In Episode 8 we take a trip to the East Coast (gasp!) at beautiful Flagler Beach.
We stay at the White Orchid Inn, eat at Osteria Rustica, talk about Hurricane Matthew, and learn how to attract Florida Panthers while repelling mosquitos.
Transcript at the bottom of this page!
White Orchid Inn
Catnip works better than DEET as a bug repellant. Just watch out for what's attracted to it!
Great Things Tampa Bay is hosted and produced by Kyle Sasser.
There was no paid advertising in this episode. All recommendations are given based on personal experiences.
Welcome to Great Things Tampa Bay. The podcast about great eats, great places and great people in the Greater Tampa Bay area! I’m your host, KYLE SASSER. A Tampa Bay native, a Realtor, and a Sailor. So, this is EPISODE 8: ROAD TRIP. And I’d like to thank you for inviting me along on your commute to work or maybe you’re training for that triathlon that you’ve been dreaming about, and would just like to thank you for putting me in your ear and having a listen. And I hope that you find a new great place for yourself in this episode.
Come talk to me at greatthingstb.com. That’s g-r-e-a-t-t-h-i-n-g-s-t-b-.com, and click on the Get Social link at the top. There you’ll find links to our Instagram, Facebook, Profiles, send us an Email. We even have like a tin can there that you can go there and, you know, tighten the string up and get in touch with us. I’d love for you to tell me about your favorite place, favorite river to canoe down, favorite camping spots, favorite parking garage. Let’s get crazy, there you go! [soft laughter]
So, also thank you for sharing us with your friends. All you got to do, just go on the website greatthingstb.com and we have share buttons all over the place there. Just little preface for this episode. This one is not Tampa Bay related. It is in Florida and thus the name of this one: ROAD TRIP.
SEGMENT 1: ROAD TRIP
So, a few years ago, the wife and I, we took a romantic getaway up to FLAGLER BEACH. And I know everyone is probably saying “What? where?”. Those of you that are more beach oriented might know about the place. Um, there’s quite a few famous surfers from the area there. They also still have surf contest there but enough of that. All in due time. Uh, so we went to Flagler Beach and honestly, I debated about divulging this on this podcast because it’s such a cool little place and it’s such an unknown hidden spot of the state that I don’t want to ruin it. But I eventually decided, you know, I’ve gotta be true. This place is awesome and it’s not too far aways, I’m going to stretch the Tampa Bay part and we’ll call this a, uh, bonus episode. How’s that? [soft laughter] But not really, it’s still EPISODE 8.
So, Flagler Beach is located between Daytona Beach which is to the south, and St. Augustine which is to the north. So, it’s pretty much smack in the middle. It’s a relatively quiet community and is not very large at all. Definitely still has that old Florida beach feel. Kinda cool. The way that they have done their development there is unlike the rest of Florida. The rest of Florida, you go to the beach and you’re like “Man, where’s the beach at?”. And the answer is, is “It’s on the other side of those high-rise condominiums and, you know, eight million dollar houses.”. Flagler beach, the beach is right there. A1A is…it’s kinda like a little bluff now just from all the erosion over the years and stuff. But, yea, so A1A sits up, there is no other obstructions to your right. It’s just ocean. Atlantic Ocean. And then to your left, there are, you know, hotels, modest houses, and stuff like that like. There’s, you know, there’s a couple of monsters but nothing like we have here. Nothing like down in Miami but unobstructed views of the ocean. That’s one big plus for Flagler Beach.
The place we go to up there, it’s called THE WHITE ORCHID INN. And I had wanted to go to this place since like 2001; I think was when it first came on my radar. Way back in the early days of the internet – I think I had a cable modem at that time but, you know, it was definitely really slow – yea, this place popped up. It was pretty cool. It’s a little art deco house. Beachfront or as beachfront as you can get in Flagler. Um, you know, you still have to walk across the road, but you know it’s a pretty cool place. So, it’s a bed and breakfast spa with two pools. One pool just a regular pool and the other is a heated mineral pool which is awesome to relax in. Uh, the spa does all the spa stuff. That’s honestly little bit more my wife’s domain, but you know we’ve gotten couples’ massages. They also do like lunches on the beach, facials, pedicures, manicures, all that good stuff. The other good thing about Flagler since it’s not such a popular destination, um, you know, it’s a, it’s a relatively unknown corner of Florida, the prices are still very affordable. So, we’re going to put a link to The White Orchid Inn. Please log on, take a look. It does recently have new owners in the last couple of years. So, they have been doing some renovations and stuff like that. The property has much improved since the first time we went there. So, they’re doing great work.
