Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Butterflies!

You're not going to believe this!  After watching Wings lay her eggs, we went for a walk to the garden to get more dill plants.  While we were there, we thought we'd bring home some milkweed for the monarch butterfly enclosure Aidan has been working on all winter.  Aidan's interest in building a butterfly enclosure resulted from our experience last summer (see last year's story here).

On our way back, Melanie spotted an injured monarch.  This poor butterfly looked pretty beat up and was in even worse shape than Wings.  But once again, my kids insisted that we take it home and care for it.  Within minutes they had already decided to call it "Plum" (go figure).
poor Plum all tattered and torn
It took a while to transplant the milkweed and set up the frame for our outdoor monarch butterfly enclosure, but finally we settled Plum into her new home on one of the transplanted milkweeds.
Aidan built this frame out of old silk screen frames he found.
The front of the frame has extra floating row cover material to allow easy access & viewing.
We were happy to give poor Plum a nice, safe place to spend her last few moments. But, Plum had a surprise in store for us!  Soon after we placed her on the milkweed she started laying eggs.  Seriously, I am not making this up!
Plum laying eggs
I would have never believed it, had I not seen it myself.  Plum may not be the most beautiful of all monarchs, but she sure is one of the toughest!
Mama Plum
I'm going to stop predicting the fate of these poor butterflies and just wait and see.
our monarch home

If all goes well, the monarch eggs should hatch in 4-8 days just like the black swallowtail eggs.  They should look a lot like these little baby monarch caterpillars we found in our patch of milkweed in the garden.
We are in awe.