Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In the blink of an eye...

...I have 14 Monarch caterpillars this early morning. The 'nurseries' have all been cared for (fresh paper towels, more leaves if needed and misted). Now I wait some more. They are so tiny that I use reading glasses and a magnifying glass to see them. This stage is called first instar, they will have 5 before they change into their chrysalis. Just think about this....they will have grown 2000% in size. It would be like us growing to the size bus and in less then 3 weeks!! WOW.

Stay tune for more updates.  *smile* 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I said I wasn't going to bring anymore indoors....

...well I couldn't help myself. I now have 30 eggs as of 8/21/2017. I check regularly outdoors and the little containers indoors. IF I did miss any eggs outdoors I am checking for very tiny Monarch caterpillars. None, so far.
BUT....this afternoon with much joy I discovered this:

 What the heck are you looking at you might ask. Well, the black tip you see is the head of a cat that has NOT hatched yet (from the first batch of eggs I brought indoors on Saturday! Now remember this is about the size of a pencil tip, and magnified a lot!  I did find 9 out of 10 ready to hatch! So now I prepare for the next step.

I have 9 leaves, wash, dried and placed in floral tubes with filled with water to be ready when the eggs hatch. They will eat the shell then be ready to munch down on leaves. That's when the fun begins. Making sure I have plenty of clean, fresh leaves for them to chow down on.

So for now, this is what my little area looks like. Still a 'dining room' but not for long!   lol 

I have such wonderful friends!


Hi Nancy:
Enjoy the Haiku especially written for you: 5-7-5

The caterpillar

Did think death is imminent

Now a Butterfly.

From: Dagmar


Sunday, August 20, 2017

I have monarch EGGS!

Last evening I found 10 eggs, today another 5. This will be my limit until I see how many viable eggs I have. About 3-4 days to hatch into very tiny caterpillars. All eggs found on the milkweed that were in pots. (grown from seeds). Time will tell...stay tune.  *smile*
Yes, as you can see I will rear the Monarch Butterflies indoors. So the fun begins! First the leaves and eggs were washed, then cute in small pieces. Placed in container with lid and paper towel. Mist once a day and open to check situation. Labeled with date and number of eggs in each container.

My first Monarch of the 2017 Fall Migration

 A week ago I found my first visitor. A male monarch. A bit tattered but he hung around for about 4 days.

My jouney with rearing Monarch butterlfies.

This spring I registered with Monarch Watch and have my very own Waystation. #16918, 'Mon Jardin de Papillons. (My butterfly garden).  I was also able to produce 25 milkweed plants from seeds, much to my surprise. Here are just a few of the 13 pots.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mon jardin de papillon (My butterfly garden)

I did not have monarchs this spring....but I am ready for the fall migration from Canada to Mexico.

10 milkweed plants and a
few pollinator plants.


                       Even added a little sitting I can watch
                       the activity in my little garden.

I even have a few daily visitors.  Here is a view from where I seat indoors.   Now to go pick blueberry's. Life is good and always an adventure~ *smile*

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Getting ready for a 'New To Me' adventure....

Woke up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Wow! Now to decided how to dress for a day with 9 other die hard hikers. Layers for sure. Later the temp should be in the teen, then mid 20's. I get the pups out of their kennels, get backpack ready with breakfast, snacks and water. Again, am I dress well enough?! Do I have everything for a 2 hour plus drive...blah, blah, blah. About an hour into the ride, I get a text from dh saying "did you forget something".
Believe me, it was more of a statement than a question. Here is the pic that followed:

Oh NO!!!   I forgot about Abby, my Pacific Parrotlet! She sleeps in a sleeper cage which I put her each evening and in the morning she will usually just fly to the large cage in the living room when her door is opened. Well. Not today. DH will NOT touch Abby. So, here she is in all her glory with DH making her as comfortable as possible. It's all good because soon she will be in Wichita, Kansas in this cage for about a month while I spend time in Cool, California.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas movies, crocheing and tatting!

With wind chill factor being below zero (Fahrenheit) it's a great time for P.J.'s and staying indoors. Here is what I crocheted. A ponytail hat/neck warmer. Easy to make and in no time at all I had one made for myself.

Also, having a blast with these adorable ICE DROPS. A little something for the Christmas tree, or hanging anywhere you want a little color.


Here I have already added my beads to the ball thread, ready to make these dandy little gems up into 'Ice Drops'!

