Just Plodding Along

Friday, January 27, 2006


So today I decided to devote some time to watching the Monarch caterpillars do their thing. I got a kitchen chair and pulled myself close enough to the plant that when I leant over to look under the Swan plant, I got caterpillar poo in my ear (unintentionally of course!). Then Daughter and Son played with some on and off the plant and swapped them every now and then so they didn't get hungry. There were six caterpillars in the J position, three of them on the plant and three on the fence. There were also five or six huge caterpillars just roving all over the plant, I think they were either trying to get a good place to hang themselves up, or they couldn't figure out how to get off the plant to hang up elsewhere.

Since watering the garden tonight, I found a J hanging on the tap, and another on the brick windowsill under the kid's bedroom window.

Anyway, so there I am waiting and doing other stuff as well, like feeding kids and toileting etc. I need to go out at some stage to get some meds, so I'm kicking myself I wasn't wearing my watch. I walked inside to check the time - for about 15 seconds - and you just know that in that time the caterpillar I was sure was about to turn into a chrysalis, did. In the 15 seconds I wasn't watching. Hmmm. We went and got medicine 'cause I'm a bit annoyed I missed it happening. All we managed to see was the green blob wiggling the last bit of skin off the top.

And while we were out another three turned into chrysalis'.
This is the caterpillar we were watching and were sure any moment the change would happen as it was wriggling a bit instead of just hanging there.
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A photo of the chrysalis before it dried and shaped properly.
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I didn't give up.
While Hubby gave the kids a bath, I went and sat on the chair for what seemed like 20 minutes, in the cold. We'd had tea, so there was no hurry for anything to do, so after the kids were in their pyjamas, we all watched the last hanging caterpillar on the plant. Son even made him and Daughter a milo, such a precious boy!
I haven't got the photos of it happening, but have finally witnessed the change with Son and Daughter watching with me. Man it is so amazing how it does it. The caterpillar stretches out almost straight and then gradually wriggles down out of it's skin without falling off the plant. Then just at the last moment when the skin is almost off completely, the now green and odd looking thing pulls out a wee 'stick' where the back legs of the caterpillar used to be, and sticks itself to the silk bump it was holding on to. Both kids were impressed, and want to see more of the caterpillars doing it. It happens so quickly though, that we'll be lucky if we do.

After Hubby had gone out to visit a friend, and the kids were supposed to be sleeping (but were playing quietly in their room instead) I was outside hanging up some wet washing to get a headstart on tomorrow. I heard snuffling and sounds in the dry leaves in the corner of the driveway. I raced inside and got the camera to get some photos of what I thought was a hedgehog.
Instead I found three hedgehogs having a 'party'. They looked like naughty teenagers here.
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Then I got a surprise in the dark by another hedgehog crashing the 'party' but he didn't stay very long as I think he got more of a fright than I did. He was quite small too.
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