Monday, August 8, 2011

watching time fly

friday evening i received a phone call from a friend. she said 'their turning' you might want to come tomorrow.

she was referring to the caterpillar and butterfly population that had decided to call her home their home too. i'd been waiting for this!

when the monarch caterpillar's metamorphosis is complete, the chrysalis changes from green to black, the pupa on the far left is ready, you can see it's wings clearly now

and out emerges a butterfly

 i sat watching and waiting hoping to actually see this happen. these six pots and the surrounding area plays host to dozens of butterflies in all four stages

the butterfly sanctuary (roped off with caution tape so unsuspecting passersby won't disturb the little insects)

this is milkweed, or butterfly bush, they live on this plant and must have it to survive

when the new butterfly emerges all crinkled and wrinkled and wet, it needs to dry off and warm up before it can use it's wings and fly. this one stayed like this for close to two hours

a monarch caterpillar getting into the j shape, for the the chrysalis stage it's going into next

six new butterflies are born

my friends left for the day so i was butterfly watching alone, they left cold drinks, a chair, and a cushion (for close up watching while on knees!) thank you!

finally! this guy is dry and he opened his wings for the first time. it's a boy! distinguishable by the two black dots in the bottom center, girls don't have these

and on another plant, a girl emerges! my granddaughter told me you have to name living things (well, she names everything) she said if you don't it won't be happy. i certainly want these two to be happy so i named them rene and melanie, after my friends that shared their garden with me.

i waited for over three hours. watching all the other comings and goings in the garden. see the hummingbird that darted over for 20 seconds?!

it was foggy and cool, and that made the butterflies take longer to warm up, did you know that monarch butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees?

rene seems to be getting closer, here he is 'shivering' his wings to warm up. i didn't mind waiting, i really wanted to see everything, from the emerging to the first flight

so i waited (and hoped for sun)

and waited and had a latte

and then later had a drink my friend so kindly left (the sun came out and now it's hot!)

and knit (or unknit, making mistakes is common when your not looking at what your doing)

i stepped on my reading glasses, again, not watching

and i sent text messages to all my kids, look i said, a brand new butterfly!  i got this response ' mom, your such a hippie'.  and happened, while i was busy doing all the above things, i missed the actual liftoff...

but he's flying!!

rene,  is in the air. well my goodness. i felt so proud of him.

watching his first fluttery attempts in his new butterfly body gave me great joy. he didn't stay long in the air though and floated softly down to a patch of grass. i crept over, stuck my hand out (remember doing this as a child?) and offered him my finger. he accepted. and i'm pretty sure i heard him whisper 'did you see that?!  i can fly!'

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Personalize your own digital slideshow

if you have a moment, this short slide show is of one of the butterflies emerging from it's chrysalis, it's a miracle to watch every time. (be sure to turn down your volume if you prefer no music).
happy birthday also to three lovely bloggy friends, laurel, karen and mim, whose birthdays are this (and next) week! and chuck and i both want to thank you very much for the kind comments on my last post.

xo lori


  1. Lori, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful photos and digital slideshow with us. I have never seen anything like that before. How interesting - Have a nice summer week, Inge

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your post. One year for my birthday my husband took me to the Monarch Butterfly Refuge in Avila Beach, CA. It was magical to be so surrounded by the migrating butterlies!

  3. How wonderful that you were able to watch something so beautiful! My children call me a hippie and a flower child all the time, it's it nice when they pay us such wonderful compliments!? xx

  4. you are such a hippie! i love that about you. these are wonderful. what a great experience you shared with us. ezra liked it too. surely you've been to the butterfly preserve in santa barbara? it is one of the most magical places on earth to me.

  5. Wonderful post that proves what we all know anyways:
    Hippies RULE.

  6. What an epic afternoon for you! Thanks so much for sharing the experience. You got some fantastic photos!!!

  7. Yay! I love monarchs! We had swan plants every year until the kids grew bigger and one year the caterpillars cocooned in our house which was amazing because then they also hatched there. You have inspired me to do this again this coming summer!

  8. So amazing Lori! I havent seen their transformation before. Hippie indeed :)

  9. These photos are so amazing, what an experience! Thank you for sharing these, they are so lucky to have you around!



  10. Oh gosh Lori that's soooo cool I would have sat there all day too!! I've never seen the monarchs emerging but one year we raised painted ladies inside.