So many have started making these and I have seen a lot on Facebook and even Pinterest. The gems are little glass pieces about 3/4 inch. They can be found in the floral department of most stores. They are used to add to the bottom of a vase. You may have notice them. I found some at Wal-Mart, Dollar General and Hobby Lobby.

Now, I will share the link on how to make these 'Ice Drops'.
 Diane, aka 'Lace Lovin' Liberian' has shared a tutorial for making these. Many thanks Diane! Have fun making these and share with me your Ice Drops! Love to see what you come up with.

Have fun! Take note, they are additive to make! LOL


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rearing Monarch butterfles, preparing for next year and tatting

Tagging the butterflies is one of the things I want to get involved with next spring. Here I am sharing with you someone who has done it and explains it quite well.

This is a great web page  I have newly discovered about Monarchs. A place to get wonderful information.

Another thing I would like to do is to get certified as having a Way Station. This is creating a safe place to feed monarchs and help them to get to there next destination in their long migration.

I am well on my way on with the butterfly garden I have started. With only 6 milkweed plants, a few nectar plants and a butterfly bush I was able to release 12 Monarchs this fall. So looking forward to spring...when the 'children' return as they are migrating North.

One more pic I wanted to share with...a poem by Lynn R.

In the meantime I am still tatting. Here is one of two doily's I am making for a friend. Both alike to go on her end tables. The pattern is the first 7 rows of Renulek's Spring 2016 doily. I used sized 10 thread and it measures about 12 inches in diameter, perfect for my project.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The last 2 Monarch Butterflies for Fall 2016

 So here it is Friday October 7, 2016 8 AM. I kept them really close by to watch the emerging process without incidents. Like falling or unable to properly come out. If they do fall, one needs to get them off the flat surface as soon as possible so the wings are not damaged. A Q-Tip is good to have handy so it can grab a hold of it and place in a safe hanging area. Remember, they are wet and wrinkled at this stage.  

                     #11 is doing great, waiting for #12.

So here is a male and female. Just as beautiful and perfect in every way. The wind is blowing and it's rainy, so this pair will have a sleep over.
Saturday October 8, 2016
Time to release these beauties. Bittersweet.
One of my butterfly mentors said to me...
"If you love it, let it go.
If it loves you, it will
come back to you...At least their children do" 
My butterfly garden is saying good-bye, until next spring when we welcome the next generation!
Here are the statistics for my first time rearing Monarchs:
13 total
5 eggs from milkweed
8 caterpillars from milkweed
1 loss
7 female's
5 male's
12 released
My plea to you is to
                   and help the Monarchs to thrive.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Just a little information about the Monarch Butterflies


 Remember this? If you look close enough you can see the wings on the left side of the pic.

                 A beautiful chrysalis with the silk on top.

Above is a magnified view of what is holding the chrysalis to the top of the cages. Below is a detailed view of the chrysalis.
In one of the groups I follow on Facebook, Holli has posted some amazing pics. Thought I'd share with you a little of what I have learned in only 7 weeks. (From time
of my first find of eggs and caterpillars to last butterfly to be released). I am still in awe.

                Now for a little 'sex education'!   LOL
See the 2 dots on the male on each side of his abdomen...those are HIS scent glands. The wings are a little different also.

Tomorrow I will share with you my last two beauties.
But first I leave you with this...

This pic was taken by Amy Cassarnal, in a classroom while doing a study on Monarch's. Perfect! Until next time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

While butterflies are emerging....Let me introduce you to the newest member of our family

 Lounä Izabella. You have to know I am one proud 'Granna'. My first great-grand daughter! Thank goodness for the internet and all the possibilities that I have to see this adorable child 'daily'. So looking forward to holding day soon. *smile*
October 2, 2016 Meet #7 A pretty little female. Time to let this girl be on her way. All I had to do was open the cage and off she went. She will fly on to Mexico to hibernate for the winter. She is the 4th generation and they live the longest. 4-6 months.

October 3, 2016 Here is #8 and #9. Female and male in the background. They may all look the same, but to me I have seen a multitude of personalities! Amazing. Some have been so eager to fly off, others like to just 'hang around'. Some like to climb on my arms and just sit. Some will just walk towards my hand and wait to be feed. I love these little guys....

                         October 5, 2016 Say hello to #10. It's a girl!
Things are coming to a close. I have only 2 remaining in chrysalis.  I will not cry, I will not cry.
My butterfly garden....I still have a bit of work to do yet this fall. Just planted a lot of milk weed seeds in the back of the planter. Nectar plants which should fill out nicely come time to welcome the butterflies return. 

