Sunday, October 8, 2017

All good things must come to and end. *smile*

 
Aug. 19 - Oct. 3, 2017 Fall Miagration Monarch season has come to an end. I was blessed to have reared and released 28 females and 23 males giving me a total of 51 amazing butterflies. (over 4 times more then my first time last fall) These 51 are referred to as the 'Super Generation', living 10 times longer then their 'parents', to be able to fly south and winter in Mexico. I would like to give a big thanks to each and every one of you who has given me such great support. With that, I leave you with this little video https://io9.gizmodo.com/…/watch-the-birth-of-super-monarch-…
   
Here is #51, a healthy male. Godspeed little one...                                     

 
                      One more thing, please

 
      Until next season, so long from  #16918



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

9-29-2017 Nothing like a good paddle....

...to clear the mind! 6 of us out on a somewhat windy day. As always it was nice to get out on one of the 6 lakes in our town.
 


Meanwhile, in the Hut, one is soon to enclose. Look at those beautiful wings!

 
I'm attempting to get step-by-step pics of the process...
 
The chrysalis has just opened.
 
Staring to emerge.


There, its out!


Only one set of wings are visible and very wrinkled.

Now you see both sets of wings.
 
Here you can also see HIS proboscis. (The little curled up drinking straw).
All this takes less then 4-5 minutes. At this point, his wings will dry, then in 4 hours are so he will be ready for release. 

One this day, 6 enclosed and released bringing the total to 48.
 
 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Morning Coffee in the Hut 9-19-2017

For days, each morning I sat with my morning coffee and my journal. The activity really kept me busy for hours and hours. Here you can see all the pots of milkweed. I had to switch them out every so often. The cats were all eating so much. But I had MORE then plenty this year.

 At this point I had 2 crystals'  
in #1 cage and 2 chrysalis in another cage. (From indoors, now in the Hut. I did not want to mix ones from indoors with the ones for the garden). From the garden: 9 in chrysalis and 8 caterpillars. Total of 17, not counting the ones from indoors.
So you can see, things were a little busy.
 
Each day, I would do a 'head count'. Not all the time I came up with the same amount of cats. Drove me nuts. For a couple of days I guessed I had just missed counted. 
 
For safety due to some windy days, I added bricks to each end of the Hut.

Well I'll be darn! I had found my 'run away'. I was not miscounting after all! Silly cat. THIS was NOT the best please for him. To hide, yes but needed to be moved as soon as it was safe to do so. IF he enclosed there, his wings would not spread out and dry properly. Not good. I do let nature take its course but often I do help Mother Nature! So far 36 were released and headed towards Mexico.
 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

No more Monarch crysalis in the house...

 
               ...they are all moved to the outdoor hut.

Trying something new this year. Look at these fat cats! Now I have our dining room back in order and I know it will be easier to say goodbye after the last Monarch has flown away.

At one point I had 10 milkweed plants for the cats to munch on inside the hut. Again I am so thankful to have planted 15 extra milkweeds in pots. Those are the ones from seeds. Now, as you can see, things are starting to slow down.


I do take time out and have fun with my cycling friends! The 4 of us were part of over 1700 riders. We rode 30 miles, through 6 towns for this event. What a fun day. I'm at the end on your right. We are 'showing off' our match socks!  *smile* When I returned home later that day I had 6 monarchs waiting to be released.
 
One of my favorite pics. The caterpillars are so fun to watch. This guy, fell asleep while eating. Yes, in this position. Eating 2000 times it's weight in 2.5 weeks is hard work!
This is just too darn cute.
 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Still having fun with the Monarchs 9-17-2017

 
 
 
I had this little for an overnight guest. It had rain the time he was to be released, best to keep him overnight. Since it had been 24 hours since he enclosed, he needed nourishment for his long flight ahead to Mexico. In the top center pic you can see his proboscis is in the nectar.  Nothing like pure organic honey and warm water for the soul. Now to be released. *smile*

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Boy, am I behind on Monarch updates!

A lot has happened in the past few day. At this point I have released 26 butterflies and perhaps another 4 today.

I am finding caterpillars in my butterfly garden and leaving them...then I found these guys in chrysalis stage and had to bring them in.
I have 4, in their very own cage indoor. I hated to think of them being so vulnerable out there for at least 9-14 days. Again, I am way behind but I will journal tomorrow. Today is a 30 mile bicycle ride that I had to prepare for but I will let you know 'the rest of the story',
 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Yesterday...

...was very exciting around here.
 
Woke up to find a 'dark' chrysalis! That's a good thing. Here, you can see the wings.
 
 
I was getting ready to blog about it and the next thing I know...
 
 
That fast! Look at the wings. Wet and crinkly at this point. I like to watch and be near to be sure it doesn't fall and offer assistance if it does. That would NOT be good.  Giving it some minutes and you have...
 
 
A GIRL! 
In less then 5 hours, she was released. Make it to Mexico, my sweet lady.
 
This whole miracle took only 23 days from female laying her eggs to this magical moment. Amazing.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Trying something 'New to Me'

I bought this enclosed mosquito hut last year. While watering this morning I always check my milkweed for bugs or Monarch caterpillars. I did find one plant with at least 3 caterpillar on it. Well I remembered I have this and decide to give it a try. Then I found 3 more plants with caterpillars. I added bricks on each end. Just in case the wind comes up. I will keep and eye out for too much sun, its right at my view when looking outdoors.



Here is a closer view. Why am I doing this you may wonder. To help the caterpillars have a better chance of survival. This way IF they haven't been stung by a wasp or bitten by a fly, they will be protected from harm, now until they enclose. Just helping Mother Nature out a bit. *smile*

Remember the chrysalis outdoors...


....this was the first one I found. Under the butterfly garden raised bed. This is at a corner, where I have a little seat.
 
Here is the second one on a Lantana Plant.
 
 
After thinking about it for most of day I decided to bring both of the chrysalis indoors.
 
 With a little help from my husband I was able to hang the chrysalis on the underside of a piece cheesecloth and placed in a container larger enough to enclose in. For the second one, because of the newly form chrysalis I decided to just bring the whole leaf indoors and place in a small jar. In a day or so, I will move him in a larger area to enclose.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A few days has gone by...

...and things are going well in my 'Monarch Kingdom'. I've had a few disappointment but I have to concentrate on the positive. Last fall I released 12 Monarch Butterflies and I was soooo excite! With things going the way they are this year, I will have more then doubled. Now that is a good thing.  I don't know if I mentioned it yet but I have found at least 12 caterpillars outdoors in 'Mon Jardin de Papillion'. Here are 4. I've had to let go and let Mother Nature do her thing.


Yesterday I had a 'meeting' at Hobbs State Park, A group is getting together for the 3rd annual Living Forest event. An alternative to a scary to some Halloween. Here is one of MANY costumes....
                        She will also wear black pants. Isn't she gorgeous?!


   This morning while watering my butterfly garden, I came across...

....a chrysalis hanging under the little bench of my garden bed!!! WOW...a 'New to Me' find!   *smile*

Today there are 35 chrysalis and 4 caterpillars indoors. Fingers crossed for the best. Stay tune, soon they should start to enclose.


 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rearing Monarch Caterpillar...

...does come with a bit of sadness and heartache. Day before yesterday I had one ooze while changing to a chrysalis. Sadly, it had to be euthanized. The humane way to do this is to put in a plastic bag, place in the refrigerator then placed in the freezer. Leave there for at least 24 hours. I have since learned to add a bit of bleach to the baggie, just in case it was diseased, it will not spread in the 'landfill'. At this point I had 18 changed to chrysalis...odds are not too bad. (trying to make myself feed better)
 

Yesterday morning when cleaning/feeding smaller caterpillars I came across this little guy.
 The black line was not there when I checked on it last night. After consulting with my awesome Facebook group Raising Butterflies and Moths for Conservation (+ All Pollinators) I was told to isolate immediately. Which I did. Now, I just wait. No one had any clue. Maybe nothing.  I do not wish to pass on 'bad news' but I feel and need to share what I am learn and experiencing. Good and bad.

Now on to a different note....I found this guy on one of my milkweed plants this morning. A definite a 'New to Me' experience. Do you see him? Sitting pretty on a leaf a Gray Tree Frog ~ He was relocated to a better place. Well, one that is not going to supply him smaller caterpillars which I do have outdoors. I decided I can NOT save them all...big sigh. For those, I am letting nature take it's course.  Not easy thing for me, you have to know.


So for yesterday the censes was: 42 total. 26 in chrysalis, 16 caterpillars and ONE egg. Yep, I did. Found one today and brought him in.  *smile*
Things are slowing now because I only have a few to feed/clean up after. The ones in chrysalis can be in that form for 10-14 days. Fingers cross for a good release percentage. Perhaps now I can tat.  *smile*
 

Monday, September 4, 2017

#6 chrysalis from yesterday...


...has been moved to a better location in cage #1. He was the one on the 'zipper'. It's double secured, for safety reasons.

 
Yesterday was crazy! The whole day was devoted to these guys. I fed, cleaned, watching the roaming caterpillars and moving them so they would not disturb the already formed chrysalis. Cage #1: Here (on right) you are seeing a top view. Numbered and dated. These cats are the last 2 to change. (in this cage). Total: 12
 
If you look closely at the middle one above....you can see a bit of 'gold'. Click on the pic for a larger view. So pretty.
 
Cage #2 called a 'baby cube'. First time using it and wish I had more. They can be found here. SOLD OUT....can you imagine! LOL
This cage has a total of 7. As I was taking the pic, I see this...
 
 
 Chrysalis #18 was just changing.
 
 
 
 
Soooo much activity in cage #3. Total of 17. One chrysalis and the rest caterpillars. These are going to slow down sooner or later and start to 'J'. Hopefully...because I am starting to wear down myself. How do people with 100's do it?!?!  I do have 4 that are to small to join the other. Those are still in the 'nursery' for now.

 
So this my friends is what our dining room looks like. Well for a little while anyway. Fingers cross that I have a great release rate! Things will slow down. So looking forward to getting out later and have dinner out with my husband. *smile*
 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Yesterday...off to a good start.

The caterpillar that was in the 'J'ing stage has changed to a chrysalis. At this point it is very, very soft.

                                        
Here is a chrysalis from last year. It needed to be moved due to the fact it was TOO close to another chrysalis. You want enough room for the butterfly to spread his wings and dry out. What you see is the chrysalis laying in the palm of my hand. I have a long straight pin going through the silk button from which was made by the caterpillar for hanging purpose. Isn't it beautiful!

 
 
 
This is a caterpillar I found at this mornings feeding/cleaning time....NOT a good location for this guy.
 


This is from the inside looking out. He is right on the zipper that allows me to open the cage. Luckily this can be an easy fix, in due time. 









What I did here was added a piece of tape to stop the zipper. THEN I marked with orange as a reminder,  me not to force  it open.
 
After the changes into a chrysalis I will give it 24 hours, then move him to a safer location. Silly guy.
 
I need to share this with you. Here is one of my 'go to' person  in the Monarch Butterfly world. Tony Gomez has great knowledge and is so very helpful. I love his eBook's. Facebook has some awesome sites and I belong to a few. People with like minds are always so helpful and there when you need them. For that I am truly grateful.