Monarch in My Garden

My first Monarch 2022

The year 2021 was my first year raising monarch butterflies. In fact, I started planting seeds in 2020. Milkweed dies in the winter and comes back in spring. When the spring of 2021 rolled around, some milkweed came back. I found many caterpillars on the plants. Several caterpillars died because I left them on the plants and didn’t know what happened to them. I dug up some milkweed and put them in a-gallon pots. I went through many ways to secure them. Eventually, I bought two cages and raised 12 butterflies.

I have some milkweed from last year that died in winter and just came back in the early spring this year. One female monarch came back from the south earlier than I expected. When I watered the Milkweed, I found five caterpillars within a few days.

The first caterpillar I found

I wouldn’t have enough plants to feed them. It takes about one 1-gallon plant to feed two caterpillars. I bought four 1-gallon plants at Armstrong Nursery. Even though I only have five caterpillars, and I may have more later in the summer, the Milkweed will be gone in a few weeks.

I set up the two cages. Young caterpillars are escapers. They run away from the plant constantly. I didn’t want to keep watching to rescue them. To keep them from crawling out to fall to the bottom of the pot, I made a net with mash to pin it from the edge of the pot to the four walls of the cage. It was easier for me to see the caterpillars when they ran away from the plant. I could pick them up and put them back on the plant.

The caterpillars cling to the milkweed during the last week of the growing state when they are getting big and hungry. They’d keep eating until time to pupate. They crawl up to the top of the cage and find a secure spot to spin the silk mat from which they hang upside down by their last pair of prolegs.

Using my experience last year, I clipped some rubber coating wires to make an arc across the top of the cage and stick one piece of wire from the pot to the top of the cage. Some caterpillars crawled up from the wire in the middle and some crawled up from the side of the cage.

It takes about two weeks for the adult butterfly to emerge. Right before emerging, the black and orange colors are clear in the pupa. After the adult butterfly emerges, it hangs on the shell until the wings are strong enough to fly.

Monarchs do not mate until they are three to eight days old. Females lay eggs immediately after their first mating. Adults in summer generations live from two to five weeks.

Each year, the last generation of monarchs has an additional job. They migrate to overwintering grounds, either in central Mexico for eastern monarchs or in California for western monarchs. Here they spend the winter clustered in trees until weather and temperature conditions allow them to return to their breeding grounds. These adults can live up to nine months.

Here are the videos of my first Monarch in 2022.

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Enjoy!

.E

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Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

This week, the theme from Tina Schell, for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is focused on one of the most well-known and widely used rules of photography, the Rule of Thirds. She said, “For those who would like to study the concept further, there are many online descriptions and examples. Adobe offers an excellent summary here. Basically, the rule is a compositional guideline that encourages placement of your primary subject on at least part of three equal rows and three equal columns as illustrated below.”

The Adobe article entitled: How to use, and break, the rule of thirds

Rule of Thirds Grid

The idea is to place your subject on one (or more) of the grid lines, or even better on the dots, theoretically making the image more pleasing to the eye.

I’ve been taking photos since I was a teenager when there were only Black & White photos. As indicated in the Adobe article, “The more you do it, the more it gets ingrained into your head.” I apply the Rule of Thirds most of the time in my photo compositions.

I learned drawing and painting at a young age, the Rule of Thirds also applies to the composition of drawing, painting, and some other forms of art. I’ll post my photos and two of my paintings in this post.

There are many kinds of butterflies in my garden, Swallowtail, Monarch, Mourning Cloak, and Cabbage butterflies. A Monarch came back from the south early this year and is busy laying eggs. I collected 10 eggs so far. Three are in the chrysalis form, two are growing strong, and five are 1/8″ babies. I’ll post some Monarch photos later. I saw a Nymphalis antiopa, known as Mourning Cloak, a few days ago but didn’t take good photos. I took the following one a while ago.

There are many turtles in the lake within walking distance from home. This colorful turtle was sunbathing when I walked around the lake one day. The entire colorful body is attractive. The reflection of the sunlight made part of his body draw more attention.

I took the following photo in Maui, Hawaii. The crashing waves evoke my imagination. I strive to take photos with droplets dancing in the air as the waves splash the rocks.

The following are my two paintings. Naturally, the tree is the focus of the first painting and the butterfly is in the second painting.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #197 – The Rule of Thirds

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Miriam & Robbie Visit the Bar – SoCS

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Dan Antion at No Facilities invited Robbie and me over as his guests. We’re having fun talking about poetry and things. Come on over to join our chat. I’ll see you there!

No Facilities

Today is a poetry day
I should open with a poem
But I got zip

Still, bonus points are on the line
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
Nothin' zero

Robbie and Miriam have poems
Not here - in the anthology
Me? Nada - zilch!

Because today’s post required more planning than Linda allows, I was going to skip the SoCS part. But then she offered bonus points.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘zip, zero, zilch.’ Use one, use ’em all, bonus points if you use all three. Have fun!”

If you follow my blog, you know I like poetry and I appreciate the work of poets. I have always had an interest in poetry, but only through the friends I’ve made blogging have I gotten to know poets. I have said it numerous times, but poets are the true artists in the writing world. The make…

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“Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships” featuring Miriam Hurdle!

I’m excited to be featured on Lauren Scott’s blog today to discuss one of my poems, “Kindness Repeats,” in the anthology Poetry Treasure 2: Relationships.

April 28 is Pay It Forward Day. I shared the incidents and inspiration behind this poem.

Please stop by her blog to visit the book launch tour schedule, browse her many poetry publications, and read my poem. I look forward to meeting you there.

Baydreamer

Dear Friends,

This is day 4 of the blog tour for Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships, a beautiful anthology compiled by Kaye Lynne Booth and Robbie Cheadle. The tour schedule is below…

Day 1: Kaye Lynne Booth at Writing to be Read started the tour with a guest post from contributing author Lauren Scott.

Day 2: D. Slayton Avery at ShiftnShake shared a guest post from blog series host, contributing author, and editor Robbie Cheadle.

Day 3: Miriam Hurdle atThe Showers of Blessingshosted contributing author Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Day 4:Lauren Scott at Bay Dreamer Writesis hosting contributing author Miriam Hurdle.

Day 5: Victoria Zigler at Zigler’s Newswill host contributing author M.J. Mallon and share a review by Victoria Zigler.

Day 6: The publisher, Kaye Lynne Booth, will be in the interview spotlight with James J. Cudney over at This Is My Truth Now

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