Sunday, August 31, 2014


Caterpillars everywhere.  Too bad the butterfly books I have found so far only have illustrations of the adults, not these colorful little guys.  I've looked online as well, but I guess in MN I'm spoiled with the natural resource information I can find.  I haven't had much success in India yet.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Walk Down

Every school day, Zibby, Felix, Gregg, and I walk down to Woodstock, about a 20 minute walk.  Walking up takes a bit longer, usually around 30 minutes. Gregg and I will walk back up after dropping off the kids, then walk back down in the afternoon to pick up the kids and walk back up with them.  We are getting into better shape, and shedding a few of those pounds we didn't need.

On our walk down to school we are sometimes joined by Shrushti who lives at Bethany where we are staying, and sometimes we are joined by Varus who lives just below Bethany.  Gregg wanted to share our walk down.  Everyday is a bit different, but you get the idea of the paths, people, and animals.  In the first video, we get some excellent footage of some Langur monkeys.  The second video, after we have arrived at Woodstock, we see Oscar.  Make sure you have your sound on so you can enjoy Gregg's colorful commentary.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cows do climb hills

Yes, cows do climb hills, walk down roads, and beg for treats.  Holy cows.  Cows are an important food source, but not for their meat.  Indians eat lots of dairy products- milk, curd (yogurt), ghee (butter), and certain breeds of cattle are used for plowing.  Perhaps the origin of the Hindu "holiness" of cows comes from a time when Hindus did eat beef, several thousand years ago.  Monks not wanting their cows being stolen, started the association of cows with Lord Krishna, or the idea of cows being the mother of all.  Now, cows wander and beg and are still an important food source and plow beast.  

Gregg, the Giant Spider Slayer, and other bug adventures.

Yes, Gregg is my hero.  He kills the spiders for me.  Normally, I don't mind finding a flip flop and swatting a spider or bug, but when the width of the flip flop is about the width of the spider, I loose confidence in my aim.  Gregg had to get creative with the spider that managed to hide behind Zibby's wardrobe.  I saw him leaving the room with a walking stick.

I haven't yet identified this spider, but we, I mean Gregg, has killed at least 4 of them in our room.  Sorry I didn't stick my hand or foot in the photo to give you an idea of the size- think about a baseball to give you the width of the legs.
There is a tree just off of the path on our walk to school that is looking a little bare of leaves right now.  Not because of leaves, but because of caterpillars.  You can see one forming its chrysalis in the photo above, and a caterpillar.  The caterpillars are everywhere, they look black and spiky, but when you look closer, the are brown.  I haven't found a good resource to identify what moth or butterfly will emerge, but I'm sure we will get to witness them climbing from their chrysalises.  The other photo above, is a beetle we found on our porch.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Photos from a soggy Independence Day

The day before Independence Day, Woodstock began decorating the quad for the celebration lunch.  There was first plastic tarps hung, then the prettier white tent like ceiling.  There were also thousands of marigolds.  It was amazing to see all the flowers.

Our family dressed in our Salwar Kameez, and Kutas, then walked down to the flag raising ceremony.  Of course we have our umbrellas.

 The ceremony had music, a couple speeches, a poem, some dancing, and more music.  The Korean fan dance was by far our favorite.  (It was Korean Independence Day, also.)

 Toward the later half of the performances, mother nature let loose.  There was plenty of thunder and rain pounding down on the roof of the gym.  The walk down to the quad after the ceremony had us wondering about the plastic tarps holding out the rain in the quad.  As you might have guessed, they were not adequate to the task.  Have of the food vendors were in the process of moving into the dining room to escape the torrent of water.

 Despite mother nature, the feast did go on, and we enjoyed the food and conversation.

 The rain did let up for a while, but started in earnest again once it was time to walk home.  We missed our ride, so we did all get wet, and only suffered a few pouts from our children.

 Happy Independence Day, India.