Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

Butterflies, Part Deux

Apologies if I spelled Deux wrong. I don’t actually speak any French. My sister asked me to help her with a French dialogue once, back in high school, and after a few lines she said, “Never mind,” and took it away.

So, if you recall, squiders, last year we got the smaller, mobile one a butterfly kit for her birthday. And I got unnecessarily invested, and it was all very emotional.

Fast forward to her birthday this year. We get her a fish tank, with the promise of fish sometime in the future. (It is now the future and she has a Betta named Bubbles, who I am again unnecessarily invested in. Apparently I am a lover of all animals.) My sister, however, got her a butterfly kit. With caterpillars.

(The same sister who was disgusted by my French, yes.)

However, the caterpillars were essentially at the chrysalis phase (ginormous) and this was a problem, because we spent most of the next month out of town. So I had to foist the butterflies/caterpillars off on a friend, who dutifully took pictures and videos so smaller, mobile one could live vicariously.

My sister felt bad about the smaller, mobile one missing the butterflies, so she ordered replacement caterpillars with the idea that we would reuse the same butterfly kit otherwise.

About a week later, the caterpillars arrived–dead. And not even caterpillars. Chrysalises. But they were very obviously dead.

Apparently they’d taken three times as long to arrive as expected, and had probably been baked because, you know, summer.

But imagine, if you will, a small child, very excitedly opening the very obvious box of caterpillars–only to find death waiting for them.

Good times. Good times for all.

Anyway, I returned them (got to wonder what the UPS employee thought about that) and my sister ordered replacements, and shortly thereafter we received four alive caterpillars and all was well.

They all made it to the chrysalis phase without incident (perhaps having learned to not shake them around from last year). They all hatched! But, alas, one of our butterflies did not form correctly in their chrysalis. It was more obviously deformed than the one last year (I think it only had one wing, and it was shriveled and wrapped around its body) but much more mobile, so, while still sad, not overwhelmingly so.

Smaller, mobile one did not name them this year. Perhaps this helped. With the attachment issues.

Yesterday we released them (surprisingly difficult to get them up and out of the butterfly kit) and put the deformed one on our last remaining flower that survived the hailstorm on Friday (guess what! We need a new roof in addition to almost every plant in the yard being torn to ribbons. Glee). I’m not 100% sure what the butterflies are going to do, because everyone’s yards/flowers are decimated due to the hailstorm, but hopefully they’ll find food somewhere.

I also forgot to check on the other one to see if it had gotten eaten yet.

I actually feel a little bad about not being so invested this year. Godspeed, nameless butterflies, wherever you are.

Stupid June (and Butterfly Update)

Well, squiders, yesterday morning, the other butterfly hatched. And it did exactly what you would expect it to–it climbed all the way out of its cocoon, hung there with its wings nice and straight until they dried out, and has since been climbing and flying around the butterfly habitat.

So there’s something definitely wrong with that first one. Poor guy. I think he didn’t come out right, or maybe he didn’t form right in the first place.

With the second butterfly out, I needed to refill the sugar water and put out a new banana slice for them, and both of those seemed like a bad idea with the first butterfly still hanging out in the water bowl, so I very carefully lifted him up with the flat side of a butter knife and put him out on the ground part. He’s definitely still alive, but he can really only move the top part of one wing.

Tomorrow is release day (technically today should have been for the first one; the instructions say to release them three days after they hatch) and he is going to be eaten by a bird. I am sorely tempted to at least try to smooth his wings into the right position but that it probably not going to help anything.

The smaller, mobile one is overjoyed by her one functional butterfly, so there is that. But, man, if I’d known how emotional this was going to be, I would have bought her…I don’t know, sea monkeys or something. Do they still sell sea monkeys? What even is a sea monkey?

Maybe I should have gotten the ants.

June was basically a wash in terms of story writing. We talked about what I did get done earlier, but in terms of writing writing, I wrote a grand total of 2.4K, 1000 of which was a prompt response, and 1.4K of which were on my changeling story at the very beginning of the month. I mean, it’s not the worst, but it is pretty bad for me, especially since the changeling story (did I tell you guys the working title? It’s Through the Forest Dark and Deep. I made icons and a banner and everything.) was going so well at the end of May.

