What? Another Sunday post? Are you guys lucky or what?? :)
Truth be told, something magical happened at the homestead this summer that I just had to share. I introduced milkweed to my garden for the first time this year, and I was rewarded with butterflies.
Lots and lots of butterflies.
Well, ok, the first thing I noticed was the caterpillars all over my milkweed. They seriously chow down on that stuff. But, they stayed on the milkweed.
I take that back, I found a caterpillar in the carrots. I moved him to the milkweed however, and he never went back. I considered that a win.
I don't know if it was because we introduced milkweed, or just the fact I've forbidden Round-Up from being used on the property. Whatever the reason, we have Monarch's. In just a minute you'll see how many! But first, this caterpillar gets ready to pupate-
Frustratingly enough, I never found a caterpillar in the process of spinning the chrysalis. I either found them hanging, or they had finished. At night, they would be caterpillars. By the time I got back in the morning, pupas. Argh!
There are chrysalis's all over our fence line. We've never had them before, and I'm finding it just magical. I, of course, had to do a little research and found out this generation of Monarch's migrates to Mexico upon hatching. Too cool!
I'd say 50% of the pupas have hatched at this point. When they are getting ready to hatch, they slowly begin to change color-
Wings starting to become visible.
And this is the final stage, a gray colored pupa-
I assumed hatching was imminent when I saw this one. I was right!
I also learned what happens when they emerge. They are folded up and tiny (cuz' they gotta fit in that little pupa!), and their wings are wet. They pump blood through their body and wings to lengthen themselves out. Then, they hang out and dry for awhile.
This one hung on and dried for about an hour. Yes, I watched. I love the magic of nature.
Then he climbed on the fence, and stayed there for awhile.
But in the end, food was paramount :)
If I was treated to this miracle because of milkweed, my advice to you is to add milkweed to the garden! The caterpillars seem to stick to that and the butterflies love it. I'm going to stagger milkweed next year to make sure I have plenty. I started milkweed in the house this year in May, but next year I'll be starting some in March with my tomatoes. And if I was treated to butterflies because of nixing Round-Up, to that I say, YOU ARE STILL USING ROUND-UP??
No, no, no, NO. Just no. I'll take weeds and a completely healthy yard environment full of bugs and their predators anyday over Monsanto's evil chemicals.
And to that end, Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you are having an excellent weekend!
More articles on Monarch's and what you can do to help them:
Plus, an article on how evil Monsanto is: