Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 13

I was on the phone with my dad when I went to check them first thing this a.m. I got so flustered when I saw two of them fluttering around...“Holy cow, dad, I gotta go! I’m too excited to talk and I gotta take pictures!” My dad laughed and told me to call him later.
So I took a bunch of pictures...left the room for no more than 30 seconds and when I returned another one had hatched!! DRATS! I missed it! My first thought was ‘I have to take as many pictures to document this!” My dear husband who puts up with my whims had left for a 5 day business trip and he was missing it too!
The next thing I noticed was things were all RED!! It looks like blood however it’s called meconium, made up of the leftover coloring & tissues from the butterfly’s formation. It’s kinda startling though when you see actually puddles on the floor and drips down the side of the habitat. Looked like there'd been a massacre!!
Each time I finally dragged myself away to go do something I’d come back to another hatchling. I was pleasantly surprised that the one that had fallen had also emerged!! After doing so, they rested in a vertical position while pumping their wings to fullsize. The butterflies do this by forcing blood under pressure into the veins on the wings. It would take an hour or two after emergence for the wings to be full-sized & hardened and ready to fly. So I figured I had a couple hours to get some things done around the house before I could get pictures of the top part of their new wings.
I still had my concerns over my ‘slow learner’ know that one that was vertically challenged? See him in the middle? It took an extra couple hours for him but he too hatched much to my relief.
I didn’t know how hungry they’d be or even how soon they’d eat so I fixed them dinner. I didn’t have any carnations or mums so I had to improvise. An alternative is to take two inch squares of paper towel or facial tissue saturated in a mixture of 3 tsp sugar to 1 cup water & placed on a paper plate on the floor of the habitat. (Do this once each day & refrigerate sugar water between uses) No sooner had I done that but someone came to eat. That was pretty fun to see. I got to see him unfurl his proboscis, drink the sugar water then roll the proboscis back up. The booklet I have says they actually taste with their feet their feet so I’m thinking they taste with their feet but eat with their proboscis?
I was anxious to see what they’d look like too. Even their underside was beautiful but so different than what it was on the top of their wings. With the light shining through their habitat I thought they looked like stained glass.
So I’m thinking are these male or female? Can you tell? I dunno maybe they're unisex? And I'm wondering now how quickly can they lay eggs? I’m told they can lay up to 500 eggs!! Geesh, if that happens is the habitat big enough? lol

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Music of the heart...

I'm taking a break today from the butterfly diary cause I can't get something out of head..My dear daughter posted a challenge on her blog here asking people about songs that brought back memories at certain times of their life. Oh I have a list of oldies just like everyone else...a song when I first met my husband, one of when our daughter was little, one for each of our granddaughters when they were born, etc....It's been a week and half now since my husband got a job offer from a company that will hopefully end our 4 yrs of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' as the saying goes..I heard two songs both by Joshua Radin for the first time that very day he got the offer...They were just so perfect as I listened to the words. Under a Streetlight made me think of all the waiting we've done having faith that God (in the song He's the wind that blows us where we're suppose to go) was working behind the scenes for us and then with Brand New Day, well it's pretty self explanatary. These songs will be forever linked to this part of our lives.

I'll wait for something under a streetlight
It won't be long
Because it's dark, it's cold
It's one of those nights
It's one of those nights where
There's something out there
Keeps me alive

But I don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out

So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go

When you want something but can't name it
It's under a streetlight
It's something you've never seen before
Open the door
It's something you've always been afraid of
It's under a streetlight
And now all you want is more

But don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out

So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
Let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go

I don't mind the wait it's fine
As long as you know
It's the wait that could be the something

I don't know where to go
So I think I'll sit and stay here a while
Till I figure it out

So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
So let the wind blow us
To wherever it says
We are supposed to go
We are supposed to go

Some kind of magic
Happens late at night
When the moon smiles down at me
And bathes me in its light.

I fell asleep beneath you
In the tall blades of grass.
When I woke the world was new.
I never had to ask.

It's a brand new day.
The sun is shinning.
It's a brand new day.
For the first time in such a long, long time
I know I'll be okay.

Most kind of stories
Save the best part for last.
And most stories have a hero who finds
You make your past your past.
Yeah, you make your past your past.

It's a brand new day.
The sun is shinning.
It's a brand new day.
For the first time in such a long, long time
I know I'll be okay.

This cycle never ends.
Gotta fall in order to mend.

It's a brand new day.
It's a brand new day.
For the first time in such a long, long time
I know I'll be okay.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Days 10, 11, and 12

Shake, Rattle and Roll!! We saw alot of this for three days. I swear the shaking seemed to go on for hours! All in all we'd seen 3 of our 5 chrysalids doing this. As a matter of fact, it will come as no surprise that the one that had been dangling by a thread eventually fell down to the floor of the habitat. It's possible that it will still hatch unscathed so we'll have to wait and see. I tend to find myself checking on these guys numerous times a day, not knowing when they might hatch..that would be cool to see!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 9

I was on the phone but otherwise sitting quietly in our sunroom when not only do I hear a rustling noise but motion caught my eye. It was all coming from the butterfly house! I looked in and one of the chrysalis was violently shaking from side to side! It was like it was possessed! I certainly wasn't prepared for that! I motioned for Stephen to come look and at first he felt sure it must be a breeze making it move. It was a very still day, I might add. As far as I knew they only move like this when they feel threatened by a predator but there was nothing even close to them. Not to mention this convulsion of sorts lasted at least 45 min! He must've been totally exhausted after all that. Unfortunately you'll have to use your imagination because I can't get my video to load right. Aarrgh! And I have my concerns for one of the others. He's literally hanging by a thread after all this commotion.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 8

Moving day! Upon making a call to the insect lore people I found out that as soon as they 'no longer look like caterpillars', I could've moved them to their new home in the observation habitat.. That would've been back on day 6, but I wanted to be sure so I waited.
I was a little nervous at taking the lid off the container since these guys were attached to the cardboard disk on the underside of it. But they weren't nearly as delicate as I feared they'd be and stayed attached as they should. Even though they hadn't seemed to be actually 'doing' anything in the past couple days, apparantly they were. I noticed that the little tuff of caterpillar that you can see in the first pic at the top end (second from left & also fourth from left at the top) had dried up & would fall off by the end of the day.

Then I attached the disk with a straight pin to the inside of the house a couple inches from the floor (in case one of them should fall down later). I also made sure they were in a place that wouldn't be disturbed or I wanted to be sure they were out of harsh sunlight and out of the breeze from air conditioning vents. You have to think of it this way: if they're in a spot that would make you feel too hot or too cold, they're probably feeling too hot or cold.

I was also hoping that I'd be able to open the zippered door with little disturbance to them so I could see them better in the days to come.

To be continued......

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 6

By the next morning they were already looking pretty crystalized. Within the hardened chrysalid, the old body parts of the caterpillar will undergo a remarkable change to form the new parts that make up the adult butterfly. This pupal stage will take 7 to 10 days depending on temperatures.

During this time they are not to be disturbed. Even though it doesn't seem like much is going on in there they are going through big changes. I even noticed a few caterpillar parts dry up and fall off of the chrysalis as it was changing. Sometimes you may also see the chrysalides shaking! This is a natural instinct to ward off predators. I also noticed that the spots on the underside of the chrysalis where his feet had been were a metallic gold....I just thought that was kinda interesting that it would change to such a color.....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 5

What a difference a few days make. Everytime I checked on them that morning, somebody was moving. And I knew they were eating well, (they don’t need water by the way) because not only were they getting fat, their untidy house was accumulating ‘frass’ (that would be caterpillar poop in laymen terms LOL It‘s the little pellet looking things stuck on the sides which at times were about the same diameter as the caterpillar! OUCH!)
So I guess it’s unfair to say they are untidy. This too, is also part of the plan. They actually spin this silk which allows them to move about more easily & protects them. They sure have moved around alot... Much to the chagrin of any visitors we have at the house!! As they are looking around they notice the movements in the cup which I have on a counter in the kitchen. (not on a counter where I prepare food, I might add) Well, I want to be able to keep check on them & they won’t get bumped there! Geesh! Ü
By mid-afternoon I noticed that a few of them were actually starting to hang upside down on the lid. Really, already? Could this be the beginning of them going into their pupal stage?
There was one guy however that I wasn’t sure he was going to make it. It was getting close to bedtime. All but this one was hanging there. This poor fella just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. He was stretched out on the top & occassionally I’d see his head start to hang down, but it was as if he was afraid...Honestly, I kid you not! As he tried to do this he’d nudge his brother and grab hold of him as if saying, ‘How are you doing that? Aren‘t you scared of falling? Does it hurt?” He also had not fattened up like all the others so I kinda chalked it up to be developmentally challenged. They’re mine remember, does this really surprise you?!
But needless to say when I went to tell them the final goodnight my little vertically challenged caterpillar had finally figured it out. I could go to bed and rest easy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Diary of a Butterfly~Day 1

