Monthly Archives: September 2015

Quote of the Week #39

sara2-1000772I read this story once about a man walking on a beach. Behind him, at a distance, another man followed. He saw that the man kept bending down, picking something up, walking to the water and bending down again. Puzzled, he hurried to catch up to the man. When he got close, he saw that the man was picking up starfish that had become stranded on the beach and returning them to the water. He noticed that there were MANY starfish on the beach and said to the man, “Wow, that’s a lot of stranded starfish. What difference can you possibly make–there are SO MANY!” The man bent down, picked up a starfish, set it in the ocean and said, “To that one it makes a big difference!”

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Sara, Monarch butterfly enthusiast extraordinaire!

I want to share a story about someone I met recently who also is making a big difference. If you’ve been following along, you likely have read some of my blog posts from this summer about my experiences raising Monarchs and my triumphs in getting some of their valuable habitat protected.

Well the other day I got a call from a woman named Sara, whom I’d never met but who had gotten my phone number from a man at one of the places where I spend time doing photography. She is passionate about helping Monarch butterflies too, raising them just as I did. Except instead of 25, she has 300! Like me, she knows that in nature the caterpillars have many, many obstacles to overcome.

sara2-1601Studies suggest less than 10% of Monarch caterpillars in the wild actually go on to become adults.

Most of the challenges go away when you remove the caterpillars from the field. They won’t be eaten. They won’t be parasitized (unless this already happened. Read about this HERE) They won’t fall off the plant and become lost. They won’t run out of Milkweed. Their field won’t be mowed.They won’t be poisoned by pesticides or herbicides.

sara2-3423The field that Sara had been using to collect Milkweed suddenly became unavailable to her, leaving her in a predicament as she has many caterpillars that she is responsible for feeding. Without her and the leaves she provides, they will die.

She contacted me hoping I could help. I contacted the owner of that Milkweed field on my road that I spoke of in an earlier post. He whole-heartedly gave us the green light to collect all the Milkweed leaves we needed.  This means that all of Sara’s caterpillars will have a dependable food supply and will then make it to adulthood and join the millions of other monarchs on their migration to Mexico.

Woo hoo, what a victory for the Monarchs!!

I admire Sara and her infectious enthusiasm for Monarch butterflies. Raising Monarchs is a lot of work and requires a lot of time between cleaning out their containers and collecting leaves. With 300 it’s practically a full-time job. And though there’s no one to thank her and offer appreciation for her efforts, she does it all with a smile, confident her actions  willsara2-3378 make a difference. And to each and every one of those 300+ that she has, she IS making a tremendous difference! They can’t thank her, but I will!

Thank you, Sara for  giving those butterflies a free ticket to becoming adults.

I spent a morning recently in the field collecting Milkweed leaves with Sara, her boyfriend, Pete, along with Sara’s friend Steph, Steph’s husband and their daughter, who are also raising butterflies (Thank you also!). Sara brought a net full of newly emerged butterflies to release, which we gently placed on 5 year old Eva–much to her absolute delight!

As we moved around collecting leaves, the butterflies took off when they were ready, flying for the first time.

What a great moment when that happens! Imagine what it would be like to fly for the first time!

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We all cheered joyfully, shouting things like”Good luck!” or “Safe travels!” as the butterfly disappeared into the sky. So many challenges lie ahead for them now as they make their way to a place that they’ve never been.

Sara and Steph collecting Milkweed leaves

Sara and Steph collecting Milkweed leaves

It was a joyous event and all morning all that I could think was “HA! So I’m not the only one who does this!” Amazing how  paths cross and we know instantly when we’ve met a kindred spirit. (This makes me think of another quote .) It is so refreshing to meet other people who are also passionate about Monarchs and helping them carry on (Read what YOU can do to help Monarchs)…

Here’s my quote for this week:sara2-

Who have you been inspired by lately? If you’d like to share, use the comment box below; it’s always fun to hear from my readers!

Weekly Puzzler Answer #79

These big, iridescent eye spots can be found on one of our North American butterflies, called a Common Buckeye. This butterfly, with a wingspan of 39-68mm, is found throughout most of the United States. When it closes its wings, it is not nearly as striking. Have you seen this butterfly?

Buckeyes prefer open areas with low vegetation and a variety of flowers where they can get nectar. They also need bare earth where they perch to attract mates.

If you want to attract Buckeyes to your yard, try planting snapdragon, false foxglove, plantain, or toad-flax.

Here are some pictures of our Common Buckeye butterfly.

Wings covered with dew!A Buckeye resting on the groundA Buckeye sunning itself in the morningWhat beautiful eye spots!Common BuckeyeSide view of a Buckeye

Check out the new PUZZLER here. 

Weekly Puzzler #80

As you may have read me mention a time or two, I live in the middle of the woods, with a pond and small stream on the property. We see and hear all kinds of different animals here. One afternoon recently my husband called me to the front porch to listen to a new sound he had been hearing. He described it as a long fart but when I listened, I thought a long snore was more accurate. See what you think…

Have you ever heard this sound? Do you know what animal is making it? Is it a bird, an insect, an amphibian or a mammal? Check back next Saturday to learn who is making this sound!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Quote of the Week #38

Did you know today is the first day of autumn? Hard to believe another summer is gone and we are entering fall, which very quickly will give way to the holidays and then a new year. This time of year, more than any other, seems to fly by. Are you ready?

Here’s a quote in honor of this first day of the glorious season we call Fall. Here’s to new beginnings!

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Each day is a new beginning–to learn more about ourselves, to care more about others, to laugh more than we did, to accomplish more than we thought we could and to be more than we were before.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #78

puzzle-Did you recognize these feathers from a female Mallard duck? What’s really cool is that depending on how the light hits them, they might look bluish, blackish or even purple. Aren’t they beautiful?

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Here’s next week’s puzzler.

Weekly Puzzler #79

Did you get to spend a lot of time outside this summer? Have you seen many of our lovely butterflies and moths?

I have been seeing this member of Lepidoptera a lot lately. Do you recognize this one? Click HERE to see if your guess was correct!
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Monarch Day at The NC Arboretum!

Milkweed used to grow everywhere! But now, not so much.

Milkweed used to grow everywhere! But now, not so much.

In recent weeks some of my readers have expressed interest in planting Milkweed in their yards to help the Monarch butterflies. As you know, the caterpillars of our beloved orange and black butterflies require the leaves of this plant. 

The North Carolina Arboretum is having a Monarch Day on Saturday, September 19th. I will not be in town but would invite any of my local readers to go, especially if you have interest in purchasing and growing Milkweed, or learning more about this lovely butterfly and its lifecycle. The Arboretum will be selling plants all day and will have events for adults as well as children. Click here to see the schedule.

Happy Wednesday to you all!