Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Step #324 complete!

The stucco is done!!!! Wahoo!!!

Now everything from here is a piece of cake. We just have to put up the trim, paint the wall, build the pergola, put in the lights and outlets, and then open up the chain link fence to connect the new fenced in area with our existing backyard. I know that sounds like a lot of work, but compared to what we've done so far, it's a cake walk. And I can help a lot more than I have so far. Actually, I am completely capable of painting without Travis' supervision, thank you very much.

The main obstacle left on our plate is the gate. We left an opening so you can get from the front door to the fenced in area easily. My dad priced prefab gates before he came down to visit us in July, only to find out that not a single store in the area sells prefabricated fence gates. Apparently that concept is more popular in the north. We CAN order them online, but they are so expensive. My dad was thinking about mailing us the one he found at a store near him. But it cost more to mail it than it did to buy it. The last two options available to us are bring it back with us on a plane when we go to Illinois in October, or have our friend Chris R. make one for us. He is a torch wielding artist that could probably make us a fabulous custom piece. We are currently weighing our options.

Last weekend while sitting on the patio, I saw a lightning bug. Lightning bugs are ALL OVER in Illinois in the summer time. I had actually completely forgotten about them until I saw that one floating over our house last weekend. I had a nostalgic moment when I remembered catching the bugs in a glass jar with my sister. Then when we went to bed at night, we would set the jar on our nightstand and watch the yellow butts crawling around in the leaves and sticks that we had so thoughtfully placed in there.

I was thrilled when I saw another lightning bug last night while we were working on the fence. It was walking on the ground, so I ran up to investigate. Right away I noticed that there were two bioluminescent dots on it's back. The lightning bug I grew up catching had an entire abdomen that lit up and then flashed intermittently in the night. In my teen years, I used to hate when one would smash on my windshield. As soon as I ran the wipers, I had smeared bioluminescence all over my windshield.

The bug I found last night was a creepy monster of a beetle. Nice try TEXAS.

I would like you to also note the ratio of dead to live grass in this photo. Now imagine that over 30% of my yard. Stupid drought.

Anyhoo, I did some research and found that these TEXAS lightning bugs are called click beetles. Wikipedia says that the lights shine constantly and then get brighter if touched by a predator. The one we found last night must be dumb because his lights dimmed and he rolled over on his back like he was playing dead. Weird. Apparently the eggs and larvae are luminous as well. Wouldn't that make them easier to spot by predators? Maybe all the beetles are dumb.


Sara's Satire said...

That is strange - I have never seen a lightning beetle. We had lightning bugs all the time in Wimberley. They definitely weren't beetles. they would flicker. It may just be the area, bbecause I still see them all the time, especially in the summer. Maybe it has something to do with being in the hill country - or maybe it's something to do with being close to the creeks? who knows, but we used to catch them all the time too. My dad said that when he was a kid, they would catch them, kill them, then use the luminescence to write on the walls at home, GROSS! Anyway, maybe next summer you guys can come down and we can go see the lightning bugs...ya'll should come for the butterfly festival - I think it's in May. They release thousands and thousands of butterflies...its pretty cool.

Alexa said...

The beetles here are HUGE and freaky.

Not that Chris wouldn't be totally happy to help make a gate, but they do sell them all over at the Home Depot and Lowe's and such :0.

Nikki said...

Alexa, we'll have to check the HD by your house. They don't sell them at the one on 646 or in Galveston, or at the Lowe's in Texas City. They do sell the giant gates big enough for driving a car through, but not the little ones for one person. You can special order them, but then I could just do that online by myself.

Sara, we'd love to come visit the lightning bugs! I wonder what Aiden would think. SO FUN.

Alexa said...

Maybe I'm missing the point of what you're trying to build, but here is an example of what I've seen in the stores. http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100544777/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

Nikki said...

Yep! That's what I'm looking for! I called the HD by your house and they said they do have those IN the store. Next time we can, we'll be stopping by that store. Thanks for the info!