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Archive for the ‘butterflies’ Category

This month the Unique Women in Business team is doing a Blog Hop focused on Summer Fun.  With temperatures in the 90s (some close to 100 degrees) and dew points in the 70s it feels like it’s quite tropical here in Minnesota.

For me, having fun during the summer means having some flexibility to do things I enjoy doing since the homeschooling schedule is a bit more relaxed compared to the September-May time period. 

During June and July, I’ve been able to make new window star patterns. Here’s a design that I created recently:

Window star in summer colors.
Window stars are available in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

The window star that is pictured above reminds me of sunsets and sunrises in colors I typically see in the summer. There have been some spectacular ones that have colored the entire sky in shades of these colors.  I am always in awe of the incredible natural beauty that surrounds me.

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Today, I was teaching a friend of my daughters how to sew since she wants to learn how to make her own clothes. The first project I had her do was a little bag with an attached tie.

There were no measurements for this pattern – it was simply an idea presented in a book.  So I showed her how to estimate and create the dimensions for each of the pieces.  By the time she was done sewing her first bag, she had learned some fundamental sewing skills…and felt very happy with what she made.

After seeing the bag (and trying out the pattern I’ve wanted to do for some time now), I made a couple of bags after she left and changed the proportions slightly. 

Two bags that I made.
The bags are a great way to use fabric and ribbon scraps. I’ve made re-usable gift bags using only one color of fabric for birthdays and Christmas.
As I made these bags, I thought they would be good to use for the girls in their backpacks or when traveling. By making the bags in a variety of different sizes and patterns, one’s suitcase, purse, or backpack could be much more organized.
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Last, having fun during the summer means being able to enjoy nature up close. Today I enjoyed watching a bird take a bath in the birdbath in the backyard. For several minutes, it cleaned its feathers…tossing the water in the air and under its wings.
That, in itself, would have made me happy today. But…I woke up this morning and found that two of the butterflies we’ve been raising since they were caterpillars had emerged from their cocoons.
Around 11:25 a.m., the third butterfly was born and we were able to watch its wings unfold, dry, and be strong enough to fly. What an amazing process!
The girls (and Eenie) watching two of the
newly-born butterflies.

After lunch, we released the butterflies in the backyard. The black tiger swallowtails flew off immediately. One flew right to the purple flowers in the butterfly garden in the backyard where it visited lots of flowers while its wings beat quickly.

The butterfly was flapping its top wings so quickly
(thus, the picture is blurry on the top).
It was such a joy to be able to watch them
change from caterpillars to butterflies during July.
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Sophia, Olivia, and I found four caterpillars on my parents’ carrots in their vegetable garden on July 2nd. The girls were excited to see different caterpillars than the monarchs that they’ve raised during past summers. These caterpillars are much bigger than monarch caterpillars.

Black Swallowtail on Branch
Black swallowtail caterpillar.
Notice the thin silk thread that it made.
It attaches to its body and the stick.

When we came home, I looked up on the internet the type of caterpillar and what the butterfly will look like. Found out they are the black swallowtail butterfly that like to eat plants in the carrot family.

Black Swallowtail Cocoon
The first butterfly had already transformed itself in two days.
Notice how it it blends in with the background.
The thin silk thread it makes prior to turning itself into a chrysallis
is on the right hand side.

Found out that the black swallowtail caterpillar will make its cocoon similar in color to its surroundings. Three of the cocoons are green and one is brown (the caterpillar chose to make a cocoon on a stick).

All of the cocoons are held in place by a very thin silk line.

Once the butterflies emerge, the pictures will be added to this post so the life cycle is shown in one place.

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On 5 Kids and a Dog, there’s a series called the ABCs of Homeschooling.  This week’s letter is “N.” 

Alphabet ATC or ACEO Available - Needlefelted Letter N …is for Nature.

Nature is a major focus of homeschooling. Living on almost ten acres of land, nature surrounds us each day.

One of the girls’ favorite activities during the summer is raising butterflies. In 2008, there were an abundance of monarch caterpillars. Seeing the life cycle – from caterpillar to butterfly was fascinating for the girls.

#1 - Look at Me!
Olivia with a monarch butterfly.
This one was ready to be released.

