Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This is the third year that the boys and I have raised Monarch butterflies in the summer. It still amazes me to see that transformation..to admire the beautiful flecks of gold on the chrysalis, to see how much the caterpillars eat, and then, of course, to see the butterfly emerge in its place. This year we were exceptionally lucky. During our visit to the Naturium to get the caterpillars (we looked in vain on the milkweed around our home to find any) Michael Powers, The Butterfly Man, was kind enough to also send us home with a newly laid egg. If you look on the picture below (you might need to enlarge it) you can see a tiny white spot to the upper left of the blossoms on the milkweed. That is the egg, that eventually hatched into a caterpillar that we didn't even know existed for almost a week because it was so small......

then grew and grew into this leaf-munching machine...

then spun this breath-taking chrysalis that actually looks gilded with real gold...

and then emerged as a beautiful Monarch.

We were a little worried about our friend, who decided to hatch on Thanksgiving weekend in the middle of a really cold spell. He sat out on the milkweed plant on our back deck for 2 whole days trying to warm up enough to fly away. We ended up bringing him in at night because we were so afraid he would freeze completely. But by the third day, he had taken flight, and is hopefully enjoying the sun in Mexico by now (or at least well on his way).

This is always one of the best 'science' projects for the kids. Seeing nature evolve, change and grow right in front of your eyes, recapturing the wonder of it all, and the absolute awe of what is possible in this world. I have to say that this is not something that I 'teach' to the kids...for me this is about the experience and the emotions that it brings up in us all. I know I have reached our 'learning objectives' when I see my boys race over to tell their friends.."Hey.. you gotta see this!!!"

An Irish Blessing
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.And find your shoulder to light on.To bring you luck, happiness and riches.Today, tomorrow and beyond.

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