So, and the other cool thing is the breakfasts there. Most bed and breakfasts you go and you know it’ll be like, you know, pancakes, eggs, sausage. Ah, this place, they make healthy stuff and which I know gets groans and eye rolls, but this is healthy stuff that tastes really, really, good. And I’m going to name off some stuff here. And I know there’s going to be some groans and some eye rolls but trust me this stuff is absolutely delicious. So, they, they custom bake breads every day. You know you get like an assortment. I think there’s, there’s usually like three types or something like that. Each one is absolutely delicious. They also usually have a, the granola with yogurt which, ah, man, I know it’s, [soft laughter] I know it sounds really lame, but it will blow your socks off. My wife had one which was like yogurt with a pepper in it, which was, it was amazing. They also do quiches which hands down some of the best quiche I’ve ever had has been there. And then on the bread. So, the bread by itself is good but what sends it over the top is they have this apricot/cream cheese spread. And it is mouthwateringly delicious. And the rooms are cool. We always have a good time there. Um, they also have like a happy hour where you can meet the other guests at five o’clock with a free glass of wine. Definitely cool stuff. So, definitely give them a look if you’re looking for a little getaway in Florida just a few hours away. And, you know, it’s easy access to St. Augustine and all that good stuff.
Ah, you know it wouldn’t be a road trip without Great Food. The absolute best restaurant that my wife and I have ever eaten at in the state of Florida, and possible ever, is also located in Flagler Beach which I know sounds ridiculous. You know I have ate at some, some really nice places in New York, you know with the Michelin Star or three to their name. They don’t hold a candle to this place. [soft laughter] So, the name of it is OSTERIA RUSTICA. They are an Italian place. Very unassuming. You know, they don’t have a lavish facade. They’re actual kinda in like a little commercial park. Like next door, you would kinda expect like a tax accountant. So, [soft laughter] that kinda gives you the idea. The sign on the outside just says Osteria. Very unassuming.
So, the last time we were there, we were at the spa, you know, doing like the couples’ thing, and we were asking. We’re like “Hey, what’s the best, what’s the best restaurant in the area?”. You know, like “We’re looking for a really good meal.”. And the lady there was like “Well, there is this place, Osteria. It’s honestly the best, but you’ll never get in.” We’re like, “Oh, well”. You know my wife, she’s always like a little optimistic on this and she said “Well, I’m feeling lucky. Let’s give them a call.” So, we gave them a call. Pssh, Boom! We actually were able to get a reservation for that evening. This place is, is, small. You know, like they only have like 13 to 15 tables. Not a big staff. Everyone kinda comes out and greets ya. You can see everybody! Absolutely amazing from the get go to the end! Just to hit some highlights here, um, the last, so this last time we went, the appetizer was shrimp with, ah, gorgonzola tarragon. And [delightful laughter] it was, ah, it was, it was amazing! It was amazing! I had the best steak that I’ve ever had, this last trip there. And I’m not sure if the cut was a little different or what. You know how some steaks like melt in your mouth. This just kinda like, I don’t know, like exploded with deliciousness. Like it was absolutely perfect.
And the highlight, that we always get whenever we go, is the fish. So, the first time we went, my wife got the fish. They brought it out. It was imported from the Mediterranean, like flew in that day. It was completely incrusted in salt. We thought it was frozen, like it had a frostbite, with all the frost piled up on it. Nope, just salt. They bring it to the table. This time we got, I think it was sole, which did not have the salt but was still equally as delicious. But what makes this so special, is that they bring the whole fish out to the table and Floriano is the really friendly, outgoing guy there; if you go you’ll know the one I’m talking about. He comes out, they bring the fish out, Boom, they put it on a little table next to yours. They put a little light on it, and he basically just takes two spoons and takes this fish apart like just kinda slides the spoon down the back. Separates all that out. Takes the skin off, takes the perfect fillet, lays it on the plate, then carefully peels the bone out. Takes the other skin off and lays it out, lays another perfect fillet out on the plate. It’s absolutely a work of art. I was able to capture a little bit of it on video which is going to be on the Show Notes. So please go to check that out. Amazing and delicious! Everything there is to perfection! And then for dessert, cause you know I gotta have my dessert, we had a handmade puff pastry with chocolate. Just absolutely stunning! Hats off to Osteria Rustica up in, uh, Flagler! Ya’ll are an amazing place and you spell that O-s-t-e-r-i-a.
