I have never lived in a place with so many butterflies flying around, so I figured they deserved their own post. So if you’re not into butterflies…. what the heck is wrong with you? Who doesn’t like butterflies?
I’ve even braved tick-infested, knee-high grass in the pasture to stalk a particularly beautiful monarch or yellow swallow tail. Actually, you all should be proud of me. I don’t even freak out that much when I find ticks on my clothes. I just calmly shudder, flick them off, and go about my business. (Not so much ticks in my hair. That’s still a Code 2 emergency worthy of ear piercing shrieks.)
It seems like everywhere I look, there’s a butterfly. They especially like basking in the sun on the gravel driveway, which is all well and good until Ceri spots them. She does love a good chase, but thankfully she has yet to catch one. That would be almost as traumatic as the time I watched an adorable bright green tree frog eat an equally adorable ruby red ladybug. So much vibrant color, mixed with so much tragedy.
Anyway, my ultimate dream is to photograph a yellow swallowtail perching on a white daisy, but they don’t seem to prefer that type of flower. They go more for the lilacs, dandelions, and these pretty little weeds that look like someone dipped a dandelion in bright orange paint.
My friend Jennifer has a huge patch of milkweed that she cultivates specifically for the monarchs, and she let me take home some cuttings with eggs on them! The population of monarchs has seriously declined in the last 15 years or so, so a lot of people are consciously trying to protect the eggs and caterpillars (called “cats”), then releasing the monarchs out into the wild.
And now… I’m one of those people! I’m officially a Monarch Guardian, having hatched out quite a few cats already! I brought home some milkweed cuttings with eggs on them, and put them in a vase of water on our screened in porch. The porch is perfect, because it offers protection from predators, but natural temperature and humidity conditions.
I’m looking at it as a chance to observe first hand the miracle of one of nature’s most spectacular transformations, but Gene’s all, “You’re going to let a bunch of worms crawl around our porch???” I assured him that the cats will stay on the milkweed for about a month, until they crawl up the walls and make their cocoons. So technically, the worms will be suspended above his head until they hatch – and we’re both short, so who cares?
There’s at least 2 feet of wasted space up there, so who better to fill it than hatching monarchs? Once their wings are dried, I can open the door and let them out into the wild blue horizon, and Gene can pry all the dried up cocoons off the rafters once they’ve all flown the coop. It’s a win-win situation!