Black Ridge Swallowtail Butterflies

During work today, my supervisor and I found ten Swallowtail Caterpillars on some celery seedlings inside of Allandale Farm’s large glass greenhouse. We placed them upon one of celery’s cousins, Angelica archangelica outdoors in the sunshine (A.K.A.: garden angelica, wild celery, and Norwegian angelica).Β  πŸ™‚ Not long after we placed them on the plant, did they begin munch-munching away at the flowers.

I believe they are on their last instar before turning into chrysalises. I have not seen Black Ridge Butterfly caterpillars in person before. πŸ˜€ One day, it would be nice to experience the sight of Black Ridge caterpillars emerging from their eggs, for the first time. πŸ˜€

Tea Party and Virginia

I come bearing good news! πŸ˜€

I shall be heading out to work for eight to nine months at a lovely permaculture/food forest/organic/bio-dynamic – farm in Western Virginia. The farm is called: “Crickets Cove.” Pretty-much all of the skills which I need to acquire for the Butterfly Forests Homestead can and will be learned at Crickets Cove. I shall be gone, starting on July 9th. πŸ™‚ While I am away from the current home I am living in, I will be uploading photographs and various information I gather about how to run a successful, self-sustainable homestead. ❀

More than likely, I will be posting every now and then (once a week(?) with my adventures here. πŸ™‚

The tea party part, is in regards to celebrating this next very-important step in my journey. Also, to see everyone I care about before I head off for almost an entire year. πŸ™‚
I am not able to invite all those I love and care about to the tea party .. but – nonetheless, it will be great! πŸ˜€ ❀ .. Also, there is something special about a hand written letter, or hand made card.

Below are photos taken of the hand watercolored tea party invitations I finished a couple minutes ago. πŸ™‚ Of course, you are very welcome to use these images for your own tea party, if you would like. *The more tea parties in the world, the merrier! πŸ˜€ haha

 

 

Third to Fourth Instar Monarchs!

Only so many days until five or six of the sixteen will be in their final stage of caterpillardom. πŸ™‚ This evening, I managed to find the last one who is behind his/her brothers and sisters. He/she is now in his/her second instar, whist the others are getting so-close to making their very own chrysalises. πŸ˜€

While cleaning off the leaves, I discovered a molting from the little-no-more first instar baby. πŸ˜€ ❀ My maternal instincts are gushing with happiness, whenever I tend to these little guys and gals. hehe Interestingly, I am one whom finds herself motherly loving of all animals (human baby and non-human alike) that I shall personally-place into care. πŸ™‚ ❀

Second instar: Monarch Butterflies! :D

A little while ago, I brought the whole fabric butterfly cage outside to enjoy the sun. To my delight, roughly over fifty percent of the sixteen monarch butterflies are almost into their second instar. πŸ˜€

The little pairs of black tentacles (stinkhorns) are beginning to grow. One pair is growing on the thorax and another pair upon the abdomen. πŸ™‚

Monarch Butterfly Babies~!

As of 10:00 am today, we now have lovely ‘teeny-tiny’ Monarch Butterfly caterpillars in our home. πŸ˜€

Roughly (depending on how warm it is) Monarch Caterpillars will go through all five instar stages in an average of two weeks. πŸ™‚

Update: 5/26/17

How quickly they are growing! πŸ˜€
After refilling the water source for the milk weed cuttings this morning, (along with cleaning up after their poop droppings) – I found six are already in between their first and second instar progress. I shall have to take a current photo soon to show the fast growth rate in a few days past time. πŸ˜€

Making bread and Baby Moths

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So, to my surprise, the two Luna Moths mated last night. I just ordered a Black Walnut sapling from the Arbor Day Foundation, and it should be arriving in so many days. Β It takes roughly a week for the eggs to hatch.

In the state we are currently living in (Boston, MA) – before the big move to New Zealand; the spring season has been quite strange.. So, in regards of the Black Walnut being late to be ordered right-now is not an issue. I think on a positive note with the odd weather and all – I think the Black Walnut sapling properly getting established into the pot, shouldn’t be a problem. πŸ™‚

Once I have set everything up for the new babies to be – I will give an update here. πŸ™‚
The mother and father are still very-much alive (tattered wings and spunk). I imagine, they will be flapping and resting about for the next three days or so. πŸ™‚

“Why did you mention making bread..?”