Oh, the other cool thing about Flagler, they do have a PIER there. They did get hit pretty hard by Hurricane Matthew last year, 2016, to the point where like the ocean didn’t come over the bluffs there. Like I’d say the bluffs are maybe ten feet above the actual beach proper but there was significant erosion. A1A was washed out; the stories I read was like 45 days. There’s still a lot of buildings and houses that, you know, they’ll have tarps on the roof. Still storm damage. You know, if you do head up there, just kinda keep that in mind. But everyone up there is tremendously friendly and can’t say enough good things about the place. Um, oh yea, and the pier lost one hundred and fifty feet in the last storm. So hopefully they’ll rebuild all that and return it to its Glory! If you’ve been thinking bout a road trip, give it a look.
SEGEMENT 2: BETTER BUTTERFLIES
Kyle: So, again we have SAL at, uh, BETTER BUTTERFLY CREATIONS. He was kind enough to sit down and have an interview with us. So, I would like to present to you Part 2 of that interview. If you missed Part 1 it was in EPISODE 7. So, please go back and, uh, have a listen to that. This guy knows his stuff and he creates beautiful works of art and, on top of that, he’s a really cool guy. So, without further ado….
Sal: This is a way for you to raise money without taking up much space. Our footprint is very small. Half the money goes to you. You can use it for your charity. You can use it for your Christmas party.
Kyle: Yea, and honestly, these, like these cases and butterflies are so beautiful, that you can’t help but notice them and want one, to be honest. [laughing]
Sal: Well, that’s it! And, and so, I had the, the earwings. Popi’s Place over here had em for years.
Kyle: Yep. Yep
Sal: Three years from the time I came out with them. Actually, they did have it for years because they had the cases first and then I came out with the earwings. And that was three Marches ago. The first March, obviously, we began selling em. By the following year, March, uh, now the [undecipherable] owners come down and saying all their friends liked them, “Can I have ten pair?
Sal: You know?
Kyle: These are good problems to have.
Sal: This was, uh, a great way for them, like I said, to raise money. Uh. Uh. It’s worked out real well. Popi’s was U-15 soccer league.
Kyle: Yep. Yep, and Popi’s is a, it’s a local restaurant here.
Sal: Restaurant here. There’s seven of them.
Sal: Have seven restaurants. It’s a greek chain of restaurants. But anyway, yeah, so, and, ah, Troop 68, Boy Scouts. I also raised money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of The Suncoast in St Pete. Way back when I was just starting to make, ah, a lot of the stuff. Well, I raised enough money to buy two thousand plants for a butterfly garden behind Lakewood High School.
Sal: And it was seventy-five hundred square foot butterfly garden. I built an arbor and everything. So, it was all my money that I raised for them. Anyway, all I did, I met with them, the neighborhood association. I said we’re putting this beautiful butterfly garden, the prettiest one around. We built it and all you need to do is have volunteers once a week go out and maintain it. I said the city has put in sprinkler system and everything. It’s on a timer, just need to keep it up. Not one volunteer!
Sal: Not even when we putting in the plants!
Sal: Oh, I take it back. One volunteer came by and gave us a plant but couldn’t stay, you know.
Sal: So, you learn a lot about people. So, you know, here I was giving it to them for free. All my costs, my labor, but the Boys and Girls Clubs were very appreciative. And Mayor Baker, Rick Baker at the time, came to me and said “Sal”, cause he knew we drew the Boys and Girls Club, ah, he said “Sal, I’m known for all the dog parks.” He said,” I’m thinking about putting a butterfly garden in each park.” He said, “Could you design em?” I said, “Sure. I could even help you raise the money.” And I said, “But this is the problem.” And I told him about my experience.
Kyle: Yea, with the volunteer, yep.
Sal: Not one volunteer. I says that’s going to your problem. He says, well, that is a problem cause I can’t afford to hire all these workers.
Sal: To go maintaining them.
Sal: Well, It’s unfortunate but it’s true.
Kyle: Yea, it’s good to be realistic on things and so unfortunately…
Sal: So, we didn’t do it.
Kyle: Alright. What’s your favorite butterfly and why?
