Thursday, July 08, 2010

Watching a Miracle

I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. ~William Hazlitt

Yesterday, when I went out to bring in my clothes from the line I saw my first live monarch butterfly. I hollered for DD and she came tearing out. I said, "I think it's a female... look how dark her lines are."

And then came the most amazing thing: she started laying eggs. I swear, seeing nature up close and personal feels like witnessing a miracle. We held very still and watched as she fluttered around, selecting just the right leaf (she only chose the healthiest milkweed -- one side of mine is in the direct sun and isn't doing as well, but one side is in almost complete shade and is near the faucet so stays pretty damp and cool and is thriving. She fluttered around the unhealthy milkweed, but always came back to the good plants) and then she'd land, curl her little butt around and ... POP... out came a tiny egg.

Here's a YouTube video I found showing a backyard butterfly doing just that:

In any case, we gathered most of her eggs after she was done (she got chased off by a Fritillary -- who knew they were territorial? I hope she'll be back). It was a little dicey collecting the eggs because our milkweed blooms are absolutely covered with bumblebees (it sounds like a distant motor outside with all the buzzing), but we pulled in nine. I'll check again today.

So, along with Xi, Pi, Omicron and Rho (all of whom are growing like weeds) we now have: Sigma, Tao, Upsilon, Phi, Chi, Psi, Omega, Alex and Bonnie (who share a leaf). We ran out of Greek Alphabet letters and have moved on to the 2010 Hurricane names *G*.

Another swallowtail has hatched this morning -- we've lost track of who is who, so ... we'll let her remain nameless. Only two left, but I'm all but positive one is going to overwinter. Her pupa is a completely different size and color than the others. We'll see (I really hope not).


No rain yesterday. There's a 15% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, so we'll see... really, our best chance comes on Saturday with a 50% of rain off and on all day. Then it clears up again, so I really, really hope it pours on Saturday.

So far, my garden isn't dying (I do admit to cheating and watering my spinach and swiss chard that's in pots). :::fingers crossed:::


You Are Cheerful

You are a friendly and welcoming person. You know how to make the best of a bad situation.

You tend to think most about yourself. You can't help but look inward and introspect.

You are open minded and tolerant. You believe strongly that people should be allowed to do their thing.

You have the most fun when things are simple. You don't like making a big fuss out of anything.

About half and half, I guess...



Ceri Hebert said...

That's incredible. Glad you got to witness it.

I'm ready for t-storms, but every time I think we're going to get one I'm disappointed. Saturday can rain all it wants, but Blake Shelton is waiting for me on Sunday and I don't want to disappoint him. :)

Have a great day! Stay cool!

Dru said...

That is awesome. HOw many eggs do they lay, typically?

I think we're on the same rain path. Hope it comes full force.

re quiz: I'm also cheerful.

Have a good day.

MaryC said...

When I saw your title on my blog list, I hoped it meant you'd gotten rain. This is pretty awesome though.

I agree on watching nature. We raised butterflies in class this year and nothing I did all year beat the moment when the kids actually got to watch as a butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.

Brandy said...

We're waiting on rain on Saturday, too. I've started my collecting of shower water to help water the garden.

What an experience, to watch the Monarch lay her eggs. That's awesome! What will you do if Bonnie is a male monarch? *G*
You Are Cheerful
You are a friendly and welcoming person. You know how to make the best of a bad situation.
You tend to think most about ideas and concepts. You are very intellectual.
You are very sensitive. It is easy for someone or something to get under your skin.
You have the most fun when you have fun in small doses. You don't like anything to drag on for too long.

Pretty accurate.

I hope you have a good day!

Marianne Arkins said...

Ceri, Oooh... Blake Shelton. Yummy. It's supposed to be nice, so enjoy :-)

Dru, a monarch female can lay up to 500 eggs! As much as I enjoy raising butterflies, I really would prefer not to raise *quite* that many! LOL.

Marianne Arkins said...

Mary, raising butterflies is truly amazing -- be able to watch an entire life cycle in such a short period of time is incredible. I started mine as a homeschooling experiment, but loved it, so we do it every year now.

Brandy, I admit ... I'm too lazy to collect my shower water right now. I may change my tune if things (besides the lawn ...) start to really die off.

Tori Lennox said...

We keep getting these pop-up showers that last about five minutes and don't do enough to do any good for the grass or the crops. Very frustrating.