i woke up at 9am to get ready for my day of adventuring with amy, on summer hiatus from her teaching duties. we had decided we'd go visit krispy kreme first (neither of us having been there before), followed by a trip to shirley to check out the native american muffler man i saw back in july, when i took a motorcycle ride out west down route 2A to shirley. after an e-mail check, i burned a cd of travel music, not realizing that amy doesn't have a cd player in her red jeep. we watched some television, remarked on how skinny the new intestinally-modified al roker has become, before heading out for donuts, neither one of us having had any breakfast yet.

we drove out to the new krispy kreme in everett off of route 16. from the window we could see a line of people waiting inside for donuts. coming in, we're greeted by a glass-walled kitchen where we could see the actual donuts getting made, reminded me of finagle a bagel, when you can see the actual bagel on a conveyer belt getting sliced. same thing with the donuts, from a ball of dough, to a donut shape, to a floating bath in hot oil, onto a rolling conveyer belt that applied the glaze, finally to quality control where employees quality check the donuts and package them into boxes for sale. a woman inside was handing out samples wrapped in a tissue paper straight off of the conveyer, when she offered me one, it took me a while before i understood what she was doing, as if i needed encouragement to buy their donuts, which was the sole purpose of why i was there anyway. i took the just-born donut, still warm and soft, and ate it, 250 calories and all, tasted like cotton candy, it just disappeared in my mouth. amy and i shared a dozen regular glazed donuts and then sat down to eat along with our respective coffee beverage. throughout the whole time we were there, there was just non-stop traffic of people coming in and out, buying up donuts just as fast as they were coming off the conveyer belt. amy ate 3 more donuts, i was able to down 4 more, 1000 additional calories. we talked mostly about her new job, i asked every single question i could think of concerning being a school teacher, she answered all of them.

instead of driving out to shirley, we changed our itinerary and decided to visit the wellesley college greenhouse, a place that paula told me about a few months ago and i was curious to see what it was about. we made the long trip east in the opposite direction on route 16, through somerville, cambridge, watertown, newton, finally wellesley. one of the backseat windows was flapping in the wind, broken from a recent break-in (jeeps are notorious for how easy they are to steal from), i tried to keep it close, the duct tape no longer able to keep it shut.

when we got there, we had no idea where this greenhouse was, so we just parked the jeep and decided to walk it, heading towards the water. we'd later realize this was nowhere near the greenhouse, but for the time being, it was a journey of discovery. i have never been to the wellesley campus before, and was struck by its beauty. i've seen some college campuses in my days, but this by far is the prettiest. we passed by an empty church, its doors open, perhaps to air out the chamber. i've always loved these big churches, but always felt like i'm not supposed to be in them since i'm not religious. since there was nobody there however, i didn't feel too out of place. we got to the water, crossed a small bridge over a stream, then to a big lake, which we proceeded to walk around the perimeter using a forest path with various posted "no tresspassing" signs which we took no heed of.

there were dragonflies and damselflies of every single species flying about, i made a mental note to myself to return one day soon to do some insect photography. the water was pristine and looked inviting, despite the "no swimming" notices, which i think are just there for legal reasons. along the bank of the lake was a forest of topiary that just screamed "photo op."

with all this rain we've been having up here in new england, it's been a great year for mushrooms, and every forest visit has been marked with species of fungi i've never seen before. today was no exception. amy helped me out by spotting mushrooms for me to take photos of.

purple mushroom



inky cap

inky cap



my two favorite mushrooms today are the purple mushroom (can't find what it is in my mushroom field guides, it's pretty though) and the stinkhorns. the stinkhorns are particularly interesting, when i first saw them, i thought maybe some shore bird had dropped a crab in the forest (like they sometimes do), because i thought the stinkhorns were crab claws. i didn't notice any fetid smell, but i did see it was oozing black liquid which i'd bet doesn't smell so good.

we came across a raspberry patch and took some time to eat some berries. then when i looked behind and saw a field of milkweed. almost instinctively i checked to see if there were any monarch caterpillars. it didn't take long to find one, i almost didn't believe what i was looking at, a small 1cm long caterpillar. i looked to another milkweed plant, and sure enough, another caterpillar! and look, over there, that big one is almost 2 inches long! i saw a total of 5 caterpillars, 3 small, 2 large, and that was just a very quick peek.

up to that time i went with bruce to world's end, i haven't had any luck finding caterpillars this summer, and now, suddenly, in this wellesley milkweed field, there was a plethora of monarchs. i pulled off two small caterpillars, one for myself, one for amy. i was tempted to grab the large caterpillars as well, so close to chrysalis stage, but i figured i'd have a hard time transporting them home since they're a lot more active than the smaller caterpillars. i also did just check for chrysalides, maybe i'll go back looking this weekend, all the payoff, none of the work.

before we left wellesley college, amy drove around until we found the site of the greenhouse. i was already adventured out, and it looked like it was going to rain (besides, i was holding two pieces of leaves with caterpillars on them), so we decided to head back home. when we got to my place, i put amy's caterpillar onto a fresh piece of milkweed leaf, punched some holes in a tomato jar lid, and gave her a homemade monarch butterfly hatching kit.

after amy left, i went outside and got some more milkweed leaves from a neighbor's garden. i put my new caterpillar onto a new leaf and made a jar for it to live, then i moved my 8+ days old caterpillar onto a new leaf as well. disaster struck when the caterpillar fell off the leaf and onto the kitchen carpet, a drop of a few hundre caterpillar length. i quickly put the caterpillar back on the leaf, into the jar. minutes, looking into the jar, i saw that the caterpillar had fallen off again, half submerged in the water at the bottom of the jar. in a panic, i dumped everything out onto a plate and put the caterpillar back on the leaf into the jar, with less water this time. minutes later it fell off again, but not in enough water to drown. eventually i figured out it was going through another molt and doesn't have enough dexterity to gasp onto the leaf. the little caterpillar is going through a molt as well, i can tell because 1) it doesn't move around and 2) i can see the breathing holes on the side of its body.

for dinner, some boiled dumplings, while watching an e! true hollywood story on the life of jenna jameson, followed by (finally) a red sox game where they win over the athletics.