My One Summer Butterfly

November 20, 2013 at 1:24 am (Butterflies, Day to Day, Flowers, Nature, Nurse News, Phone Camera, Random Images, Summer, Thank You, Wasting Time In General) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Hello and thank you to all my new friends and followers! I’m not sure what has changed in these last few days but I am glad for the chance to expand my world and to become a part of someone else’s. Maybe all those storms that blew through the middle of America shook up the airwaves somehow and blew out the dust of our random lives and we all ended up in fresh spots to wait out the winter that’s looming ahead. Maybe it’s just a fluke.

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Either way, here we all are and it’s good. Now on to my picture story: All those wild flowers in front of the house, that everyone else calls weeds, and I only managed to attract this one, big, beautiful, patterned butterfly. And he was late to boot. Showed up in August/Sept. But look at that photo. It’s nice, right? Perfect American image. Not planned, I swear. We keep the flag up all the time, and I was taking pictures too fast to frame this on purpose, because he kept flying around and landing anywhere that was  away from me and my phone. Oh yeah, did I mention that picture was taken with my phone?? Just a smidge more bragging on the G4 even if I have to do it myself. Here are some more pictures of that butterfly below. All the flowers are gone now and it’s too cold for flyers. I’m just gonna start posting all my pictures as fast as I can without any central theme. Maybe I will just start at the first one and run down the line. I know I’ve said this before, but this time, this time, I swear I mean it. My time is really tight now because my new job is trying to kill me with paperwork. Nursing at it’s finest I swear. And I suppose I really really have to go back to school. As usual I find myself to be the least educated person in the crowd. Again. I swear, I keep saying I swear, and FYI for the kiddies out there: School NEVER ends. Love it. Tolerate it. Keep at it. You will be a student forever. Even when you work you still have to keep plugging away at the next big thing.  Or little thing. It doesn’t matter. Forward roll. Oh Geez. As usual, I have run off the thought track and I wanted to, needed to, get some sleep tonight. Like I was saying, about the pictures, I can’t even remember why I took some of these or if I had any idea of what to write, so this should actually be kind of fun. Random. Just like me and my life and my personal beliefs. We live in a random world and I am good with that. Now, what was I talking about again? Butterflies. And flowers. Later.

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The Tall Weed

June 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm (Birds, Butterflies, Day to Day, Flowers, Nature, Summer Break, Weeds) (, , , , , , , , )

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6 feet tall.  I shouldn’t have even let it get that tall, but they grow so fast. Like body hair. Yuck. Sorry to have to go there, but I like to “de-hair” on Thursday’s because it’s usually my day off and I have lots of time to tackle the overgrowth, if you know what I mean, and I always notice that it seems to grow so so fast. If the hair on my head grew as fast as the hair on my body, I’d have long, lustrous locks in about a month. So there’s your smooth transition to the point I want to make about my flower/weed situation. Yuck again. And I do apologize. I planted wildflowers in my front dirt strip a month ago and I am just now getting plants that don’t look like weeds. I even spotted some tiny yellow flowers. The bag said they will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Well, they were half right so far, because there are actually those small, white, butterflies always hovering over the pre-flowers. Maybe the leaves put off some kind of smell or something. I don’t know. If I feel very flexible later I will try to take a picture of the yellow flowers. I will probably have to lay on the ground to photograph them so I’m just going to wait and see. Kids are almost ready to actually leave the house. In the meantime I will leave you with the green view of what I have right now in the front that passes for “flowers”. Later.

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June 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Pictures) (, , , , , , , )

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Butterfly Party! With cake!

June 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Pictures, Video) (, , , , , , , , , , )

So the party was a success. We had food and drinks and cake and butterflies! What more?

I do have some sad news though. It appears that we may have lost three of our little caterpillars. The ones that were still hanging never opened. It’s been 21 days and the temps have been brutal. For our very first time taking care of butterflies, I would say that eight out of eleven is pretty darn good!

The pics below are of the last three chrysalis. On the 18th and then today. There seems to be a hole in the side of one, and it looked hollow inside.

The pic above is the cake.

The video is the last two butterflies being released. The camera is a little jerky, and once they go, you really can’t see them. Also we are all talking way too loud and over each other. It can be annoying. But stay with it.

When the first butterfly actually picks up and flies away, the kids’ reactions are worth the time.

Still look viable.

Still look viable.

And now, 5 days and 90 degrees later, not so much.

And now, 5 days and 90 degrees later, not so much.

We did a good thing.

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Butterfly Video. Birth. Adaptation. Flight.

June 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Video) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

First up, as much as I could capture of the butterflies emerging. Excuse the jerky camera movement. I am not a professional. I was trying to get right in there!

