I want to get away, I want to fly…away…

June 16, 2009 at 7:36 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Video) (, , , , , , , , )

The first baby flew away. Literally. He took a long time to “dry”. But the cooler temps on Monday were most likely the problem. If you check the post below you’ll see some fun facts about butterflies and how they are able to fly.

Check out the video below. He flies away fast. But at least we had him for a whole day.

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June 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Pictures) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sorry, this is Tuesday. My education obligations and medical appointments had me running. No time for the computer. Until now!

We had our first butterfly on Sunday!

Just one little guy…well…he was big…bigger than I thought. But he was all alone. And Stevie (my daughter) was not home! She was with her dad. I tried to get hold of her all day, but no luck. Sunday went into Monday. Our butterfly dried and fluttered and flew around in his small home. He was hanging upside down on the netting on top of the container. We tried to let him go at dusk, Sunday night…no luck. He just stayed stuck. So we tucked him in for the night and waited until Monday morning. Less than 45 seconds with the net back and off he went. I tried to catch as much on video…but you know how these young butterflies can be! Off to find a mate! Not even a Disney pause to say thanks!

Oh well. The rest were still hanging all chyrsalis-style. Not moving. That was 10 am. Monday. These pics and video are from that point.

I also checked the internet for any care tips or general butterfly info. A few things I learned:

1. The warmer the temperature outside/inside/wherever they are hanging, determines the speed of metamorphosis. Broad time frame, 10-15 days. We had our first at Day 12.

2. The new butterflies only need to dry for a few hours. Our first guy took many hours. But….

3. They need heat to fly! Their wings, and bodies, need to be warm in order to lift off the ground and stay lifted. Once they get flying the energy it takes to keep flying generates the heat they need! That’s why…

4. Alot of butterflies have darker exterior wing colors. To absorb the heat of the sun. That’s also why…

5. They flutter their wings! It creates more surface area and warms up their bodies. Who knew?

6. Butterfly caterpillars make a chrysalis.  Moth caterpillars make cocoons. (The guy on the internet was kind of picky about this distinction)

7. Once the butterfly flies away, they look for mates, start a family, lay their eggs, and die.

8. It is kind of sad, but these particular type, Mourning Cloak, can live up to 10 months! Pretty long for a butterfly. We are nothing, if not sturdy out here in the Midwest!

9. One extra fyi–The Mourning Cloak is so named because its wings resemble the type of cloak that was worn in the 1800’s for mourning the dead.

And now YOU know too! Go out and impress your friends.  First take a look at these though:

He was a milk jug butterfly. After busting out of the chrysalis, he clung to the side for awhile.

He was a milk jug caterpillar. After busting out of the chrysalis, he clung to the side for awhile.

Opening the wings.

Opening the wings.

Creating a home at the bottom of the plastic tub.

Creating a home at the bottom of the plastic tub.

We noticed purple flowers were the favorite.

We noticed purple flowers were the favorite.


Just not ready to go yet...

Just not ready to go yet...

In case you were curious. This is their very temporary home. Exterior.

In case you were curious. This is their very temporary home. Exterior.

Interior. With non-emerged chrysalis. There are 6 hanging. And 4 more inside the milk jug.

Interior. With non-emerged chrysalis. There are 6 hanging. (Hard to see) And 4 more inside the milk jug. We had a total of 11.


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Video. Butterfly Goofing.

June 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Pictures, Video) (, , , , , , , , , )

Sorry this is taking longer and longer. I couldn’t download from the camera, so I You-Tubed it and posted  from there. There are four videos total. I only included two for the sake of not boring you to death with butterfly downtime. It’s not like they move a lot.

It’s more like….sit…sit…sit…sit…MOVE!

Skip to the 1:00 minute mark (in the first clip) and you’ll avoid alot of the “sitting”.

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Cocoon Update! Soon to be followed by a Butterfly Update! (Real soon!)

June 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day) (, , , , , , , , , )

Almost immediately after the caterpillars were in the milk container they began the process of making their cocoons. We had eleven caterpillars, and we have 11 cocoons. It is pretty amazing. It took them only a few hours to create the cocoon around themselves. And now they hang. Waiting. Time and temperature decide how fast they metamorphisize. We estimated June 18.

Follow the whole story HERE. (First posting)

And then HERE for an update.

These are pics of the caterpillars when we first caught them.

The SECOND day. What happened overnight?

Here’s the pics from a few days ago, below:

(These are the best I could get without disturbing them, since after all the trouble my neighbor and daughter went to making a place they could hang from, they just attached to the top of the milk jug.)

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All the posts I promised…and more! PLUS, a Caterpillar Update! Read on…

June 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The caterpillars are already chrysalising or cocooning. They crawled to the top of their nursery and hung from the rafters.

Seriously. They are in a milk jug. My daughter and neighbor put an elaborate stick system thru the container with netting and mesh and 5-star caterpillar accommodations. They bypassed that, crawled right to the inside curve of the jug and hung. I’m not sure how they are attached or how they are staying on.

It’s just like the internet said they would do. Hang and curl and then secrete some kind of slime stuff that hardens and keeps them safe. So, I give it another day for the cocoon process and then the internet said 10-15 on the metamorphosis. I’m shocked actually. I thought for sure we’d kill them. But they ain’t butterflies yet…

That’s all ready to go too. As soon as they crystalize, we will transfer the whole jug–top off–to a giant container covered in mesh. Butterflies need space and air to come out, sticky and wet, then dry off and fly away. The internet said we could keep them a few hours and let them go.

Amazing. If I can get pictures without disturbing the clan, I will. Nothing for now though. Keep checking back!

