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I released 4 females and one male Monarch butterflies in July. There are seven chrysalises in my butterfly cage right now, and as of this morning, one has turned from green to black. The color is actually the darkness of the butterfly showing through what has become a clear chrysalis.

A gorgeous butterfly may emerge today, or at the latest, tomorrow. I can’t wait.

They can pop out in a matter of 30 seconds, so the odds of witnessing it is small unless I sit and stare for hours. Although my son & I did witness the last. It was a new experience for him, and he was thrilled, took many phone photos. I’ve witnessed it three times.

I’ve just learned the gold dots seen on the chrysalis is where oxygen gets in.

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Edited by Betty LaRue
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57 minutes ago, Betty LaRue said:

I released 4 females and one male Monarch butterflies in July. There are seven chrysalises in my butterfly cage right now, and as of this morning, one has turned from green to black. The color is actually the darkness of the butterfly showing through what has become a clear chrysalis.

A gorgeous butterfly may emerge today, or at the latest, tomorrow. I can’t wait.

They can pop out in a matter of 30 seconds, so the odds of witnessing it is small unless I sit and stare for hours. Although my son & I did witness the last. It was a new experience for him, and he was thrilled, took many phone photos. I’ve witnessed it three times.

I’ve just learned the gold dots seen on the chrysalis is where oxygen gets in.

2E1AP5P.jpg

 

 

2D82CM1.jpg
2A3Y140.jpg
2D82CXC.jpg
2D82DMR.jpg

 

Wonderful series Betty! You are a great Monarch Mamma!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Michael Ventura said:

 

Wonderful series Betty! You are a great Monarch Mamma!

Thank you, Michael! I love nature.  20 years ago when traveling 100 miles north from my Oklahoma City to Blackwell, OK to see my mother in my home town every week, I saw hundreds of migrating Monarchs flying south in September/October. To the point I was afraid they’d hit my car. As the years passed, there were fewer and fewer. Now the numbers are way down, and one day if nothing is done, they could become extinct. Used to, at any given time in the summer, I could find multiple Monarchs on my flowers. I think I’ve seen two this summer.
People planting milkweed in their yard helps. Even then, the survival rate outdoors from egg to butterfly is just a few percent, due to predators. By bringing them in during the egg or tiny caterpillar stage, they can be protected until they become butterflies. I’m just trying to do my little part to help them.
It’s become a compulsion for me. It involves a lot of cage cleaning (the caterpillars poop a LOT), constant cuttings of fresh milkweed to feed them, and everyday water changes in the milkweed tubes. It’s not just bringing them in and forgetting them until they’re butterflies. When I have an adult butterfly to release, there is a lot of satisfaction. One more breeder, or one more egg-layer. One more beautiful creature for our pleasure.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

Thank you, Michael! I love nature.  20 years ago when traveling 100 miles north from my Oklahoma City to Blackwell, OK to see my mother in my home town every week, I saw hundreds of migrating Monarchs flying south in September/October. To the point I was afraid they’d hit my car. As the years passed, there were fewer and fewer. Now the numbers are way down, and one day if nothing is done, they could become extinct. Used to, at any given time in the summer, I could find multiple Monarchs on my flowers. I think I’ve seen two this summer.
People planting milkweed in their yard helps. Even then, the survival rate outdoors from egg to butterfly is just a few percent, due to predators. By bringing them in during the egg or tiny caterpillar stage, they can be protected until they become butterflies. I’m just trying to do my little part to help them.
It’s become a compulsion for me. It involves a lot of cage cleaning (the caterpillars poop a LOT), constant cuttings of fresh milkweed to feed them, and everyday water changes in the milkweed tubes. It’s not just bringing them in and forgetting them until they’re butterflies. When I have an adult butterfly to release, there is a lot of satisfaction. One more breeder, or one more egg-layer. One more beautiful creature for our pleasure.

 

Which animals can eat them? I don't know that much about them but I understand that they get a toxin from the milkweed that makes them toxic to other creatures.  Isn't there a copycat butterfly that mimics the look of a Monarch just so birds won't eat them.  I imagine the biggest culprit to their dwindling numbers is the lack of natural milkweed that has been removed due to human encroachment/development into their habitats.  So yes, you are doing a great thing by doing your part to help! 

