Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Monarch Ranch Update

Things are going well at Monarch Ranch I, with only 1 slight setback so far. One of the cocoons fell off the roof shortly after it changed from a caterpillar. I'm not sure what happened and I tried to reattach it to the branch with a thread but it fell from there also. I've left it lying inside on the off chance that something might still happen. I think this one was from one of the smaller caterpillars, so I don't think another parasitic insect had laid eggs in the caterpillar, but I'll wait a while longer to see if there are any other obvious developments with this cocoon.
In the meantime, I have 2 completed cocoons, that appear to be OK.

And one more large caterpillar preparing to make the changeover.

Inside I have several more hungry caterpillars of various sizes and two that just this afternoon hatched from their eggs, so we're in pretty good shape at Monarch Ranch I.

After supper, I searched some of my milkweed plants and came up with 6 eggs on leaves and 1 leaf with 2 small caterpillars on it. Wow--a good yield from a few minutes of searching.I know it's hard to see, but on the left leaf are the 2 caterpillars (1 large and 1 tiny) and on the leaves on the right you can maybe see a few of the little white egg specks.

Monarch Ranch II on my desk at work is also doing well. My office mate did OK with it at the campground, however there was only 1 hatched egg when she got back. She wasn't sure if the one caterpillar accidentally ate the leaf the other egg was on or what happened. She felt bad, but I assured her it was OK. I took a break and walked across the parking lot in search of some fresh milkweed leaves to feed them and found another tiny caterpillar on a leaf, so now we're back to 3 caterpillars at Monarch Ranch II.

One of the women in an office across the hall asked if I would be able to help her set up a monarch ranch that she can take to her granddaughters this weekend. "Happy to oblige, ma'am," I said (in my best rancher's voice).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sophie had kind of a rough afternoon. First of all, it's just too hot to let the dogs run around outside and she misses chasing her frisbee and eating grass. So while I was getting supper ready, she decided to throw up in the corner of the foyer by the front door. Poor doggy....she has a very weak stomach. After we finished supper, the Spousal Unit and I went for a walk. Sophie must have watched us leave while lying on the bed and in her frustration at not being able to go along, she decided to mess up the bed.I got this picture of her while she was pretending not to see me.

We have really goofy pets!


Body Soul Spirit said...

I think it is great that you will set up a ranch for your co-worker's granddaughter. Anyone who sees the beauty of a monarch developing will appreciate them for life. I am happy to see many around here this year.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
Sharyn really enjoys spending time with her granddaughters, who are 4 and 5....a good age for young minds to start learning about the value and beauty of nature.

Jayne said...

Sounds like both ranches are busy and productive! Can't wait to see the hatchings! Do they "hatch" or what is the proper term?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I would say hatching also, but the Stokes book I have calls it "emerging from the pupa" (hatching is definitely easier!)

I'll have to keep a close eye on the ranch at home. I think a butterfly flapping its wings in there would be too much for Miss Penny to resist and I could come home to a disaster one day!

ABQ-B-Fly Guy said...

Hey Ruthie

For the chrysalis that fell, take a pic of cardboard and cut it into a little square. Take some glue and put it on the cardboard and then place the little stem in the glue and let it dry. Then you can attach the cardboard to the roof of the ranch. I've had some fall and I am not able to "pin" it and they make it fine. Glad to hear things are going smooth at the ranch! And it is just GREAT you are sharing the monarch experience with so many people.


Lynne said...

"mmm....I didn't do it...."
I love how dogs think they are invisible if they don't look at you! Poor Sophie.

It's really neat that you are able to share your passion for monarchs with those around you. Now the co-worker's grand daughter will be able to share it with others too!

Mary said...

I don't blame Sophie. They can be spiteful - just like us! LOL!

So, your business is picking up, Ruthie! Your first order. After you fill the next ten, start charging :o)

I really enjoy watching the Monarchs progress. This is great.

mon@rch said...

Congrats on doing so well with all these Monarch butterflies! They take lots of work and glad they are turning out as wonderful as they are!

MOM said...

Dad suggests putting them up on the wall that separates dining and living area ahead of the plastic that you put up for Kato many yrs ago, especially in the daytime. He thinks this might help Penney from destroying a Monarch Ranch. Cats are very naughty "little people". If they do something wrong they have such innocent faces "Not me Mom"

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ron,
Thanks for the tip. I'm really happy to share the monarch story with others, the nice thing is that anyone can have a monarch ranch.

Hi Lynne,
Sophie is so funny--normally she hides when I get the camera out, so I was lucky to get this photo.

I think Sharyn's granddaughters will really enjoy learning about monarchs.

Hi Mary,
The Spousal Unit says Sophie and I are both alike--ornery Germans! We just growl at him!

Maybe I should get some tips from Abq-B-Fly Guy and start doing presentations on raising monarchs!

Hi Tom,
The monarchs aren't much work, but they do take up a lot of time because it's so interesting just watching them. I'm glad all my blogging friends can share in the experience also.

Hi Mom,
That's a good idea, but I think it's too hot up there near the ceiling. I'll maybe have to put them in the bathroom and close the door when we're gone...Penny won't be able to get them there.