Monarch struggles

Maybe I haven’t taken time to notice but it seems like the butterflies are not as plenteous this year.  I enjoy seeing these graceful forms of creation, and their struggles to become what they were destined to become. 

I’m thinking of what we did for the monarch butterflies during the past two years to help them populate. I prepared a little information and gathered some of our photos as well as video clips. 

Since the lizards enjoy the caterpillars so much I built a crude little vertical, rectangular, screened-in house for the monarchs to munch on milkweed. And, WOW, did they munch. It was amazing how they multiplied. I had a challenge keeping sufficient milkweed plants in their house.

I stopped by Ace Hardware one day and happened to notice this nice, larger, butterfly house. They weren’t selling it but it sure posed some ideas of expansion. Well, back to the growth process.

I think you’ll get a laugh out of the video piece as one monarch can’t get a little piece of leaf off its antennae (tentacles), and the challenge of finding a place to “hang out.” 

We can learn from the butterfly – to not give up but persevere through the challenges.  That’s what I thought when I looked back over my photos and video clips.

The monarchs really enjoy feasting on the milkweed plants, and then they mate.  Females lay their eggs . Caterpillars hatch, feast, chrysalize, and metamorphose into new butterflies, which set off northward toward yet new breeding grounds.

Come fall, the great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of the original migrants head south, returning to trees that neither their parents nor even their grandparents ever knew.  https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/06/monarch-butterflies/590908/

Apparently many believe the monarch butterflies are the most beautiful of all butterflies, and are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the name “monarch.”

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year.

The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during the year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one.

Here is some neat information from https://www.monarch-butterfly.com/.  In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow.

After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so it can start the process of metamorphosis. It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change.

Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.

The monarch butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and just enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.

The second generation of monarch butterflies is born in May and June, and then the third generation will be born in July and August. These monarch butterflies will go through exactly the same four-stage life cycle as the first generation did, dying two to six weeks after it becomes a beautiful monarch butterfly.

Let’s enjoy life all around us and take time to think about the butterfly.  They can help us relate to life a little better.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Ichetucknee 1

It’s quiet now, missing the laughter and squealing with the cool spring water. Serene, peaceful, where are the people?

Crystal clear headwaters at Ichetucknee Springs begin at the north entrance and flow southward.
Spring water bubbles up and flows downstream for all to enjoy.

It was a warm pre-spring day with a slight haze from clouds. We ponder, and imagine, that soon the echoes erupt through the oaks; ripples with the splash of the crystal clear flow. It will soon be Ichetucknee’s prime time.

Ichetucknee – Indian word meaning “beaver pond” and is one of Florida’s 33 first-magnitude springs. (Wikipedia) The springs are located close to High Springs, Florida.

To me, prime time is whenever I can be there, taking in the beauty around. I enjoyed the quietness and stillness without all the laughter and splashing – because it was a good picture day – even though vegetation was still dormant.

The soft flow of the springs allows a slight splash now and then but their flow is without effort, abiding within natural barriers. A leaf falls from the tree and you could almost hear it land in the woods, or softly touch the smooth, clear water.

This is a beautiful place. Observe with me the beauty even in the after-affects of winter.

Egrets and turtles continue their daily routine regardless of coolness or warmth.

Soon, the people will arrive, the green abounds and the sun bakes. The springs refresh. Below is a nice video from Trips to Discover.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron


Has spring sprung?

As most of you living in the northern hemisphere are still experiencing cold weather, at least in the south (particularly in Florida) we are experiencing warmer weather – like in the 80s. 

So, my thought is?  Has spring sprung, although it’s not officially spring?  Just don’t tell the natural environment and the lizards. 

Peach tree blossoms in February

We have now passed on from the pine and are encountering the oak pollen.  Lot’s of sneezes to go around.  Lot’s of car washes too. 

I wondered if my peach tree of just over a year was even alive since the leaves fell in the fall and it didn’t look well. Now it has wakened.  I just had to take a picture and tell you about it. 

Those still shivering should know – it won’t be long – although you may have plenty of snow. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron