Friday, August 31, 2007

Foiled by a Morphing Caterpillar

We have one more caterpillar-butterfly hatching to observe. Seems like this is our last one for the season, as 1) I can't find any more eggs; and 2) It needs to be 55 degrees or warmer for the release, and since it is Minnesota and the cycle takes roughly one month time is of the essence. Geez-it could be snowing here in a month!

So this time with probably the last chrysalis, the aspect that I am interested in is how exactly the caterpillar, hanging in a "J" shape, morphs into a chrysalis? So when Tyler went into J, I was determined to see this transformation and capture it. I took some photos of the J at night, then in the morning, trying to see if he looked different. The one in the evening has more distinct yellow in the stripes in the body (not the head). The one the next morning is duller greenish throughout, with still the black stripes.
Came back upstairs a couple hours later, and wham! done. Shucks, well, there's always next year...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Pretty color!! It keeps raining here...but luckily I snapped this before it wilted under its own weight.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Birthday Party

G had a nice old-fashioned outdoor bday party 2 Saturdays ago. They played outdoor games, like 3-legged race, red rover, couple relays, water balloon toss, and after make-your-own ice cream sundaes, there was a pinata. Her 2 older sisters each had a friend come to help with games, equipment etc. Fun fun! And a very nice group of kids.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kong Sunflowers

Wow-look how big these guys are getting! Not long before they bloom. Actually you can see the tips of these from the upstairs front window.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tyler the Caterpillar

Hair Fun

S. had some blue hair color the other day, as they were goofing around at the Y. Can you see it?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Boo

Today is "Boo's" birthday. She is 7. I still remember with clarity the day she was born.
- And how S. named her (she was 5 at the time)
- How long it took for her to be born. OK my second baby had a labor of like 2 hours, so we were cautious with G. We were at the hospital in the morning, and by 1-2pm our close family was calling and wondering...where is she?
- How my legs didn't work after the delivery.
- How beautiful she was!
- When our 2 daughters came to the hospital that night (they were 5 and 7), zoomed into the room, asked "where's the baby?" and when I said she wasn't there, off they went like a shot to find her! I knew who the star that day was -- and it wasn't me! :)

- You are always beautiful and stylish. Head to toe you have a "look" going on.
- You are a spark, a joy.
- I love how you crawl up on my lap. I know this won't last forever...
- You are a great soccer player. How your curls bounce when you run!
- You have cool curly hair.
- You are a great gardener. Very impressed with the sunflower patch!
- You like fun stuff. Floam, painting, hatching butterflies, Hannah Montana, hula hoop, Suite Life, reading Junie B. Jones, etc. etc. the list goes on.

Happy Birthday Boo!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Glorious Gladiolas

This year we have gladiolas in the walk-up garden. Scarlet red, yellow with red centers, lilac. I'm liking them! The stem for the lilac one broke under its own weight during sprinkling. Oh well. It looks nice in a vase though!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Howard the Toad

We have a little visitor in the front yard. OK-he's not so little. I keep seeing him when I am watering the flowers.

He's kind of cute, but too ookie to try to catch or pick up.

Butterfly #4-Release

Today we released Butterfly #4. His wings are a little rumpled, so we weren't sure what would happen. First he just fluttered in the grass...
After I dropped off 2 girls to the Y, he was still there, so I nudged him a bit, hoping to get him into the flower bed, which seemed to me to be a much safer place. He started flying! Circling, smaller circles, then bigger, first about 1-2 feet off the ground, then gradually higher. He landed on the maple tree branch. Now is resting there. He's close to the flowers, so that is good.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A. went to Camp!

A. went to confirmation camp for about 6 days and had a blast! She had a lot of fun with her friends from school and met a ton of new people! Besides from the long 5 hour bus ride A. had a great time.

Butterfly #3-Release!

Butterfly #3, Slurpy, was perfectly formed. We released him this morning, and he flew out of the butterfly house so fast that we couldn't take a photo! He headed straight up, high into the branches of the ash tree on the boulevard...

Butterfly #4

Butterfly #4 hatched Sunday noon, and we observed the whole thing! First the head came out, then with lots and lots of effort, the legs, body, and finally, the wings. To our surprise, it fell! G. grabbed a stick for me, and in seconds the butterfly clambered up the stick to hang on the chrysalis shell. But...the wings are a little rumpled.

Butterfly #3-a male who we've named Slurpy, hung out through the whole thing. You can see him in the background in a couple of these shots.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Butterfly #3

Success! Beautiful! We hung around the house to watch the hatching, yet then we all missed it. I was outside and 2 daughters were playing on Oh well. This one will be treated with "kid gloves."

In the first photo, the wings are pretty wet. The wings are now nice and flat now that they have dried a bit.

Butterfly #2

Bad news-despite what the little booklet that came with the butterfly house said-it is not a good idea to have the butterfly hatch from a chrysalis that is not hanging. This guy has crushed wings. :(

I was out doing errands, and when I got back he was laying on his back and had been for maybe about 1/2 hour. I quick grabbed a stick and he crawled right up to hang. Not looking good though, as the wings are quite mangled.
I also hung the other chrysalis with duct tape. It should hatch any time...

Two More Butterflies

Looks like we will have 2 more butterflies hatch today. Here's the chrysalises. Since we didn't have the butterfly house yet when the caterpillars went into chrysalis, the chrysalises are laying at the bottom of of the butterfly house (vs. hanging). It should work out OK, and hopefully they didn't get jostled with feeding the first butterfly etc. etc.

One chrysalis is very translucent!!

Hoping to be able to observe the actual hatching today. After I drive a friend to the airport, have a few errands to hoping that I do not miss it.

I laid the first butterfly in the flower bed in the front yard. Since the others look ready to hatch, I figured we should put her out into nature. She's hanging out and not flying. Ah well...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Can You Fly?

Hmm-we tried to release the butterfly this morning, but she doesn't seem to quite know how to fly. I am hoping that one more day in the butterfly house will help...but perhaps the wings didn't form quite right.

We pulled a Black Eyed Susan out of the garden and set her on it. She just sat there...
*cross fingers* for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Butterfly on Watermelon

Hanging out on a piece of watermelon at the base of the butterfly house...


She's a girl...we named her Lily. Today she is eating watermelon at the bottom of the butterfly house. Maybe will be ready for release tomorrow.

Isn't she beautiful?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


This new butterfly hatched in about 40 minutes while I was downstairs working-yes really. It is fully formed and beautiful. The wings are wet. I can't tell gender yet until I see open wings (males have an extra set of black spots at the bottom of each wing).

Welcome to the world -- again!!

Chrysalis-Final Stage

Chrysalis #1 (of 4) turned black overnight. With the illumination of the camera with flash, you can see the wing pattern! I am really getting a kick out of this. Won't be long before the butterfly hatches.

I am shooting photos through the clear plastic top of the butterfly house so as not to disturb the little guy, so there's a bit of a reflection and it's hard to get a clear photo. This one we attached to the top of the house with duct tape. :)Here you can see the top of the house with 2 chrysalises (and duct tape)-fuzzy, but there you have it.