Sunday, February 27, 2011

Calm after the storm

At last our rains have returned. After a dry and suuny January the past few weeks of February have brought us cold and rainy days. The drama of the storms makes for some interesting photography. One lovely morning I was out early and captured the first rays of golden light illuminating the Rock. The skies were still dark and the water was glassy. This combination only lasted a moment and then it was gone. I am learning to appreciate each gift like this more and more.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

My wish has come true. I have seen my Monarchs go full cycle from tiny caterpillars to become beautiful butterflies. I have waited in my backyard for many hours watching and hoping for this wonderful transformation. And yesterday I finally saw and photographed an emergence. It is still a miracle to me. About two days before this event the chrysalis begins to change color. And in the last hours before the butterfly emerges the chrysalis gets very dark and the wings of the butterfly inside become visible. Then without fanfare the bottom of the chrysalis cracks open and the Monarch inside slowly emerges. In a matter of moments it is out and holding onto the empty shell of the chrysalis. For the next few minutes it pumps the fluid it has in it's abdomen into its wings until they expand to reveal their full glory. Once the wings are full size it still takes about an hour for them to harden. The new Monarch then climbs up to a good launch site where it practices flapping its wings and takes off. I can only tell you that my heart lifted with joy as I saw a Monarch take its first flight. We have successfully 'hatched' 8 Monarchs so far and we still have 9 chrysalises and at least 6 caterpillars to go.