Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022 – ‘Potluck’ – #Monarchs in My Garden by Miriam Hurdle

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

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars HIghly Recommended!  Reviewed in the United States on August 26, 2022

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. 

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112



71 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022 – ‘Potluck’ – #Monarchs in My Garden by Miriam Hurdle

  1. Reblogged this on The Showers of Blessings and commented:
    I’m over at Sally Cronin’s amazing Smorgasbord Magazine. She featured my post about the monarchs in my garden. Please join me to view this wonderful creature. There is no time like this to help the monarchs survive when, on July 21, 2022, The International Union for the Conservation of Nature added the migrating monarch butterfly for the first time to its “red list” of threatened species and categorized it as “endangered” — two steps from extinct.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 5th – 11th September 2022 – Chart Hits 2003, #Irishlife 1930s, Podcast Reviews, Bloggers, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  3. I was recently teaching in a class where the children had caterpillers and butterflies safely on display.
    The children were facinated.
    Of course ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ book was on display too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember reading The Hungry Caterpillar to my preschool kids. They loved that page about the caterpillar ate…but it was still hungry… How wonderful you were teaching the children with caterpillars and butterflies on display. Sue!
      My daughter bought the butterfly kit to raise butterflies two years in a row. My granddaughters were excited.
      Someone suggested to me to take my caterpillar cage to show it to the students in nearby schools. I was going to do that next year. But I’m moving to Portland, Oregon. I’ll see what happens next year.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A fascinating post and lovely to see the accompanying pictures and video clips, too. It’s amazing that these tiny, delicate creatures can undertake such a huge journey. Muriel’s dedication to help them is awe-inspiring! xx

    Liked by 2 people

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