Look who showed up again this year.
That’s right, once again we raised some monarch caterpillars into butterflies. We did this for the first time last year (well, it was my first time and our first time together. Matt did this lots as a kid.)
We hadn’t planned on doing it again this year, but then I found three fat caterpillars crawling on the milkweed in the meadow. Since mowing the meadow, the milkweed has popped back up, but nothing else has grown as tall. I was worried that the caterpillars were very exposed and would be tempting for a passing bird, so I brought them inside.
They crawled around in a bowl on our island for a week or so (except for the one who made a dramatic escape and was apprehended marching across the kitchen floor–he had a broader worldview than his two bowlmates), and then they shed their outer skins for the chrysalis. I got to watch this happen this year and it was so cool.
After another week or so, they shed their chrysalis and became butterflies.
It was as exciting and special as it was last year.
I’ve seen more monarchs this year than I’ve ever seen in a summer. I’m hopeful that the population is healthy and growing. And hopefully our three are now part of that.