This is our little gang fluttering around, flexing their wings. Again, some jerky movement and butterfly downtime. You can fast forward or watch it through. It’s actually somewhat soothing. I don’t know why.

And finally, the flight away from our temporary shelter. This whole process of emerging to flying took about 5 hours, approximately. This one is particularly long. Same bad camera work, but still really amazing. The real action is about at the  2:40 mark. It really is a cool thing to see.

In the end we still had two in the bin. Six in the world. And three still hanging.

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More Butterflies!More Butterflies!

June 17, 2009 at 10:43 am (Butterflies, Caterpillars, Day to Day, Pictures) (, , , , , , , , , , )

In a giant burst of 84 degree sunshine and blue skies, is how we left our box of caterpillar chrysalis’, just hanging there looking like nothing was going on.

The single butterfly that emerged on Sunday fluttered around a few hours, hunkered down for the chill night, and waited for dawn. The sun rose and our butterfly flew. Literally. He wanted the hell out of his box by 9:30 am. We opened the top and he was gone. The video is below. I tried to catch it all very cinematically, but the butterfly was too fast. By the time I knew which way he went he was gone. In the video you can see a black blob flying over the roof of the house. That was him.

10 more to go.

Fast forward to 3 pm. It’s Monday. Seriously, 84 degrees. Warm. Outside in the butterfly box…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Holy Hell! Seven more butterflies! And these don’t look all weak and wet. These look big, healthy, colorful, strong….just so amazing. I have never seen anything like it!

If you ever get the chance to birth butterflies, I say try it out. It really is an incredible force of nature.

Anyhow, so we have 5 butterflies hanging out at the bottom of the bin, and 2 still in the milk jug. We tip that over so they can crawl out and then remove it. There is only three more left and those are hanging from the top of the milk jug my neighbor had cut for escape. Crazy butterflies.

So we add more grass and leaves and flowers and I call my daughter. At the rate the butterflies are emerging, she’s never going to make it home to see any of them. As suspected, she wants to come home. She says, “Mom??? Can you come and get me??? Hurry Mom, I’ll get all my stuff packed…hurry…I’m going to miss them.” Within the hour she was back. All seven are out now, fluttering around looking really healthy.

We took out the milk jug and studied the chrysalis. We had been really worried moving them around because we didn’t want to knock the chrysalis off the side. We figured they had to be pretty secure seeing as normally they would be outside somewhere, hanging in the wind and rain with animals, etc. But they just look so fragile. Up close and empty we tried to get them off, and they are on there with super-glue. Impossible. You would kill the caterpillar before you could unstick the chyrsalis.

As soon as we started fixing up the butterfly box, one flew away. Up and out. Just like that. Then another. And another. And another. Now we only had three! It’s fun to watch them go, but hard to see them leave. We only had them a few hours. You want to keep them forever. You can’t of course, because they will die. They need to go and fly. Our box isn’t big enough for the long haul.

My daughter and neighbor planned a Butterfly Party for Thursday. That’s tomorrow. Just a small gathering of our family, sisters,  nieces and nephews, collectively, to celebrate this amazing bit of  nature. We tried to time the birthing  to hit 15 days. But we didn’t really understand what that meant. The party is still going but we might not have any left!

While we were deciding what we should do…try and keep any? Let them all go and hope the last three emerge by Thursday? What if they don’t?

Another one flew away. Now we have 2. This last one perched on the neighbors gutter for awhile, just absorbing all that freedom, before it finally flew away for good.

Seven was too many, but two might be ok for a day. The internet said they can be kept for a day or so, but then they have to go.

It rained all day yesterday and was cooler. The butterflies we have kind of just sat around. It’s funny, they’re just like people! Rainy=Lazy. The chrysalis’ of the remaining three just hung.

Today is Wednesday. It’s overcast and barely 70 degrees at 10 am. The sun looks like it wants to shine. If it warms up more the rest should emerge and that would be perfect! I think we have to let the two go. Three days seems too long.

So far we are 8 for 11. We were seriously hoping for just one. So I’d say we did pretty good! This is the 15th day of the 10-15 range given. We’ll keep it updated as it happens.

Of course there are pictures. You can really see the blue dots on these.  If I can get the video uploaded in a decent amount of time that will be here to. And now…butterflies!

2 out and 2 emerging. The red liquid underneath must be what is in the chrysalis with them.

2 out and 2 emerging. The red liquid underneath must be what is in the chrysalis with them.

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Fresh from the chrysalis!

Fresh from the chrysalis!

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Four in the flowers.

Four in the flowers.

One on the other side.

One on the other side.

Two in the milk jug.

Two in the milk jug.

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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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We have BUTTERFLY!!

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.

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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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