Bookends: August 2016

August was a month of berry-picking and watching monarch caterpillars turn into butterflies. I love having the monarch caterpillars chowing down on milkweed in my dining room and forming their chrysalides and then flying around sipping nectar from the flowers in my yard. The new butterflies often perch on my children’s hands or shirts for a little while before flying off, and we all get to see them close up.

“Look! He has fur on his back!” says my son.

“See his proboscis?” asks my daughter, pointing. “He’s unrolling it like a long spring!”

There’s a 50-caterpillar special going on at the place from which we order our monarch caterpillars and/or eggs. I have been so tempted, but alas! I don’t really have the space—or the milkweed supply—to rear 50 butterflies. Maybe I could add a “butterfly room” to my house and fill it with milkweed and caterpillars. I’m sure that would improve my home’s resale value.

Here’s what I read in August when I wasn’t picking (and eating) berries or feeding toxic plants to insect larvae (don’t worry; it’s not toxic to them):

Read More

Mothering Monarchs

Wednesday before last, I went out to check the mail and discovered a Priority Mail package from Pennsylvania.

It held the ten swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) plants and one dozen live monarch caterpillars (and two that hadn’t made the journey) I’d ordered the week before Read More