Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monarch Program

So I guess I need to back up a little bit here. 
We have our own butterfly garden in our small(ish) town. The Monarch Program is right down the street. So we went the other day and met a few friends there. 

It was pretty cool. They have a few different types of butterflies and a little educational center to explain metamorphosis.
Okay, maybe not as impressive as the one I went to with my mom in France, but for just down the street it was great. We learned a lot about Monarchs. The Monarch caterpillar only eats milkweed plants. (That I knew. I tried growing them from seed a few months ago to go in the back yard on ‘the hill’ but it was pretty much a disaster.) 

Once the caterpillar goes into its chrysalis it just a bunch of goo. You’d think if you look inside you would find either caterpillar and/or butterfly parts. But they said it was just goo. And a butterfly forms out of that goo. 

Once the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis its wings are small and wrinkly and the abdomen is pretty big. 
Over the next 60 minutes or so the fluid from the abdomen is pumped into the wings and they kind of inflate. Pretty cool.

Oh, and they love watermelon.

In talking about the butterfly garden the bug really wanted one to land on her. She would often stand in the yard with her fingers out hoping one would land on her. When we first went into the vivarium she got her wish but was definitely not sure about it. By the end of our visit she was so happy to have one on her finger. 

As we were leaving I asked about buying some milkweed and they said sure. So for about $20 I got 6 plants, pretty good sized. And now we are watching our own Monarch cycle. I am so excited. Oh, and by the way, we had to get another milkweed plant the other day because my herd of caterpillars (yes, it is called a herd) has eaten every leaf off the original ones.  What have I gotten myself into? 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monarchs and Milkweed

I have been completely enthralled with this lately:

The milkweed I got at the butterfly garden a few weeks ago is working its magic. We’ve had lots of monarchs flying around. I plopped the plants down in the front planter with plans to plant in the back yard and then we got busy with the reunion so I haven’t relocated or put them in the ground yet. You can see the monarchs come into the yard and zero in on these plants. It is awesome. And they seem to be leaving behind little presents for us. 

We now have caterpillars of every size. They are beautiful! I am having so  much fun with this. The bug thinks its pretty cool too. 



 They grow incredibly fast. The last pencil photo was just a few days ago.

They are amazing. We have them right outside the back door now. It is harder for the monarchs to find them so we won't have as many eggs. Which is actually good because we are running out of leaves. I am leaving them here until we go through a complete cycle. I can't wait for the chrysalis and then the butterfly! Then I'll put them in the ground and probably have to get some more to keep our little colony fed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Camera shy? Not any more.

This is what happens when your 4 year old finds your camera and is not getting the attention she wants.

I have quite a few feet shot of my own. Seems like a pretty cool thing to take a picture of. 

And I have to say I really like this one. Beautiful composition and pretty good lighting. This is our 19 year old Cabo. I love this girl. She is the longest relationship I have ever had. Oh wait, second longest. Deb gets the longest award.