Happy new week, everyone!
I’m so excited today to share with you some new beginnings for us at Blue Yonder.
First, I’m delighted to say that I’m going to be contributing on occasion over at SimpleHomeschool. This site is one of the new blogs joining Simple Living Media, created specifically for people interested in creating simple, mindful, rich home learning environments. I’ve long been a fan of SimpleMom and SimpleKids, so joining their ranks is a real honor. The contributing teams at each of the blogs are made of some truly amazing women, and I cannot wait to follow along with them. I hope that you’ll join us and share your tips and stories about living simply as well.
Second, you can see by the photos here that we are well on our way to welcoming spring. In years past, it has always taken me by surprise. Spring seems to come for us VERY quickly, and invariably I’m behind before I’ve even gotten started. This year though, I have an eager little garden helper watching the calendar and prodding me along.
If you were following last year, you know that butterflies are a BIG deal in this house. My oldest son had three tanks of various caterpillars chomping and changing. He joined a local entomology chapter, researched his little heart out, and at one point was conversing via email with a real live lepidopterists about a flower color preference experiment that he was conducting with our winged friends.
Sadly though, our butterfly garden, as hard as we tried, was a miserable failure. We just started planting WAY too late. Our plants didn’t stand a chance at getting properly established during the hellish heat of summer. Draught and water restrictions did little to help. So this year, my young scientist is keeping me on the ball, and ahead of the game.
Before we began planting, we revisited Gardens With Wings to research our local butterflies and their food preferences. Garden’s With Wings allows you to type in your area code to get a list of specific species of butterflies that frequent your area, and their food plant needs. (They also have a neat page that will help you identify the butterflies that you see)
For caterpillars we planted:
Sunflowers for the Bordered Patch
Milkweed for Monarchs (you can get free seeds at Live Monarch, and don’t forget to keep an eye on Journey North to follow the Monarch Migration!)
Snapdragons for the Buckeyes
Dill and Parsley for Swallowtails
False Nettle for Red Admirals
Passion Vine for Gulf Frittilaries and Julia Heliconians
And for the nectaring pleasure of the adult butterflies:
Coneflowers, Four O’clocks, Fireweels, Shasta Daisies, Lantana, Mexican Hats and Horsemint.
It’s awfully hard to wait for little plants to grow and the butterflies to appear though, now that the hopeful work of planting our seeds is done. So we’re busying ourselves with scouring the thrift shops for more tanks, checking Craigslist for a used tent (a necessity for the new and improved experiment plans that my guy has underway), and making and repairing butterfly nets. Come on spring!!!
If you are interested in studying butterflies too, we hope that you’ll check out our Spring Book of Days. Book 2 includes lots of butterfly chasing fun!