As a follow up to my previous post, I should have posted these photos in mid April when I took them, but alas here they are! This first photo shows a monarch about 1 hour before emerging. The chrysalis is completely see through at this point! Also in the second photo notice the curled wings before the dry out. This was taken a few minutes after emerging. The fourth photo is pretty cool in it’s own right because those two monarchs literally emerged within minutes of each other!
And just when I thought our monarch adventure was done for the season, we now have 14 new caterpillars within the last week. That month in between gave the milkweeds just enough time to replenish to give life all over again.
A few mornings ago I saw this beauty while out on my morning walk around the yard on our recently acquired milkweed plant. These plants are havens for butterflies and also support their lifecycle. I felt fortunate to have caught it on camera when I did. I presume it was laying an egg or two since yesterday these 2 were found cruising around the same plant:
This last photo is sort of a “Where’s Waldo” of caterpillars. It’s exciting seeing these caterpillars grow so fast on the milkweed. My mom told me that when they’re big enough, they leave the plant to find a safe place to make their chrysalis. I was relieved to hear this because last week’s large caterpillar seemed to have disappeared and I was worried about a bird having eaten it for a snack! (By the way, my mom gets all the credit for inspiring me to buy a milkweed plant. She has many in her front yard and even though she doesn’t care for the twiggy look it has after the caterpillars have eaten it all up, she knows the plant will grow back to feed a whole new crop of future monarchs.) Seeing the butterfly’s life cycle in action is also a wonderful science lesson for kiddos. Do butterflies in your neck of the woods a favor and get a milkweed plant!
Ever since I’ve lived in my house, I’ve admired our neighbor’s mulberry tree through each season. In spring, with it’s new green leaves, it instills hope as I glance at it doing this and that in the house. In winter, even when it’s bare of any leaves, the thin branches look like a vast network of veins, reminding me of the interconnectedness of all living things.
One evening about a week ago I settled on the couch under a blanket at twilight. I stared out of the window at that mulberry tree and marveled at it’s beauty against the evening sky. This is what I saw: