Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Seeds are sprouting!

The greenhouse is heating up and looking good. I have 3 different methods of sowing going on. 

  • 2 trays of seeds in soil on heating mat.
  • On tray with seeds on moist paper towel.
  • In baggies halfway filled with water. 

So far, the Balloon milkweed that is on a wet paper towel is sprouting. So exciting for me. 

Friday, February 28, 2020

Hello friends

Time to start sowing milkweed seeds.  I'm a bit late, but like they say 'better late then never'. 
This will be my first time to grow indoors. I do not have lights (yet). Perhaps with only the heating mats I may be able to get by. We'll see. 

 This is the only window with morning sunlight...all I can do is try.
Now the pups have lost their window seat, but it's a temporary situation. 
I have lots of seeds to start with. 
Milkweed: Swamp (Asclepias incarnata), Orange Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Tropical (Asclepias curassavica) and Balloon aka Hairy Balls (Gomphocarpus physocarpus). Also some Hyacinth vine beans which are an annual. I do have 3 more trays. 

Don't think my husband was to please to find where I had put the indoor nursery. So he found 3 grow lights for me....Now I am good to go. 

Oh, in case you are wondering what that 'Liv' thing is, well it's the battery pack for my 
e-bike. It's all charged and ready for me to that it out for the first ride of 2020 on Sunday!

Meet Nellie, my new Giant LIV-Amitie 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Here it is, 2020

Where has the time gone. Instead of blogging I took the last couple of years off and starting to 'journal' about my adventures of rearing Monarch's on Facebook.  You can find my page HERE

But I shall start to journal again here as well. Join me as I begin my 5th year in this 

Now is the early stages when I start planting milkweed seeds indoors. Why milkweed you ask? It's the only plant the female monarch will lay her eggs on because it's the only plant her 'babies' will eat! Please, do your research and fine what it NATIVE to your area for wonderful results.

I have just returned to Bella Vista, Arkansas from a 5 week visit with my daughter and her amazing family in beautiful Cool, California. But its time to get down to business....sowing seeds. Until next time. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wow...already the end of August!

Things are busy in the Gilmore nursery AND
I am also 'cat' sitting 13 for a friend~
Her's are in the small cube. All are in chrysalis. That's nice because no more eating and pooping! lol
I have since released 19 but I have to tell you about the last one. It took 2 days to 'J'.  Then when it was time to stayed in dark mode way too long for my liking.

So....I took it outdoors in case it was ill. (didn't what to infect the others)
I placed it near a milkweed plant. I was hoping for a magical moment, I guess.
 IF it did enclose it would at least have something to climb and dry off HER wings. Low and behold....This moment is why I do what I do. *smile*

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A crazy day indeed!

First thing this morning I went out to check for milkweed seeds. This is the pod of a swamp milkweed. I will collect until mid October and I will give away in these cute little bags. Instructions for planning included. 

This guy climbed to the top of the cage last evening and is in what is referred to as 'J'ing' or in the J position. It find the very best spot, and is still for about 24 hours. Then goes into the J. See how its antenna's are limp. That means it will soon chance into a 
This one attached itself to a leaf. So far safety sake, I pinned it to the top of the cage. After the chrysalis has harden (about 24 hours) I will remove the leaf and rehang it. It will remain in chrysalis for 9-14 days.
Cats. Cats. Galore.
3 of the 11 in this cage are in chrysalis. The rest are roaming around causing mischief. They love to pester the ones that have found their 'spot' and want to be near. Too near. I have played referee all day. Last I checked, all but 2 are placed where they want to be. It's all good.  *smile*

To relax a bit, here is what I did today. A new Ice Drop in the color of Summer fun. Bye for now.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Soon things will start changing....

A couple of years ago I did sign up as part as the Monarch Waystation. I'm Monarch Watch: #16918

These guys are getting soooo big. That's what happens when all you do is EAT, sleep and yeah, poop!
 This what I have the 16 cats in now...soon to start climbing to the top to go into chrysalis. In fact, three have climbed to the top a few minutes ago...

 Since I had my second cataract surgery done I am laying low for one more week. In the meantime I am tatting Ice Drops. This is called 'Bloomin'.


Friday, August 10, 2018

The caterpillars are getting fat....

Here you can see 6 of the 9 cats that are in one cage.
                                       Let's play peekaboo!

Here we have 3 cats in cage #2. I do like the larger floral tubes because I'm able to have a lot of milkweed to feed the cats. Also, always taking notes of how many are one steam but because they are getting bigger they are starting to move fro m one to another area. They will be soon to heavy from this method.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

More Cats...

