Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Monarch Ranching

I averted a near disaster last night. The dogs woke me up to go outside around midnight and when I walked into the kitchen to look out and see if any critters were at the ground feeding tray, I caught Miss Penny up on the counter trying to break into the monarch ranch. She had pushed the screen partially out of the lid to the inside of the box. I could barely get her away from there. I'm not sure what caused her to act this way, because she really hasn't paid any attention to it sitting on the counter since last week when I set everything up. Perhaps it's because the caterpillars are getting bigger now and she could hear them munching or crawling around in there. Or perhaps it's just because she's a cat and she can do whatever she wants!

Anyway, no damage was done and I was able to make the late-night repairs before heading back to dreamland.

Here are some photos of the progress.

Monarch Ranch I - population: 7

Big Guy & Little Guy

My largest caterpillar. I'm hoping he'll decide to pupate by the weekend.

I was telling my office mate about my monarch ranch and we decided that we should also have a monarch ranch at the workplace.

So this afternoon, I created Monarch Ranch II. I have some big glass jars that Dad gave me several years ago and I actually found them right away out in the garage. I added some pine shavings to the bottom and a stick, then out to the yard to try and find more caterpillars. I searched several of my milkweed patches and was able to only find one small caterpillar and a couple of eggs, but that's a good start, I think.

It's going to be fun to have these little guys in our office and hopefully we'll be able to raise a few more Monarch butterflies. I'll have to take a little walk around the prairie area at work again and see if I can find some more "stock" for this workplace ranch.


Anonymous said...

It was a good thing you were home when this all happened. I thought this might happen, cats are so curious, that's why everytime I get flowers I have to put them on the entertainment center, TO KEEP THE CATS OUT OF THEM. I'm glad the monarchs are doing so well, keep us posted on both Monarch I & II.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I think Penny's just mad because Rick is keeping the closet doors closed and she can't sleep in his basket of t-shirts anymore so she decided to get her revenge on an easily accessible target.

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Dogs will be dogs!

But what KIND of dogs? And where can I find their photos?

More, please?

From a dog lover,

--Robin (Bumblebee)

Thanks for your help with the butterfly and trumpet vine!

NM High School Sports News said...

Boy those catapillars look so pretty against those green leaves! Great save! Do your co-workers have any idea about the monarch cycle?


Jayne said...

So, what DOES make them decide it's time to pupate? So cool you all have a ranch at work now too!

Anonymous said...

How interesting! And how beautiful catepillars!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Those really are beautiful caterpillars! When I was little we used o love to pick them off the milkweed and put them in our hair. Later someone invented barettes! (haha!)

Mary said...

Sounds like you are in business, Ruth. If your day job doesn't work out, you can advertise "Monarch Ranches by Ruth". Mail order. I'd buy some. What do ya say?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Robin,
Here's a link to my blog post on the pets:

P.S. You're welcome!

Hi Ron,
What the co-workers didn't know about Monarchs, they will know by the end of today! I brought my Stokes' Butterfly Book to work also and will show pictures and answer questions for anyone who asks.

Hi Jayne, I'm not sure what the answer to your question is. I don't know if it's how big they get or how much food they find. Maybe Ron can help with this question??

Hi Maud,
It is interesting and FUN, and the best thing is that it's all FREE!

Oh Lynne, Bugs in my hair really creep me out--it gave me a shiver when I read your comment.

Hey Mary, sounds like a good plan (especially in light of what's going on here jobwise right now). This will work if you can give any good ideas in coming up with something for the "off-season" too.

Anonymous said...

You can raise monarchs in the summer and snow fleas in the winter,of course I don't know what snow fleas are good for, oh well, it was a thought!!!!

KGMom said...

Maybe Penny is fascinated with the movement? Or maybe it is just because she's a cat.
I have a little plaque that says "In a cat's eyes all things belong to cats."

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
I know you will come up with something....

Hi Donna,
I think you're right--it's just because she's a cat and the caterpillars belong to her! But I love her anyway

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are doing such a wonderful job with these guys! Thanks for taking care of some fellow monarch's!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Tom,
This is turning into a really fun project. I got home from a garden club tour last night and the biggest caterpillar has begun pupating on the ceiling of their "house". Oh joy!

My office mate has taken Monarch Ranch II to the campground with her for the weekend. I can't wait to hear about the adventure on Monday.