Sal: I think the Birdwing. Mainly because it was near extinction and because of the project, because of the cause which I represent, we’re able to help that butterfly and several different species come out of extinction.
Kyle: Yea, so those were the ones that were being sold for $500…
Sal: $500 each.
Kyle: …on the black market?
Sal: Uh huh.
Kyle: And then, now they’re…
Sal: They’re $50.
Kyle: Yea. So….
Sal: I sell a case for $50. I don’t even buy that butterfly for $50.
Kyle: Yea, like when they were endangered, how many were there?
Sal: Well, they were near extinction, which means they’re ready to disappear.
Kyle: Yea. Are they bugs or…?
Sal: They’re bugs and unfortunately, unlike animals take a long time to rebound. If you just save a few bugs and let them lay two to four hundred eggs each…
Kyle: And protect them and…
Sal: And protect them, you end up with 2.7 million.
Kyle: Yikes! That’s awesome, that’s awesome! What’s the weirdest facts about butterflies that you know?
Sal: I think the weirdest fact has to do with a family group out of Africa called the Charaxes. C-h-a-r-a-x-e-s. That’s c-h-a-r-a-x-e-s, Charaxes. They fly thirty-five miles an hour.
Kyle: Wow! [laughter]
Sal: They’re the fastest butterflies in the world. The fastest moth is a Hawk Moth that flies at forty miles an hour.
Kyle: Wow! [laughter]
Sal: Ok, but the fastest butterfly is thirty-five miles an hour and the fact that they fly that fast is unique. But even more unique trait is that the females, the males are the carnivorous. They feed on juices…meats…rotting flesh. They are like the vulture of the butterfly world.
Kyle: Interesting. So, are those the ones like you’ll see them on carcasses or something?
Sal: Yes, you will. If you see nature shows, you’ll see a butterfly flying off the carcass.
Sal: They’re sipping the juices out of that.
Kyle: I mean, are they the same shape as other butterflies?
Sal: No, no, they’re, they’re more powerful. I’ll show you one in just a bit.
Kyle: Yea, awesome.
Sal: One of the butterflies is in the case there. Ah, the females won’t eat rotting meat. They’ll only eat rotting fruit. Fermented fruit and because of that, you can actually see the females flying erratically because they’re inebriated.
Sal: From… [laughter]
Kyle: That’s pretty hilarious. [laughing]
Sal: [laughing] Isn’t that funny? The females are always inebriated, like “All I do is produce babies.”, you know?
Kyle and Sal: [laughter]
Kyle: Hey, mmm, I’m sure….
Sal: So they’re seen flying erratically cause they don’t even fly in a straight line.
Kyle: Hey, maybe that’s like the moms with the wine, you know, the heathens?
Sal: Yea, I’d say, you know, I would that’s a pretty unique, uh…
Kyle: Yea, that’s good to know.
Sal: …trait there. Uh.
Kyle: And, yea, I mean kinda sad that it has to be rotted. That seems like it would be a pretty good…
Sal: Well, rotted fruit is fermented, you know?
Kyle: Yea, but it seems like it would be a pretty good movie scene if you could do like “Death by Charaxes Butterfly” movies.
Kyle: You know somebody is tied down and it just takes like days.
Sal: [laughing] Don’t go dying around the male Charaxes, that’s all.
Kyle: Yes! Monarch Butterfly, overrated or underrated?
Sal: I think it’s absolutely fascinating. A lot of people talk about, you know, the migration. Well, the Monarch lives four months, so, you don’t see Monarchs in our collections. So, the Monarchs live four months and that’s the male, ah, not the male, male or female that hatch in Canada. So, they overwinter, then they live four months going all the way down to Mexico. The Monarchs that fly back from Mexico to Canada only live a month.
Sal: So, it takes three to four generations to make it back to Canada.
Kyle: Yea, and that’s…
Sal: The last generation then overwintering, you know?
Kyle: And for those, I’d actually did a little research on them and that I didn’t know. Like I’ve watched a couple of documentaries on them…
Sal: Uh huh.
Kyle: …but I didn’t realize that their generation cycle actually changes for that migration.
Sal: Isn’t that strange?
Kyle: Where they live like three times as long just to make the journey. Which is…
Kyle: …whatever biological mechanism.
Sal: Well, what it is, is the butterflies are thinking “Oh my gosh, I’m heading for sunshine!”
