Sunday, July 20, 2008

Monarchs & Rainbows

We missed seeing our 1st set of monarchs break out of their chrysalis because we went camping over the 4th of July. Luckily we brought them over to my friend Brenda's just in case they would break out while we were gone. I didn't want to come home to dead Monarchs! Sure enough they did emerge while we were gone. Brenda said she was blown away and had never seen anything so amazing.
We find the whole process amazing. Feeding these little caterpillars milkweed, and watching them quadruple is size in a matter of days. Then when they've gorged all they can on milkweed they make their trek up to the top of the netting enclosure and hang out upside down for about 4-8hours. Then they will "fasten" themselves to the cardboard and form a J-hook. I tried to get a pic without disturbing the little critter, but it ended up curling up out of it's J-hook.

They stay in this pose, which to me looks like the yoga shoulder stand, for at least 8-15 hours. It looks like the are chanting the way they rhythmically move and their little legs come together as if they are praying. Then they start to twist and writhe around, they shed their skin, and their chrysalis starts to form. You can't see it in the pic below, but this little guy was really moving about.

Then in about another 4-8 hours the chrysalis looks like this pic below. Incredible shiny gold dots decorate the chrysalis. How does that happen? Simply amazing, and beautiful to look at. The monarch will stay in the chrysalis for a couple of weeks before it will emerge as a monarch butterfly.

We're usually lucky if we see one really good set of rainbows a year, but this year we were blessed with another awesome display. Kyle was the first to spot it. It happened after an evening storm passed through and the sun was just about to set...about 8:45pm.

The colors of the sky were surreal

We were racing around the house trying to get pictures before the sun set

you need the sun behind you in order to see the rainbow.