Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.
The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.
In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022
Today author and poet Miriam Hurdle shares the wonder of enabling the beautiful monarch butterfly to develop in her garden in amazing photographs and videos
Monarchs in my Garden by Miriam Hurdle
My first Monarch 2022
The year 2021 was my first year raising monarch butterflies. In fact, I started planting seeds in 2020. Milkweed dies in the winter and comes back in spring. When the spring of 2021 rolled around, some milkweed came back. I found many caterpillars on the plants. Several caterpillars died because I left them on the plants and didn’t know what happened to them. I dug up some milkweed and put them in a-gallon pots. I went through many ways to secure them. Eventually, I bought two cages and raised 12 butterflies.
I have some milkweed from last year that died in winter and just came back in the early spring this year. One female monarch came back from the south earlier than I expected. When I watered the Milkweed, I found five caterpillars within a few days.
The first caterpillar I found
I wouldn’t have enough plants to feed them. It takes about one 1-gallon plant to feed two caterpillars. I bought four 1-gallon plants at Armstrong Nursery. Even though I only have five caterpillars, and I may have more later in the summer, the Milkweed will be gone in a few weeks.
I set up the two cages. Young caterpillars are escapers. They run away from the plant constantly. I didn’t want to keep watching to rescue them. To keep them from crawling out to fall to the bottom of the pot, I made a net with mash to pin it from the edge of the pot to the four walls of the cage. It was easier for me to see the caterpillars when they ran away from the plant. I could pick them up and put them back on the plant.
The caterpillars cling to the milkweed during the last week of the growing state when they are getting big and hungry. They’d keep eating until time to pupate. They crawl up to the top of the cage and find a secure spot to spin the silk mat from which they hang upside down by their last pair of prolegs.
Using my experience last year, I clipped some rubber coating wires to make an arc across the top of the cage and stick one piece of wire from the pot to the top of the cage. Some caterpillars crawled up from the wire in the middle and some crawled up from the side of the cage.
It takes about two weeks for the adult butterfly to emerge. Right before emerging, the black and orange colors are clear in the pupa. After the adult butterfly emerges, it hangs on the shell until the wings are strong enough to fly.
Monarchs do not mate until they are three to eight days old. Females lay eggs immediately after their first mating. Adults in summer generations live from two to five weeks.
Each year, the last generation of monarchs has an additional job. They migrate to overwintering grounds, either in central Mexico for eastern monarchs or in California for western monarchs. Here they spend the winter clustered in trees until weather and temperature conditions allow them to return to their breeding grounds. These adults can live up to nine months.
Here are the videos of my first Monarch in 2022.
© Miriam Hurdle 2022
My thanks to Miriam for permitting me to share from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you…
About Miriam Hurdle
Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.
Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.
Books by Miriam Hurdle
One of the recent reviews for The Winding Road
Writing about a personal cancer experience as a therapeutic activity to cope with the emotions and physical changes that accompany diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis can be very beneficial to the person going through it.
However, making the transition from writer-based prose in the form of a cancer diary or journal to reader-based prose as a published cancer memoir poses a challenge. Miriam Hurdle faces this challenge head-on in her cancer memoir, The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.
She begins by introducing the book with a Foreword in which she directly addresses the reader and explains her reasons for sharing her story: “I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.” Throughout the book, she never loses sight of the fact that she is telling her story to someone else. As a reader, I greatly appreciated this consideration. I also appreciated the family photographs she included, as her family played such a vital role in her journey of survival.
Key scenes–such as receiving an unexpected pathology report after a routine surgery–are dramatized so that the reader can experience the events and their accompanying emotions with Hurdle, rather than being told about them secondhand. She also includes italicized interior monologue, making the reader privy to her thoughts at the time, reinforcing the immediacy of the narration. In addition, she balances the experience of what she went through at the time with her current reflections on it now, so that readers can benefit from both perspectives on her cancer experience.
Hurdle includes just enough researched information about the type of cancer she had and the details of her own instance of it to give the reader a clear understanding of what she went through without feeling overwhelmed or getting the impression of reading a medical case study. (Make no mistake: the details of the treatments and their side effects are portrayed with brutal honesty.)
If I had to give just one reason to recommend that others read The Winding Road–regardless of where they are in their lives or their health–it would be that witnessing the support of a loving family and the incredible kindness shown to Hurdle by everyone in her personal and professional circles can serve as an antidote to the hatred and strife that characterize our current troubled times. Medical science aside, as critically important as it was, Miriam’s cancer journey gave me hope.