Friday, August 14, 2015

From Egg to Imago

     I think I'm morphing into a crazy butterfly lady. How can that be? Last summer I couldn't distinguish a Monarch from a Checkered White or a Black Swallowtail but this year... I'm piqued by the faintest flutter on our Echinacea. Let me back up a bit.

     Yearning for a change of pace, we purposefully focused on nature over the summer. M is a naturalist at heart with a knack for remembering the names of almost everything we encounter. G is more of a "girly" girl; pretty much terrified of anything that has six or more legs. Hoping to quench the curiosity of the one and squelch the fears of the other, we started finding insects and identifying them. 

     We investigated pinning. I watched youtube to learn how to do this (you can learn how to do anything there), bought a butterfly net, ordered Entomology pins, and got started catching and killing insects.

     Granted, it was fun. We stalked them and madly swung the net. We trapped June Bugs, Japanese Beetles, and wasps. But when it came to capturing the butterflies, well...

Let the life story of the butterfly stand as a fascinating page of nature's book... To gain knowledge of the life story of insects or other creatures is nature-study. To destroy them as pests is a part of agriculture or horticulture. The one may be of fundamental assistance to the other, but the two are quite separate and should never be confused. The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. 

     Studying agriculture or horticulture was not part of our summer curriculum. And honestly, the insects are extremely beautiful when alive and not so attractive when they're dead.

                                                Now to continue with my butterfly saga.

     While visiting the Franklin Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio early in the summer, I became enthralled with their butterfly room and we left with two Painted Lady caterpillars. One thing lead to another and... we discovered milkweed.

     I often had pulled this plant up with no knowledge of what it was, i.e., the ONLY thing a monarch caterpillar eats. So I began an incessant search for milkweed. Low and behold, we soon adopted two larvae.

     Here's what made me realize the extent of my craziness. Yesterday, while on my morning run and milkweed hunt, I found not one but three more of these beauties. Since I spotted them very early in my run, I wondered what to do. Should I continue on or immediately take them home, thus ending my outing about six miles shy? Listen. I treasure my wake up runs so I just took the little fellows with me. There I was, running through town, milkweed with clinging caterpillars in one hand, phone (for audio book and camera) in the other. It's good thing I run very early. I wouldn't want to hurt my husband's business. (You know, the crazy wife thing.)

     We now have two chrysalises and three larvae with voracious appetites and an unbelievable amount of poop! How in the world can we kill and pin these incredible creatures?

     Appreciating the beauty of pinned butterflies, we combined nature, art, and handicrafts creating vegan butterfly art. No life was taken. I came across this blog and tweaked it to make it our own.

~ We painted  small canvases with tempura paint. (8x10) The girls picked the colors they wanted,

~  printed out the butterflies on white card stock, and cut them out. We did not use an exacto-knife. FYI- Only one is a replica of an actual butterfly, the Checkered White. The others are combinations; still very beautiful.

~ Then we punched butterflies out of colored card stock,

~ and used a hot-glue gun to glue the punched butterflies onto the printed ones and then onto each canvas.

~ We also bent them up a little bit. I think they're lovely.


     G didn't even want to do this project, (that's the twelve year old in her), but she thoroughly enjoyed it. She's anxious to create another one. Deep down she knows that I occasionally come up with some cool stuff.

     In a couple of months, I will be closing the door on six decades of life. Whew. I've had my share of ups and downs through my life cycle of daughter, sister, wife, mother,  grandmother (Mimi), and now crazy old butterfly lady. All my eggs are hatched and several are now larvae; ingesting as much nutrition and ideas as they can in order to grow physically, intellectually, and spiritually. You've met two of my beauties. Please meet our newest little caterpillar.

      The rest of us are in various pupal and imago  stages, coming out of our chrysalises for awhile, only to flit back in.

Yours truly, 94 year old dad, awesome sister

      And yet I wonder...when do we really become butterflies?

I now know we each have two lives, the one we learn by and the one we live after that.  

Mutant Message Downunder by Marlo Morgan

Enjoy the butterfly art.

Linked up with Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival - August 2015