Long-gone Labeling

These appeared while I was extricating the 3-axis positioner from an old project:

Migrated felt-tip pen labels
Migrated felt-tip pen labels

I’m reasonably sure those labels started with blue ink from my all-time favorite Ultra-Fine-Point Sharpie markers on address labels covered with ordinary matte tape. Fourteen years on, the X, Y, and Drive legends are pretty much indistinguishable.

Nothing lasts …

Monthly Image: Mantis Mating

The Praying Mantis in the Butterfly Bush is definitely female:

Praying Mantis Mating - front
Praying Mantis Mating – front

I’d noticed her distended abdomen a day or two earlier, when it was highlighted in the sun and pulsing slowly. The indentations under the male’s legs shows the surface is definitely softer than the hard chitin of most insect armor:

Praying Mantis Mating - rear
Praying Mantis Mating – rear

The tip of the male’s abdomen twisted around to make contact, but I have no idea what all the little doodads common to both of them back there were doing.

The whole process started in mid-afternoon, they were still locked together six hours later, and the male was gone in the morning. The stories about female mantises eating the males seem greatly exaggerated, but she did manage to catch and eat a moth while otherwise engaged.

We’ll keep watch for ootheca on the tall grasses again, although we’ll never know the rest of their story.

Cicada Time

Even though cicadas are completely harmless, Mary was quite startled to discover one crawling up the back of her garden pants:

Cicada - left front
Cicada – left front

It seems the cicada mistook her for a tree.

They’re handsome creatures:

Cicada - left dorsal
Cicada – left dorsal

They’re very conspicuous on fabric:

Cicada - right dorsal
Cicada – right dorsal

I teleported it to a maple tree, where it was better camouflaged:

Cicada - on tree - right
Cicada – on tree – right

When last seen, it was headed upward at a pretty good pace. We wished it well on its adventures …

Striped Hairstreak Caterpillar

Mary found this gadget gnawing holes in a bean:

Striped Hairstreak Butterfly - caterpillar
Striped Hairstreak Butterfly – caterpillar

The lump on the right is frass, not a mini-me tagging along behind.

We had no clue what it might be when it grew up, but Google Lens suggested a Striped Hairstreak Butterfly caterpillar and, later that day (and for the first time ever!), we saw an adult Hairstreak fluttering on a goldenrod in the corner of the garden.

As with all caterpillars, you’d never imagine the adult butterfly. It seems they move their hind wings to make predators aim at the south end of a northbound butterfly …

Toad Time

The toad population has apparently been spending more time near the Mighty Wappinger Creek, rather than around the house, during this very dry summer, so this small toad at the garage door came as a surprise:

Toad at garage door
Toad at garage door

A few days later, Mary spotted a larger toad tucked into the spice garden:

Toad in spice garden
Toad in spice garden

Small tree frogs sound off in the darkness around the house, but we’ve never seen any of them.

We wish them great success in their future bug hunts!

Outdoor Junction Box: Stretch to Fit

For whatever reason, a two-outlet junction box stands outside the Credit Union:

Outdoor Junction Box - angled conduit
Outdoor Junction Box – angled conduit

The slanted conduit certainly looks in need of an elbow to line it up, doesn’t it?

It seems whoever installed it, many years ago, simply forced the conduit to line up, no matter the consequences:

Outdoor Junction Box - open wiring
Outdoor Junction Box – open wiring

The threaded entries on the die-cast outlet box were never intended to cope with that much misalignment; half the bottom has vanished. I think the round box on the top originally held a floodlight to wash the (uninspired) building facade at night, but those days are long gone.

If the conduit has horizontal underground runs, both are certainly full of water by now. The white(-ish) “Romex” cable insulation looks like ordinary indoor wiring, not the grayish direct-burial sheath, but it may be sun-bleached after years of exposure.

Surely there’s a tripped GFI on that circuit …

Rt 376 at Zach’s Way: Near Right Hook

We exchanged waves as he rode by Vassar Farms:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 0
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 0

Although I can rarely hang with real roadies, I can put the fear in ’em for a while, so the chase is on.

About 25 seconds later, I’m southbound on Rt 376, accelerating past 20 mph = 30 feet/s. The overtaking pickup, which I haven’t noticed yet, is signaling a right turn at Zach’s Way, 350 feet ahead:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 1
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 1

The pickup enters my field of view, but I can’t see the turn signals:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 2
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 2

Two seconds later, the driver is braking:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 3
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 3

During the next three seconds, the driver realizes I’m going much much faster than your usual cyclist and is braking hard:

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 4
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 4

My startled shout (“Don’t even think about it!“) may be misinterpreted, but I try to be friendly,

Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way - Near Right Hook - 2020-07-19 - 5
Rt 376 SB Marker 1124 Zachs Way – Near Right Hook – 2020-07-19 – 5

Alas, the cyclist turned into Boardman Road and all that adrenaline went to waste.

Elapsed time since the fender appeared: six seconds.