Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New pets!

Hi faithful friends....I feel like I have not posted in a very long time- although it's really only been about a week.  Its just been that long of a week I guess.....

Moses is 19 months old- and despite his age- sometimes, especially in the middle of the night I find myself feeling like we still have a newborn in our house.  Thank heavens for my husband- who is usually the one that gets up with the little guy in the wee-morning hours.  The other morning I got up and found them both sleeping downstairs on the couch....

On another note- we have 4 new temporary pets at our house!

My mother, being an early childhood teacher extraordinaire- has always had monarch butterfly caterpillars in her classroom in the early fall.  My dad is the designated "caterpilar finder".  I knew my little ones would love them, so Pop (my Dad) found four little chubby friends for our house!  Shuggie (my Mom) created us a very well crafted butterfly box for them to metamorphoses in- it has been a very exciting weekend over here- I highly recommend it for an at home science experiment- even if you don't have children at home- it's really fascinating!

You will need access to milkweed plants- this is also where you find the caterpillars- as the monarch butterfly lays its eggs on the plants.  As the caterpillars grow, they go through a lot of leaves!  I was on a serious hunt for milkweed plants- and thankfully found some nearby our home.  They typically grow on the borders of large, open, sunny areas, where mowers do not reach. They look like this-

You will know you found one if you break a leaf and some white, "milky" liquid oozes out.

You can purchase a butterfly box like this online.  I waited too long, so my crafty mom fashioned one for me with a cardboard box and saran wrap- it does the trick!
Inside the box, I placed a mug of water, saran on top and poked a milkweed branch through the plastic to keep it fresh, while the little guys munched.  They eventually find their way up to the top of the box (or on the underside of a leaf) to turn into a chrysalis. 

I was surprised to wake up one morning to find our first chrysalis on the ground...not good:(  One of the other hungry caterpillars had eaten through the leaf it was hanging on.  My solution (the chrysalis needs total air circulation to survive)- I hot glued it to the top of the box- and it seems to be doing well!

I got the privilege of holding the beautiful little sack- which was so delicate and amazing- I have to say it's one of the most beautiful things in nature.

I will post again when the butterflies hatch! It has been so much fun watching this miraculous process with my little ones- they are both totally enthralled by it.

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