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Emily Spencer

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Emily Spencer last won the day on November 20

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  1. Oliebollen (literally meaning oil spheres) are a traditional food in the Netherlands. These donuts are balls of dumpling batter fried in hot oil,and later sprinkled with icing sugar with an optional filling of raisins/currants. Traditionally, they were eaten during yule time by Germanic tribes who would offer baked goods to the Germanic goddess Perchta, to pacify her and her evil spirits.
  2. Saumagen is a traditional dish from the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, where it was created in the 18th century by local farmers as a way to use up leftover food. Traditionally the stomach of a pig is stuffed with potatoes, carrots, onions, and pork that have been seasoned with marjoram, nutmeg, and white pepper. Helmut Kohl, German chancellor from 1982 to 1998, loved Saumagen, and it was served to many state guests, including Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. I'd be willing to give it a go!
  3. “Will?!! Will?!! I need talk to you…it’s important!” Oh, my! So sorry about that. I wanted to tell him that I found a new house mascot. Move over Basil; here comes the Slytherin wasp. Yes, you heard me correctly. Allow me to explain why…. Despite popular (and erroneous) opinion, wasps are not evil. Their bad reputation is quite undeserved, really. And if you take off your rose-colored glasses concerning he cute little honey bee, you will see exactly what I mean. Did you know, for example, that wasps are nature’s pest control squad? If your garden is free of pesky insects, you just might owe that to a wasp. They carry caterpillar and leaf beetle larvae (among a myriad of others) back to their nest to feed their larvae. They do their part in keeping the insect population under control. Thank you for that, my ugly little friends! Next time you are enjoying a glass of wine (or grape juice)j, be sure to make a toast to the wasp. They carry yeast in their bellies, which they get from snacking on wild grapes (which are incredibly high in yeast). They then take the yeast they have stored and ‘feed’ them to the next crop of grapes through pollination. Salut’! Wasps are not as picky as their more stylish cousins when it comes to pollination, either. They are almost solely responsible for pollinating the fig tree. Fig Newtons, anyone?! So just like Slytherins, there are more to wasps than meet the eye. Though they may seem like the enemy, they are quite beneficial to have around. *Ahem* Much like Severus Snape, wouldn’t you say?!! I rest my case.
  4. The Luna Moth is also known as the American Moon Moth, and is indigenous to eastern North America, as far west as Texas, and a large portion of southeastern Canada.It should be noted that they are also a familiar sight in South Carolina, though I will say I never saw any when I lived there. Go figure!They are named after the Roman Moon Goddess, Luna, and prefer forested areas and commonly deciduous woodlands, but they can also be attracted to well-lighted areas in the evening. A cool thing to note is that when more than one generation is produced per year, there can be visible differences in appearances. Spring generation Luna moths are a vivid sea-foam green color, while generations that follow throughout the remainder of the year are yellow in color. The wing edges also differ in color between seasonal forms. The spring generation has a pink to reddish-purple outer wing margin. Later generations throughout the year often have a yellow margin. The Zebra Longwing Butterfly is are also called the Zebra Heliconian butterfly and can be found primarily in Gulf Coast states and the Carolinas. They prefer shadier areas over bright sunny locations, amd will lay their eggs on passion vines that are growing in the shade or in the open on a cloudy day. But not just any vine will do, mind you! These butterflies are quite picky eaters and will only dine from certain vines such as the maypop (Passiflora incarnata), boomerang (biflora), inspiration (Inspiration), and corky stem (suberosa). One unique thing about this butterfly is that Not only do they drink nectar, but unlike most butterflies, they also eat pollen. They will mix pollen with moisture and drink pollen after it has begun to liquefy. *Ahem* If there was such a thing as butterfly jail, these insects should certainly be inmates! The males often mate with females just before the females emerge from their chrysalises. On a good note, they do wait for them to emerge and then they fly off together to find nectar.
  5. Jewel Beetle is the common name for the Buprestidae family of beetles. Also referred to as wood-boring beetles or metallic beetles, jewel beetles are among the largest families of beetles and over 15,500 species have been identified across 775 genera. Though they can be found all over the world, they are most common to the Northern hemisphere. They are herbivores by nature and their diet consists of leaves, nectar, stems, roots, and other kinds of plants including trees and grasses. They are also quite destructive and can cause a massive amount of damage if they infest a crop. Naturally, they are not a farmer's best friend! Despite their destructive nature, they are highly prized for their colorful, almost iridescent shells. Jewel beetles carapaces have been used in various cultures around the world for decorative purposes. For instance, the Makech beetle from Central America is often worn as a living decoration. Interestingly enough, they often delay their emergence into the world by as much as 25 years, with 51 years being the longest recorded time one of these insects remained in the larvae state. Which makes sense, I suppose, since they have a rather short lifespan. The adult jewel beetle lives for approximately three weeks (if not eaten by their natural enemies, the dragonflies). I would hide, too, given those odds!
  6. The March family from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Ever since I read this book years ago as a child, I have wanted to be a part of the March family. Marmie was everything a mother should be, and I would find myself lost in pretend that she was mine. Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth were my pretend sisters, and even though my twin and I were (and are) incredibly close, I wanted the March girls to be part of my family, too. I think what appealed to me most was the warmth and closeness, two things seriously lacking in my own home environment. Even though they argued at times, they always supported each other. I'm not one usually given to sentimentality, but this book and this family gets me every time.
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