Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fluttered By

This photo was taken yesterday in a panic.

But let me begin at the beginning.

A few weeks ago, my father-in-law arrived with a gift for my seven year old daughter.  It was a glass bulb with a spotted caterpillar inside.  He found the caterpillar munching on the parsley plants in his garden and, knowing how much my daughter loves bugs and animals of all sorts, he put it and a whole bunch of parsley in the glass bulb and brought it for her to observe.

As a general rule, we allow the kids to pick up and study our neighbourhood bugs to their hearts' content, but after they've had a good look, they have to put the bugs back where they found them.  So this was a bit of a departure for us and we wanted to do our best to take good care of the little guy (or girl.)

We changed its parsley diligently every day and dumped out the caterpillar poop.  There was a lot of caterpillar poop.  Our little friend grew and grew and one day he (she?) climbed up the side of the glass and stayed there.  The next morning, there was a green chrysalis where the caterpillar had been the night before.  (Sigh of relief -- he (possibly she) wasn't sick - or worse.)

Then we waited.  And waited.  For about a week.  Yesterday, we awoke to the scene above.  The poor, sweet butterfly was bashing its lovely wings against the sides of the bulb trying to find a way out.  It was at that point that it occurred to us that perhaps the tiny hole at the top of the bulb, which had been plenty big enough to let in a caterpillar, might be far too small to let out a fully grown butterfly.

I took a quick, shaky photo, then we ran outside and removed the paper covering the top.  After many attempts with the hole in the glass facing up, down and sideways, there was still a frantic butterfly inside the glass and three frantic human beings on the outside trying to coax him (her?) out without damaging his (possibly her) wings.

Then my daughter had an idea:  put the opening near one of the clumps of purple flowers on our spirea bush.  We did and within seconds, the caterpillar had found the opening, folded its wings and crawled out onto the flowers as if it was the most natural thing in the world.  Then it winked at us (we might have imagined that part) and flew away.

Have you had any brushes with nature recently?


  1. I chaperoned a retreat with students this weekend and got about 100 feet from an elk whose antlers seemed to be as tall as me (just the antlers). :) Really glad the butterfly got out safely - neat story.

  2. What a beautiful visitor and such an exciting tale for all of you to share!

    We seem to encounter nature here a lot and I'm happy to report I have not met up with any snakes recently. I have enjoyed watching butterflies visit our bushes and skinks scurry across the front stoop. My husband was stung while he mowed lawn over the weekend which was exciting enough for all of us.

  3. We have a pair of Doves that seem to love our home, and have stayed. They are brave, and like our front porch, even when we open the door and go outside. They sit on our railing, under our roses, in our fir tree. They sing every morning like they are saying goodbye when we get in the car and go to work. I love this kind of thing. I loved your story.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Carin, Scribbler and Michelle!

    Carin: Wow! Such a large animal. That's definitely a brush with nature. Were you scared? Awestruck? Have you seen elk before?

    Scribbler: Sorry to hear about the sting! So far this year we've managed to avoid stinging insects. The skinks and snakes sound neat, but I'm still captivated by tales of your brushes with owls.

    Michelle: What a lovely way to start the day! It sounds like your doves are honorary members of the family!

  5. A wonderful story!!!!! My girls love nature and things bugs and such! I will have to share this with them in the morning!

  6. Thanks, Rani! Hope your girls are enjoying their brushes with bugs and such. I'm finding that seeing them (the bugs) through my children's eyes makes me much less squeamish about them. How about you?


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