Our daughter brought me a wonderful gift when she was here. It looked more like a pop-up tent for a Barbie doll but it was a butterfly habitat! Of all the critters we've had over the years (tadpoles, stickbugs, snails etc) we've never had butterflies. I know for some, which includes my mother, the response to my excitement, is 'why?' I have always enjoyed nature & also the miracle of birth, be it human, animal or bug. I find it all very fascinating. Not to mention, even at my ripe old age now, I strive to see the world through the eyes of a child. Innocent and full of wonder.
So I sent off my coupon & $6 and a couple weeks later we get this. (I say 'we' because I like to include my dear husband in on my he knows not to ask me 'why'. Secretly I truly believe he enjoyes all the stuff too, although he'd probably not admit it while in the company of other guys! LOL) I wonder what the mailman was thinking when he placed this little package in our mailbox? LOL Course maybe he didn't even pay attention since it strictly said to keep 'this end up' but of course it was upside down!
I nervously opened my prize to find what looked to be 5 dead caterpillar larve. There was a guarantee that at least 3 of the 5 would be alive but I greatly questioned that. But within a matter of minutes if you looked really close there were at least 3 that were twitching ever so slightly. Within an hour or two I saw movement in all 5
! WooHoo! I thought, we are in business! It certainly didn't look like much though. The directions said the brown nutrient stuff on the bottom of the cup was enough food for all of the caterpillars to develop into adult Painted Lady Butterflies...hmmm, didn't look so tempting to me...but we shall be continued.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time flies when you're having fun.....

.....and even when you're not! LOL I'm sorry it's been awhile since any updates. I didn't mean to be evasive or dramatic in my delay. Now I realize it's been almost 2 months since my "Enjoy the journey~Leap of Faith" entry. Oops! My bad!

With the summer months of course there's always lots going on. Our daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters were here for two weeks. Whew! It's hard to cram a years worth of love into two weeks!!!

Right after that it was found that I had a bone infection in my jaw & although I was still able to do obligatory things I was fighting fatigue & nausea every minute caused by the infection. A week ago I underwent dental surgery that got rid of the infection (which was worse than they anticipated) in addition to the antibiotics I had to take. I also had a bone graft, a first for me (I've had skin grafts in the past & may have to have more as a result of this surgery) which just happened to be from a cow! As you can imagine I have been the brunt of many, many cow and moo jokes! I was even presented with a lovely little cow bell that I will cherish!!! It has all been in fun though and I have also joined in....of course!!!! I made the joke that on the way home from surgery I didn't know whether to have my driver stop for ice cream or to indulge my sudden craving for grazing in the passing field!! Aside from the fact that I wouldn't recommend this if you can help it (the stitches are driving me crazy! and I miss being allowed to sleep on that side) we've had alot of fun with it all....

So I've had numerous ones ask what ever happened with the leap of faith issues...As you probably surmised that was all in reference to job opportunities for my dear hubby. Well, the one deadline that would've dictated us to recycle the toilet paper, came & went. We felt strongly that wasn't the way to go. And that very same week another opportunity came along that was nearly perfect. However they wouldn't need him for a couple months & there were details to be worked out before an official job offer would be given.....So, even though things look like they are moving in the direction we are hoping for we are still waiting......and honestly, we are learning a BIG lesson on patience...not only that, I have to add that we've given it over to God to work out, cause we certainly can't do it on our own. We have been so blessed in so many other ways the passed couple months, that we KNOW HE is working behind the scenes on our behalf. And each morning, he seems to remind us of that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A mama no matter how small....

I hadn't realized that this much time had gone by & that I hadn't posted a follow-up to the situation in question...Well, that's because there hasn't been a definitive resolve to that issue yet. The one that had required an answer with a deadline, that would've encouraged us to recycle our toilet paper (that's a joke although only by a narrow margin) we said 'no' to. However we are still in limbo waiting for the answer to the bigger picture........stay tuned.
Now on to current life....well remember I said before we were going to strive to find the blessings in the little things...this is about as little as you can get.
Stephen was out working at downsizing the round bale of straw that sits out by our garden. He calls to me to 'come hurry cause you gotta see this!' I grabbed the camera and headed out.

When I get there he tells me that he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. It was a mama field mouse...How do we know it was a mama field mouse you ask? Because she had a bunch of babies nursing on her! Here they were in the middle of lunch when they were so abruptly interrupted by someone chopping away at their house!

I got a couple pictures of her before she hopped away...Poor little she is trying to get away from us (even though we kept our distance so-as not to cause her more duress) & she's dragging her babies behind her. At one point she dropped one which she then picked up in her mouth. She even scaled an old foundation to get away. Those babies had to be holding on for dear life!! We then saw that another one had lost his grip as well & he was left out in the hot sun.

My husband & I felt so badly. I immediately got a piece of toilet paper to gently pick him up and put him up on the foundation wall. The path his mother had made in the weeds there was at least in the shade, and we hoped his little squeaks could then be heard by her. Within 20 min., when we checked on him he was gone so we can pretty safely assume she retrieved him.

Now how often do ya get to see something like that?