a late start (3pm). but i didn't plan on being at the assabet national wildlife refuge for very long, just long enough to get some bug photos if any. today was a hot day, and i broke into a sweat immediately, made worse by the fact i was standing underneath the blaring sun most of that time. the only good that came of that (besides furthering my tan) is the intense sunlight seemed to have kept the mosquitoes at bay (i didn't even have to spray). at one point i was sweating so much my t-shirt was completely soaked and i looked like i'd just got out of the pool with my clothes on.

insect-wise, i was surprised by the lack of dragonfly activities. maybe it's still too early in the season? i'll have to check my records, but i could've sworn usually by this time the place is teeming with them. i didn't see anything new although i did manage to get a few good photos of these metallic-green cuckoo wasps. i've seen them before, but they're hard to photograph because they're sort of small and secretive in nature. i found a bunch feeding on some goldenrods and spend a good amount of time playing around with the camera, trying to get some clear shots. cuckoo wasps are named that because like the cuckoo birds, they're cleptoparasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other insects and when their youngs hatch, they eat all the food, sometimes the host insects as well.

and even though there were a lot of milkweeds, i wasn't able to find any monarch butterfly caterpillars. maybe it's already too late? i noticed a lot of flowers had already finished their blooms, devoting their energy now to making seed pods. without the actual flowers to attract the adults, there won't be any monarch visits anymore. another theory is somebody else beat me to the punch and already harvested all the caterpillars, but i didn't even see signs of caterpillar activities (like holes in leaves, or caterpillar droppings).

what was lacking in insect activities was made up for in the number of wildflowers blooming at the refuge; however, most of them were ones i've already seen before.

the only exception was the indian tobacco plant i found; as the name suggests, indians smoked the dried leaves, which contains alkaloids similar to nicotine.

returning home, i came back via route 2 instead of 2A. i've never traveled on route 2 before with the motorcycle. at those speeds (55mph posted, but usually everyone drives at least 10 miles above the speed limit) there's no margin for errors. i keep on imagining blowing one of my tires and being launched across the highway. fortunately that stretch of high speed road between concord and cambridge isn't very long and i made it back without any problems.

i went running again this morning. i wasn't even planning to go again today, just did it because i suddenly felt inspired after taking a shower and getting on the bathroom scale to realize i lost a few pounds within the past few weeks. the only hitch was my father called me right as i was about to leave and asked if i could go to the supermarket and pick up something he forgot (several pounds of ground pork butts). after i did that i was ready to go. the weather was so hot (by noontime) that i felt compelled to run topless, letting the world get a brief taste of my sexy farmer's tan. i basically walked down to the river but when i got there i managed to do the loop without stopping (except to get some water).

in the evening i made some pasta with the leftover prosciutto i had in the fridge. i think the meat's bad because i had an episode last night after i taste-tested a slice, but i figured if i cooked the hell out of it it'd be safe. i threw in some green peas and made a sauce out of tomato paste, chicken broth, and white wine. it tasted okay but was 3x saltier than what i normally eat. later i had another episode (apparently bad prosciutto is bad even after you cook it, good to know). for dessert i had a mango my grandmother gave me today and some ice cream.