Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Home to The Holler We Go!

Back to The Holler expecting hum-drum….but no, The Holler hates hum-drum, so look who chaired the welcoming committee!
Isn’t he a beaut! He’s been hanging around here. His wingspan clocks in at almost exactly 5 inches.
He’s a Ceanothus Silk Moth. His larvae feeds on the wild lilacs (ceanothus) that grow all over Hollerdom.
The adults fly at The Holler in January and do not feed. This is the first one I have ever seen.
If you’re feeling winter weary, here’s a couple of clicks of the tropics to warm you up!
This traditional Polynesian Canoe House is built to catch the tropical breezes and is amazingly cool even on morbidly hot tropical days. Remember Frost saying, if the world ended in fire or ice, he’d “go with those who favor fire?” He is one of my favorite poets, but he must not have spent much time in the tropics. The heat and humidity can get to you, just like the ice and cold.
This big guy is aptly named a unicorn fish. He can grow up to two feet in length and seemed curious and unafraid.
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Flying away from paradise. Check out the surf on the fringing reef!
Cheers to you (and stay warm) from the rarely ho-hum Holler~
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238 thoughts on “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Home to The Holler We Go!

  1. Stunning photos! I’m missing the South Pacific as I view your photos. Unicorn tangs are just beautiful fish! After the blizzard we’ve had, these photos are chicken soup for the weary!


      1. I used to import saltwater fish and live coral from Jakarta and juvenile unicorns would occassionally show up. Unlike yellow tangs and other small tangs, these would grow too large for most aquariums. After a while, I stopped importing altogether and started a captive program for corals. I figured it was best to leave these beautiful creatures in the natural home.

  2. It seems I have missed incredible natural beauty in your recent posts dear Cindy.
    Love the blues in your last Atoll photo ! Cheers to you too,have a splendid time πŸ™‚ <3

  3. What an interesting fish! I have never seen one before. Thank you once again for transporting me to another place, a place that look full of peaceful energy and relaxing days. Lucky luckyπŸ’–

  4. Stunning captures, just beautiful, particularly that Unicorn Fish who was SO cool! Safe travels home – may you and your luggage be on the same flights πŸ™‚

        1. I was convinced it was a butterfly, but then something made me double check and sure as eggs, it’s a moth – splendid – never seen one like this before πŸ™‚

  5. Cindy, I watch nature documentaries avidly, and yet your photographs keep introducing me to things I’ve never heard of or seen in any book or on any program. Thank you for keeping wonder in my world. Thank you for “the unicorn fish”!

    1. Two times in my life I have found incredible moths where I live. Both different species and the first time I wasn’t taking photos. The first one shouldn’t have been in this area. It was native to Central America. Maybe it hopped on a ship or something. I wish I got his photo~

  6. I’m falling in love with the Big Blue through your beautiful posts! Ooooh the butterfly, I’m speechless. Thank you for bringing nature beauty to us, Cindy!

  7. I love all the pics especially the moth. And yes your tropical pics were perfectly timed. I just came in from snowshoeing in 8 deg F weather along the lake where it felt much colder and found this beauty and warmth waiting for me. Thanks.

  8. I’d never heard of a Unicorn fish, and that moth is stunning! Glad you’re back home, safe and sound. I know what you mean about the heat and humidity, having lived in the south for several years; but, oh, I do miss sparkling sandy beaches and SUNSHINE, ha!

    1. Yes “sparkling beaches and sunshine” are pretty hard to beat. I haven’t spent enough time in the south. I’ve only been to New Orleans, but I get the idea of the steamy humidity. My husband lived in Chapel Hill and he used to run daily in it~

  9. Beautiful silk moth – they are so amazing both in form and in flying – “what is that thing coming toward me?” And your last pics of paradise. Do you miss it? As beautiful as it is, I really don’t enjoy extreme heat or humidity, so that helps me feel less jealous! πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes, don’t feel jealous, I just don’t tend to focus on negatives, but our first week was somewhat challenging really, in that the accomodations were difficult. Some young blogger told me once, “Oh I wish I had your life.” No you don’t, I told her, I’m twice as old as you and I don’t focus on hard stuff, doesn’t mean it isn’t there…….She knew it was true!

    1. I was pretty grateful for this exotic moth gift! It is so much fun to google descriptions of critters I do not know and follow the pics to find out what they are. Now google will search for similar images for you which really makes it too easy. I used this once for a “Where in the World is This” photo and felt like I was cheating! πŸ˜‰

    1. He was on the screen on the window when we walked in. I couldn’t fathom at first what it was. We get a lot of really odd insects at The Holler. Then he just hung out, let me get quite close as long as I moved super slowly. I thought he was gorgeous too~

      1. We’re in Australia – been here since Dec 15 in Canberra, my Aussie hometown, having endless family adventures. Today we leave on a road trip south to the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles. Yay!

