Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Sucked and the Success

The very excellent news is my butterfly project, growing Monarch Butterflies has been a rousing success. I took this shot just a few minutes ago and I'm excited to continue monitoring the chrysalises that hang from the house the plants and every which where.


When I came home from a vet appointment I checked again!

  So I looked and found anther getting ready to emerge.

she rocks back and forth to dry her wings

This is taking place just outside my door on a cactus planter.

Isn't nature miraculous!!

The suckie news is this blog may be vanishing simply because I can't for the life of me or my husband or my son figure out how to keep my domain name through google. They sent me the most convoluted email I had ever received, go here, go there, password this, that, an old email I have not used for several years. So if you find Along the Trail has turned into a porn site or a place selling shoes, I thought I'd tell you why.

I may set up a new one but for now, I'm just going to let technology take its course. Thank you all for joining me along this trail and for you kind comments and support throughout the years, I really have appreciated you!

Happy trails to you!
xo Ro b.r. (butterfly rancher)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chrysalis in July

I am thrilled beyond words to be finding gorgeous chrysalises dotted here and there now, around the garden.

When the larvae are in this state, no longer active, quiet and seemingly lifeless, it takes but a few short hours…

 to turn into this. These are nearly impossible to find even though they are about an inch in length. They blend so well with the vegetation they can vanish in front of your very eyes. Who needs a Christmas tree when you can have a butterfly bush! My only regret is that I didn't just sit there to watch it unfold with my eyes, maybe I'll be luckier in the future.

In about 10 days time butterflies should emerge. THIS is EXCITING!!!

Thank you for staying tuned to the Butterfly channel, xo Ro

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Butterfly Project Update


The butterfly project has exceeded all of my expectations. I planted 11 milkweed plants in order to supply the Monarch Butterfly population with food and a place to lay eggs, just doing a little crumb of a my part to help bolster their ever dwindling populations. I also did it to see if it would be successful and for my own curiosity. 

*laying eggs

 The plants started out quite pretty and soon they were populated with small caterpillars…

who grew and grew ( their munching is sometimes audible like if you click your thumbnail and middle fingernail, try it :)

They were stripping the plants bare then they'd move to the next and the next one was already hosting a number of them.

I can't help but think of the Walking Dead, these little crawlers are like zombies moving slowly and devouring.

Things I have observed and questions I hope to solve..

Our lizards get excited when they see them but they must know the caterpillars are filled with toxic milkweed because they don't want to eat them. I'm not sure about the birds. 

I'm not planting any more weeds this year, in the wild they are but dotted on the hillsides so I'm going to see if they can recover.

The larvae have eaten all the fresh seeds and pods from the African plant causing it I would think not to be able to procreate. Our native milk weed develops seeds much later in the season.

I'm thinking once all the vegetation is gone the caterpillars will move to the trees and bushes and begin the next part of the cycle which is another reason I'm limiting the supply.

This one already has!!!! How wonderful is this!!!

Mama was back today laying eggs on the twigs. Next year I will plant more milkweed. If you live here in CA the best time to install native plants is in the fall. It's no too late though to add some to your garden, I suggest you add more than you might think.

I think the spiders are getting jealous, I had never thought to dust the mobile since I never saw the dust by the light of the day……look!…….spider art…..I sort of love that they are getting into the act!

Happy summer flitting to you, my friends!
Love, Ro