GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living


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Finally, the Butterflies are Back!

Need to mark this in the gardening journal (that’s what this blog is!). Today, May 18 at about 11am I saw our first real monarch activity around the crown flower. It’s been months we haven’t had much, and today I rescued 6 itty bitty caterpillars and put them in the IKEA mesh hamper for safety from birds until they decide to leave and make their chrysalis.

First caterpillars of the season!

First caterpillars of the season!

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Our First Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Hatched!

Awhile back I posted that a new species of butterfly had found us. The Gulf Fritillary butterfly first appeared on our dining room light at dinner, then we saw the spiky caterpillar in our yard and then discovered a (strange!) chrysalis hanging on the shed.

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About 2 weeks ago another spiky caterpillar appeared and we put it in the “hatchery” to see if it would form a chrysalis and it did! This morning, it hatched. It’s so tiny compared to the monarch! But I love the wing patterns and it liked the flowers. πŸ™‚

See another bloggers comments on this butterfly in Hawaii here:Β http://hawaiinaturejournal.weebly.com/hawaii-plants-and-animals-in-the-backyard-and-beyond/butterfly-kisses

Wings are still wet, not flying yet.

Wings are still wet, not flying yet.

Um, did she just poop on me?? :-D

Um, did she just poop on me?? πŸ˜€

On the pentas flowers

On the pentas flowers

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Little People that Care

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There’s a whole lot of internet chatter on parenting. Most of it I don’t read. Sometimes an article will pop up in my inbox or newsfeed that has added some more fuel to so-called mommy wars. I don’t participate. I do like to take part in writing and activities that encourage, support, spread love and generally help humanity. Because my husband and I want to raise kids that care. And kids are watching how we grown ups are interacting with each other. Beyond all other traits, this one matters most to me.

How do you raise kids that give a shit? (About the world, and not just themselves?)

I don’t know if I have the formula or not, but our little people care about stuff. They have interests beyond what can be found on a screen. When my little guy wanted to save all the little worms we found in our cucumbers last year, I knew we were doing something right. Now he is an experienced butterfly farmer! He participates in all aspects of our little hatchery. Β He helps get the caterpillars and saves the butterflies with wet wings so the geckos won’t eat them. After he is finished examining the dried up chrysalis, he smashes them, because he is 5 after all.

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He grows things. Six weeks ago we mixed a bunch of flower seeds together in a cup and he sprinkled them in a spot of his choice in the garden.

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This is how it looks today!

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Six weeks ago this was a bare patch. My son threw some old seeds from the fridge out here πŸ˜€

 

Today we spent more than 3 hours just piddling around outside with bugs. We discovered a praying mantis in one garden and a new species of butterfly that is now frequenting our yard (Chinese Swallowtail.) It was really fun.

IMG_1117Now we have a very mobile 1 year old that is crawling circles around her mama! I let go of the worry of injury and mud and let her go in the garden today. She crawled, scooped, touched and covered herself in mud. And was so content, so happy and after 2 hours was so TIRED that she actually napped! πŸ™‚

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So get outside, friends. Even if it’s cold, windy or rainy wherever in this beautiful world you happen to be. Spending time outside with the kiddos fosters a sense of love and wonder for them and a whole heap of love and appreciation for me. We all win this one. ❀

 

 


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Crazy Caterpillar Lady

 

 

 

That’s me. Out in the yard or the carport every morning talking to my little critters. πŸ˜€

There’s been so much caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly activity in the lately! We rescued 20+ caterpillars from the crown flower and they are now all either in chrysalis form or have already hatched. Many of them leave the little mesh hamper I put them, as the one below, braving the terrain across the yard to go hang by another one, who has already made a chrysalis on the aloe plant.

 

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Happy Butterflies

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Two butterflies hatched this morning while I was drinking my coffee. It is always amazing to watch, no matter how many times we have seen this now. But my baby was equally as fascinated, so we took the jar outside and watched them dry their wings and then eventually fly away. But one sat on my hand for the longest time, flapping and gaining her strength before circling the yard and going off.

Just a few moments after these two had gone, I checked the crownflower plant for new caterpillars and found two good sized ones, which have now been placed in our new “Ritz for Caterpillars” IKEA hamper. πŸ˜€ This new way of rescuing them, rather than jars, lets us get more at a time and also to get them smaller. Β In jars, you must keep putting fresh leaves in each day, which can get rather full and stinky. In the mesh hamper, I get a large branch, stuck it in a jar of water for freshness and this will probably last the entire time they are growing.

It’s such an odd hobby this has become for me, but it’s really amazing and reminds me of the miracles of our Universe. ❀

Little chubby baby hands and butterflies make awesome photos :-)

Little chubby baby hands and butterflies make awesome photos πŸ™‚

this beautiful creature let me photograph it for several minutes while the wings dried before flying away....

this beautiful creature let me photograph it for several minutes while the wings dried before flying away….

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I couldn’t believe how long it sat on my hand, just looking at me πŸ˜€

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Hey, nice eyes…

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Just having a chat πŸ™‚

 

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In the moments just before a butterfly breaks out of the chrysalis, it’s translucency allows us to see the orange and black pattern on the wings while still inside.

 

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IKEA mesh pop up hamper gets a new life as The Ritz for Caterpillars πŸ™‚

 

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Two of the three chrysalis in this jar hatched this morning, while I was feeding the baby and drinking coffee at the table. πŸ™‚

 

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