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Sunday, June 8, 2008

When Blogging turns Deadly

Back in May, we received caterpillars from Insect Lore for our butterfly habitat. I kept the first shipment of caterpillars in our family room and they died, so when I requested and received a second shipment, I kept the them on the table next to my husband's side of the bed.

He said he was grossed out and couldn't sleep with those things crawling around next to him. I understood, but there was no way I was going to sleep next to them.

I found it absolutely fascinating to see the caterpillars grow and change into chrysalids. The kids were mildy interested. They really became excited when the butterflies emerged and it was time to fight about whose turn it was to feed them.

I was relieved that they actually wanted to handle the feedings. There was no way I was going to stick my hand in a container full of insects. They are insects, aren't they???

One morning as Andrew was dropping sugar water on the flowers in the habitat, one of the butterflies escaped into our room. I saw him fly toward the air vent and I thought he was long gone until a few days later when the kids were playing outside and they saw him flying in our window.

We had already let the other butteflies go free in our backyard because they needed their freedom, and... well... I was tired of remembering to feed them.

Andrew grabbed the escaped butterfly by the wings and took him outside while I grabbed the camera. I am as inconsistent with downloading pics as I am with blogging, and the camera's memory was full.

I guess it took me to long to delete a few pics and snap one of Andrew with the butterfly because by the time he let it go, it could no longer fly.

Andrew placed him on a flower in the butterfly garden we'd planted in pots in our backyard and sprinkled sugar water near him. When we woke up the next morning, there were ants crawling all over him. All for the sake of a blog photo.

We still have the flowers, though. Every once in a while I notice them looking a little limp and I tell Andrew to grab a cup of water.

I really want to be the outdoorsy homeschool mom who gardens, reads Anna Comstock, takes the children on hikes, and keeps a nature journals full of cutsie little sketches. But I think we'll shift our focus to some indoor activity that doesn't involve harming mother nature. Chess, anyone?


Kysha said...

Oh, I can't wait to start our butterfly garden and our tad pole kit. We have them here but are waiting til we start our Environmental Science study in the upcoming year. As for when to start your year round schedule, why not start it in September? I know some who run their years from Sept. to July or August also. Depending on how long you would like your year of course, 36 or 40 weeks.

christinemm said...

Hi Carlotta,
Thanks for commenting on my blog post about talking to our kids about sex education. You inspired me to blog more of my thoughts.

You can read that post here.

Regarding the butterfly kit, we did that one year. It was tragic as one of the caterpillars ended up being a deformed and dying butterfly. My son, then about age 6 or 7 was a bit traumatized. So it included a lesson in how things don't always turn out perfectly and some creatures are born with defects. When he was not looking I put it out of its misery and said I found it dead. The wings were not formed correctly and after two days it was clear they were not going to 'right themselves'.

A homeschool mom friend also ruined the fun for us. She says our local Audubon Center in CT says that the kits have butterflies from CA that are not winter-hardy and that by releasing them in CT if they mate with local butterflies they will water down the gene pool and make the new butterflies likely to die in the winter. The guy said that no one in CT should be releasing these to the wild. I don't know whether he is right or wrong but the idea that I could have caused harm to the wild butterflies by getting these from the kit shipped to me from elsewhere is now depressing.