Saturday, December 6, 2014

Lately


We found a new little park hidden away in a neighborhood. It had a short paved trail through a wooded area with a ton of deer roaming around. We saw fawns, does, and bucks. And the kids liked the hike because of all the deer. Always a plus!




Co-op day.


This was a new recipe we tried for Thanksgiving. And they were delicious! Cranberry JalapeƱo Poppers. Recipe here


Harrison was really into the State Puzzles on Thanksgiving. He had Mimi help him with a couple.


Phoebe's into photobombing lately.


H got Dad down on the ground to help with the floor State Puzzle.


The kids like watching some Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving. They watched a good portion of this one on YouTube and then I found out it was last year's parade. Nice.


Writing down what we're thankful for on a table runner to be saved for posterity.



We tried to spend either Thanksgiving or Christmas at Grandma's house with all the cousins while I was growing up. Grandma had a handful of movies that we would choose from and Princess Bride was one of them. So this year we continued the tradition of Princess Bride on Thanksgiving.


A little family backyard campfire.




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cabbage Whites VIII

This will probably be the last post on our Cabbage White Butterflies. A lot has been learned and it's been very enjoyable. I'll keep the cycle going for a while if our current eggs hatch. Once you have the supplies, it's pretty simple.

The girls can't fly, so we've been able to get them out of the netting and hold them and even get them to eat out of our hand. 


We got three butterflies from about a dozen eggs (five eggs hatched). Goldilocks, alas, did not make it long. She died yesterday. Her wings were crinkled the worst of all three and she didn't seem to be able to get around very easily. 

Carol has some trouble too. I often find her on her back just waiting for someone to pick her up and put her back on her feet. She seems amiable and enjoys climbing onto our fingers.


These are some of the 15 or so eggs that Carol has laid. No sign that any have hatched yet.


This is Goldilocks feeding. 
You can tell when the proboscis is out because it's a dark color and the legs are a lighter color. Butterflies taste with their feet, so when they're on our hand, we can watch them place their foot on the sugar solution on our hand before they put out their proboscis. 



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Last Week


A couple more Trick or Treating pics.


 With Mimi and Papa at the Alamo.




 These two are usually big buds. 
Sometimes Jonathan runs out the door too quick and Harrison gets really upset because Jon left him. Sometimes H gets into Lego creations and "accidentally" destroys them and Jonathan gets pretty frustrated with him. 
But this captures their typical relationship.

Cabbage Whites VII


Our hope and prayers were not unfruitful.....

We have three emergent butterflies!
 Of the non-heretical kind, of course.

The first one to emerge was a female. This picture is very close to her emerging. I didn't get a picture of the last stage of a pupa where you can see the eye spots. Once you see the spots, you know they'll be emerging very soon. You can see the tape we used to hold her on after she was dropped several times last week. The silk carpet the chrysalis was attached to is hanging off the bottom.



Microscope picture of the carpet the caterpillar weaves to attach itself to a surface for metamorphosis. 

Microscope pic of the exoskeleton after the butterfly emerged.

The first to emerge, the kids named her Carol.


 A day or two later we got our male Roy. 

And this little lady had some trouble emerging. The Travis kids named her Goldilocks. We actually got to watch her come out. Her chrysalis was formed down low in the plastic container and I think she had trouble getting a foothold to help pull herself out. Then her wings got all stuck in the carpet and silk belt that held the exoskeleton in place and they never did unfold very well. I wonder if the same sort of thing happened to Roy and Carol because Carol has one wing that is curled and she can't fly. Roy can fly but one of his wings is a little bit curled too.





So now we hope for eggs. We put some radish plants in the cage for ovipositing (hopefully!). And I wouldn't use the plastic container for feeding anymore. I would just put everything in the cage and let the caterpillars form their chrysalis on the plant or branch. 

And I need to learn to leave them alone! Sometimes I try to help them and it ends up being hurtful. A lesson in letting go of control can be found somewhere around here....... Hmmmm.






Friday, October 31, 2014

Cabbage Whites VI

We now have three pupae! 

We lost another little guy last week. Phoebe buried him in the front yard.

They start out a bright green and then darken.



Ours haven't darkened a lot though. 

It could be because their background is clear container on light brown carpet against white wall.


The kids at co-op playing while we wait for olders to finish class.


All three chrysalides are securely fastened and performing metamorphosis. Truly securely fastened. I won't say how many times little hands dropped them on this day. Or tell you that two of them became insecurely unfastened and had to be taped back on and we really, really hope they survive the trauma. 

This is why we can't have pets, ya'll. 


Heating up a nail to poke a hole in a film canister to make....


..... a food container for the adult butterflies. 
That's a solution of sugar, water, honey and yellow food coloring.


More radish seeds planted for the butterflies to lay eggs on. We're living on hope. And a little bit of prayer. Surely we'll have a male and female out of the three survivors.


The net home is ready.


Microscope picture of an exoskeleton that was shed for the last time.


Autumn Greetings


My favorite season! 
Crisp, brisk, spicy, cozy.

We don't do this every year, but we did pumpkin carving this year. 


Elizabeth decoupaged hers with diamond cut-outs.






Phillip did Harrison's. I'm not sure Harrison did much to his pumpkin. 
He's not one to get his hands messy.


He sure loves it though.



And dressing up for Halloween. 
(The trailer park of the holidays, is what Phillip called it. I hope that doesn't offend anyone. I thought it was hilariously true.)

 We have a fisherman. 


 Something about Harry Potter and Ravenclaw.


 An old fashioned girl.


 And something that Jonathan came up with last-minute. 


I don't have pictures of the apple cider, apple slices with caramel, pumpkin muffins, baked nuts and seeds, and other yummy fall delicacies we've been partaking of. Fall foods are one of the top reasons I love autumn. A warm oven when it's brisk and windy outside is another. Ooh, and a sparky fire in the backyard. Blue jean jackets and warm knitted sweaters are enough to stave off the nip of cold before we have to don the bulky coats of winter. Taking a hike in the sunshine without all the sweat. 

Autumn is that last enjoyment of the summer and the anticipation of what's fun about winter.