Perhaps the most memorable release was when a monarch butterfly was brought outside and didn’t want to leave the girls. It stayed on their fingers, flew to a nearby milkweed plant, flew back in front of them, and then…eventually…flew off.

August 23rd - Third Monarch Butterfly Release
The third butterfly to be released in August 2008.
This one was quite content
to stay around the girls for a long time.

Both Sophia and Olivia enjoying feeding the birds and squirrels. One of the first activities I had both of the girls do for homeschooling involved watching the birds that visited the feeders. Each time a bird would visit, the girls would add a check mark next to the type of bird.

After a certain period of time (10-15 minutes…30 minutes if they were interested and lots of birds were visiting the feeder), they would create a chart to show which type of bird came to the feeder the most.

Sophia by Squirrel Buffet and Feeder
Sophia standing by the squirrel feeder that she and Olivia built.
The corn cob pathways with shell corn
sprinkled on the paths was Sophia’s idea.
The birds and squirrels enjoyed eating the corn.

One of the nice things about living in the country in a home that was built in 1890 is that the surrounding land has some very old trees which are great for climbing. The girls started out climbing the apple trees in the backyard, and have moved onto some of the larger pine trees in the front yard now.

Girls in the Tree
The girls in the tallest pine tree on the property.

During the past year, we have begun taking time for weekly nature study using the book Handbook for Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.

Taking the time to learn more about the wildlife, trees, and seasons has been such a highlight of the past year. It has given us a new appreciation for the land here as well as the wildlife that visits and lives on our farm.

Sophia Taking a Break From Nature Journaling
Sophia taking a break from nature journaling.
She is listening to and writing down sounds she hears.

Olivia Drawing in her Nature Journal
Olivia enjoyed nature journaling even when she was much younger.
Here she is at four years old
drawing a picture of what she sees outside.

Since the girls were young, gardening has always been a part of their life. They have learned to raise vegetables, pumpkins, fruit, and flowers. Both have been able to plant seeds; transplant trees; and harvest and preserve what they’ve grown.

Sophia with Pumpkin
Sophia with one of the pumpkins that she grew.

We enjoy going on walks with the dogs and horses. Living in the country, there’s always something interesting to see in the fields, in the sky, along the road, or in the ditches.

Olivia Looking for Rocks

Olivia is looking for rocks and
then putting them in her cone-shaped purse.
If you notice…she picked heavy winter boots
to wear with her light summer dress.
(Summer 2008)

One of my favorite pictures is of Sophia on the far nature trail spreading milkweed. She had lots of milkweed pods in her pocket and she would open them and let the wind carry the seeds to new locations.

She hoped that by doing this, there would be more milkweed available for the monarchs the following year…and in years to come.

Floating Milkweed
Milkweed seeds being carried off by the wind
as Sophia releases them.

Even though there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature right at our home, in the pastures, and on the nature trail, we enjoy exploring other areas as well. One of our favorite places to visit is William O’Brien State Park.

Girls Running on Trail at William O'Brien State Park - Homeschool Phy Ed
The girls running on one of the trails
at William O’Brien State Park.

We also have enjoyed walking on some of the trails at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. This is a bit of a drive, but the trails are easy to walk and provide a different view of what we normally see at home.

Olivia Looking at Hawk in Tree
Olivia observing a hawk in a tree at the
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

We enjoy picnics outside (especially when there are no bugs – which is spring and fall in Minnesota).  There are lots of places to have picnics, but parks that have a lake or river by them are ones that are especially nice.

Feeding Ducks and Gulls
The girls feeding ducks and sea gulls
after a picnic we had.

Sometimes we visit places after we read about book. If a topic in a book interests the girls or if seeing an example of what was mentioned in the book would be of benefit, I try to find a place to go that would extend their learning.

For example, a few years ago, we visited Interstate State Park as part of a unit study we did on the ice age (after reading one of the Magic Treehouse books about the ice age).

Since the girls learn best by seeing and touching, I took them to this park to see first-hand what gorges are and the impact the ice age had on the area where we live.

This park has some fascinating and beautiful rock formations, glacial potholes, and gorges. The St. Croix River runs between the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides of the park.

Girls at Minnesota Interstate State Park
The girls on a rock overlooking the St. Croix River.
This was taken at Interstate State Park
on the Minnesota side.

