Saturday, March 6, 2010

"The Winged Wonder" and "Waffles"

We were at a friend's house when Katie came running in from their back yard. "Come look! Come look!"

She had found three butterfly chrysalis' dangling on their swing set.

We actually got to take two of them home with us. We used string to tie them to a pencil and then let them dangle down inside a plastic jar. I could have stared at those things all day - and darn near did. They were fascinating to look at. They were so green and shiny they looked as if they were made out of plastic. And near the top it looked like it had been neatly sewn shut with metallic gold thread. Near the bottom were five evenly spaced dots of the same metallic gold. Both chrysalises' looked exactly alike so it was no accident. It's amazing to know that ordinary caterpillars can create such perfect cocoons. I would love to have been there when God was creating this creature. The concept of a slinky little worm, who forms a shiny green home (and where did the metallic gold stitches come from?) and then emerges with amazingly patterned wings - it would have been fun to see that creation process.

I also would like to have seen how the idea for the giraffe came about, but that's another story.

The chrysalises suffered a terrible accident in their first week at our home. Emily was walking through the kitchen and her sleeve caught the jar and knocked them to the floor. The poor little things bounced across the tile floor like marbles. We quickly scooped it all up and set it to rights, but I warned everyone that the jolt might have killed one or both of them.

A few days later, one chrysalis started to darken. We could see the pattern of it's wings through the skin of the cocoon. FASCINATING! We could hardly wait for it to hatch!

Then, while the kids and I were out one day Kerry called and said, " of the butterflies hatched."

Darn! We missed it!
We had a beautiful Monarch butterfly in the jar when we got home. He was fun to watch, but we knew we had to let him go.

We rounded up the other homeschooling family on our street and released him. Katie named him "The Winged Wonder" and got quite attached to him in the short time he lived with us. He actually crawled on to her finger at one point and she got to hold her baby before sending him off tearfully to college......uh, I mean before sending him off into the wild.

Look at those wings!!! Aren't they amazing??

Unfortunately, the other chrysalis did not seem to fare so well. It stayed green and we never saw the wings through the shell. We figured the crash to the floor must have been too much for it.

Then one day, we came home and much to our surprise...........

.......discovered that both cocoons were now empty shells.

But there was no butterfly.

I warned everyone to keep an eye out. Apparently we had a rogue butterfly somewhere in the house.
"Unless Ringo ate it," said Katie. Yikes! I hadn't thought of that. Ringo does like to chase and eat anything bug-like. If the butterfly had fluttered down low at any point, it would have been an easy snack.

We thoroughly searched the house and found no trace of a butterfly, hung our heads in sorrow, and forgot about it.

A few nights later, I was typing away on the computer after the kids were in bed when a shadow swooped over me.

I actually ducked.

For a moment I thought there was a bird in the house. It was a huge shadow. Turns out it was our little butterfly buddy which Katie had christened, "Waffles". I got everyone up and we excitedly tried to catch little Waffles but he decided to perch way up high where we couldn't reach him.

We quickly got fake flowers from Katie's room and ran around holding them up in the air, begging Waffles to land on them.

Amazingly, he did decide to land on them despite all the screaming, shrieking and laughing going on around him.

We trotted him outside and deposited him in the bushes where we hope he or The Winged Wonder will create new little caterpillars and we can start the whole process over again.

This time with a lid on the jar.

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