Kyle and Sal: [laughter]
Kyle: Like get me down there.
Sal: Yea, really encouraging, you know? They’re going on vacation. [laughing]
Kyle: Yep. Just like…
Sal: The other ones “We’re going back up north; I’d rather die.” [laughter]
Kyle: Just, just like, you know, winter time if you’re in Michigan or New York, come down…
Sal: Yea, come on down!
Kyle: …coming down to Florida. [laughing]
Sal: Well, so what triggers that mechanism? That instinct to move down? You heard it here. As the earth’s axis tilts, changing from summer to winter, uh, the leaves, the same effects that change the leaves -lack of sunlight- is affecting the Monarch’s food plant as well. And they will follow, they will head south looking to follow their food plant.
Kyle: Ah, it makes sense. Makes sense.
Sal: Cause they need to produce and lay eggs. So, they don’t fly all the way down. What they do is as the earth axis tilts, it changes the air currents that are high up, oh, in your stratosphere. The Monarchs will lock in there. They’ll fly up into the airstream, lock their wings, and they’ll glide till the sun is setting. Then they’ll come down.
Kyle: Which is…
Sal: And where they’ll come down, when they wake up in the morning, they will lay eggs on whatever milkweed around. And then just keep…fly back up and continue their journey.
Kyle: Which is impressive, I didn’t know that butterflies could fly that high.
Sal: And they don’t fly there, they glide. They’re following the airstream.
Kyle: I mean even just getting up there.
Sal: No, they’ve seen em in planes. They’ve been in planes and see butterflies flying by.
Kyle: That’s bananas!
Sal: Now the butterflies in Mexico, once the earth has tilted back the other direction, now the food plants all starting to grow all the way up here, and that triggers the mechanism to once again go in the airstream which is heading in the opposite direction.
Kyle: Uh hum.
Sal: Locking their wings and gliding back up.
Kyle: Fascinating! So, that sound underrated to me. [soft laughter] Sounds like…
Sal: That is underrated, isn’t it? Well, a lot of people don’t have that knowledge. I hear them, uh, quote facts that are in-factual.
Kyle: Yea. [soft laughter]
Sal: On TV all the time.
Kyle: I’m sure it makes you mad.
Sal: Give me a brreeaak, you know! Like one of the biggest ruses about butterflies is “Oh, you build birdhouses and the birds will go in and, you know, lay their eggs and build a nest. Well, let’s build these little houses with these little slots. And the butterflies will fold their wings, walk in, and then open up, right?” Noooooo! That’s just outrageous. The field of dreams is planting the right plants.
Sal: Like you said each butterfly has its own plant it lays its eggs on.
Kyle: They don’t, they don’t live in houses in the wild so.
Sal: No. No. No. They don’t have houses there and so we don’t have urban and suburban butterflies. [laughter]
Kyle: Yea, yea, I get the same way with like computers or like HGTV. I’m just like aww, this is all, this is all wrong.
Sal: I say “How stupid are you?”, you know? You believe in this? You getting sucked in?
Kyle: [soft laughter]
Kyle: This is crazy.
Sal: By the way, people are very concerned that the Monarchs have died off by the millions. Well, see “man” came up with the great idea: Well, you know what these cutworms lay their eggs on the silk of the corn and then they go in, they bore their way in and ruin our corn. So, let’s use the systemic insecticide.
Sal: Instead of spraying and killing everything, we’ll…we’ll have it penetrate through the roots and…and go through the system.
Kyle: Uh hum.
Sal: Everything was going great until the pollen started spreading with the, that was…
Sal: …corrupted by the insecticide and once that pollen blew, it blew over everything and so butterflies were dying by the millions.
Kyle: Yea, and, of course, ah, you know, I’m sure perfectly fine for us to consume as well.
Sal: Yea, and yea, it didn’t affect us. But the point is the butterflies replenish themselves. Remember I said two to four hundred eggs?
Kyle: Fusion range.
Sal: They’re not like animals that, uh, take so long. They can replenish themselves very quickly. So maybe we did have millions laying on the ground but there were billions that went down and all you need is a couple of million to produce billions once again.
Kyle: They bounce back quick.
Sal: [sarcastically] “People, this is terrible. We’re killing all the Monarchs. I haven’t seen any Monarchs.” Whatever! I see Monarchs all the time. I released two hundred of them.
Kyle: [laughing] So you’re doing your part here in Florida?
