Nature Study: Metamorphosis

Bud recently had a birthday and received a butterfly kit as a gift. I remember growing caterpillars into butterflies as a child so I was very excited to do this with the kids. We ordered our caterpillars and they arrived several days later in the mail.

When they arrived they were small, black caterpillars. We received 5 and Bud immediately felt like a proud foster father.

As they continued to grow each day, Bud drew what he saw in his observation chart. You can download a PDF of the chart I created for this project here.

After about two weeks we came down to breakfast one morning to find one of our caterpillars in his chrysalis. The following day the other 4 followed suit. Peanut came running upstairs each morning to give me the update on what she saw in the butterfly habitat. We moved the lid of the caterpillar cup inside the basket. They would stay here and rest quietly as they began their amazing metamorphosis.

After another week we woke to find that one butterfly had emerged. It was so exciting to see a butterfly hanging and witness the amazing change that had occurred.

Peanut watched the habitat all day in the hopes of getting to see one emerge before her eyes. I was emptying the dishwasher when she called out for me to come and see. Bud rushed upstairs and the three of us got to witness one of the butterflies emerging. It was so amazing. It only took about 30 seconds for him to come out. He had crumpled wings and he seemed very weak.

The butterflies all emerged over the next few days and we enjoyed watching them flutter around their habitat and drink nectar.

Later that week we decided to let our butterflies go in a community garden in a nearby town. We thought they could help pollinate some of the fruits and vegetables that were starting to grow there.

I had painted the kids faces to practice for Peanut’s birthday party the next day. They had cute butterfly and dragon faces for our exciting afternoon giving our butterflies freedom.

Dad got out the habitat and we all waited anxiously after unzipping it to see what the butterflies would do.

The first butterfly flew out and over the fence around the gardens and straight off into the sky. He was so excited to be free and it was awesome to see him fly off into the sunset. The other four slowly fluttered out and rested on the ground.

We had such a wonderful time doing this project. It was so neat to see and observe God’s amazing design right before our eyes. We felt sad to let our friends free, but knew they would enjoy their new home.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17


Spring Morning

We read a poem by A. A. Milne yesterday that perfectly described our morning. We found a trail in our backyard that we had never followed before and walked down it. At the bottom of the hill we found a pond, stream, and some shovels and pails left by children who had also discovered this backyard paradise. I brought along a book and a picnic blanket and read in the sunshine while the kids climbed trees, jumped across the brook, and dug in the muddy stream.

Sometimes I’m not totally sure if I’m doing this whole education, homeschool, motherhood, etc. thing right, but something in me keeps saying…”this is what they need.”

Spring Morning

by A. A. Milne

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Nature Study: Pasque Flower

Picture 199We observed the wonderful early signs of spring on our Nature Study hike this week. As we walked along a trail lined with dead and fallen grasses, bursting up was a small burst of purple. It was a pasque flower! I love these flowers because they bring with them the hope that the days are getting warmer, greener, and longer. They are the first wildflowers to appear in our area and are often called “wild crocus”.

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Picture 193This one was pushing its way up from under the dead grasses. Such determination!

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Picture 196We saw a bumblebee already starting his busy Spring gathering nectar on a dandelion.

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Picture 198The following day, we drew the pasque flower in our nature notebook and read our wildflower guidebook to learn more. We found out some great facts about this flower and recorded them in our notebook. Bud and Peanut narrated as I wrote the words.

  • It is the state flower of South Dakota
  • There are 14 species in the Rocky Mountains
  • Lives at 4000-9000 feet elevation (we are around 7000 feet)
  • Blooms early March through June
  • Livestock may get sick or die if they eat too many of these flowers

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Picture 203These flowers are truly special because they mark the end of the long, hard Rocky Mountain winter. We enjoyed finding them popping up all along the trail we were hiking. I hope you are enjoying the signs of spring as well!

Nature Study: Melting Snow

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For this week’s nature study, we went to a park nearby and observed that there was a large field of snow melting and funneling into a stream. The stream flowed right under the path we were walking along so we decided to take a closer look.

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Picture 40Luckily we had worn our rain gear so Peanut got to stomp in the puddles and try to step on the frozen edges of the stream.

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As we finished up our observation, it began to drizzle so we noted the drops falling and the round ripples that made concentric circles in the cold puddles. It got very chilly at that point so we scurried back to the van and drove home.

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When we got home we ate some lunch and talked about all we had seen. I love looking back through the photos with the kids because often we will find something we missed. In this photo, we zoomed in close and discovered some black eggs hidden under a pine needle. So neat to find treasures in God’s creation!

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Later that day an elk herd passed through our yard and this handsome (and thin!) guy was outside our window. Peanut and I watched him as he munched on grass.

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