Posts Tagged ‘creatures’

butt-thra babies!

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

You’ll never guess what Bix and I discovered this weekend! Butt-thra, our monarch butterfly, had babies!

butt-thra baby: one of the monarch caterpillars looking for lunch




















Here it is just 20 days later and the eggs that she laid on our butterfly weed have already hatched and grown. I had no idea it all happened so quickly!

After I spotted the one above, I came across a few more babies a little while later…

butt-thrababy: more monarch caterpillars!




















What you don’t see is a tiny caterpillar who hasn’t made its way into view yet. So four babies counted so far!

From what I’ve learned, there are three generations of monarchs during the warm season. The last generation — the one born in August-September — is the one that makes the 2,000 mile flight to Mexico. That makes these fellas future travelers.

Isn’t that exciting?

monarch midwifery: day 13!

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Hatch day! Got outside at about 5:20 am. Just me, a cup of tea and my iPhone. Right after 6 a.m., the monarch crysalis started to open. The stupid camera couldn’t seem to focus on the right thing, but you can just make out the split starting from the bottom…

monarch midwife_1: crysalis starting to open!




















Seconds later she popped out!

monarch midwife: moments out of the crysalis




















Note the tiny wings and the huge abdomen. Over the next hour and a half, Bix and David and I watched as she hung there pumping fluid from the thorax into her wings…

monarch midwife 3




















You can see her wings gradually grow while her abdomen skinnifies, all Jenny Craiglike…

monarch midwife 4



















monarch midwife 5



















monarch midwife 6





















Then she opened her wings. I could barely fit her in the shot!

monarch midwife: the wings finally open




















Scarcely over two hours after she began her transformation from pupa to butterfly, our baby took her first flight…



This evening I discovered the newborn fluttering around our sumacs, so she’s still here. Hopefully she’s enjoying our butterfly buffet before she heads south.


Addendum #1:

After watching Godzilla vs. The Thing  (also known as Godzilla vs. Mothra) last night, Bix and I dubbed our magical monarch “Butt-thra” in deference to our favorite winged monster, Mothra…

a shot of mothra from last night’s movie













Addendum #2:

Bix requests that you join us for a song before you go, okay?


FYI, If you’re not familiar with the Singing Science series by Motivation Records, check it out. Fantastic and fun. (Space Songs and the two Nature records are our favorites.)

monarch watch: holy moly!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

At about lunchtime I posted that there wasn’t much going on with our butterfly friend. But look what she’s gone and done in the last two hours…

monarch pupa: day 12 omg i can finally see you!




















Can you believe it? It’s almost butterfly time!

projects update: built-ins + butterflies

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Let’s see… when we left off on Day 9, it was almost time for our monarch butterfly to bust out of her chrysalis, fan us with her awe-inspiring wings and flutter on out of here. So what’s up?

DAY 10

monarch pupa: day 10




















DAY 11

monarch pupa: day 11



















DAY 12

monarch pupa: day 12




















So much for the 10-day cycle. Ever waited for a cat to have kittens? It’s kind of like that. I go outside and check the chrysalis throughout the day. When something happens I’ll let you know.

In other news that might actually be news, David and Joe are downstairs banging out the built-ins. Here’s your sneak-peek…

built-ins: joe and david at work



















built-in: record rack



















built-ins: bookcases and whatnot





















Once they’re in, David can tell you all about them. Also waiting in the wings: our murphy bed hardware. So there’s that to look forward to, as well.

One last note: the wallpaper decision has been made. I’m saving it as a surprise. All will be revealed with the fullness of time.


monarch, day 8 + 9

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Our monarch butterfly is still cooking on days 8 and 9…

monarch pupa: day 8



















monarch pupa: day 9




















I let our very rainy weekend stop me from snapping a shot on Day 7. But I have a feeling our friend looked quite similar to the above.

So is Tuesday hatch day? It will be 10 days since she climbed into position and that’s supposedly how long metamorphosis lasts. I may have to hover over her all day tomorrow to capture her emergence!

monarch, day 6

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I think I see the green beginning to shift a little. Perhaps our butterfly friend’s change to orange is beginning? Or I’m imagining things…

monarch pupa: day 6




















Looking quite a bit different from Days 1 and 2. Four more days to go!


monarch, days 4 + 5

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Our butterfly friend is looking fairly unchanged from day 4…

monarch pupa: day 4




















to day 5…

monarch pupa: day 5




















But I imagine there’s a lot happening in there. As it turns out, the pupa is clear and the color you see is the green butterfly on the inside. As she gets closer to “done,” the color will change to the bright monarch orange we know and love.

Only five more days to go!

Day 3


monarch, day 3

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

monarch butterfly pupa: day 3




















Days 1 and 2.

another creature sighting!

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

We discovered a new garden guest yesterday…

monarch butterfly caterpillar: day 1




















Can you believe it?! A monarch butterfly caterpillar just beginning its transformation into a butterfly! In fact, it must have just climbed into place because it only takes a matter of hours for the pupa to form.

This morning, she had already reached the chrysalis stage…

monarch butterfly chrysalis: day 2




















I’m so excited that the kiddo gets to watch this happen. We just don’t get this Wild Kingdom kind of experience often in the city. So happy we planted our Asclepias tuberose (native butterfly weed or milkweed), as it’s the host plant for monarch eggs and larva.

Will endeavor to post a photo every day for the 10-day metamorphosis. Great visuals here, by the way, if you’re eager to see what’s going to take place.

just spotted!

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

It’s been almost exactly eight weeks since John’s praying mantis egg case dispensed the tiniest little creatures into his car. Since then, I haven’t come across any of the babies I managed to capture and release into our yard.

Until this morning…

praying mantis eight weeks later




















He’s between 3 and 4″ long. So happy to see you, little guy! I hope your siblings are somewhere nearby.