Sunday, October 12, 2014

Guest photographers, milkweed and monarchs!

post #212
       I am so looking forward to sharing these photos today. The first group is from Rachel Carpenter who has a Monarch Station at her home in Indiana.  The second batch is from Lucy Pryor, now living in northeast Kentucky, like I do.  We have each known the other two for a long time, and our stories definitely overlap. Even so, I had no idea about Rachel's work until a week ago, when Lucy forwarded me these photos by email.  Rachel wrote "I collect caterpillars and raise them on milkweed and then once the butterflies hatch I tag them with tags I get from Monarch Watch."
        Esssentially, the story goes from left photo to right photo. After the additional written-down information Rachel sent just this morning, to help explain what it is she does, the other larger photos follow  --


from Rachel: The way I do this is that I check the milkweed on our property for caterpillars, or sometimes I even get eggs.  Then I collect them and put them in a wooden box that Johno [R's husband] made.  The front and back are screen and the front is a door.  Then I basically make a "bouquet" of milkweed leaves.  I just use a yogurt carton with water in it.  I change out the leaves every few days for fresh ones.  We have a lot of milkweed in our yard, so that is easy to do.  Then when the caterpillars are satisfied, they climb off the milkweed.  If they weren't in captivity they would crawl away, but since they can't leave they just climb to the top of the box.  They get into that "J" shape, hang there for around 24 hours, then they change into the chrysalis.  Here is a great ten minute video that I found on youtube that shows the transformation:  I have gotten to see that happen a few times.  Then the rest of the photos are just of the chrysalis over the 3 weeks or so that it is a chrysalis.  It gradually darkens and you can begin to see the butterfly developing.  By the time it is ready to emerge the chrysalis is completely clear.

      Thank you, Rachel!!  Here are some of her other photos:

drying off?
Rachel has labeled this monarch for Monarch Watch monitoring.
      In earlier blog posts I have mentioned the work of photographer Betty Hall, in Lexington, KY.  She has a blog (here) that also shows her Monarch Station and her backyard butterfly garden.  She has been interested in the welfare of these beautiful creatures for many, many years.  And her photos are amazing. (note: she sells notecards at Good Foods Coop, in Lexington, KY.)
       My last offering for today are some monarch photos taken with great care and patience by photographer Lucy Pryor.  Thank you, Rachel and Lucy, for being guests here today.  And thank you everyone who has been working so creatively to preserve monarchs in our changing world we are each called to care for. 



  1. This is wonderful; thanks for the email!

  2. Hi Ann, These are Wonderful! I have sent a link to my daughter who is homeschooling now. I was traveling home from her place the day this was posted, so just saw them today. The tagging of the monarch is a fasinating idea. Wild actually. Thanks! love! hugs!