Monday, September 22, 2014

One more monarch

I've helped add one more monarch to the almost-endangered species! One of my chrysalises hatched early Friday morning. I didn't see it happen, but I've seen enough of them hatch to not feel bad about missing this one. It's really very cool, though, so watch one if you ever get the chance (although you have to be right there ready, because it happens very fast).

It was not the greatest day weather-wise to be a new butterfly. It was very windy and somewhat foggy in the morning, but at least it got up to about 80° in the afternoon. I took my butterfly outside on the north side of the house (wind was from the south) and set it free. It was not eager to let go.





I put it on my impatiens plants, and later in the day it was gone.

Okay, you've probably had your fill of monarch photos. ;) That'll be all for this year, even though I have two more to hatch yet. They'll look the same. Isn't it amazing, though, that every monarch has identical markings? Every dot and every line, the same. A friend happened to send me photos of one the same day I took these. Our butterflies matched perfectly! :)

No more monarch photos, but I do have something cute and new to show you tomorrow. It might not look new, but it is! ;) Be sure to come back and see!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wild sunflowers

Oh, dear... another photo-heavy post. But hey, that's what this blog is about, right? "A Photo's Worth a thousand words"! So I'll let the photos do most of the talking today. 

I actually took these three weeks ago, and every time I've thought about posting them, I didn't know how to narrow them down, because I love how they turned out, and I couldn't decide which ones to eliminate! The subject is all the same... wild sunflowers, of which we had a lot alongside our driveway, and the evening sun was just right for photographing. So here ya go... ENJOY!












Oh, yes... I have a lot more. :) But ya get the idea.....

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not a monarch

A couple weeks ago I found this little butterfly on my sedum bush. It's a Red Admiral. I think sometimes people confuse them with monarchs because of their wing color on the top side, but the wings are distinctly different underneath.


See? Not at all like a monarch (see yesterday's post).


Okay, let's see the other side of those wings.


C'mon... you can do better than that...


Better... better....


There we go! Similar in color, but actually very different in design.


This little butterfly has a long way to go, too. They winter in southern Texas.

Incidentally, my sedum has progressed a lot since then. Here's what it looked like yesterday morning:


It was just full of little ground bees.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More monarchs!

We had migrating monarchs last week. Not as many as we used to get many years ago, but certainly more than I've seen in the last 5 years or so. I'm not good at guessing numbers, but I'd say there were maybe 50 of them... or maybe closer to 100... which is a pretty small flock, but at least they were here! I found them in the morning, resting on the north side of the trees along our driveway. There was a pretty strong south wind all day, so the butterflies just stayed there all day, not attempting to fly against that wind.

Of course the wind made it harder to get good photos, too, but I think I did okay. It was hard to choose from the many I took, so this post may be "photo overload". :) I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!



They sat most of the time with their wings together.....


..... but if I moved much, some of them fluttered around and came back. Compare the above photo with the next:



I like the "flat" one below:




So, so pretty!!




They stayed there overnight. The next morning it was very foggy, and when I checked on the butterflies, I noticed that they were all covered with heavy mist, the poor things. Click on the pic below to see it bigger... and note the water droplets on its antennae!


They were still able to fly, and flapping their wings shook the moisture off. They left later that morning.

The chrysalises that my caterpillars made are still hanging. They should be hatching soon. They'd better hurry up if they want to make it south for the winter. The first chrysalis is kind of black and icky-looking, like something's wrong with it, and the last caterpillar didn't finish shedding its skin and died, but there are three that still look good. I'll let you know if/when they hatch!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A tribute (of sorts) to Great Grandma Dee

We were saddened by the death of Courtney's Great Grandma Dee (Grandpa's 92-year-old mother) a week and a half ago. She had lived a long, full life and was the most loving, giving person one could ever hope to meet, and she is dearly missed. Her funeral was last week, and yesterday in school, Courtney wrote about it from her perspective (and I got to read it, since she came here yesterday instead of today). I thought it was worthy of sharing with you.

Click on each page to enlarge it for easier reading.



Great Grandma Dee, if you're looking down from Heaven and reading this, I hope it brings a smile. :)

(P.S. The "stinkey stuff" was incense.)