This morning while making my usual milkweed check I did come across 3 more tiny caterpillars.  Like I have said before it's not my desire to 'save them all'. So for now, there is a total of 12...and no egg from yesterdays find. ):

I did experience something pretty special. Remember me talking about molting and how the cat grows but its skin does not? Well, I was moving one of the latest cat to fresh leaves. While in my hand (yes, that is my palm)  IT went through a MOLT! See it's face cap below and the 'old skin' right next to the caterpillar. So small that I could not even feel it as he starting crawling away. Definably a New To Me experience.

So here we are with 2 cages. The one on the left has the 3 newest cats and
other has 9. I'm not sure I like the cage on the right. I got it last year at Cabela's on sale. It opens  only half, from the top. Time will tell.
Again I do other things too, like crochet~

Here is the video to the Ring Around the Rosie vest. This was make for my 3.5 year old granddaughter. The fiber is Lion Brand Mandala in the color of Spirit.

Bye for now.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sooner then I expected...

...on the monarch end~ I collected 7 very small caterpillars this morning and what might be one egg. Oh, make that 9. Just found two more.
                  How many can you find?   See 4?

Note sure if its an egg but time will tell. Usually when it hatches, it's cream colored. Then in about 4 days, it turns dark. So.....we shall soon see.
And once again, I did NOT see a female Monarch! Lots of other kinds such as these below.
Silvery Checkerspots
Male Eastern Swallowtail
Oh,  just to show you I have a life besides butterflies...LOL
2 latest Ice Drops!
Until next time....

Friday, August 3, 2018

Let's see...where were we?

Pretty much at this point it's quite in the Gilmore nursery. 5 chrysalis are hanging, waiting out the 9-14 days before they enclose. Which is a good thing. During this time I had cataract surgery on my right eye on July 5th. Then 3 days later I drove 4 hours, spent the night with my eldest daughter and came home with my 12 year old granddaughter Juniper ~ When we returned on the 9th one of the chrysalis had turned a dark color. I came back to the cage moments later to take a pic...and this is what I found...

This was #2 chr that I had to remove from the 2's a girl! From here on out they all enclosed while Juniper was here for a week visit. She was able to release all 5. Pretty exciting.  On one of our outings to the creek to play in the water we saw these guy: A Northern Tiger Swallowtail with a Pipevine Swallowtail.


When we returned from out water outing she released this one. 

So, within 3 days 5 monarchs were released. 3 males and 2 females. All healthy in spite of me bringing them in as very small caterpillars. That in its self is amazing. I know I can not save them all...but by gosh I will help the ones I can. *smile* 

Here is a tidbit of info. I want to share with you.

The monarch caterpillar grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar's life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 9-14 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 – 6 weeks.

I'll return in a few weeks...lots more to come.  The fall migration is around the corner.  *smile*

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Hi friends,

It's been a month since I last posted. So I'm going to play 'catch up' before the fall migration begins. 
This is #5. So darn cute. I kept looking at the pic and in the background looked a little 'weird'. So I got a  better shot.
Just a little recap:
This is a caterpillar going through a molt. The cat grows but the skin does NOT. So therefore it leaves everything behind...face and all!  *smile* In just two weeks the caterpillar will shed its skin five times. In other words, the insect must wear and outgrow five skins. Each skin is called an instar.

This little guy starting climbing to the top of the cage yesterday from eating leaves and here he is this morning. Can you see the silk button that is attach to him and the top of the cage?
See how odd it looks? Wet and soft to the touch. At this point, it could easily be damage. Here he will hang for 9-14 days.
Pic below is a few hours later and you can see the difference in color and texture. Now another one coming to inspect. lol I do keep a very close eye on both, the chrysalis and the caterpillar. You don't want the cat to form into a chry to close to another, nor do you want the cat to knock the chry down. I have been known to put a cat in TIME another cage!  *smile*

Okay...look at this problem child (one your right)! What you say? Well the 🐛 has formed his silk button onto not one but 2 leaves. Not cool. Even if I wanted to carefully cut the leaf to move #1 elsewhere I'd be cutting #2s antennas. Really!? Time will tell what I'll need to do. Is mother nature as crazy about her cats as I am? Lol I doubt it. 💜🐛

 What I did was gently cut the leaves and pined the caterpillar and the leaves it was attached to one another site, on top of the cage. Once it turned into a chrysalis, I removed the silk button from the leaves and attached with a straight pin as you see below. The pin is on top, above the cages, as to not stick any of the cats.
 Don't want to overwhelm you with too I'll stop here. More to come.   *smile*