Mike Monarch turned out to be Michelle, given the absence of black spots on the wings. She hatched today while we were out; we returned home to find her flapping impatiently in her countertop jar. We wish you well, lovely butterfly.

We first started looking for monarch caterpillars in early August. I’ve posted on our experience as it has unfolded, and as the adventure draws to a close I want to sum up and link to the Outdoor Hour Challenge on September 30. The adventure began with fruitless searching, as I wrote about here. Poking around online, I learned that monarchs produce four generations of butterflies each year, and this encouraged me not to lose hope. Soon after that, we were pleased to find three caterpillars…Continue Reading “Monarch Madness: Summing Up”

I don’t often post my daughters’ work online, for various reasons. But I’m making an exception for my 10-year-old’s “Watching Peeper” journal pages about her monarch caterpillar. As you can see, she enjoys designing reusable pages for recording her observations. I’m interspersing photos I’ve taken with her pages — the equivalent of sketching for me, I’m coming to realize. She also made a beautiful series of clay figures representing the life cycle of her caterpillar — and looking forward to Peeper’s emergence. I’m so pleased…Continue Reading ““Watching Peeper”: A 10-year-old’s nature journal”

Caractacus the mystery caterpillar has revealed his true identity at last. As a caterpillar, he puzzled us by varying the usual coloration of a monarch: But in every other respect he acted like a monarch. He ate milkweed, grew, spun a silk button, hung in a J, and formed a green chrysalis that gradually became more transparent until this morning it looked like this. This afternoon, we observed him emerging from the chrysalis. It was exciting for me! — I’ve never been able to see…Continue Reading “Nature Notes: Mystery Solved”

Everything is shut down today, we’re boiling water, and waiting to see the final verdict on the damage. Lots of folks are at evacuation centers. We are very fortunate to have a house on high ground and a supply of water. My husband suspected on Tuesday that we might be getting flooding, and he suggested I get some supplies. We’re very fortunate to have him, too! We took a little drive on such roads as are open this morning, trying to get a sense of…Continue Reading “Flood Pics”

I took some video of a monarch caterpillar’s chrysalis forming today. The caterpillar had spun its silk button and attached itself to the underside of a milkweed leaf — not the ideal spot, as the leaf will dry out, or another caterpillar may decide to eat it. After the chrysalis was finished we removed the leaf and positioned it in a safer, more stable spot. This video is of the first five minutes or so, as the caterpillar’s old skin is pushed off. It takes…Continue Reading “Chrysalis Formation”

Believe it or not, we’ve been reading The Burgess Bird Book faithfully every day since I posted on it on July 28. We’ve also made a few forays into others works as well, including Parables from Nature, A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, The Blue Fairy Book, and an assortment of picture books. It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s stopped by this blog lately that one of them features caterpillars! We’ve enjoyed Irene Kelly’s It’s a Hummingbird’s Life for the past…Continue Reading “Read Aloud Thursday: It’s a Butterfly’s Life”

We started school yesterday. We layered in a few subjects and “met” the books for the others. Then today, we layered in the rest. I’m struck by how much our concept of “school” is in constant metamorphosis. When I first started home schooling, it was a very big deal to go from “vacation” to “school.” I had big plans, new books — and daughters who were quite happy with “vacation,” thank you. This year, it feels just… normal. We’ve been continuing with a few subjects…Continue Reading “Metamorphoses”

The last few weeks have seen several posts here about monarch butterflies. I wrote about our unsuccessful search for monarchs in Milkweed Adventures. Then I followed it up with Monarch Musings, about the discovery that each season there are four generations of monarchs, only the last of which migrates to Mexico and lives the longest. Finally, I exulted over finding some caterpillars. I don’t plan to keep a daily monarch journal (I promise!), but I did want to offer some thoughts on the first few…Continue Reading “Butterfly Farm”