When we travel, we always make sure that nature is part of our trip. One of our favorite places to visit is Grand Marais (Minnesota). The girls enjoy being able to be in Lake Superior (although the water is very cold) and play on the shoreline.

Walking on Water
Olivia and Sophia in Lake Superior
at Grand Marais, Minnesota.

One of their most memorable moments on a trip to Grand Marais that we took in September 2010 was being able to feed a chipmunk. We traveled up the Gunflint Trail and stopped along the way.

At the stop, there was a very friendly chipmunk who the girls fed Pik-Nik sticks (fried potato sticks). The chipmunk came up so close to them. They still – almost a year late – recall that moment as if it happened yesterday.

Close Enough To Pet the Chipmunk
The girls feeding a chipmunk.
Nature is such an integral part of homeschooling. Each day, the girls are outside playing or discovering something new. Having both of them so excited about wildlife and caring for the environment is a direct result of being able to homeschool them and have the opportunity to spend so much time outdoors.

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…there’s a clear blue sky.  The pine trees are still after swaying back and forth last night during the thunderstorm.

I am thinking…about how nice the cool air felt this morning when I let the dogs out. After a heat index of over 100 degrees over the past couple of days, this is a welcome relief.

I am thankful…to have been able to spend part of my birthday with my sister.  We enjoyed a morning of strawberry picking with Sophia and Olivia, and then visiting a buffalo farm where we all enjoyed a nice lunch together. 

From the learning rooms…the girls and I had a fun week focusing doing the “Smart Summer Challenge.” This week’s theme was “Me on the Map” – so everything we did we looked at from a geography angle – whether it was embroidery, paper cutting, 4-H projects and demonstrations, or visiting different farms. 

In the kitchen…I have two flats of strawberries that will are being eaten fresh.  Later today, I’m going to try some new recipes – for strawberry-lemonade; a salad with strawberries, asparagus, and walnuts; and a strawberry pie.

I am wearing…a hooded sweatshirt and pajama pants.  It’s still early morning and no one is awake yet…except some of the cats.  The dogs went back to bed after going outside.

I am creating…items for The Summer of Color. I just found out about this ten-week blog party this morning, and am excited about it.  I’ve been doing more writing and less creating than last year, and want to get back into doing more of the visual arts/crafts again.  Having a weekly challenge focused on a particular color will be a good motivator to start creating again. 

I want to catch up and do the first three weeks (the colors for each week are blue, green, and pink); while working on the fourth week (July 4th-11th). Yellow is the focus for the fourth week.

I am going…to visit my mom and dad this morning.  Sophia, Olivia, and I will be going out to breakfast with them (they are both home-bound so it’s going out to eat is something they enjoy). We’re going to help weed their vegetable garden, clean the carpets in two rooms, and replace the batting in a quilt I made for my dad many years ago.

I am wondering…when I’m going to sit down and figure out the schedule for next year for homeschooling.  I want to use many of the books and resources I have on hand this year rather than buying as much new curricula as I have done in the past. 

As much as I like Sonlight (which I’ve used for the past few years), it is quite expensive. Perhaps picking and choosing from Sonlight and supplementing it with what I already have will be the best route to go during the 2011-12 school year.

I am readingTwisted Tree by Kent Meyers but didn’t like it. After 92 pages, I just couldn’t get into the book. I found it to be a rather grim book.  There was a review in a book for book clubs, and it sounded intriguing as did the discussion questions.  However, from the onset, the book was more on creepy than what I wanted to read.

The next book I’m going to start reading is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. According to O, The Oprah Magazine, “Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair.”

I am hoping…that the lawn mower comes back soon. It has been at the repair shop now for over a week and the grass is getting really long.     

I am looking forward to…bringing a couple of peonies and tiger lilies indoors today, and putting them in vases.  I’m going to help my dad (who has Alzheimer’s Disease) cut some flowers that are blooming at his home, and put them in vases as well. He use to cut flowers during the summer and bring them in for my mom and him to enjoy. 

I am hearing…the fan.  Not much of anything else.  It’s very quiet and peaceful at this time of the morning.

Around the house…I’m getting projects done that I’ve wanted to get done for some time now. I went through a basket of “to do” projects and did them as I went through the basket. No putting them aside to work on later. I either did them, helped the girls do their projects, or put them in the donation bag.

