...who wanted to know if I might like to try my hand at raising monarch butterflies like she has been doing the past few summers.
"Sure!" I said.
And it was all over when she brought me this little guy, who was about 1/4" long....
...and 5 leaves with monarch eggs on them.
And from that moment I was hooked.
My little fella began to munch on the milkweed leaves I gave him...
And my eggs turned black on top....
...and hatched into the teeny-tiniest little caterpillars you've ever seen...in fact, they are difficult for me to see with the naked eye!
A few times as he grew, my little cat wiggled and shed his outgrown skin....and then ate it!
Room to grow bigger! And a new baby cat on the other leaf...
Two weeks after Kathy brought him to my house, the caterpillar was finished growing and crawled to the top of his enclosure and began his final performance as a caterpillar.
He hung in this "J" shape for about 12 hours or so...
...and then as Kim and I were eating supper one evening he quietly turned himself inside out and became a chrysalis.
That was 11 days ago. Inside that chrysalis, an amazing transformation is happening and we're awaiting his grand reappearance.
Meanwhile, the other caterpillars are munching and growing themselves.
And my small plastic tote operation has grown into an entire corner of my kitchen countertop with a bonafide butterfly habitat.
As I'm typing this, I have 56 caterpillars of various sizes and stages and a total of 8 chrysalises. Plus a few more eggs in the nursery.
Oh, and my daughter Emily passed on to me that clear box filled with 5 mature chrysalises to release, given to her by an acquaintance.
A few days later, I got a taste of the monarch thrill as they emerged (2 boys on the left and one girl)...
...and just yesterday I saw them flitting around my wildflower patch.
My first of many monarch releases... So. COOL!!!
I'm definitely hooked. Kim calls me the Milkweed Maniac, but I like to think of myself as more of a ...