If you came here looking for a recipe, I disappoint yet again. If you came here looking for caterpillars... you got 'em!
Honestly, I don't know who is more excited: Abby, Elise, or me. Last year we had swallowtail butterflies take over our dill and parsley, leaving us with beautiful caterpillars. We didn't catch any last year, so we missed out on the caterpillar-chrysalis-butterfly transformation. This year, we packed the small planting area around the light post in front with butterfly plants: tropical milkweed and lantana. I have been keeping those blooming beauties alive all summer and the monarch butterflies found us! We have at least a dozen caterpillars out there and the girls picked 3 to bring inside. We set up a nice little box with freshly cut milkweed and some sticks and, as I type, the first of the three is hanging beautifully preparing to move into the chrysalis stage.
I highly encourage those of you in this area to plant a little butterfly garden next year. The cost is extremely low - we put in 6 milkweed plants and 6 lantana. The monarchs love the lantana, so that draws them in, and then the milkweed is essential for the caterpillars. Abby and Elise hold the caterpillars, they talk to them, and they are so excited to see the "beautiful butterfly". Nature is amazing. And these simple little projects teach our children about nature... and life cycles... and care for living things... and curiosity... and they provide endless conversations that bring up new questions and new ideas. Isn't it wonderful?
For those of you that live near us, KU has a fabulous Monarch Watch program. Check out this link for information about their open house, which is a great opportunity to see butterflies in action! In the past, they have often had caterpillars and/or chrysalis to send home with kids.
And I just checked the caterpillar. Still hanging, no chrysalis. It's totally going to happen as soon as I go to bed...