Yesterday, I did mending, sewing, and needlefelting. I helped Olivia with another embroidery project; and Sophia with sewing a dress and an embroidery project. 

I am pondering…how nice it was to see several friends during the past couple of weeks, and how I need to make time to stay connected with people. It’s so easy to get wrapped up with caregiving that other aspects of my life are put on hold.

One of my favorite things…seeing all the baby toads that the girls have been finding, observing, and then releasing.  It’s also been so nice to hear the wren singing every day, and watching the parents bring food to their babies.  There are three wren families here this year which is great. I saw a monarch yesterday in the butterfly garden yesterday (it always makes me happy to see butterflies).

A few plans for the rest of the week…visit my parents (today), celebrate the Fourth of July (Monday), take Sophia to harp lessons (Tuesday), take my dad to his quarterly doctor appointment for Alzheimer’s Disease (Thursday), do fun/educational activities related to the theme of “government” with the girls, and start some creative projects this week focused on different colors (most likely doing quilting and embroidery).

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…this is an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that Sophia, Olivia, and I saw on Thursday morning. We stopped for a bit at a lake before Sophia’s harp lesson.  As we were walking back from the lake, this butterfly was drinking some water from the road and then was flying around us at eye level. It spent quite a while flying and landing around us.

It was a beautiful butterfly, and the photograph below doesn’t do it justice.  Nonetheless, it captures a few moments in time that were memorable to us.

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that was
flying and landing right by the girls and me.

To see other people who are participating in the Simple Woman’s Daybook during June, please click HERE.

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This week we focused on the Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Series #3: Spring Bird Study that is at the Handbook of Nature Study website.

Throughout this post, three different typefaces are used:
– Bold – are words from the Handbook of Nature Study website.
– Italics – are words from the book titled Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.
– Regular – are my own words.

Inside Preparation Work:


As part of our spring nature study this week, we will prepare by learning about some familiar bird songs. Read about the “Songs of Birds” in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 42 and 43.


The following exerpts are from the Handbook of Nature Study (the book) that I found interesting and shared with the girls:

In most cases only the male bird sings, but a few exceptions are recorded…the female rose-breasted grosbeak and cardinal grosbeak, which sing under some conditions.

Birds do most of their singing in the early morning and during the spring and early summer months.

Some ornithologists have developed complicated systems of recording bird songs as musical scores.  Wilson Flagg and F.S. Mathews are well-known names in this field.  Such a method has its limitations because many variations of bird songs cannot be indicated by the characters used in writing music.

The song of the warbling flycatcher.
A Year with the Birds by Wilson Flagg
The song of the green warbler.
A Year with the Birds by Wilson Flagg

The song of a bird written as music is not usually recognizable when played on a musical instrument.

Here is a link to a page that will help you learn about to listen to and then identify birds by their calls:  Songs and Calls.  This link has wonderful examples of bird songs divided by rhythm, pitch, tone, and repetition.

It also has a spectrogram which visually illustrates bird songs.  There were a few birds of particular interest because we have quite a few that visit our yard regularly: American goldfinch, house wren, rose-breasted grosbeak, black-capped chickadee, and cardinal.  As we listened to the spectrogram for each of these birds, we read the description about the songs:

“The American goldfinch’s long, varied song lets you see how lots of different sounds look when they’re translated into a spectrogram.”

Bird banding at Warner Nature Center
American goldfinch that was being banded
at a local nature center.
Sophia, Olivia, and I were able to watch how this was done.

“The cardinal’s song is a series of sweet, slurred whistles. Watch the curving lines on the graph as you listen to the pitch changing.”

Olivia thought it was “neat” and Sophia thought it was “interesting.”

Brainstorm a list of birds you know that live in your area. Pick two or three to research on the All About Birds website. Look up each bird and listen to their bird songs. Challenge your children to imitate the bird song and to listen for it when they go outside.

The girls came up with the following list of birds that they know live in our area:

– Goldfinish
– Cardinal
– Catbird
– Brown-headed cowbird
– Red-Winged Blackbird
– Pheasant
– Nuthatch
– Blue Jay
– House Finch
– Mourning Doves
– Sparrow
– Wren

Olivia picked these birds that she was interested in hearing their songs: brown-headed cowbird and red-winged blackbird.  Initially, she thought the cowbird sounded a lot like the red-winged blackbird.  Then we she heard the blackbird she was able to distinguish it from the cowbird since it sounded more “squeaky” and “high-pitched.”

