I avoid family functions most of the time. They usually devolve into fights between the eldest family members (great role modeling to the younger set, folks) and Mom and I end up on clean up duty every single time because others don’t help. While the old folks are yelling at each other, Mom and I plate up the left over food, wash the dishes, wipe down the counters, take out the trash, vacuum the floor, and take our stuff out to the car. It is only once we start carrying our plates of left overs out to the car that anyone else gets up to “help” by taking their own plates of left overs to their own cars. Bless their hearts.
I ended up going to the family cookout on Sunday. They may fight all the time, but these people are all in their 70s and in poor health. Out of the 9 of them (all brothers and sisters), 2 have passed away and 6 of the remaining 7 have been in and out of the hospital in the last couple years. They aren’t going to be around forever so I decided bad behavior or not, I wanted to spend time with them.
We met at my Great Uncle’s house. He and his brother are excellent cooks so that was definitely a silver lining. I usually skip cookouts at his house because his house is in the literal middle of nowhere, 1.5 hours from my house, past Amish country, over a river and through the woods. I love the country, don’t get me wrong. I love being outdoors and seeing nature and whatnot. I am a huge tech head but going camping sounds wonderful right now. I just hate that long freaking drive down winding roads with hidden curves and hills with tractors and Amish buggies over any random crest, and canyon roads/driveways give me serious car anxiety.
Anyways, 3 of my Great Aunts did not show up (one is in the hospital, one is at home under hospice care, and one is out of state with her family). Not long after we arrived, I made a new friend.
I think this guy is a great spangled fritillary. I used Gardens With Wings to ID him. I selected the copper color of his open wings and debated between the great spangled fritillary and the variegated fritillary until I opened each page and saw the underside of the wings of the variegated fritillary has brown spots while the great spangled fritillary has white spots like my friend. He hung out for a long time on my hand. He let me pass him off to Kid #1’s hand for a while. She even passed him back to me! He left and we assumed he was gone. But no…
He came back a while later and turned me into a Snapchat filter IRL for a good 10 minutes. That was… strange. lol
After Mr. Butterfly flew away, I decided it was a good time to get out my new camera and use some of the tips my mentor showed me yesterday at the dog show. I snapped some close up pics and some far away pics.
My Nikon D3400 definitely takes some good photos on auto despite my inexperience. All the photos were taken with an 18-55mm lens except for the top left photo of leaves/trees. That was taken with a 70-300mm lens at its best zoom. Those trees were legit across a field from me. The rest of the pictures are various foliage in my Great Uncle’s yard: wild roses, a pear tree, grape vines, etc. The dead center picture of mostly leaves was the only photo taken with flash. I stuck my camera up inside the tree and hoped for the best. lol I’m stoked at how decent the pics look without me even trying. 😀 I didn’t have my camera out when the deer showed up so I missed out on some cool shots there.
Amazingly, the old ones did not start fighting until near the end of the cookout. Mom and I were already cleaning up before it started so we had help for a bit. My younger cousin helped too, a first. I guess since she just graduated she has decided to hang out with the adults now. lol The kids were fishing so at least they didn’t have to listen to it. The fight started because one of the guys told a story about their grandpa (my Great Great Grandpa I think) and his saying of “add more water to the soup” so that they could stretch their food supply and feed the neighbors when they were in need. The other uncle was adamant that it never happened. They went back and forth for a while until one of my Aunts told them to let it go. It just kind of went down hill from there.
Once the clean up was done, I told Mom it was time to go. If I hadn’t said anything, we’d end up being there another 3 hours. Nope and nope. We gave hugs and kisses and headed out.