First Field Trip, Spider Coffee and Bug Poop Tea

There are two times of year in Houston the Gulf Coast when the weather is just perfect. Late September through October is one of them, with late February through April being the other.

Somehow for us, fall may be a bit better because we just came off of the scorching (and this year, dry) days of summer when the time to get out can’t come soon enough. Throw an at-home. on-line school into the mix for several weeks straight, and there you go. Gotta get out.

Venus hides among peachy cloud wisps.
Perfect sunrise!

The spiderwebs greet me daily every morning, some right in the face. This spider species for which I don’t know the name (we call them ‘crab’ spiders) have a knack for building huge webs right in the middle of a walkway. These spiders are so small, you don’t see them until they are literally on your nose.

Good thing I don’t fear spiders.

One of the more amazing feats these guys do is that they take up their entire web (provided I don’t walk into it) in the morning by eating their own silk. From what I can tell, they like to build in the same spot, because around sunrise, there he is — building again.

I wish my kids were as efficient with their craft supplies and cracker crumbs.

The swing by the creek now has a native trumpet vine growing up both sides of the A-frame. It could just have easily been poison ivy, or Virginia creeper, or any other climber, but it’s not. These orange, trumpet-shaped flowers are a favorite for pollinators, and many people plant them next to pergolas and frames to get the same effect.

Yippee! Nature loves me.

Wild trumpet vine finds the A-frame on the swing.
Just like I planned it. LOL

So as soon as the Houston traffic dies down, say around 9:00a, we head to the train station to park and ride into the Museum District. The train ride, after all, is half the fun.

Train Selfie with Photo Bomber
(and one unknown weary traveler)

When we get there, the kids (all on their own, mind you) decide they want to spend the bulk of their time at the Cockrell Butterfly Center. Now, I could have spent all day there taking photos, but I intentionally left the camera bag at home. Only the Canon Powershot graced my pockets, and it doesn’t do very good macro photography.

So Selfies and subjects-that-stay-still — and wall art — it is.

Mommy’s favorite museum space,
the Brown Hall of Entomology

If I ever get back to school to finish an undergrad degree, this is what it will be for. Needless to say, I always come away with some new piece of information, no matter how many times I come here. The kids love playing the trivia games, and I enjoy just marveling at all the precious little things that grace the exhibits.

As we exited, we noticed a butterfly had ‘escaped’ the pyramid enclosure and entered the building. The kids straight away went and told the curator, who came out with a large butterfly net. While she tried to catch the escapee, the kids bought some junk food.

Of all the souvenir vending machines, this is
what the kids get. Sheesh!!

Later, inside the museum at some other exhibit, the worker (who had finally caught the butterfly) came all the way in to find us to tell us that. She wanted to be sure to thank us for our deed and encourage the kids to do so in the future.

Little did she know that DirtNKids aren’t bug-squishers. We are bug lovers. Last year, we rescued (by hand, mind you) an escaped cockroach to return to the museum folks in tact, something most kids can’t brag about. The rescuer (Scottie) was rewarded with a tour behind the scenes.

Perhaps one day, one of the kids — or even me — will be rewarded with a volunteer job there.

I can dream, can’t I?

14 thoughts on “First Field Trip, Spider Coffee and Bug Poop Tea

    1. I’m molding them into little Shannon’s to be sure. As to whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen. Good to see you are into my ‘poop’ posts, Peg. Now, if I could just get you composting with gusto, my job will be done. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  1. So how was the tea?? LOL!!!

    Sounds like a fun day out. I miss not having a museum district close – I like to get to Chicago once a year to hit up the museums.

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    1. Oddly tasty! We also ate some fried grasshoppers — tasted like buttered popcorn. I could totally eat those again. Ah…Chicago has the best museums. Houston’s is pretty neat; we enjoy mostly the entomology and Egyptology exhibits, and the newest wing for paleontology is like walking along the giants. Spectacular!!

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  2. I have missed reading your blog so much. And look how much has gone by. I don’t think the dream will outrun you. You ll be way ahead the finish line, sipping lemon tea as a volunteer.

    Speaking of which, bug poop tea has officially replaced civet poop coffee as the coolest sounding beverage name.

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    1. LOL I know, right? And the tea was actually pretty good. Glad to be back blogging again, but the times between are getting longer. I think this may be the new norm. Look for an email. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. I like the way you titled this post; it’s characteristically you.

    A few mornings ago I noticed a particularly bright Venus. Apparently the ancients didn’t realize that the Morning Star and the Evening Star were the same heavenly body.

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    1. Yeah, that bug poop tea HAD to make it into the title. Funny how few people click out of curiosity…perhaps not such a good idea to improve readership. LOL

      Venus is (sadly) the only other heavenly body (besides the moon) we can see with the naked eye out here in the 24/7 brightly lit suburbs. We camped in the yard this weekend and could see nothing at all; kinda ruins the whole camping spirit. At least the coyote and barred owls were out to make up it. I fear that, soon, they too will be gone.

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    2. Incidentally, there’s a small open roof observatory near Canyon of the Eagles in Lake Buchanan northwest of Austin. It’s quite a good one, and nice and dark away from population (though you can definitely tell where Austin is). You should go if you haven’t already.

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      1. I don’t know of anyone else who knows of it but me! It’s a little Texas gem. Great brainy types hang out there with their laser pointers and interesting facts, keeping both kids and parents engaged in the pitch black. You’d love it!

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  4. What a great world you’re creating for you and your kids! I was hiking on the AT recently and was so frantic, plunging through curtains of spiderwebs on a side trail. I could barely breathe as thet stuck to me. Your post is a great reminder to slow down and take notice of what’s being built around me by my magnificent neighbors, even (maybe especially) the tiniest of them.

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    1. Thank you, Smirk Pretty! Since we are pretty detached from the rest of human ‘society,’ some might argue that we might be bringing them up wrong. But hey! There is quite a bit to be learned and appreciated observing the wild, even if we aren’t completely immersed in it.

      We get some huge spiders here, half the size of a hand, and when one of those hits my face (usually when mowing grass) I do a nice little dance to hasten his (my) retreat. Harmless, but the willies are pretty hard-wired!

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