Sophia picked the following birds that she wanted to listen to their songs: pheasant and house wren. We hear both of these birds regularly in the yard and pasture; and hear them on our nature walk for the Spring Bird Study.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Male
Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak that was at
one of our feeders.  The grosbeaks have a beautiful song.

Outdoor Hour Time:


Spend your 10-15 minutes of outdoor time this week looking and listening for birds. You might try going out several times during the week at different times of day to listen and observe.


This will be a week you can work on a few minutes of quiet time while you are in your backyard or local park. Remind your children that if they are quiet even for one minute they might hear a bird or other animal. One minute can see like a lifetime for young ones so use your good judgment on this activity.

Sophia and Olivia making marks in their nature journals
every time they hear a bird song.

We spent time outside in our backyard since there is a variety of birds that regularly visit us each day.  We walked to and then stood in different locations (e.g., deck, by the apple tree, by the pine trees in the backyard, and several places on the nature trail). 

Olivia walking out on the nature trail
to listen to birds.

One of the things Olivia mentioned was that she heard so many birds singing all at the same time.  One would start and then another and another.  “I couldn’t tell the old birds from the new birds.”  It did sound like – a constant symphony of birds singing and calling to one another. 

This bird kept singing while
we were on the nature trail

As we listened to the birds, there were some that were easily recognizable and we knew their songs and calls:  red-winged blackbird, mourning dove, house wren, American goldfinch, and pheasant.  However, for the majority of the bird songs and calls we were hearing, we couldn’t identify which bird was making the sound.

It would be nice to have someone skilled in identifying bird songs to come here and listen to the birds with us and say, “Oh…that song is from the purple finch.  That one is from the blue jay.”

Follow-Up Activity:


Take a few minutes to follow-up on any interest that came from your outdoor time even if your children were interested in something other than birds.

We were noticing that a lot of milkweed is starting to grow now throughout the nature trail area and backyard.  I flipped over a milkweed leaf and saw a tiny yellow ball.  The girls and I are hoping that it is an egg.  So, we brought the leaf in and it is in the butterfly observation holder. 

We’re hoping that this is a monarch egg
that’s on the underside of a milkweed plant.
We also were happy with the gentle rain that fell the night/early morning before our nature walk.  Temperatures had reached over 100 degrees during the week, and there had been no rain recently.  Having rain – without the thunder/lightening and hail – was a welcome sight and sound.
Rain drops on one of the irises
in the morning.

Review the bird songs you learned and practiced during your preparation work. If you saw an unfamiliar bird, try to identify it using a field guide. Learn more about identifying birds here on this page: Bird Identification SkillsIf you do not have a field guide, you can try this online bird site to help identify birds: WhatBird? And this website for additional information as well: AllAboutBirds.

We tried to identify the bird above since it was pretty far away from us and we didn’t have binoculars with us.  It had a small crest on its head which seemed more pronounced when it sang.  When we came back indoors, Sophia looked at the Minnesota bird book and found one that looked similar to what we saw:  Tufted Titmouse.  The name means “Small Bird,” and comes from Scandinavian and Old English words.

However, looking at more pictures of this bird on the internet, led us to believe it may be another bird (perhaps the feathers on the bird’s head just moved so they looked like a crest when it sang).  Looking at the picture of the bird we saw, we noticed it had a spotted chest and was more brown in color.  Looking athe Minnesota bird book again, we found the female rose-breasted grosbeak which looks just like the one we saw.


Don’t forget to look up any birds you identify in the Handbook of Nature Study and see how Anna Botsford Comstock suggests you learn more about that particular bird by reading the narrative and the accompanying lesson.


Allow time for a nature journal entry.  You can print the pages from a coloring book, complete them, and then adhere them into your nature journal or you can use the black line drawings as a guide to sketching your bird directly onto your journal page.

After the walk, the girls worked a bit on their nature journals.  They wrote the names of some of the birds they heard and recognized and counted the number of songs they heard.  Sophia wrote a brief description of the walk and what the day was like (e.g., cool, cloudy).

Looking to the southwest from the nature trail.

