Have you heard of the Monarch Project? Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff launched it this year.
A couple of years ago, Karen posted a five-part series on how to raise a Monarch butterfly. This year she’s raising more butterflies herself and encouraging her readers to as well. Last week she posted a video of a Monarch emerging from its chrysalis. It was absolutely amazing. Seriously. Go watch it and come back. I’ll wait. It’ll make your week.
As a kid, Matt and his brothers would raise Monarchs every year. It was just something they did, catching the caterpillars, putting them in a bucket, feeding them fresh milkweed, watching them form their cocoons, watching them hatch and then releasing them.
I, however, have never seen anything like this. Karen’s video is amazing. I so want to see it in real life.
I’ve seen more Monarchs around the farm this year than I have in past years. Unfortunately, more means about two. Remember that milkweed post that I did earlier this year? It took me most of the summer to get that one single photo of the butterfly. And he was the only butterfly I saw that year.
We have milkweed everywhere on the property, and I check it often for caterpillars. So far, I haven’t found any.
A couple of weeks ago Baxter and I found a Monarch when we were out for our walk (the guy pictured in this post). Unfortunately, he seemed to have a broken wing. We carried him home and set him on some milkweed behind the barn, but I don’t think he’s going to be one of the guys that makes it to Mexico.
The Monarchs are a simple example of why I’m glad that we bought the farm. Maybe we can protect a little bit of their habitat. Maybe we can help raise the odds in their favour. Maybe we, and Karen, and the people participating in the Monarch Project can help to keep the Monarchs flying.
What’s the Monarch population like where you live? Have you ever hatched a Monarch yourself?
I follow The Art of Doing Stuff too and I loved all of her info on Monarchs. I asked Steve if there was any milkweed around his fields that I could go check for caterpillars. He was not nearly as intrigued as I was. I told him that I wanted to plant some milkweed in our yard and as a farmer he thought I was nuts.
I’m not giving up yet. They are beautiful!
They are. So are the milkweed flowers. I tried spreading some seeds in one of my gardens last fall, but they didn’t take. Maybe I should try spring or digging up an actual plant? Let me know if you have any luck.
Wow! That video was amazing!! I do hope you get some more monarchs on your milkweed. One lady commented on Karen’s video about a farm in Texas that sells them. I wonder if you can order eggs? Then you could raise the odds a bit.
I am inspired to find and plant some milkweed here next spring.That was truly beautiful and miraculous!
That’s exactly how I feel!
I found some milkweed spontaneously growing in a little garden near my shed. I had five, several about five or so feet tall. I did see five monarchs this year near or on the plants, but never could see larva, munching, or chrysalis (how to do make that plural?) I also had the problem of huge pods.
Not wanting to have an entire backyard of milkweed, I recently dug them up and , with Steve’s help, transported them to the edge of the railway property, where there were many, many milkweed plants as well. I am sure the wind will gift me with more milkweed seeds for next year’s supply. Maybe I’ll be also gifted with a life cycle to enjoy.
Thank you for sharing your project.
That’s nice of you to transplant them rather than just pitching them. Lucky you to see five butterflies!
I always tell my husband to leave the milkweed alone in the pasture for this very reason! I haven’t seen a lot of butterflies this year at all. I wonder if the cold winter had anything to do with it, even though I know the monarchs migrate.
Could be maybe. I think it would be cool to see the migration or some of the gatherings in Mexico.