Well, since we are going to be about ninety-eight percent off the grid and self-sustainable in the future; I want to begin practicing my bread making skills again. πŸ™‚ It’s been a few years since I last kneaded a homemade loaf of bread, and I miss the joys of taking the time to make it from scratch (and not to mention, the lovely smell of bread baking in the oven!) πŸ˜€ πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰ Plus, the Butterfly Forests Homestead shall have fresh home baked goods for sale in the CSA shop. ❀ Β πŸ˜€

Below are a few things I have baked yesterday afternoon:
-Lavender Tea Cake
-Cheddar Rosemary Biscuit Drops

 

It’s a boy! :D

The second Luna Moth of three has made his appearance! πŸ˜€ ❀ I love the fuller antennae on the males. I am surprised it took him so-much longer to emerge in comparison to his β€˜sister.’ Maybe, we shall get a female for the last cocoon in time? Daniel has mentioned that it would be cool to have a pair mate and get β€˜babies.’ … That would also mean, a few black walnut saplings would be in order if that were the case (Luna Moth Caterpillars have quite an appetite). πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ haha

Monarch Butterfly Studies/Care

Whilst waiting for the last Luna Moths to develop into adults and emerge; I felt it was about time that I graduated to taking care of Butterflies. πŸ˜€ In the past, Daniel and I visited the delightful ‘The Butterfly Place’ inΒ Westford MA. While we enjoyed the stay, we picked up a native butterfly rearing kit of three. πŸ™‚

The monarch butterfly rearing kit I have just purchased moments ago, is a set of 14-16 monarch butterfly larvae. It should be arriving by May 15th. πŸ˜€ ❀ I have also made sure to order three bare root milkweeds (I have organic soil and pots already) and a butterfly cage which can hold them and protect them from predators.

The plan is to place the cocoons into mason jars and give them to dear friends at Allandale Farm to watch them develop into butterflies and then release them into the wild. πŸ™‚

I desire to share as much as I can of my journeys and experiences, with of the love of butterflies and nature to others wherever I go. I wantΒ my life-journeys to help others reconnect with nature, inspire and show how anyone can help save our earth; the simple gift of bringing a little more *love-light* into the world. πŸ™‚
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Once I receive the babies, kit, butterfly cage and milkweeds in the mail – I shall post an update in this particular blog post. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

You can purchase your own disease-free monarch butterfly rearing kits here:
http://shop.monarchwatch.org/product/Rearing-Kit/113232

Beneficial Insects Study

As a side project for my job as a greenhouse and nursery staff at Allandale Farm – I am given the fun task of creating signs for their three beneficial insects. πŸ™‚

This is the first of three I have completed:
The Green-Lacewing (I just released larva onto infested flowers who were covered in aphids late last week).

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This is an excellent learning process for me (both interacting and releasing the insects). Due, of not having an in-depth knowledge of beneficial insects, except for the common known Ladybird/Ladybug and praying mantis. At the Butterfly Forests Homestead, we plan to have zero-pesticides and simply allow the natural balance mother nature intended. Introducing and attracting predators whom enjoy eating the pests, who munch upon our editable flowers, vegetables, fruits, nut trees and various plants. πŸ™‚

Update: 6/4/2017

A few days ago, I received back the illustrations of all four Beneficial Insects from work I had completed over a month ago. πŸ˜€ Sorry for the delay, (it was out of my control) but here they are in all their glory! πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

I plan to create more illustrations for my continuing study, in the nearby future. πŸ™‚

The first emerges! :D

While I was away at work, one of the Luna Moths emerged from her cocoon. πŸ˜€ I missed the first of three – but that’s okay. I am quite happy overall. The other two Luna Moths are still developing . . . and I feel, one simply needs to have patience. πŸ™‚

This Luna Moth, is female. You can tell by the antennas. Males have more bushy hairs upon their antennas in comparison to the females. ❀

Update: 4/28/17′

Yesterday, the first of three passed away. I’ve placed her inside of a glass container for ‘sentimental-learning’ preference for the future. She was very gentle, highly-energetic and sweet. ❀ πŸ™‚

Her fellow two roommates are slowly but surely developing in different stages inside of their cocoons. I would say, in roughly a week from now, the second Luna Moth should emerge. πŸ™‚ ❀ The third, is a bit behind his brother in his last moments of pupa/adult development. πŸ™‚