Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Year of the Butterfly

My whole childhood, I read about caterpillars forming chrysalises and metamorphosing into butterflies.  I wanted to see it, but I never did.  Caterpillars never seemed to survive in my youth and in recent years, it seems all we ever find are ugly caterpillars that turn into ugly moths.

This year we got wonderfully and amazing lucky. First, I plucked a fat squishy caterpillar off my carrots and brought it in.  The first day the kids marveled at how much the caterpillar pooped, and we identified it. The next day we saw it tie itself onto something and slowly over the course of a day turn into a chrysalis.  We were surprised to find it still wiggled when bumped (or poked and prodded) and in about two weeks we had a beautiful butterfly.
A black swallowtail
Even more butterfly luck came our way. A few days after the black swallowtail flew away, I was cutting dead plants out of my flower bed and into my hand fell another chrysalis. Totally different from the first one. Small, green with gold on it. It would have made a beautiful piece of jewelry. I couldn't identify it by the caterpillar, but Google helped. We had a monarch chrysalis! About two weeks after I found it, we came home from the grocery store to another lovely butterfly.

We may be studying chemistry in our homeschool this semester, but I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful chance to admire butterflies up close.  And I finally, after all these years, got to see some actual examples of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar.


Diane said...

I used to do the books for a teacher supply/educational toy store. We sold kits where you could send for the caterpillar...we opened one up and put it on display in the store; it is amazing to watch them exit and pump up their wings for the first time! Congratulations!

Are you now the "caterpillar whisperer"?

melissa said...

That is so wonderful, and I'm jealous. Have never seen a chrysalis outside in person before.

So cool for you and the kids. :)

Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith said...

How wonderful! A few weeks ago we went to our local botanical gardens and experienced Monarch release day.

Spud said...

The picture of son#2 reminded me of a book that Tony Woodlief had up for grabs, How to Tuck in a Superhero, written by the lady over at Testosterhome. He looks like the fearless type, ready to right wrongs and defend the defenseless.

That was a good looking cake too. Those things can take some time to make. I always like the "cake" that has broken pieces of cake mixed up with pudding and whip cream. And crushed up Heath bars ... yum! It's somewhat easier to make.

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