October 13, 2015

Butterfly of Death

This past week our family was called to the garage to witness a real live Christmas moth. It was HUGE! The wingspan was longer than the tip of Tymon's middle finger to the base of his palm. It's got some history with the family we're living with...

Later in the evening, I went to the garage where the moth was staying and found this gecko right next to him. Like he was going to eat him. And while I can't find out what the predators for this moth are, I was able to find it's name through a "giant moth Brazil" search. Introducing, the Black Witch Moth. In Mexico and other regions, it's also called the Butterfly of Death and if one comes in your house when you're sick then you're going to die. Although, I understand in Texas, when one comes in your house when you're sick, it has to visit all four corners of the room to actually kill you.

Now, understand that it doesn't actually kill you. They eat overripe fruit at night. But imagine my surprise when I'm laying on the bed reading some stuff and look up to see Jocelyn watching a movie on my computer and see this...I thought a bat was in the house. Was it a sigh of relief or gasp of terror when I realized I knew what this creature was?

Freaked me out! I called to my faithful husband to get the moth removal kit. In other words, the broom. We opened our window while I took a video of Tymon shooing the moth out. I believe this one is female. Females have a white stripe and I think the lighter v-shaped stripe just above where the wing's been eaten is the indicator. 

Pushing her out the window went rather well. It was quick...but unfortunately I screamed and dropped the camera once he started moving toward the window. So it's been deleted. And this Christmas moth is free to visit death upon another household.

October 3, 2015

Help I Ate A Raw Cashew

There's a farmer's market on a street near our house every Saturday. I like to go there for produce. And pure sugar cane juice from our favorite vendor. This guy puts the cane in a machine that flattens it and the juice runs into a pitcher, which has a filter on the top. Then he pours the juice into another pitcher which the cashier pours into cups or different sized bottles as the customer wants. I like to watch the whole process. 

Today, I was waiting behind a guy at the cane juice kiosk and the cashier lifted up a liter bottle to ask if that's what I wanted. I nodded yes. There was a third worker there today, one I haven't seen before. She started asking me questions...perhaps if I wanted the bottle sealed or not. I just looked at her for a moment before my regular lady jumped in and told her that I didn't speak Portuguese. And that I'm an American. Then I think then she started telling her about how big our family was and I take the juice home. It was just me today with Jocelyn and Kira. It's funny that I don't really understand a lot, until you start talking about me and then I understand plenty. Ha ha.

So, this photo below is from a few weeks ago at the market. All of that produce was $12.50 USD. That's about what I spent today, too. I bought a dozen bananas today for 2 reais, which is about 50 cents. It was too expensive, though. They only lasted 10 minutes after we got home. Banana peels were found all over the back yard. And we don't have even one left.

So check out the juice in the photo above. For $2 USD, you can get a little pitcher of fresh juice in a restaurant. It's seriously awesome. So much fruit. So inexpensive. So good. So little time.

So whenever we go to the market, I let the kids pick out whatever fruit or vegetable they want. Jocelyn really wanted a watermelon, so we paid about a dollar for one. Kira's awesome choice was what she thought were cherries. Nope. It's called jabuticaba and I love them. They actually grow on a tree trunk. Click the link and you can see photos on wikipedia...and read about how many awesome antioxidants are in this bad boy.

So, you win some and then you lose some. When Rilary was living with us last year we ate some cashew nuts. She was asking about what they were called and didn't believe me when I told her what they were...because in Brazil you don't eat the nut or legume. Only the fruit. The nut that we eat is actually the cashew fruit's seed.

So my first clue that there's going to be a problem should have been that the Brazilian we live with has never actually eaten a fresh cashew...only drank cashew fruit juice. That doesn't stop me. I've got an adventurous spirit and there's not a question in my mind that this is going to be good. The shell on the nut was firm but not hard like a regular nut. We tried to crack it but the shell was tough skinned and not hard or soft enough to open. So I used my teeth. Brilliant idea! ...said no one ever. Though it did work.

