happily enjoy cheaper avocados, restaurants, and coffee in Mexico, we notice that the cost of living isn’t low enough here to compensate for how low wages are. Even without a gas shortage, fuel is actually more expensive than in most parts of the US, as are new cars, good chocolate and many electronics.

Teachers in our state of Michoacan haven’t been paid in months - no politician standoff government shutdown, the state and federal government say they simply don’t have the money. Teachers shut down rail lines with clear demands. I wonder what sacrifices these families have made, and are making, as life continues to cost money.


mom February 04, 2019

This is a packed post!!! Lots to chew on.
I’m glad the neighbors’ dogs are neutered!
That truckload is amazing!!!
Tropical milkweed - never heard of it; it is gorgeous.

Anna Lisa Gross February 05, 2019

You’re right - it just kept growing:-)

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