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You're the Queen of the Monarchs, Betty.

 

Capturing an emerging butterfly on video would be a real coup. It would be very difficult to do by the sounds of it.

 

This one is close but not quite.

 

Here's one!

 

 

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Michael Ventura said:

 

Which animals can eat them? I don't know that much about them but I understand that they get a toxin from the milkweed that makes them toxic to other creatures.  Isn't there a copycat butterfly that mimics the look of a Monarch just so birds won't eat them.  I imagine the biggest culprit to their dwindling numbers is the lack of natural milkweed that has been removed due to human encroachment/development into their habitats.  So yes, you are doing a great thing by doing your part to help! 

The main threat is a small fly that lays its egg on the Monarch egg or caterpillars. When the fly critter emerges from its egg, it burrows, microscopically, into the monarch caterpillar. It stays inside, then about the time the monarch caterpillar is ready to make a chrysalis, it burst out and kills the monarch caterpillar. A maggot falls from it. There are several of these predators that do that. Wasps take them and eat them. There is disease caused from fungus and other things. Also drift from people spraying their yards, so chemicals that kill them. The list goes on.  
And yes, milkweed scarcity is a problem. Farmers are growing crops genetically changed so they can be sprayed with weed killers without killing the crop. Milkweed often grows in and on the edges of crops, so it is being largely eliminated. Last spring I went on a shoot to the Great Salt Plains in northern Oklahoma. There is an abundance of milkweed there. I photographed it.

Common Milkweed, Great Salt Plains.

2C8T3MT.jpg

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

You're the Queen of the Monarchs, Betty.

 

Capturing an emerging butterfly on video would be a real coup. It would be very difficult to do by the sounds of it.

 

This one is close but not quite.

 

 

 

I have a video of the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis, but from start to end is too long for the 30-60 seconds accepted for videos. It is several minutes long. That’s why your video link doesn’t show the whole thing. I’m sure the whole process was recorded, but I’ll bet the photographer had to break it up into manageable clips.

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1 minute ago, Betty LaRue said:

I have a video of the caterpillar turning into a chrysalis, but from start to end is too long for the 30-60 seconds accepted for videos. It is several minutes long.

 

You can easily trim it, making several shorter videos showing different stages / highlights of the process. Submit them to P5, and they could show up on Alamy one day.

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1 minute ago, John Mitchell said:

 

You can easily trim it, making several shorter videos showing different stages / highlights of the process. Submit them to P5, and they could show up on Alamy one day.

👍

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Visited Stirling in Scotland yesterday, climbing up towards the castle we noticed a gate in a wall and went through to encounter the Old Town Cemetery. Lurking in wait was a volunteer official guide who took us under his wing and spent maybe 15 minutes going over the history of the place and the significance of the markings on two of the medieval tombs. He told us that, prior to being a cemetery, it was the area where knights from the castle would practice combat, and that the ladies would gather to watch from above - as he said, nothing changes!

 

We were also told that the coronation of King James VI of Scotland took place in the adjacent Church of the Holy Rude. - we popped in and stood at the spot. 

 

Too hot, at 28 degC, to continue the climb to the castle we visited a cool stone vaulted café for tea and shared cake. 

 

Having also visited The Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel and the site of the battle of Bannockburn earlier that day, I was suffering from tourism burn out, and failed to take any more photos 🙃

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3 hours ago, Bryan said:

Visited Stirling in Scotland yesterday, climbing up towards the castle we noticed a gate in a wall and went through to encounter the Old Town Cemetery. Lurking in wait was a volunteer official guide who took us under his wing and spent maybe 15 minutes going over the history of the place and the significance of the markings on two of the medieval tombs. He told us that, prior to being a cemetery, it was the area where knights from the castle would practice combat, and that the ladies would gather to watch from above - as he said, nothing changes!

 

We were also told that the coronation of King James VI of Scotland took place in the adjacent Church of the Holy Rude. - we popped in and stood at the spot. 

 

Too hot, at 28 degC, to continue the climb to the castle we visited a cool stone vaulted café for tea and shared cake. 

 

Having also visited The Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel and the site of the battle of Bannockburn earlier that day, I was suffering from tourism burn out, and failed to take any more photos 🙃

What an interesting time you had!
I know what you mean when burnout hits. All you want is your chair or your bed, and wish you could magically be there. Instead, worn out, you have to make it home. Then go Ahhhh, feels so good.

