Jen Meyers Official Author Site

Of Books and Bugs

anywhere BN KoboI’ll be honest with you and tell you that I haven’t started writing the next book yet. This time of year—heading into the holiday season—is always so SO busy in a Life sort of way that I never get much writing done anyway, so I haven’t been terribly motivated to start. But I’ve been making notes. Oodles and oodles of notes, fragments of dialogue, scene ideas, the beginnings of an outline. Characters have already gone through at least five name changes as I’ve searched for the perfect names (it’s hardly ever the first ones I choose—naming characters is as difficult as naming children, truly). There is so much I *know* about this next book and still so much I don’t. But I do know it will all come together and I will be writing like mad soon.

In the meantime, Life is full of good things like (the end of) soccer season, fires burning in the wood stove, and a celebration of bugs. (I’m not kidding.) Last weekend we went to the always fantastically fascinating Insectapalooza hosted by the entomology department at Cornell University. A remarkably hands-on event, kids of ALL ages get to talk to the insect experts, touch a bug or two, and see insects they’ve never seen (and probably never would otherwise).

(Okay, warning: there are LOTS OF PICTURES BELOW. But none of them are of spiders even though Steve took several pics of very large, hairy ones that are still making me shudder after I accidentally looked at them. But I’m protecting you guys because I love you.) (Also, you’ll totally understand why I couldn’t narrow it down any further than I already did. Some seriously cool bugs and stunningly gorgeous butterflies here.)

IMG_8026

IMG_8049

Looking at tiny parasitic insects under large magnifying glasses and microscopes.

 

There were ridiculously HUGE insects:

IMG_8019

That’s my hand up there to give you an idea of how crazy-big these are.

 

And some unbelievably small:

IMG_8050

Those tiny little black dots all over this paper coffee cup? Teeny-tiny wasps. Yes, wasps. (I KNOW.)

 

An amazing collection of the beauty and wonder of our world.

IMG_8037

IMG_8110

IMG_8042

IMG_8067

IMG_8040

IMG_8127

 

We were lucky enough to be able to see some insects represented at every stage of their life cycle, like this Tobacco Hornworm.

IMG_8167

Eggs and newly hatched worms. You can see a mature worm behind the cup to see the size difference.

IMG_8163

A mature worm, about a month after hatching. You would not believe how soft its skin is…softer than a baby’s skin.

IMG_8170

This is the moth the worm turns into.

We even got to watch in wonder as one of those moths, like the one pictured above, fed from a vial of sugar water. It hovered just like a hummingbird, its long proboscis extending into the beaker to drink. SO cool.

But by far, our favorite part of the event was the Butterfly Room. With netting covering the ceiling and flowering plants, saucers of sugar water, and cut fruit spread throughout the room, we walked into a wonderland of butterflies and moths EVERYWHERE we looked—feeding, resting, and flying by. Talk about MAGICAL.

IMG_8205

IMG_8242

Check out the feathered antennae on this guy. Also, he’s HUGE.

IMG_8248

IMG_8258

IMG_8273

This little butterfly was my favorite (and I think it heard me say that because right after this picture was taken, it took off and landed on me as we were leaving…it obviously wanted to come home with us). The wings are see-through, like stained glass.

Steve took all these pictures, and if you want to see a few more (because REALLY, only eighteen pictures of bugs isn’t enough, right?), you can hop over to Steve’s guest post on Insectapalooza at Mud Puddles to Meteors, a site celebrating all the wonders of nature for big and small. (Also, there are different cool bugs posted over there…so really, you should go. Plus it’s a truly wonderful site—a new favorite of mine…despite the fact that they have a deep love for spiders that I simply do not understand. ;-)

Have a great weekend, everyone. Hope it’s filled with wonder.

2 thoughts on “Of Books and Bugs

  1. kindlemom1

    Oh my goodness all the butterflies are just gorgeous!! This looks like so much fun!!

    And oh my heck, look how HUGE those bugs are! Could you imagine one of those babies flying at you in the summertime? O-o

    Tiny wasps? Okay, that is pretty neat! I had no idea they could be that tiny!! Do they get bigger?

    1. j meyers Post author

      Those wasps are called Trichogramma, and do not get any bigger. They lay their eggs *inside* of other insects’ eggs, and they grow up inside of those eggs! They are actually natural enemies of many other insects and are used as pest control. Amazing, huh? Who knew!

      (And the only reason I know all that is because Steve took a picture of the informational sign right next to them. :-)