      2. wow, had no idea you were from canberra. i haven’t seen the 12 apostles. i want to go back! are you going to see the three sisters over in the blue mountains? i miss the aussie birds! you must be having a total blast! enjoy and be well~

      3. Grew up in Canberra and still have lots of family here. I’ve lived in Canada for 30 yrs. We went to the 3 sisters on a previous trip. And we are totally loving the birds. I’ve been posting pics on my FB page (galahs, brolgas, kangaroos) but they’ll all show up on the blog eventually.
        Must be lovely for you to be back at the Holler. Enjoy!

  10. I loved the tropics in your gorgeous photos, but the greeter for your arrival home was quite an amazing moth, Cindy! Welcome back and yes, it will seem a little ‘dull’ or humdrum, as you said!

    1. Yes! And people told us that unicorns were mythical creatures. Bah, I can joyfully state they are real and I have the pics to prove it! πŸ˜‰ So glad you like the big guy!

  11. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you Cindy! I love the way you find beauty everywhere and share it with all of us!

    Living most of my life in the subtropical climate, I have often thought that it’s easier to keep warm than to get cool but it all depends on how cold or hot. My theory is that more trees, less concrete makes any climate easier to work with. Earth sheltered houses in cold climates and designs like the Polynesian canoe house here help keep the comfort level despite the climate. I’m amazed at the myriad adaptations and designs that work WITH the local conditions to create comfort. I’m looking forward to seeing the new rennaissance in architecture as we shift to more realistic power use. I imagine we will see wildly creative versions of Tolkien’s Elven cities adapted to local conditions all over the world; -)

    1. Oh I love your reference to Tolkien’s Elven Cities. They are like the Green & Greene house in Carmel California. They seem to grow up magically from the ground and blend fully into the natural landscape. Creative masterpieces! You are a wonk my dear & I appreciate your brain! <3

  12. Great contrast from Polynesia to the Holler, Cindy, although that gorgeous silk moth looks like he’s dressed for the Luau. After living so many years in the sub tropics, I thought I could handle anything;I thought India would not get to me, but the heat and humidity was too much. Our timing was off by a few weeks. How long was this trip and how many islands did you go to?

    1. my daughter went to india in grad school to look at medical/mental health tx progams. toured a lot of public clinics and hospitals. sounded like quite an experience. i was just talking to a couple who rent a villa every year in india for a month. i am not feeling the need to return to polynesia. this was our third trip, so it’s ticked off. i can just imagine the heat and humidity in india. they are not my good friends either, but i bet in the final analysis you are glad you went. everything is a learning experience, the good and the not so good and india must be fascinating…..

    1. laughing…. good question! i randomly assign gender to mysterious critters based on whether they “seem” male or female to me. totally inaccurate. i have no idea the gender. i don’t know if the unicorn fish is male either, he just seemed so, kinda like beatrice potter did with her garden critters, completely anthropomorphize them! i live in the holler which is in rural southern california. this was our third trip to polynesia and there are pics from both places which i knew would be confusing…….

  13. Welcome back Cindy! I’ve seen the Ceanothus Silk Moth in my area of California as well but never up close! Thanks again for the many beautiful close-up photos you’ve shared. Love the vibrant warm hues and texture on that moth! And that unicorn fish. Feels like I can just reach out and touch him! πŸ™‚

    1. So happy you have seen the moth before. I hadn’t so he was quite a surprise. I think, if you were there, that fish would have let you touch him. He didn’t seem afraid at all, neither did the moth come to think of it~

    1. Good question. Biologists don’t know the function of the horn. It is not used for defense. The fish has spines in his tail that he uses for defense. It certainly does not seem functional for this algae eating fish.

    1. Thank you Ann for asking about the hawks. They are contesting for territory right now. There is an established pair that nest each year in the same oak tree and a newer pair, and they have been sparring in the air with talons lowered, strifing each other like military jets. I have been clicking away! Cheers to you my friend~

  14. Liebe Cindy Traumhafte Schmetterlinge und ein ganz eigenartiger Fisch sowas hab ich noch nie gesehen super Aufnahme einfach nur wunderbar toll danke dir einen schânen Donnerstag mit ganz lieben Grüßen in Freundschaft Klaus

  15. That moth is amazing Cindy and I certainly agree the heat and especially the humidity can get to you and saps all my energy. At least in the cold you can put more layers on and I feel more energetic in cooler weather.

