Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bugs, doormats and adorable kids

It's been awhile since I've posted a question for About Amherst's resident entomologist. Nancy, of Northampton, sent these fine photos, inquiring about the bugs on the milkweed.


Says the resident entomologist: " It is a 'milkweed bug' (no kidding). They suck oil from the seeds and are warning-colored as being toxic from feeding on milkweed, like monarch butterflies etc. I don't actually see them that often. You can buy milkweed bugs for school projects but those are lab strains that can be raised on sunflower seeds. "

"The little ones are 'oleander aphids' that are actually common feeding on milkweed (I found many with a class just yesterday) and also toxic and so colored and so on... Cool!"
Saw this funny doormat at the Cummington Fair.
And this one,



It was so great to see my far-flung siblings and kids this summer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six weeks later

Dave Sullivan wins the Democratic primary election with 67 percent of the vote and is the presumed new Northwestern district attorney.
I used the multi-media skills I learned from blogging to help Dave with his campaign for district attorney, and what an exhilarating experience it has been. I came on in May, but Dave campaigned for 20 months, knocked on thousands of doors and recruited dozens and dozens of volunteers. It seems like everybody I talked to throughout the summer had met Dave somewhere.
As one local political analyst described it -- correctly, I think -- it was a campaign people will look back at for years to come as a model.
My analysis is that Dave was an exceptionally hard worker; treated everyone, including his opponent, as he would want to be treated himself, never took a thing for granted and never cut corners.
A humble and intelligent service-oriented person, Dave is willing to take advice, has high standards, an unusually good memory and good judgment. He asked pretty much everybody he met to become involved with his campaign and thanked them continually.
Something I learned from him is that there's no substitute for preparation. He researched everything he might be called upon to discuss, consulted experts and learned from them, always bringing to the process his own moral vision. He BECAME a candidate who voters could visualize taking the office to another level.

In between May and Election Day, my nieces came to visit for a few days. We didn't get to the Montague Book Mill or either zipline, but we DID 1) take a ride on the Lady Bea, 2) go to Puffer's Pond at dusk every night 3) go to Antonio's, 4) shop for vintage clothes at the new Goodwill on University Drive, 5) Have "high tea" at Chandler's Tavern and "bubble tea" downtown 6) Pick our own flowers at Hampshire College 7) go to the Amherst AND the Greenfield Farmer's Market 8) attend the free Fiddler's Festival in Greenfield's Energy Park, 9) visit Mount Sugarloaf and 10) go the Magic Wings. (We did go to the Bridge of Flowers, another must-do on Brian's and my tour, with Brian's brother and wife and my friends Susan and Jessica.)
Eventually, all of my siblings but Eddie, who we saw earlier this summer, got to Amherst.
Eddie and son William
And to top it all off, my daughter Ana (on right, with cousin Meghan) came to town!