Remember how I told you a while ago that Meagan got a butterfly house for her birthday? And her caterpillars came in the mail, but they had been killed by the extreme summer heat? Well, mid-September her new caterpillars came in the mail - four of them - and they were all well and good.
We had them for about 4 or 5 days before they climbed to the top of their little cup and wrapped themselves up in their chrysalists. Lucas transferred them from the cup to the mesh butterfly house. And then we waited.
It was really a very cool process to watch. Look how amazing... just before the butterflies break free of their cocoons, the cocoon becomes very translucent, and you can see their wings...
This was the first butterfly who hatched.
We had set the house on top of a book shelf so they were up and out of the way. One evening, the cat went nuts and started jumping straight up in the air and ricocheting off of the book shelf (moron), which is how I initially realized the butterfly had hatched. I called to Meagan, and she (and everyone else) came running to see her very first butterfly.
Right away we got some fresh flowers (from the flower bed out front) and mixed up some sugar water. We put the flowers in the bottom of the house, and used a medicine dropper to put some of the sugar water inside of the flowers.
It took a few days for all four of the butterflies to come out. Note: If you're reading this and you are raising butterflies for the first time like we were, please know that they bleed after they hatch. Out of their butts to be exact. No, it is not due to internal injury (which was my initial suspision, as Meagan had sort of monster trucked the first poor butterfly shortly after it hatched.)They all did it. I guess it's just what they do. So don't panic.
So one by one they hatched. And we watched as their wings dried and grew stronger. And soon they were all fluttering around the house and wandering up toward the top of the house.
It was a tough thing to explain to Meagan that they weren't really pets, but that they would be much happier if they could be free to fly around and play and have fun. I gave her an example that she could understand - what if she was ready to have sleepovers and play at her friends' houses, but instead we just kept her shut up in her room all the time because we wanted to keep her near us? She understood that it would not be healthy for her, and it was not healthy for the butterflies. So she agreed that setting them free was the thing to do. And by the time it was actually time to let them go, she was pretty excited about it all.
She carried the house out to the back deck... closest to the field, which is where she decided they would probably best like to live.
And then one by one, let them go.
And every single one of them did fly out over the field, which made her very happy. She said, "I just knew they would want to live there. And I bet they will make friends with all the white butterflies who are already out there."
She did good, and she is looking forward to getting MORE butterflies on her next birthday. I think I can live with that.
Oh, and one last note. She is now considering being a "Butterflyologist" when she grows up.