new sisters

new sisters
Penelope holding 10 day old Violet

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Penelope with our brand new painted lady larva.

getting a close look


owl butterfly

Pen posing for her friend who went with us.

Releasing our first butterfly.

There she is, not sure how to fly yet.

On a leaf in our garden.

Pen observing our butterfly  resting on a flower.

It's not in focus, but there she is on my finger.

Releasing our second butterfly a week later.

I think this is Pen's. We made leaves with the kid's hand print and caterpillars with their toes.

I think this one is Vi's.
This summer we raised butterflies. Painted Ladies. We received five caterpillars, and three were guaranteed to become butterflies, but only two did (how can you guarantee something like that?). The whole experience was pretty amazing to all of us. They were so tiny when they arrived, but they doubled in size daily. We got to watch them as they transformed in to a chrysalis, and then wait and watch and wonder as the magical transformation from caterpillar to butterfly happened, We knew they would emerge soon when the chrysalis became translucent, and then, suddenly, there was a beautiful butterfly. One emerged on Violet's birthday, but with all the winged little party guests flying around here that day we decided to wait until the next day to release her. She was very slow to leave the habitat, we ended up holding a flower down for her to climb onto and getting her out that way. She hung out in the garden for a long time, crawled on our hands, let us really get a good look at her. We finally left her there in the sun, on a flower, and when we came back later she was gone.

The second butterfly emerged about a week later and when we brought her outside I think we were all expecting her to hang out for a bit like the first one, but as soon as her habitat was unzipped she zoomed out at top speed, flew up high into the sky, and sped off over another yard and finally out of sight. It was amazing and wonderful, but there were tears from Penelope who thought she'd get to see her in the garden like the other one. She was a little offended by how quickly she forgot us and sped away into the sky. But she got over it quickly and asked if we could do it all again. I think we will have to, maybe every year.

We say she, but we never found if there is a way to tell males from females, we hope ours were girls because we like to think that the little butterflies we raised will lay eggs and make more beautiful butterflies. We did learn a ton about these beautiful creatures during the time they spent with us. We ordered piles of books about them from the library, made so many butterfly and caterpillar crafts (I only got pictures of two) and even took a trip to the butterfly zoo in Tiverton. We also made our first ever lapbook, which was a lot of fun and I think I'd like to do more of those this year as we learn. I learned right along with the girls with this whole butterfly thing, who knew that caterpillars breathe through holes in their backs (which are called spiracles, by the way) or that butterflies taste with their feet! Everyone should raise butterflies, at least once. It's too amazing.

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