    Thank you for sharing I loved it!!!!

    xo Ro

  11. What a wonderful post, what patience you have but it was worth it.

  12. Lori, This is a small miracle of a post. I learned so much and it made me tear up. Thank you for this my darling magical thinking sister :-). xoxo

  13. What better companion could they have? Lori, you are a butterfly whisperer! I`m sure they rejoiced in having someone to watch them fly for the first time! Hippie? I call you a Fairy, a Zauberfee!

  14. This is amazing despite the fact that I am scared of butterflies ( iknow, I know!) I enjoyed these pictures tremendously. Even shared with a friend who loves these flying bugs

    I also loved your last post but was so amazed at the photo of those gorgeous women running in their bikinis that I was gob-smacked. It's at times like this that I realize what different worlds are out there. Lovely for chuck to come in fourth and as usual - lovely photos.

  15. i am speechless by how much i've learned in this post. you are a TEACHER sf/buffy/iloveyou.

    seeing that monarch still in its caccoon is amazing amazing amazing. how you chose your moments in life, lori, is as educational and inspirational as everything you share here.



  16. You KNOW I cried as soon as I saw the first photo.....cos' I KNEW you were going to take us on their complete journey... it's beyond beautiful. I loved the photo of Rene on your finger.... (and loved the one of the broken glasses....I have that more than I care to admit)!

    How wonderful you were there! How fantastic you shared this with us!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  17. oh lori, i loved every scrap of this post - i totally could see sitting there all day and watching the wonder of those butterflies', wow.

    you da bomb with the camera, girl.


  18. Wow those pictures are beautiful

  19. happy Birth-Day rene and melanie!
    Wow. I'm so glad to have been able to share this through Lori's eyes. This is for you and your other butterfly friends getting ready for their first flight. It's from Jonathan Livingston Seagull...

    "Come along then." said Jonathan. "Climb with me away from the ground, and we'll begin."

    "You don't understand. My wing. I can't move my wing."

    "Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is."

    "Are you saying I can fly?"

    "I say you are free."

    Thanks so much for posting this amazing event! It brings me back to pacific grove which is named butterfly town for the Monarchs that migrate there every October. Why they choose such a foggy, chilly town on their way to mexico is beyond me, but I'm glad they do.
    They'd huddle in the Monterey Pines all strung together like festive garland, bracing the cold fog and wind. As soon as the sun shone on them they would all flutter like falling confetti. it was magical, just like this post.

    Thanks so much Lori. I've lingered here for a half hour now ;)


    P.S. Thanks for still being a hippie!

  20. wow, you snapped some awesome pics. and i learned a thing or 2!

  21. AMAZING photos - so worth the wait - well done! I love how they hang from the flower pot like that - such strong glue!! Lx

  22. This is the best post I've ever read...We don't get many butterflies here {downtown, city living} and they just fascinate me...Now, even more! I teared up with the shot of Rene on your finger...

    I haven't used the TLR much. I'm afraid! It's strange...I spent time practicing with the light meter and then went out and only took one photo! :) The other film cameras are well used and not feared at all!

    Thank you so much Lori. This made my day and I'm only a hour in...

  23. Lori, you always manage such unique captures. I must be a hippie too cause I could sit and watch the transformations all day. Wonderful as usual Lori!

  24. You have taken me on a beautiful journey today.You capture these miracles to share with the rest of us and they make me want to run out and witness more.Big Hugs sweet Lori.Cat

  25. Oh, Lori! How fun. I feel like I was waiting with you. What a great experience for you and what great friends you have!

  26. Oh, Lori, how wonderful!! When we lived in the mountains in New Mexico, we had countless monarch butterflies attach their cocoons to our window sills and then emerge one after the other. They are stunning in every phase of their development. And every emergence is like a miracle.... I love that you captured that for us!! Hugs, Silke

  27. How wonderful! How delightful!
    Thank you for sharing.

  28. OH, this is what I called an adventure in the backyard. They're so beautiful. Thank you for telling which is a boy/girl, I didn't know that.

  29. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for sharing this (and your kind words on my blog)!! Beautiful photos!! Did I see somewhere you use a Canon,too? :)


xoxo lori