Archive for releasing butterflies with kids

A Unique Centerpiece for the Family Table

Posted in Butterflies with tags , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by PickMeYard

We’ve been really groovin’ on the caterpillars in a container as the centerpiece for our dining table.  I realize this might be strange to some people but it’s normal for us.  There’s something wonderful about watching the caterpillars eat their meal as we eat ours.  The container doesn’t always have munching caterpillars though.  Sometimes it’s still and quiet with hanging chyrsalides.

We  released the last butterfly that emerged from its chrysalis in our other container.  So, we went on a hunt in our yard for new ones.

The kids discovered some butterfly eggs on a couple of passion fruit vine leaves.  Grayson thinks they’re gulf fritillary eggs.  I thought they might be  zebra longwings, but we learned they lay their eggs in clusters.  The gulf fritillary will only lay a single egg.  We will find out soon enough.  It’ll be a nice surprise.

They’re in our cycle of life centerpiece on the family table.  When the eggs hatch, we’ll keep adding fresh passion fruit vine  leaves and flowers for them to eat.  We always add a stick with no leaves into the container for them to form a chrysalis on when they’re ready. 

A gulf fritillary egg on a passion fruit vine leaf. It's a very tiny yellow dot.

The centerpiece at our family table.

 The jar and lid in the picture is usually used for sprouting seeds.  It’s not ideal to keep caterpillars in though because they can easily escape.  An airtight lid is fine to use for a while because they have plenty of oxygen at this early stage.  When the eggs hatch, we will move the caterpillars into our favorite plastic container that has a mesh top.  Butterflies and caterpillars breathe through holes in the sides of their abdomens that deliver oxygen through a system of tracheae.

We’re keeping our eyes peeled for a swallowtail caterpillar. 

Come grow with us!

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The Last Monarch Butterfly

Posted in Butterflies with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by PickMeYard

The last monarch butterfly hatched from its chrysalis and Loring took it outside to let it go.  The butterfly took a long time to warm up so she was able to really study it… and she did.  Beautiful creatures.  They’ve really touched our lives.

A monarch butterfly getting ready to emerge from its chrysalis.

It’s drying off and warming up.

Did you know that fabric softeners cause a halo that butterflies (and other insects) can see?  They won’t come near you.  I wonder if it works for mosquitos.

Loring studying her mariposa. She calls herself "sleeping Loring" in this outfit. Her own design.

Loring's prince is always around. It's a daily thing for her to go find him.

We’re going on a hunt in our yard tomorrow to find some more caterpillars to start our cycle of life container again.  We’re hoping to find a swallowtail.

Come grow with us!

Butterfly Release

Posted in Butterflies with tags , , , on November 8, 2010 by PickMeYard

I’ve taken a forced vacation from my blog for a couple of weeks due to computer problems.  We haven’t left our yard much though and we’ve been busy with our animals, gardening and lots of homeschooling. 

The kids collected 8 monarch caterpillars last week and put them in a container with lots of scarlet milkweed.  The caterpillars chomped right through the milkweed quickly, so we just kept adding fresh plants every day.  We added a stick with no leaves inside the container so the caterpillars would have a place to form their chrysalides.  They did and we’ve had 2 butterflies emerge so far.  Our 3-year-old keeps a constant watch over the container which sits on our kitchen table as a centerpiece.  She yells out, “Mariposa’s awake!” whenever a butterfly breaks out of its chyrsalis.  She’s always the first one to notice.  

Fly away little butterfly.

The garden fairy and the butterfly.

Good-bye Mariposa.

Don’t these photos make you want to go out and find some caterpillars?  It’s been a great centerpiece for our kitchen table.

Come grow with us!