Please, I need help with an intervention! My wife, Patty, is addicted to weed. Just the other night she said (and I’m not making this up) “I’ll be right back, I’m going out to find where some weed is growing, cut it and bring it home.” Sure enough, she came back with several big leaves of weed. She then got out all her weed paraphernalia.
I first noticed this tendency in her several years ago. During one of our walks, Patty stopped suddenly, looked on the side of the path and exclaimed “look – weed!” She went over and caressed this innocuous looking plant and began to extol its virtues. But it was what she uttered next that truly surprised me. Patty, who is a second grade teacher, actually said “my kids are going to love this.” Shocked?
Well, I may be getting a little ahead of myself. Before you call the NEA and DEA to have her fired and arrested, I should explain something. The weed I’m talking about is milkweed. And as far as I know, it’s perfectly legal. You see, milkweed is the plant that begins and sustains the life of the Monarch butterfly. Monarchs pollinate, mate, lay eggs, and go through all stages of development on the leaves of the milkweed plant. That’s it. It’s the only plant they can survive on. If there were no milkweed, there would be no Monarchs.
Enter the addict. Patty seized on this entomological fact and began to cultivate Monarch butterflies with her classes. She uses it as a teaching tool. Her students gather together to observe these eggs, which are always laid in a sac on the underside of the leaf. This is due to it’s coarser skin and better protection from the elements. The eggs eventually produce the caterpillars who then munch away on these leaves. It turns out they are the real addicts. Patty has to keep resupplying the leaves for these voracious critters. They eat so much and get so fat that they have to molt their exoskeletons several times to allow room to grow. Eventually, they form the inevitable chrysalis or cocoon and before you can say metamorphosis, they emerge as beautiful adult Monarch butterflies.
Patty’s passion for this has won her accolades from the schools and even the community in general. She has successfully raised and released these glorious insects for several years. Below you see Patty in her classroom with her “paraphernalia” which are officially called butterfly huts.
When she releases the adults they will join thousands of others fluttering around pollinating milkweed all summer and into autumn. Before winter they will migrate nearly 2500 miles from here in Virginia to Mexico to hibernate. Next spring they will make their way back to mate and lay their eggs. The lucky ones will be discovered by Patty, who will nurse and nurture them while she educates even luckier children.
As for the intervention, never mind. I think this is one habit that I will just have to live with. But if she ever comes home with the real stuff, I’ll call you.
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Butterfly love must be inherent in the name Patty, no matter how it is spelled. I wish I’d had a teacher to share this with me. I had to wait until I was past 50 to experience metamorphosis. What a wonder it is. Thanks for sharing this post with me. Tell Patty I said, “Hi!”
Hi Patti. What is the statute of limitations on blog replies? I just noticed this comment from over 3 months ago and since I guarantee a response to every comment in my personal page, here it is. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, MLK Day, Presidents Day, and Valentines Day. And since I’m at it, Happy Easter!
I’m so glad to stumble upon this story. I’ve been looking for milkweed plants at a nearby nursery garden but couldn’t find even a single one. After looking at your wife’s milkweed pictures and reading that she found this during one of her walks….I realized that I already have milkweed plants!!! I used to ask my teen son to pick up some wild flowering plants for me whenever I’m driving along countryside roads and he once got me 3 skinny plants with light purple flowers. I thought they were so beautiful that I put them in a decorative pot in my front porch. Unfortunately, I just pulled them out ‘coz they died when we went on a weeklong vacation. Next time we find more of these plants, I will plant them on the grounds. THANKS for this nice, heartwarming post.
Glad you enjoyed it. I hope you stick around for some more blogs.
Just coming to read this after Mr. Al, left me a comment that suggested I look here. It’s been a while, so I suppose A. Nonymouse has already made a plant decision, however, so as not to get a fine or create a hazard, Milkweed is on the noxious weed no-no list for some, so it is best when attempting to take nature and domesticate it, to check. 🙂
I like getting images of it in the winter, that too, was MOWED DOWN. I still have a whopping resentment against the mowing, and the angry chatter in my head and often cursing on the outside does disrupt my walking of the earth prayer. I then tell myself YES I am most important in the universe to deem this as a WRONG and my wrath shall thunder across the sky, and then i break out into hilarious laughter.
Remind me never to incur your thundering wrath. I like your laughter though.
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You’re a lucky man to have such a special wife, and she’s a lucky woman because you appreciate her so.
Look at all the favorable comments you received on this warm-hearted blog. You must write more when you are hooked up to a honey IV.
LOL. But I’m wise to your hidden agenda. Besides, you wouldn’t appreciate the mushy ones as much if I didn’t throw in a few lib-bashing blogs.
That was soooo lovely!
Glad you liked it RaRee, if that’s your real name. Haven’t heard that in a while.
Nice blog…I didn’t know any of this…about the milkweed, butterflies munching away…and I loved the pictures and story of Patty and the kiddos. Keep writing!
Thanks, Cindy. This is only the tip of the iceberg. I’ll have to tell you (or blog) about her redworm composting project. She was interviewed on TV and received a $1000 grant for her school with that one. I’d be clueless myself about these things if it weren’t for her.
Hey, my aunt is a teacher who is fanatically into redworm composting and has been written-up about it. Are you my uncle?
No way. So you’re the long lost niece named pegoleg we’ve heard about in family lore. You’re the rich one right? You know you’ve always been our favorite.
Aunt Patty and Uncle Al
Thanks Mike. Maybe I should confine myself to writing blogs strictly about Patty. I know Bernice would love it (i.e no more political blogs).
This is you writing in your best, most charming manner. Well done! Both of you!
That’s a sweet comment and much appreciated. Thanks.
This is the obvious post of a man who loves his wife. It’s a nice thing to read about. And way to go Patty. :o)
Since you know Patty you also know how easy it is to write nice things about her. I’m a very lucky man.
Very nice! Huzzahs to Patty! And to Al.