Sal: Oh, yea. I released two hundred Monarchs. I released a hundred and fifty Orange Barred Sulfurs.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: And a hundred Great Southern Whites.
Kyle: I mean do most…
Sal: Most of them live here.
Sal: In fact there’s a butterfly flying out there right now.
Sal: That’s a Fritillary who feeds on the passion vines.
Sal: When I had all my flowers, my goal before I hurt myself, was to grow five thousand zinnia and have them up and down all the, uh, driveway.
Sal: I was going to build four foot bed.
Kyle: Which are pretty just on their own.
Sal: Ohhh, zinnia’s beautiful.
Kyle: [soft laughing]
Sal: And my wife wanted crepe myrtles, you know. It would have been fantastic but I have to wait.
Kyle: Do any butterflies like bougainvilleas?
Sal: Ah, there’s a moth that likes a bougainvillea. Usually moths are very destructive. Unfortunately, it’s an ugly little…
Kyle: [soft laughter]
Sal: …greyish brown moth.
Kyle: If somebody wants a ton of butterflies in their yard, what would you recommend planting?
Sal: Milkweed, of course.
Kyle: Alright, for the Monarchs.
Sal: Passion Vine.
Kyle: Milkweed for the monarchs.
Sal: And passion vine.
Sal: Aristolochia. Because even if you have a small yard, you can grow up.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: And I have twenty-seven hundred feet of fencing here.
Kyle: Yea, yea.
Sal: Which I have to replace now. The guy next door started a fire. Instead of mowing, he said I’m going to burn my field. It spread into the field behind us. Couldn’t get to the field there. They asked me if they could run over my fence, I said go ahead.
Kyle: Personal story, I grew up in Dover near Plant City, where the dinosaurs are on I-4
Sal: Uh huh.
Kyle: And …
Sal: Oh, yea.
Kyle: Yes. So, I was like four. We lived next to the strawberry fields there and we had like a brush pile from all the trees and stuff. We had like an acre of land out there. So, I’m in the kiddie pool playing and it was a hot day so both my parents get in and we’re splashing around. Anyway, we hear the fire truck coming down the road and we’re like “Oh, well that’s weird.” And we were burning, my dad was burning the brush there.
Sal: Uh huh.
Kyle: Ah, you know, try to knock it down because it had gotten too big. So, this big pile was on fire. So, we heard the fire truck coming and didn’t think anything of it until they pulled through into the back yard and then …
Sal: [laughing] Oh, no! [laughter]
Kyle: …they broke the hoses out. So, somebody had called it in. You know, my parents were quite embarrassed but I thought it was awesome because there was a fire truck in the yard.
[Kyle and Sal laughing]
Kyle: That’s funny, I haven’t thought about that in years.
Sal: One of the memories I have collecting, is I went in this field. And this was in New York and I was surrounded by Shasta daisies. The whole field was full of Shasta daisies. Butterflies flying all around me. In fact, the Monarch landed right on my shoulder. In fact, I was so amazed by the whole scene, I stopped collecting. I just was watching. And I remember even as a young kid, probably eight by that time, I remember saying “Thank you, Heavenly Father for this beautiful world.”
Kyle: [soft laughter] Yea, that’s amazing.
Sal: An eight-year-old kid has that kind of concept in his head?
Kyle: Uh huh. Yea.
Sal: That Heavenly Father has done this, you know?
Kyle: And it’s something that stuck with you, you know, like you said…
Sal: That is like…
Kyle: …for sixty…, sixty years. Yea.
Sal: …You know it’s one of those memories I’ll never forget cause I still feel the feeling of how that was with all those Shasta daisies blowing in the breeze. And the, and the Monarchs and all the butterflies flying around.
Kyle: That sounds, that sounds beautiful. Uh, my wife and I, we usually go to like the Appalachians and we’ll hike a trail there and you’ll…
Sal: Oh, yea.
Kyle: …and you’ll come down to like a little creek valley.
Sal: And they’re flying sipping mud?
Kyle: Yea, you know, there’s like the big tall purple, I don’t what their plants are called but they look like a poppy but they’re up on stalks. And there’s always like a ton of butterflies flying around there. And it’s just, it’s always amazing and like you said, serene. And, you know…
Sal: Just incredible
Kyle: …it really connects, connects you to the land and everything else.
Sal: You think what am I doing? Why am I in this…this place where you have to put up with traffic and everything?
