The transformation is complete!

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last post, and I really can’t believe July is almost over. This summer is going incredibly fast, although you wouldn’t know it from the state of our corn. It still looks like it did a month ago, which is 6 inches tall and resentful. It’s going to take awhile, I think, to get the soil built back up.

But in far less depressing news, the monarch emerged today! I’ve been watching the chrysalis like a hawk, because my friend Jennifer told me they turn black, then translucent, right before it happens. Sure enough, last night the cocoon looked really dark, and then this morning I could see the monarch’s wings inside! I reached in the front door to grab my phone off the kitchen table so I could text a pic to Bess Bess, and guess what happened during the 30 seconds that took me? Ya, I missed the Big Reveal by *this much*.

But even though I missed that part, it’s been fascinating to watch as he gets ready to fly away. At first, his body looked like an anaconda that swallowed a soccer ball. Instead of being long and thin, it was smushed up into a ball. He slowly straightened it out and took on more recognizable proportions, and all afternoon he’s been been flexing his wings and just generally chilling on the porch.

Even better, I have one more chance to watch the process from start to finish, as one of Monstro’s habitat mates has made a chrysalis right in the middle of the porch ceiling! Now I can photograph it from all angles.

All of the critters seem to be actually enjoying the warmer weather. The pigs requested a swimming pool in their pasture, which naturally I obliged.

Every morning I dump 2 or 3 buckets of water into a hollow they made, and as soon as they hear the splash they come stampeding over to lounge about in the mud.

Their favorite way to spend a lazy, hot afternoon is sprawled in the wallow, blowing bubbles with their snouts in the muddy water. It’s really cute (and loud) when they both get going.

The chickens have completely gotten over their hesitation about roaming in wide open spaces, and now I look out the window to find them hanging out by the goats, circling the truck looking for bugs, and cheerfully wandering the long driveway. They’ve claimed a wooded gully right by the woodshed for afternoon siestas, and I’ll find them perched on low branches contentedly watching the world go by. Once they start laying we’ll probably miss a few eggs, but they’re so gleeful about exploring the world I think it’s worth it.

Cocoa and Mocha spend their time napping in the sunshine and browsing clover. Cocoa’s favorite part of the day is milking time, because she gets to snack on grain while I milk her in the morning and evening. My friend Angela came up to visit for the weekend and wanted to learn how to do it, so of course Cocoa picked that exact moment to unleash her hidden-up-until-now stubborn side.

Normally the she’ll waltz right up the ramp and settle in to her grain bucket, and I go about my business with zero issues. But the moment she’s got an audience? Power struggle time.

She kicked the container, stepped in it, or tried to sit down on our hands. Of course my T-Rex arms can’t handle that kind of wide load, but you know what they can do? Take away the grain bucket. She quickly put two and two together, and that ended the milking shenanigans.

 

 

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