and if we allow ourselves time to slow our pace,
we just may be invited to witness something quite extraordinary...
right in our own back yard.
is happening inside this beautiful Chrysalis...
and the opaque outer shell
gives us a window
to the amazing miracle taking place within.
Over the course of ten days
the chrysalis slowly begins to darken.
Soon orange and black colors become visible
with the tell tale markings of wings.
At any moment the miracle will be complete.
With no apparent warning,
the chrysalis quite suddenly splits open.
See... it's happening now!
Within seconds a new living creature
A Monarch BUTTERFLY
The wings are crumpled and wet
and the butterfly immediately begins to
unfold it's wings.
The enlarged abdomen gently pulsates
distributing life-giving fluid
into the tiny veins of the wings...
allowing them to grow quickly and harden
so the butterfly may fly.
The abdomen will contract
and become long and slender
as the wings elongate.
Within an hour of emerging
from the chrysalis,
our Monarch butterfly's wings
are full grown and dry.
The entire life cycle
from EGG to CATERPILLAR
to CHRYSALIS to BUTTERFLY
complete in four to six weeks.
And now he's ready to fly!
Several weeks ago I discovered a dozen or so Monarch Eggs scattered among the common milkweed that Mother Nature planted in a corner of my gardens three years ago. In all my many days of searching... these are the first eggs I have ever encountered. This milkweed is indeed a weed... and as weeds tend to do, it's taking over a beautiful flower bed. I don't like milkweed. But I do love Monarch Butterflies... and since milkweed is the only plant a monarch will lay her eggs on, I've let the milkweed stay. Finding those eggs was truly a magical moment for me. You can read more about the eggs to journey to a Chrysalis HERE. Knowing that Monarchs are endangered, I brought two of the eggs inside to nurture. I longed to bring in more, but with a long awaited vacation on the horizon... I knew two was all I could care for. I have a Butterfly Castle... somewhat similar to a laundry hamper but with a zippered door. It was the perfect little palace to watch our royal miracle unfold. So glad I brought those two inside. None of the others survived.
We let our butterfly linger inside
for just a day or two...
Fresh flowers to sip nectar from
will give him much needed energy.
When we're sure his probiscus (tongue)
is working well...
it's time to say farewell.
During the morning hours
after the sun has warmed the earth a bit,
is the perfect time.
My daughter gently cupped him in her hands
and carried him outside to the gardens.
She placed him amidst the blooms
then carefully lifted her hands.
I have learned that if we choose a shady spot,
our chance of capturing images before he takes off is much better.
But not always... sometimes they are eager to be free.
This one chose to linger.
But as soon as the sunshine hit his wings he began to quiver...
almost like he was revving up his motor...
and then, quite suddenly,
he was off!
He quickly discovered
the 'Miss Molly' Buddleia blooms
in our Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden.
And after sipping the tasty nectar
for just a minute or two...
... he flew quietly from my life.
Safe travels dear little one... have a beautiful life.
All content created by Carolyn Bush | Copyright © 2010 - 2013
All Rights Reserved | This Grandmother's Garden
Highland, Utah, USA