Next Up: The “flowers” I planted. Seeds in a can that I sprinkled in the dirt and watered. This is them right after:


Wet Dirt With Seeds

Wet Dirt With Seeds

And then, a few days (?) later, maybe a week (?) we had sprouts! I watered and prevented animal attacks and this is what we got:

Wet Dirt With SPROUTS!

Wet Dirt With SPROUTS!

This is exciting stuff huh? Do you feel like you are getting the most entertainment value for your buck? Well, hold on to your dollars…here is the pictures from TODAY! The sprouts are….BIGGER! It’s so cool to grow stuff, and create life…we’re like a mini nature center over here. Ok, look at these, I’m trying to get shots from the same angle, so you can really FEEL like you’re part of the experience:

Bigger Sprouts! It's getting FUN now!

Bigger Sprouts! It's getting FUN now!

I think that’s all the nature stuff I had to catch up on. Stay tuned for more plant pics, soon to be flower pics.

Oh wait, the kids just caught a giant toad. I had the camera. YOU get all the benefits! Feast your hungry eyes on these:

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Action Toad!

Action Toad!

Isn't this cute!

Isn't this cute!

Frogs and kids...

Frogs and kids...

That’s it, really, for now. The kids are in the house and the TV is on. Commence with the couch sitting until dinner and bedtime. No one needs pictures of that! More fun stuff later…see ya.

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NOT the Monarchs…

June 1, 2009 at 9:29 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day) (, , , , )

After some extensive research across the internets I have discovered we do NOT have Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars.

They look like THIS.

What we have are Mourning Cloak Butterfly Caterpillars. Still VERY exciting. AND…I think, prettier than the Monarch.

Check out the blue dots! Tres chic!

That would be post-metamorphisis…the caterpillar itself is HORROR movie! Spiky! Hairy! Cree–eepy!

The new family is resting safely at the neighbors house where all the ensuing action will take place. Apparently these are quite common around here and they should eat for two weeks or so, create their chrysalis, and in 10-15 days emerge, and take off into the sunshine.

Wish our little pupa’s luck!

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Learning all kinds of new tricks!

June 1, 2009 at 6:28 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I know I’ve been doing this about 4 months now, but I need LOTS of time to learn, use, embrace, cherish and share the technology I come across. Most things, almost everyone that can work a mouse, already knows, but I have been blind to. Ah, regrets.

Anyway, I’ve been off a few days putting out fires…THAT I STARTED!! Lesson to self…STOP BURNING SH*T!! But I think everything is OK now. Now I can get back to boring my very limited audience in all the mundane, stupid things I do all day, every day. Lucky.

Today I: (sister style) (please check back later for a post explaining  her newly acquired nickname—see if you can figure out which one it is!—we had FUN over the weekend!!)

1. Checked E-mail.

2. Paid some bills.

3. Balanced checkbooks.

4. Went to doctor. (First of my physical exams/tests/etc…that I need for school!! Went smooth! Accomplished much. Yay! Love helping other people….hate going to the doc myself.)

5. Went to final Honor Roll Assembly for year at kids school. (Missed Stevie’s[10:15 am], made Mason’s[1:30 pm]. Actually almost didn’t make it to the later one because there was a scuffle at the bank I stopped at to deposit a check. Crazy. I was soooo sorry I sent my check up that little tube and was stuck sitting there waiting for my stuff. This was outside too! I thought for sure cops were going to pull up any minute…anyway, I got to leave after like 10 minutes so I have to check the news later and see if anything went down…)

Oh yeah…and the kids both got High Honors AND medals for having High Honors all year, every semester. Plus Perfect Attendence. Good job guys!!!

6. Mailed bills.

7. Picked up kids.

8. Went over to BF’s Mom’s to take out garbage and what not…(she had minor foot surgery in case you forgot–she’s ok).

9. Went to CVS. (Snacks—starving!! Didn’t want to eat in case I needed fasting blood work, and then kind of ran out of time–bought really healthy stuff like Trail Mix, but actually ate Cheese Puffs…staying on the track ain’t easy…)(Also, check back for another, later post about the huge mistake I made at the Fuddrucker’s eating Establishment…wasn’t quite “eating-until-I-die”…but it wasn’t the “healthiest choice” (even though I thought it might be at the time) either.).

(What’s up with all these parenthesis and periods??)

10. Typing now, while kids are outside traumatizing innocent catepillars just trying to metamorphisize into beautiful butterflies. They just came flying into the house (the kids) to tell me that,  “There are five, OMG, five MOMMY!!! Monarchs!!”

“Do we have a container to put them in?”

“Do we have a new sponge to make them food?”

Apparently, caterpillar diet is the naturally occuring, sugar-water-on-a-cut-up-sponge.

“No, mom, that’s just what we fed them in class.” Oh. Never raised butterflies at school. I missed out.

OMG!! For real….I have been SUCKED in! My neighbor and the kids are creating a caterpillar nursery in a milk jug and sponges and sugar water and sticks and nets for cocoons…and they really are so interesting and creepy at the same time. There are 8 so far that are crawling all over the ground between our two houses. NEW UPDATE: just in the last 5 minutes: There are 11 now. Eleven orphan caterpillars.

I have to go look up caterpillar/butterfly care/housing on the internet RIGHT NOW! But I’ll be back later. Here’s the first pics of our new family below.

I’m also going to post a YouTube video–my original intent—Video Remake/Bonnie Tyler/Total Eclipse of the Heart (one of my favs as you know if you’ve been reading any of my music lists). Re-done, funny and clever!—that’s after the Nursery pics!

Enjoy a song while you wait for more updates!

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