Those flowers that looked like milkweed, which is what Monarchs lay their eggs on because the caterpillars eat their leaves, must have actually been in the milkweed family.
Look what we found when we got home with some of those flowers!
Look how big he is now!
Here is our caterpillar on Day 6. You can see that his antenna or “whiplashes” are getting longer. They will droop down as they get longer. He has two sets of them. The ones near his head are getting very long. The ones in the back are the “fake” ones. He doesn’t do as much with them. They just throw off birds and other possible predators. But the birds don’t bother him, because they know he tastes bad. His bright colors warn them that he’s one of those nasty-tasting caterpillars just like those Monarch butterflies that taste so bad.
Anna and I went Milkweed hunting today. We saw lots of them in the ditches, but I didn’t want to stop by the busy road. So we went to some real country roads with little to no traffic. We got on a dead end road and found a whole bevy of Milkweeds and butterflies, including several Monarchs.
Anna bravely went out amongst the weeds and snake holes and snatched up a milkweed plant by the roots. I still haven’t figured out if this Milkweed we’re finding is a cousin to the Milkweed I’ve always known and loved or if it’s an earlier stage of it or what. I need to do some more research. There’s no milky stuff coming from the leaves. The leaves aren’t as thick as the ones I knew of. The plants aren’t as tall or straight up. And there are no milkweed pods! I will let you know what I find out.
I rewarded Anna with a McFlurry and myself with a chocolate shake. Then we went home and fed my caterpillar some fresh leaves.
Day 8 – Our caterpillar is about 1 and a half inches long now. When he’s 2 inches long, I think he will be ready to make a chrysalis. I think we’ll stretch some nylon hose across the top soon so he can hang his chrysalis from that.
Did you know that Milkweed is pretty??? I didn’t. Just look at the beautiful photos here at Butterfly Encounters. Guess what kind of milkweed we have? SWAMP MILKWEED!!! I’m not surprised.
I thought this video retelling of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was good.
And this one is good. Eric Carle actually reads “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” himself.
This Very Hungry Caterpillar unit is taking on a life of its own! I just explained to Abby that our caterpillar is going to turn into a butterfly like the one in this video. I wonder if she understands.
WARNING: This is a “home movie” to the max. I could watch it all day, but it’s really just Abby responding to the pictures and videos from my birthday. Probably not the most interesting to anybody but her mother. You might want to skip this.
You can click on “Happy Birthday Dear Mommy” and see me blowing out my fake candles and see Garrett’s adorable face as he’s begging his Daddy to let him take a picture of Mommy. This is for you, Kristi!