Kyle: Yea, it’s true.
Sal: I went to El Salvador and one of the happiest families I ever saw was a family, the Vayacios [SP?] family. And, uh, they lived in an adobe hut that my son helped build when he was there on a mission. He also had a sugar cane that he maintained and stuff. Anyway, we went to visit them. The mom and dad were home. Uh, there was no door, no windows. There were just holes like you would draw…
Sal: …when you’re a kid, you know.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: And, you don’t knock on the door cause there is no door. You walk to the edge and the dirt floors are dirt.
Sal: And, uh, just say “Pe…permisso” which means permission to enter. The woman in the house comes out, greets you, invites you in. Now in that hut, they have wiring running through this Indian village, ok, and everybody connects to the… So, this you have to picture this.
Kyle: Is it electric or telephone?
Sal: Dirt floor, grass hut. The only thing that was, uh, substantiate was the tin roof that they have on top.
Sal: Ok, that’s the only thing that he had to buy. Cost you bout three thousand dollars to build a house. But anyway, we go to the house and a TV in the house!
Sal: Yea, they have some lights in there and they have a TV. And, of course, it’s very dark because, you know, dirt doesn’t really reflect light real well.
Kyle: Yea, just absorbs it all in.
Sal: Absorbs it all, yea, and the floor, you know.
Kyle: [soft laughter]
Sal: But anyway, but they have a TV. So, it was really strange, you know?
Sal: So I was gonna go and they have a hammock outside. I was gonna open the hammock and, you know, get in, you know. We’d been running round collecting butterflies. Anyway, she said “No! No! No! No!” Well, the baby was in the hammock.
Kyle: Uh Oh.
Sal: And it’s a wrap around kinda, you know?
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: They just put the baby in. The baby is as comfortable as can be.
Kyle: Yea, rocks a little bit, yea.
Sal: That was really something, but a happier family, happier kids, never saw. You know?
Kyle: Good stuff! Not sure if you’re aware, but, ah so, the video game “The Legend of Zelda”. There is actually a part where the main character, Link, has a net and he goes out…he catches fairies but they look like…
Sal: Oh, really?
Kyle: …they look like butterflies.
Sal: Oh, ok.
Kyle: Ah, so.
Sal: No, I don’t play video games. [laughter]
Kyle: So his technique is to basically just hold the net out and spin in a circle.
Sal: Oh, really? [laughing]
Kyle: Which obviously is probably not the best -indecipherable-.
Sal: No, no, uh uh.
Kyle: Like if someone was wanting to kinda follow in your footsteps. How would you recommend to collect butterflies?
Sal: I had a whole neighborhood following in my footsteps. I made nets for all the kids and that summer, this one summer, there were kids all over our neighborhood running around. They’d collect the butterflies and come show me. But with a net you catch it. There’s two different ways. The other way they’re in the air. You swing the net or this way, either way, and you flip it with your wrist.
Sal: And the bag folds over; [slap noise] holds the butterfly.
Kyle: Ok. So, just to describe it to the podcast listeners, you’re kinda coming in like a downward, like…
Sal: No, sideways.
Kyle: Ok, so like a sideways…
Sal: More of like a sideways motion.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: If they’re flying in the air. Now if they’re landing, hopefully not on flowers or whatever, …
Kyle: Yea, don’t beat the flowers!
Sal: Ah, yea. …but maybe landing on a weed or whatever, what you do is you hold the tip of the, the net and then you just bring it down on top of it. Still holding this with the net on the ground now but the netting being held. Pinching your fingers and holding it up. The butterfly will automatically fly up and then you can close it up.
Kyle: So once you have caught a butterfly then what?
Sal: What you do is you take it and you slap it on the ground a couple of times.
Sal: No, I’m kidding. There’s a quick pinch to the thorax.
Kyle: Ok. and the thorax is the middle?
Sal: And the thorax is the middle. There’s three. There’s the head, the thorax, and the abdomen.
Sal: The thorax is the part that the legs are protruding from and has their organs.
Kyle: Uh hum.
Sal: And a quick pinch will knock it out.
Sal: I got good at it and I taught the kids as well. You knock it very lightly. Then you can examine to see if it’s a perfect specimen. If it’s a perfect specimen, it can go in your collection. If it isn’t, then you let it come back and it flies off. If it is a perfect specimen, you give it the death pinch.