My second clue that I may have a problem should have been how hard it was to get to the nut. Nope. Turns out the clue I recognize is the tingling sensation on my lips and tongue. And I don't mean tingle in a good way. Graeden asked me if it was poisonous. What?! No Graeden. It's not poisonous. We love cashews. 
"Because didn't you tell me Mom that if I wanted to know if a berry was poisonous or not I could put it inside my lip for up to 5 minutes and if it tingles then it's poisonous?
Oh yeah. I did say that. And I believe that's true even though I've never tried it on an unknown berry...or fruit. Or anything, really. 

So then I get a few photos and think the reaction will slow down...maybe disappear...nope. The area around my mouth starts turning red. I cut up the cashew fruit and give it a try. Weird. Weird consistency. Weird taste (not bad). But that nut is the weirdest part of all. Weird color. I know it's completely raw but does it have to be pasty white? The ones I buy in the store are most likely been roasted to turn golden. But still.

So I do a google search entitled "help I ate a raw cashew" and find out that the seed cover has the same toxic chemical on it that is found in poison oak and ivy and that you really shouldn't ever ingest it. Ever.

One lady posted a video about it and talked about nearly dying. Yeah. Whoops. She was told to go to the hospital and get pumped full of anti-biotics. She had some redness on her face and then after 3 hours her face swelled up and was rock hard. She was really sick for a week. Yikes!

I'm not sure what I'd do without the internet.

I did a google search for poison oak and essential oils. If I can help it, I don't want to have a hopsital experience tonight. I found an article recommending frankincense, peppermint and thieves (Young Living brand) or on-guard (doTerra brand). Dabbing on frankincense on my lips and tongue felt soothing immediately. Oh, it was nice. The peppermint and on-guard didn't feel as great but already my lips were on fire so I can take a little heat. I put more frankincense on after about an hour. Now I am almost 2 hours post incident and my face feels almost back to normal, though I'll put on more frankincense just for good measure.

So let me be a lesson to you. If you don't see the natives doing something, you shouldn't do it either. And if you're interested in how cashews are harvested, please watch this video. It's really interesting and only a few minutes long.

This is me a couple of days after the cashew incident. That thing that looks like a cold sore, is actually the chemical burn I got from trying to bite open the cashew nut shell. It's totally better now, a week later. Well maybe still a little pink but the scab fell off so that took most of the color with it.

October 2, 2015

Brazillian Cold Weather

Kira often walks around the house collecting treasures in her purse. Or grocery sack. Or whatever collection bowl happens to be around. I found this beauty in her bag and it gave me a good laugh. And then I cried. Because really, is this thermometer accurate?

Your metric lesson for the day: 
Celsius to Fahrenheit Conversion Chart
40° C =  104° F
37° C =  98.6° F
30° C =  86° F
20° C =  68° F

Your Portuguese language lesson for the day:
Frio = Coooold L
Morno = Warm K
Quente = Hot J
Ideal = Ideal.

The Brazilian ideal heat is 40° C. What?!?!?!?! I'm going to die. We had a week or so since I've arrived that was 33-35° C weather. It was hot. Really hot. We bought fans for all of our bedrooms hot. I don't want to know how 40° feels.

And after I first arrived, we had a week of 16-19°ish days intermixed with 20-21° days and I was cold. Really? I'm from Seattle. And those temps should feel warm to me...but maybe not after the summer we had. I think we moved at the right time. Because had we come from Seattle winter weather to Brazilian summer, we would have had a hard time. But coming from pretty much the hottest Seattle summer in forever to Brazilian winter has been alright.

I believe my ideal is about 25° C, which is what we've had this past week with nighttime temps between 16-18° C. I love cooler nights. That said, it's not cold. Tymon and I go on walks around the neighborhood at night and it's the best weather. Not too hot and not too cool.
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