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8 hours ago, Betty LaRue said:

What an interesting time you had!
I know what you mean when burnout hits. All you want is your chair or your bed, and wish you could magically be there. Instead, worn out, you have to make it home. Then go Ahhhh, feels so good.

 

That would be true of normal people Betty, but I was steered by the slave driver in the direction of the Strathclyde Country Park where we cycled around the lake (or is it loch ?).  

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Bryan said:

 

That would be true of normal people Betty, but I was steered by the slave driver in the direction of the Strathclyde Country Park where we cycled around the lake (or is it loch ?).  

Please loan me some of that energy. Borrow it from the slave driver. 😁

On another note, the chrysalis I watched yesterday turned into a beautiful female butterfly yesterday afternoon. After a few hours, she was flapping her dry wings, and I took her outside and released her. 6 more to go.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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Went into Lincoln today to do a bit of shopping for my upcoming holiday. 😎

 

Noted the the Pelham Bridge is now OPEN!  Yeah!

Allan

PS Now go to the bad thing.

 

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I have 3 chrysalises waiting to become butterflies. Then….at dusk yesterday, I checked my milkweed for aphids and found another Monarch caterpillar.

Of course I brought it in. I have filled out so many adoption papers…this makes 13 for 2021.

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Got a haircut today. Yes, it seems such a common place event, except it's been well over a year since I've been to a barber. I went to the Kurdish place on Dale Street where all the barbers speak English and without a Scouse accent. I got what I consider the best haircut I've ever had. 

 

In NYC now, a haircut cost $40 to $80. And if they style your locks and maybe colour them? Don't ask. The Kurds charged me 8 pounds ($11.40) and I added a 2-pound tip. Where people bowing to me and moving out of my path when I left the shop? Hmm.

 

 

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Congratulations, Edo! A haircut after a year+ is quite a milestone!

 

My good thing that’s happened is that a high $$ photo, licensed for US TV back in early January, has finally cleared. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen.

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Oh, My, I witnessed a Monarch lay eggs on my milkweed mid-morning. I now have gathered them attached to their sprigs/leaves, brought them in, and here I go again!
At least 6, maybe more. I was cutting frantically before the Tachinid flies found them. They are only slightly bigger than a grain of salt.

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Anyone interested in seeing what Goldflame honeysuckle looks like, I have images of it growing over my courtyard half-wall up as of today. The blooms are much bigger and prettier than regular honeysuckle, and attracts hummingbirds and hummingbird moths. Smells good, too.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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I have a beef arm roast, small red potatoes, onion and carrots in the oven. I love pot roast.
 

The cast iron enameled dutch oven is so very heavy while empty, I’ll never know how I managed putting it in the oven fully loaded.

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1 hour ago, Betty LaRue said:

I have a beef arm roast, small red potatoes, onion and carrots in the oven. I love pot roast.
 

The cast iron enameled dutch oven is so very heavy while empty, I’ll never know how I managed putting it in the oven fully loaded.


Yum, a good autumn dish!  Is it feeling like fall there.  Today we got hammered by the remnants of hurricane Ida but the payoff is cooler autumn air to come in for the weekend!  Now I want a pot roast!

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This talk of food is making me feel hungry. Our elder son is visiting this weekend with the kids, a good thing in itself, but especially so as he is bringing his pizza oven. I've not yet seen this gadget, but I've happy memories of making pizzas when the lads were at home, they always went down well. Not sure if my attempts at a pizza base will still cut the mustard with folk who own a pizza oven, but we'll see.

 

Today we had fish pie, one of the few dishes that I get to cook. It's very indulgent, made with cream and cheese and lots of home grown onions and potatoes. Washed down with a glass of white wine and accompanied by our second harvest of broad beans, it was just the thing for an unseasonably chilly day.

 

While on good things we took a stack of surplus allotment  produce to the food bank/pay as you feel café today. Some of our fellow gardeners are very generous with their donations, and the produce is always gratefully received. Surprisingly one of the cooks didn't know that you can enjoy beetroot as a fresh vegetable, thinking it had to be pickled. One of the joys of the allotment is that first hot beetroot sandwich of the season, made with granary bread and bad for me butter.

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