Blanche the Luna Moth, Part 1

So this has happened…luna moth 7

Yesterday, this gorgeous luna moth chose a little section of our side porch, on a pair of doors, to open her own maternity ward. We’re honored, but it does seem like she might’ve chosen one of our sweetgum trees, or one of the many hickory trees or white oaks, over doors made of wood and glass with lots of near-constant activity and noise around them.

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This, to me, begs the question: Is Blanche a first-time mother? Because this was really not the best decision for her offspring.

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The doors are old, but they’re really clean, because Daughter of the House just high-pressure-washed them a day before all this went down. So maybe Blanche had some kind of My Maternity Ward Must Be Clean thing going on in her head, and I can empathize with that more than I’d like to admit – you can go completely batshit a little bit crazy right before you give birth, and I most assuredly speak with the voice of experience – but she really should’ve gone for one of the trees. When the caterpillars hatch, they’ll eat their own egg casings first, but then they’ll be immediately ready to start seriously chowing down on some sweetgum or white oak or hickory leaves. Not laying the eggs on a host food was a serious mistake in terms of making sure her caterpillars survive.

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And this, my friends, is why we named her Blanche. She is absolutely and irrevocably relying on the kindness of strangers, and that would be us.

Our luna moth’s namesake, Blanche Dubois, from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, as channeled by Vivien Leigh

Blanche laid multiple eggs in four different areas of the doors. The caterpillars will hatch in 10 days, if they make it, and we’re going to be ready for them. We’ll be building a cage for them and tracking their progress, so stay tuned 😉 It’s really exciting to think that we might get to have a small part in helping!

Bright blessings,
CJ & Kay

A Fungus Amungus

I couldn’t resist saying fungus amungus, but I don’t really know what this is – I just know it caught my eye yesterday morning on our walk. If you know what it is, leave me a comment, would you? It’s beautiful.
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Closeups of the funky fungi

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This busy little argiope caught my eye as well. I love them, and they’re always welcome here.
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Bright blessings,
CJ & Kay

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

This necklace, a 1980s costume piece, an art nouveau inspired butterfly with a body made from a gorgeous green and white agate cabochon, was waiting on a table outside on our porch where Kay was taking photographs for Gypsum Moon Style. When she turned to pick the necklace up, this equally gorgeous moth had posed for the camera. It waited until just after Kay had taken one picture to flutter away.

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I may be a moth, not a butterfly, but I am the real deal!

We both love vintage butterfly things, and we have some really pretty pieces listed right now – click here for a peek at some truly beautiful 1970s gemstone and sterling silver butterfly rings, and click here to see some great vintage home decor pieces with butterflies – like this dainty little heart shaped porcelain trinket box, embellished with butterflies and flowers and holding a surprise inside: a rose-scented candle.

$10 plus shipping, available at Gypsum Moon Vintage
$10 plus shipping, available at Gypsum Moon Vintage

We love to hear from you, so feel free to comment or drop us a line.
Bright blessings,
CJ & Kay

Marceline’s Tips for Rockhounds, #1

Marceline says: Nothing like a nap in the sun after a long day of rooting and digging in the sweet North Carolina red clay …

Rockhound schnozzle: the redder the better, baby!
Rockhound schnozzle: the redder the better, baby!

More tips later – a girl’s gotta sleep when she can.

Peace out, hogs & kisses xoxo
Marceline

Gypsum Moon Mine: Strawberry Quartz

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One of the things we enjoy most on our early morning walks, away from our active digging areas, is watching the big quartz chunks that are gradually emerging from the earth. Often, after a good hard rain, a piece that was mostly buried one day will be ready to excavate the next, so we usually try to wait till Mother Nature’s done at least some of the work before we finish digging them out.

There’s one particular big piece of quartz that had us really intrigued, though, because we could see hints of the most extraordinary shade of reddish pink and all kinds of other major sparkles – red and silver and gold, oh my! – as well. A couple of weeks ago, Kay couldn’t hold out any longer, and we began digging. We finished excavating it about an hour later, then headed for home to clean it up and see what it was all about.

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Kay holding the strawberry quartz right after we dug it out.
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Success!

This is what it looked like in the late afternoon sun after we had hosed it down a bit at home. The quartz is smooth in some places, and there are crystals visible throughout. Takes your breath away, yes?

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Almost 12 full pounds of gorgeous strawberry quartz

So what, exactly, makes this particular chunk of quartz so vibrantly pink, as opposed to the other chunks that we regularly get from Gypsum Moon Mine, which range from clear to milky to pink to yellow to blue-gray? The presence of several other minerals, including:

  • Brookite, silvery grey rutile crystals scattered on the outside as well as embedded in the quartz itself.
  • Black magnetite which has oxidized to hematite, forming thin black or red crystals visible on the surface.
  • Limonite, a mineral mixture which can be found in the vugs and cracks and can be washed away, leaving behind some of the most interesting yellow, pink and clear crystals.
  • Lepidocrocite, exquisitely tiny red crystals, almost impossible to see individually without magnification.

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They don’t photograph well, but there are also plenty of tiny gold sparkles that can be seen glistening in the light, a beautiful shade of sunlight yellow. Not enough gold to make us rich, but still fun to find. We often think about the biggest gold nugget ever found in NC, which was found from right down the creek from us, over in Cabarrus County, in 1799. If you click here you’ll be able to read a complete history of the North Carolina gold rush – and there’s a timeline, with clickable links, so I really had a complete geek-out when I found it 😉

We love to hear from you, so feel free to post a comment or question – or joke, or recipe, whatever – below  🙂

Bright blessings,
CJ & Kay