Other Activities

I ordered a book from the library that should arrive soon.  It’s called The Music of Wild Birds: An Illustrated, Annotated, and Opinionated Guide to Fifty Birds and Their Songs by: F. Schuyler Mathews and illustrated by Judy Pelikan.  Mr. Mathews was referenced in the Handbook of Nature Study.

What intrigued me about this book is that the description said, “As Mathews points out, the music of wild birds is everywhere – in poems, children’s nursery songs, as well as in the works of the great composers: the Black-billed Cuckoo’s call appears near the close of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony; the Nashville Warbler’s song is found in the opening bars of Rossini’s Carovale, and the Meadowlark’s song is remarkably like the first two bars of Alfredo’s song in La Traviata.

“He reveals how a bird’s character is reflected in its song: the Baltimore Oriole is a sharp-billed, sharp-witted character, and his remarks are as incisive and crisp as the toots of a steam whistle. And he reminds us of the words of our great poets – Wordsworth, Emerson, Sir Walter Scott – and their descriptions of the very same birds and their music.”

Black Capped Chickadee
A black-capped chickadee at the feeder.
We hear the chickadee singing almost every day.

Found this poem about a bird that’s commonly seen around here throughout the year: the black-capped chickadee.  It’s called The Snow-Bird’s Song Poem and it’s by F.C. Woodworth.  The girls both liked the poem…especially the part about the stockings, shoes, and little frock:

The ground was all covered with snow one day,
And two little sisters were busy at play,
When a snow-bird was sitting close by on a tree,
And merrily singing his chick-a-dee-dee,
Chick-a-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee,
And merrily singing his chick-a-dee-dee.
He had not been singing that tune very long,
Ere Emily heard him, so loud was his song;
“Oh, sister, look out of the window,” said she,
“Here’s a dear little bird singing chick-a-dee-dee.
Chick-a-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee,
Here’s a dear little bird singing chick-a-dee-dee.
“Oh, mother, do get him some stockings and shoes,
And a nice little frock, and a hat if you choose;
I wish he’d come into the parlor, and see
How warm we would make him, poor chick-a-dee-dee!
Chick-a-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee,
How warm we would make him, poor chick-a-dee-dee!”
“There is One, my dear child, though I cannot tell who,
Has clothed me already, and warm enough too.
Good morning! Oh, who are so happy as we?”
And away he went singing his chick-a-dee-dee.
Chick-a-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee,
And away he went singing his chick-a-dee-dee.

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This is the second year that the girls have raised and released monarchs. Last year, there seemed to be a lot more caterpillars than this year. Read an article during the summer which said that for some reason people were noticing a decline in the number of monarchs. With fewer butterflies, they wondered what next year would be like.

That being said, the caterpillars the girls did find in the backyard were fascinating to watch. They have an indoor screened cage where they raise the caterpillars. Each day, they pick fresh milkweed leaves and put them in the cage.

They watch the caterpillars grow rather rapidly…and then make the crawl up the side of the cage.

“They’re in the ‘J’ position!” I’ll hear one day.

They watch…and wait. Take a break. Come back later…and watch….and wait.

One of the caterpillars last year they were able to see change right in front of their eyes. It’s an amazingly quick process. This year, they saw the tail end of the change which was interesting for them to watch.

After about 20 days, the butterfly emerges, dries off its wings, and the girls bring in fresh flowers for the butterfly to enjoy. They keep it inside for less than a day, and then release it towards the evening.

This year, two of the butterflies stayed around for a rather long time, giving the girls the opportunity to observe them. One of the butterflies each put on a little “show” for the girls by fluttering right in front of their faces.

They can read about monarchs in a science book, but for them to actually raise, touch, and release these beautiful butterflies first-hand is invaluable. These are experiences that they will remember!

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June 1st marked the first day that we spotted a monarch here in Minnesota.
Since then, the girls have been looking for eggs on the bottom of the milkweed leaves to see if there are any.

This year we are planning to go out more often and look for eggs and caterpillars, so we can raise more monarchs.

It is such a fascinating process to see them move through the stages from caterpillar to butterfly. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/picturesbyann to see more pictures of the caterpillars in various stages of growth and the release process.

This evening on our nature walk, we spotted two more monarchs! A nice way to end the day.

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