Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Its Meconium!

Not blood. After reading the Butterfly study guide that came with the butterfly netted cage that I borrowed, we learned that it was meconium and not blood splattered so elegantly on the white dinner plate and walls of my homemade cage. So butterflies don't bleed, but it sure does look like it!

So for the most part it took less than 7 days for the butterflies to hatch. They started on Friday night and 5 of the 6 had come out by Sunday. I decided to give my neighbor the newly borrowed cage and put the remaining unhatched pupa in it and one live butterfly. Did you know you can pick up a butterfly? Just hold its wings together close to its body and if it get agitated hold it upside down. I did break one of the tiny scales off of her forewing moving her from the home made cage. But she flies fine. Sunday around 4pm the final pupa hatched.

Anyways, when we finally gave her the butterflies, the two were flying around all excited when I exposed them to the fresh air. Since they have such small life spans (two weeks), I decided to let them be outside yesterday afternoon. What I didn't take into consideration was that ants would find the butterfly sugar water so quickly. Ants covered the bottom of the plate. I couldn't leave the cage outside at night. because the weather was too cool for them (55 degrees is lowest end on the scale). Luckily my neighbor walked by and she offered to give back the cage. I put the remaning butterflies in it and they fluttered about more happily. I think they prefer the soft netted walls. The hard window screen is a little more painful to bounce off of when you want to practice flying.

It has been a busy 3 weeks preparing for company. We have just been playing outside and taking it slow. We covered Lessons 65 and 66 in Saxon K Math on Sunday and have begun discussing Hydrogen.

We made butter on Sunday by shaking whipping cream for 20 minutes. "What do you think this will turn into? " I asked as we were shaking it. "Pizza". "I don't know".... Luckily it was close in consistency when the time ended and they guessed right.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Butterflies Bleed

October the 5th our butterfly larvae kit from arrived.I was excited and curious reading the waivers for a live organisms shipment. Apparently because of certain environmental concerns we were not going to be able to release the butterflies. They would die within 2 weeks of birth, and after which I was supposed to freeze their bodies for 24 hours to make sure they were completely dead.

**Double CLICK to see images above appear larger**

Six caterpillars arrived in a small plastic cup with a paper towel under the lid. The food supply, a beige mud was like steroids for them. The caterpillars would double in size practically overnight it seemed. Within a few days, over 60% was gone and their tiny balls of excrement seemed to be taking over. And finally on Saturday the 9th, they started acting broody and hanging upside down from the top of the paper towel. I kept watching them to see them go into pupa stage. Finally they started twitching, and I walked by and one of them had made it! On the floor of the cup was a little caterpillar head or tail, not sure which and it seemed some of the tan balls were tinted red. It was exciting, it just happened so fast. Again they started twitching and making white threads in the jar. I got so excited I called my homeschooling neighbor to come by with her son to see this. It was like one minute they were a caterpillar and the next they were in a cocoon. Everytime they went to pupae, one of these parts of the caterpillar would be one the floor and a little blood.

I thought the directions said I had 10 days to 2 weeks to get them into a cage. Constantly I was watching them. I was walking by on day 7 of pupa stage and a butterfly caught my eye. I had the cup up high on the refrigerator so the kids wouldn't keep shaking it. Eeks, I started to freak out. There was so much excrement in there the poor thing had hardly any room. And if one had made it to butterfly, that meant 5 more were coming! And one of the cocoons was opaque white, which was indicator it was about to come out.

I went into the basement, and saw I had some window screens from our old windows. And I had a box from the strimmer we bought a couple of weeks ago, so I cut a long hole down the side and tried taping the window screen to it. No dice, the screen wouldn't stay secure. I kept praying to God for wisdom, all the while the baby is crying to eat and sleep, but I didn't want the butterflies to die. Their wings are quite sensitive and wet when they are born. I didn't want them rolling on their backs in excrement.

Second cage attempt, I found a wire basket, that is used for holding basketballs and rolled the screen inside. I couldn't get the bottom secure without making holes or jagged edges (I just picture one of the new creatures landing on it while the kids watching and feeling terrible). So I put a plate in the bottom. I stuffed the cracks with tissue paper and put long branches in it. And then on the top I put a pot that kinda fit snug. It seemed doable. I threw a magnolia leaf in there for good measure which I was glad for, because when I carefully emptied the jar one of them quickly crawled under it. I taped the paper towel with the remaining 4 pupae stuck to it to the branch. I have a video showing the 2 pupaes on the bottom shaking. They eventually stopped. They were born about 20 hours later. Again it happens so quick, its a rare event I think to actually see the butterfly emerge.

Today is Saturday. Three more were born today. I put some sugar water in there for them to eat. Mostly they crawl on the branches or the newspaper on the bottom. Occasionally they flex their wings and try to fly. There is little bits of blood on the white plate and even on the side. So unexpected, butterfly blood.

Friday, October 15, 2010

C is for Cow

Cows make dairy products which if you look closely composed our poster this week. Next week we hopefully will visit the dairy farm. Unfortunately my barefoot hippy child got the vomit bug the morning of the homeschool field trip day at Carlton Farms.. We are going to make butter sometime in the next few days if I can get to the store for some whipped cream.

We had physical education yesterday. We belong to a homeschool soccer league. Its basically run by moms and the kids love it. Well hippy boy didn't at first that's because he is a little slow to warm up to new situations. But I am learning to deal with that slowly myself, because that is not necessarily my nature.

We made cow badges today "Gods Word Helps Me Grow!". That's our theme. I need to ask my dh if he can bring home a rubber glove from work. I read an idea of milking the glove for fun. Sounds totally messy, the kids will love it. We only bathe once a week, so I need to do it on bathday. Have you ever smelled old dairy? I once got whipped cream pie'd at work (it was a relaxed environment working in the film business). Quite stinky.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finishing the Octopus, Ready to Start Cow

We are wrapping up Octopus right now. We finished our ocean mural today. Complete with hermit crabs, octopus (using the outline of their hands, well 8 fingers:), some sand on the bottom and torn green construction paper for sea grass.

I don't have a picture yet of the finished product but I do of the beginning stages. 20 minutes to paint it blue, 1 hour to clean it up and their clothes. Still trying to get blue paint out of little boy shorts. My fels naptha bar didn't make a dent, I hope the Oxiclean spray works.

We are on Lesson 75 of Teach Your Child to Read. I told Dino that he could have anything off the menu at Bruesters when we finished. "And I can read the menu!". Sure I said, "and that constant new trick will probably annoy daddy". He was excited about that unfortunately.

We did our last lesson outside yesterday. Gorgeous weather, a ten on the mellish meter, I let him read a line then ride his bike in a circle. He did great. His lessons are starting to teach him how to read without using the cues, for example, no long dash over the "e" for long e. He is so proud.

We also made Octopus puppets today. Just a brown bag, stuffed with newspaper, and cut the bottom into 8 strips. I found the My Father World forum, where other mom's post their ideas, additional reading on their unit studies. If I hadn't of just finished eating a hot dog for lunch, I would of gone ahead and cut up some dogs and boiled them to look like little octopi.