Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Butterfly Dreams Part Two... Caterpillars!

A Monarch Butterfly graciously danced through my gardens.

 Read more about that sweet experience here.

Wouldn't you think that our next discovery might be butterfly eggs?


We've checked the leaves everyday for weeks for this part of my dream to come true. But it hasn't... perhaps that's a dream for another time.   

But in the meanwhile, with a little help from my kids...

We have caterpillars!

Little did I know that my daughter and her sweet husband have been searching the fields to find monarch caterpillars for me. One day they surprised me with a little box that they were quite anxious for me to open.

And what do you think was inside?

 Tiny little caterpillars 
as hungry as can be!

They were barely a quarter inch long and were skinnier than the thinnest spaghetti noodle. 
Every day they got bigger

and bigger.

They chomped away all day on the milkweed leaves that my kids gathered from the horse pasture a long walk from our gardens.

Sometimes I would cut a branch or two for them
from the milkweeds 
Mother Nature had planted in my garden. 

(But not too many, because I'm still wishing for eggs to be laid.)

 Oh my, they are hungry little creatures!

They grow so fast that they don't fit into their skin any more.

So they wiggle out of their old skin into a fresh new one!
(Notice the old discarded frock.)

They shed their skin 4 times as a caterpillar.

And each time they grow bigger.

 They seem to enjoy crawling through the stems and leaves.

 And we've enjoyed watching them.  

 One night we noticed the biggest caterpillar had stopped eating.

It was time for a change.

 Upside down in a J-position means it will soon turn into a Chrysalis.

This caterpillar has chosen a very dangerous spot to become a Chrysalis.
It's not the place we hoped he would choose.

There are five more very hungry caterpillars who just may eat the leaf he is hanging from.

There must be something we can do 
so he can safely become a Chrysalis.

See how we come to the rescue 
then watch the transformation into a Chrysalis take place on the next post.

Oh we're having such fun!  

Thanks for joining us!


  1. They are so fascinating to watch the changes to the beautiful butterflies they become. Miraculous.

  2. Your kids are great. So thoughtful. Now you have some new 'kids' to raise where we can watch them grow as well.

  3. What a wonderful post and beautiful photos too! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Carolyn these are fantastic pictures girl !
    I actually caught a glimpse of a Monarch in the garden yesterday while I was working on plants .. I saw the shadow first which seems to be the only way I see these divine creatures .. then it fluttered away so fast .. BIG sigh ! But at least I can see the process through your fantastic pictures .. and you can see Curly Joe through mine : ) These little creatures bring such delight to us don't they ? : )
    PS .. I am a nervous butterfly mom now ! LOL

  5. Oh Carolyn how wonderful...no eggs or caterpillars that I can see on my milkweed either but I saw some leaves had been chomped...you give me hope to check again and to be patient for caterpillars...your kids are wonderful!!

  6. Wonderful shots, so perfectly illustrating their life cycle. I am enthralled, what will happen next? Did I mention what great children you have, so thoughtful.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  7. Absolutely fascinating, lovely photos showing all the stages, will be eagerly awaiting your next post!

  8. Awesome photos--thanks for including us in the fun! You're right--I did enjoy this post, too!

  9. What fabulous photos. You really caught some beautiful shots. Wonderful blog.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  10. Have found your blog for the first time and I am so delighted by your stunning photos! Grandmother indeed, I get the feeling of the passion of a young girl wrapped up in the wisdom of a woman, wonderful site:~)

  11. The metamorphosis of the butterfly is just the most amazing miracle in nature. It is so much fun to watch the miracle happen literally before your eyes. Your photos are just as amazing. You have told a very good story.

  12. Hi, I see this grandma has been busy! Your butterfly posts are great. I've been recently initiated into the butterfly craze, and your post on the monarch caterpillars is fascinating.I've been posting a few posts on butterflies too.

  13. Beautifully observed.

    We've been raising Anise Swallowtails that we find in our fennel patch.


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