I didn’t even get my two prompt responses for the month. I’ve been sitting on my Pinterest prompts for weeks, and I finally consolidated a plot to go with them a few days ago, but still haven’t written it. I gotta say, the Pinterest prompts are both an excellent and a terrible idea. Since I’m picking prompts purely on age (how long they’ve been on the board) and not how well they go together, some–all right, most–of the stories have been a challenge, and now I need to do two this month to catch up. But combining prompts that don’t go together has been interesting and challenging.

But, anyway, screw June. And it’s over. July may not be much better–a lot of the challenges that messed up June are still here, after all–but at least, for now, there’s potential, you know?

How are you faring, squider? Is it hot where you are? It is so hot here, augggh.

I am Unnecessarily Invested in These Butterflies

So, for the smaller, mobile one’s birthday about a month ago, we got her a butterfly kit. You know, one of the ones where you put caterpillars in and eventually you have butterflies.

(She asked specifically for either an ant farm or tadpoles, but I didn’t want ants in the house when she invariably somehow let them out, and what do you do with tadpoles once they’re frogs? We do not live in a frog climate.)

Butterflies, though, we could do butterflies. They don’t live that long in the great scheme of pets, so they seemed a safe bet.

Now, the butterfly kits do not come with caterpillars. What they come with is a coupon to get caterpillars from Uncle Milton, who, as far as I can tell, is the purveyor for all caterpillars for all butterfly kits ever.

(And also ants for ant farms.)

So we give her the kit, we order the caterpillars, and they come in about 2 weeks. We’re supposed to get 4-5 caterpillars, but we have 3, with possibly one more dead on arrival that is soon either consumed by the other caterpillars or buried in caterpillar poop/food.

Smaller, mobile one is ecstatic. I try to decide if it’s worth contacting customer service over not getting our 4-5 caterpillars. (No, was the conclusion.)

We put the caterpillars in the kit, or, rather, a small, removable section at the top of the kit, where they have lots of “caterpillar food” (which looks like sand and smells like death) and a place to make their chrysalises. Smaller, mobile one takes them everywhere, even though I tell her it’s probably not a good idea to shake them around so much.

This proves unfortunately true when she takes them outside and the neighbor kids knock them over.

And then there were two caterpillars.

(Again, not sure if the now-dead one got eaten or buried.)

Smaller, mobile one is very upset about the dead caterpillar (she’d named them all) but got over it pretty quickly. I, on the other hand, am also very upset about the dead caterpillar. They’re not my caterpillars. I’m not terribly fond of caterpillars in general. But they’ve like, imprinted, or something.

I am much more upset for much longer than the smaller, mobile one, which is ridiculous.

(Actually, we originally thought they’d all died in the knocked over incident, because none of them moved for several hours, so I guess it’s good that we ended up with two.)

The remaining two, Lacey and Turner, got humongous (seriously, much larger than I expected based on their size when we got them) and made cocoons, hoorah. Success. But also kind of gross, because they left parts of themselves outside, which eventually separated and just kind of…hung off the top of their little ceiling. I am learning all sorts of things, and most of them are things I didn’t need to know.

So, yesterday, we awoke to one of the butterflies (smaller, mobile one says it’s Turner) hatching out of its cocoon. Hooray! Except…it got about halfway out and then stopped moving. Seriously did not move for over twelve hours. I was convinced it had somehow died halfway out. Its wings stopped unrolling, it stopped moving its legs. Nothing.

And I was really upset. Again. It’s ridiculous.

This morning, said butterfly was all the way out, down in the pool of sugar water at the bottom of the habitat, and I assumed it had just fallen down, since its wings were still messed up and now it was hanging out in the water. Its head was out of the water, though, and when I moved the net (with the thought that I would pull it out if it were dead) it moved. So, still alive, I guess?

I don’t know what’s going on anymore. Maybe this is normal.

But I’m exhausted from the emotional roller coaster of what this poor butterfly is doing.

Maybe tomorrow its wings will have untwisted and it will be out of the water and everything will be great. Maybe tomorrow the other one (Lacey, according to the smaller, mobile one) will hatch and come out in a much more dignified manner, or maybe it too will get halfway out and then pretend to be dead for half a day.

I can’t quite fathom why I’m so invested. Maybe it’s because I am one with the animal kingdom and invested in the welfare of its inhabitants. Maybe it’s just more suffering on top of everything else going on ’round these parts.

Who knows?

Maybe I should have gotten her the ants.

butterfly habitat

Do you know anything about butterflies? Have you done one of these yourself, squider? Is this normal butterfly behavior? Should I put this poor butterfly out of his misery?

Augh!