    1. I was surprised entirely by this moth.
      First off I see it vaguely outside and ask Jim, “EEEEEW what is that?”
      In typical Jim fashion he says, “I don’t know, why don’t you go and see.”
      So I did, and my first thought was it stowed away in my luggage. This must be a huge tropical butterfly.
      Then I googled it. Found it was native. Absolutely gorgeous.
      I probably already told you about the African frog in Paris.
      I planned this guts up self drive trip to Kruger. Matt, my son, came along.
      We are going back really soon.
      Anyway when we fly out of Johannesberg the stewardesses walk down the aisle of the plane with some sort of multi-pronged bug killer aerosal or who knows what. Dousing us all with everything killing chemicals, which surprised me.
      We arrive the next morning in Paris. I’m jet lagged.
      Still blown away by Africa.
      We arrive at our hotel and I open my suitcase and this super huge African frog leaps out into our room.
      I looked at it.
      It looked at me.
      I went to the French doors, opened them, and the frog happily leaped out to freedom in Paris.
      Frogs have this ability to self reproduce.
      Matt said, “If we hear there is a problem with African frog over population in Paris, we will know whose fault it was.”
      I love travel just as much as you!
      Mad dogs, an English woman, and me! <3 <3

      1. No I hadn’t heard that story before, thank you for telling me, it is an hilarious story Cindy I can just imagine the panic if it started croaking as you walked through customs. Did you have time to get a photo? Is Africa your next trip?

      2. How did the frog get in your suitcase!? How funny.
        I take some along with me for luck when I travel… but they are stuffed or otherwise made of material that doesn’t breath πŸ™‚

        Frogs are good luck in many cultures. I’m guessing though your froggy friend will adapt or be eaten. Hmmm aren’t some folks also known as ‘Frogs’…? So then he should be right at home. Surprised thought that they didn’t catch your stow away when your luggage went through security. Frogs do have bones.

        So many things end up being where they aren’t native due to innocent travelers.
        I’ll have to keep my eye (or ear) out for news of frog invasions.

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  18. That is one humongous moth Cindy, and beautiful. Welcome home. And yes I remember my days of living in the tropics in Liberia. Heat and humidity can definitely be unpleasant. Or you can simply go to New York City in August. πŸ™‚ –Curt

  19. What a gorgeous moth…. I generally don’t like moths but I wouldn’t mind seeing him around my house… I bet those antennae pull in a lot of TV stations!

  20. I was oohing, and aahing all the way down the page, admiring your photos, and came to the unicorn fish … I have never seen one before … so thank you, especially for the introduction to him … Mother nature never ceases to amaze me, and you capture her beauty so well.

  21. Marvelous post…the 3rd shot taking me in πŸ™‚ Stunning photos and true paradise…hope home is a happy place as well, even if the weather may not be cooperating.

    1. Well, I can understand that feeling. I will be in London in the spring and I am going to capture your ethereal spring flowers and other gorgeous sights. Spring is coming~ <3 <3

  22. Hi Cuz,
    The moth pics are spectacular. Loved the tropical architecture but I think FL is as far south as I would choose to live. The real tropics are, as you say, humid and hot. I like warm a lot but can’t manage hot, so would rather not live where it’s hot…and humid too ! Hugz !

  23. Well my dear, your life is about as far from ho-hum as one can be. How many countries have you traveled to in the last 6 months? That fish is wild, I’ve never seen such a thing.

      1. Yes, Cindy, I do know. When I ‘come home to the Holler as you say,’ I know my soul will refuel a bit before it jets off to yet another unknown location. Please be safe and enjoy your piece of heaven while you are there. I know you already do.
        I currently have my eyes on what Viking River Cruises calls their Grand European Tour and Belgium. Tom has looked at the longboat as a possibility and he has family in Belgium. That gives me a possibility of enjoying the entire adventure with a resting place for Tom. I’m still exploring all the possibilities. I’ve already been to all the places listed but I’m not opposed to returning and have always wanted to go back to several places where I once lived for a brief time.

      2. Yes we are looking at Vikiing too. Small world, no? We are looking at their new fleet of small ships that do ocean cruises, specifically the 10 dayer from Venice to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Kudasi, et. al., ending in Istanbul. They also have an eight day river cruise that goes from Nuremberg, through Regensburg, Passau, Melk, ending in Budapest. We’ve never done this, so my attitude is, why not try (almost) anything at least once!! πŸ˜‰ I hope you do go. You know I have been hoping that you have a vacation and this sounds ideal for both of you! Keep me posted~

  24. I didn’t realize unicorn fish could get so big. Cool!

    But for big and truly spectacular, all you had to do was come home to the Holler! That moth is absolutely magnificent. A splendid specimen of a beautiful species, and to top it all off, it’s named for what is definitely among my top 5 favorite plants ever, anywhere. I am a huge fan of Ceanothus and its hardihood, its beauty, its variety, its bee-loved flowers, its brilliant colors. What a glorious post! Dessert on your arrival home.

    Wheeeeeeee! Thank you.

    1. If you love ceonothus, you would love The Holler. The hills are covered with it and all the streets are named after it. It is so lovely when the mountains turn purple with these awesome scented flowers. the moth was an incredible sight and he stayed around for several days. Thank you so much for this lovely and motivating commentary!

    1. Well I am surprised cuz he is quite unusual looking and sometimes you are not too keen about odd critters. I think your getting used to them cuz you’re friends with such an odd blogger!!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  25. How absolutely stunning…both the moth and those island shots. I really appreciate the high level of detail in the moth particularly its antennae. Quite breathtaking!

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