I have just one more post to share with you. Thank you for leaving such encouraging comments. I did not go into as much detail as I could have for 'teaching purposes'. Perhaps next year I will be able to share my experience locally and others will share my passion for these beautiful butterflies. I just want to spread the word....

Friday, October 14, 2016

6 Monarchs have flown away....6 remain in chrysalis-Early October 2016

 I find this so fascinating. In just 2 weeks this is how much the monarch caterpillars grows! No wonder one needs to supply LOTS of milkweed leaves to these cats.

This is a great pic (NOT MINE) of how the chrysalis emerges from the caterpillar. This process takes about 4 minutes! Amazing transformation. From here the butterfly should eclosed in 10-14 days.

Here is one way to tell the sex of the Monarch.
 Why do I have only 6 chrysalis and but yet 2 cages? Well its because one is in 'time out'! Yes, I did! The one in the cage on the right would NOT leave the other chrysalis alone. It would climb to the top and mess with the web button (which holds the chr on top of the cage) or just want to climb near it. As I said earlier the chr are in a vulnerable stage and could either be knocked down causing it to fall, or touch it enough to deform the butterfly. SO...That is why he is alone in the cage. Took it all day to settle down after roaming around and climb to the top, then finally went into J'ing.

 The second group are stating to eclosed. What a beautiful thing to watch the wings unfold and dry.

Another male...good bye little one. Bon voyage

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is this not the cutest apron! Late September 2016

One of the ladies on our daily walks said she had 'just the thing' for me. Her mother use to make and sell these aprons. Kathy had this one and thought it would go so well with my 'butterfly garden'. I agree!

And now I give you Monarch #2. This is a male. See the 2 dots on each side of this abdomen? Those are his scent glands. I took all 3 outdoors at the same time. Females #1 and #3 flew right off. This little guy just wasn't ready. Then I notice his proboscis was not quite working. So thanks to Mona Miller and the video highlighted in blue I was able to work with this little guy. After unfurling the proboscis I feed him raw organic honey and water. I put him back in this cage, indoors and kept him overnight.  The next day I offered him more of the homemade nectar. When he drank his fill, he was so ready to head south~and he did. *smile*

                    I  still have more....only the beginning! 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Meet Monarch Butterflies #1, 2 and 3.

# 1 on the left has eclosed and #2 is just starting too! The wings are wet and very wrinkled. It takes a few minutes to 'transform'. Watch this video. It's very cool. Also note the 'proboscis' and how the butterfly will work to curl the 2 tubes into one. That is where it eats from. I will talk about my experience with this a bit later.

     The one in the center is a female. I'll have better pic later.
Out of 6 chrysalis 3 have eclosed. At this stage the wings will dry for 2-3 hours. Weather pending (wind, rain, too cold) they can be released at this time. IF they need to be kept for over 24 hours then I will feed them a nectar of raw organic honey water before sending them off to Mexico.
These little ones only took 9 days to enclosed. Things are looking good. 

While #'s 1-6 are enclosing, I am still feeding caterpillars. The green dot you see on the top pic is from the very fresh seedlings. See the difference in size of the cats? In between each stage they do 'molt'. The cats will sleep about 12 hours or more and shed their skin. They will do this 4-5 times. I like this time, it means they are not eating!  *smile* Until next time! Bye now.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Running out of milkweed! September 17. 2016

One foggy morning, I was looking out the window at my poor Tropical milkweed. (one of 6 mw plants). Wondering how I was going to feed the six caterpillars I had remaining. Only a few leaves remain on this one. Then I notice a hummingbird sitting on the upper left side of the 'tomato cage'. That, for some reason friends gave me hope.

Remember me putting out a plea in our area for MILKWEED leaves? Since milkweed is a host plant to Monarchs caterpillars, they were eating me out of plants! Three awesome ladies were eager to share. This is Tropical milkweeds. Some do not like to plant for varies reasons. Plus its an annual.

I was gifted all these seedlings. Not sure what I will do with them over winter...that remains to be seen. Perhaps a hot-house for Christmas?  *smile* These seedlings and other leaves collected got me through.


Things are starting to happen! September 17th I had 6 hanging chrysalis. NOW on September 25th...see how dark?? Four of six chrysalis are turning transparent, giving it a dark effect. What you are seeing is the monarch!

See the wings!? I was beyond thrilled. This process takes about 24 hours for the chrysalis to change from green to this. At this stage, things happen pretty quickly.


Next time I will show you what happens!  *smile*