Kyle: And, that, ok. So, let’s see if we can maybe come up with the pressure here. So, would it be…I’m trying to think of something you would…
Sal: Between the index and the thumb.
Kyle: Yep, so.
Sal: And you just squeeze the thorax till you hear it pop. No, I’m kidding! [laughter][Kyle and Sal laughing]
Kyle: I’ll be honest, so, like if you’re testing like al dente pasta?
[Kyle and Sal laughing]
Sal: Well, you’ll get the feel of it.
Sal: When you don’t squeeze hard enough and you open the net up and it flies out, you know? You should …
Kyle: Not enough. Not enough.
Sal: …have squeezed a little harder. Let me catch another one.
Kyle: But don’t start off like you’re trying to, ah…
Sal: Yea, right. Don’t, don’t, don’t squeeze it to death.
Kyle: And what, and what do you look for when you’re trying to see if it’s a perfect specimen?
Sal: Oh, when you catch, when you do have a perfect specimen, then you have to name it. You have to say what date you caught it.
Kyle: [soft laughter]
Sal: And what were the surroundings, uh, windy day, was it, you know?
Kyle: Yea. So, kinda like show the respect for…
Sal: Well, what you do is you’re taking scientific data.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: What that scientific data, member I said each butterfly has its own plant? If that butterfly is caught in El Salvador, for example, in June.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: That butterfly feeds on passion vine and maybe even a particular passion vine. So, that tells whoever is reading that information that not only the fauna but the flora…
Sal: …are in bloom in that area. So, it tells you about the environment.
Kyle: Uh huh.
Sal: Where there we go!
Kyle: Perfect. Well, Sal, thank you so much.
And thanks to Sal at Better Butterfly Creations. If you’d like to take a look at some of his pieces or maybe take a whack at sprucing your wall up a little bit. I gotta tell you we have a pretty good sized one. It’s absolutely amazing and it’s, it’s on our wall. So, if you do happen to stop by the house, have a look! Buy your own, you won’t regret it.
SEGEMENT 3: LET’S GET PERSONAL!
So, this is the Road Trip Episode. We went up there. It was our first wedding anniversary. Abbie and I, aka “She who must be obeyed”. [laughter] Every time I call her that it always cracks her up. What else have we been having going on?
Uh, I did want to fly a kite while I was up there but, uh, [laughter] we went into the kite shop. You’d think would be a pretty happy go lucky thing. Uh, you know, like there’d be joy in the world like what, how could anything bad come from, like a kite or a kite store? But, yea, apparently, there’s a lot of drama in the kite business and also the retail business on A1A there. So, yea. Negative juju. We, ah, quickly headed out of the shop. [laughter] So, yea, just the proprietor, I’m sure she’s an absolutely nice lady, but uh, you know, just must have had an off day or something like that. [laughter] So. Yea. Don’t bring the business problems to your customers. It doesn’t really help you sell anything. Other than that, things are going well. We’ve had a pretty hectic couple of months here just with real estate taking off and, you know, birthdays, anniversaries, all that good stuff. So, you know, life just gets wound up on occasion but things are kinda settling down here and you know good food that we’ve been eating and good people we’ve been meeting and interacting with definitely helps make that better. So, if you see me on social media or out and about, please interact and say hello. Does take quite a bit of energy to put this together. To know that you appreciate this, that means a lot to me. So, Thaaank you!
SEGMENT 4: SOBERING THOUGHT
Did you know that catnip works up to ten times better that DEET which is the common chemical in most, uh, bug repellant? So, catnip works up to ten times better than DEET at keeping the mosquitos away. But unfortunately, if you’re out in the wilderness, if you do run into any Florida panthers, panthers they’re just another cat, so, they will react just like the cats will. Probably won’t be having such a good day. So, take it at your own risk if you want to bath yourself in catnip.
We actually planted some around the house here; just for the two cats we have. You, know just to kinda give them a little, you know, ahhh, everybody needs a little “somthin-somthin”. Ah, yes, so, we planted some for the cats and completely forgot that we had some neighborhood cats and came out to a couple of stalks sticking out of some dirt. Yea, that was the end of the catnip. Funny enough, so, I left some stalks there for a day, just cause I was like, like, uh, you know, I’ll deal with that tomorrow. And then that night, they dug the stalks out and shredded those to pieces. So, yea, catnip, keeps the mosquitoes away, ATTRACTS THE CATS! So, be warned! [laughter][music]
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