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fly butterflies fly

We released our butterflies just the other day, and it was incredible to watch them fly free! Just in case you’re wondering what in the world I’m talking about, I’ll take you back a couple months ago when we decided to order caterpillars and watch them grow and change into butterflies. Aidan was thrilled when the brown package marked “Insect Lore” arrived in the mail; it contained a small cup that had five extremely tiny caterpillars in it. Each day, over the course of a week, we watched as these caterpillars grew and grew. (We later found out that caterpillars can double their size in 24 hours.) After about a week, the caterpillars made their way to the top of the small container and hung upside down and, while no one was looking (they always seemed to do the really neat stuff during the night), they formed chrysali around themselves. It was time to move them into their butterfly habitat so that, when they broke free as butterflies, they would have plenty of space to spread their wings.

Another week or so went by, and, one morning as I was making my way to prepare my much needed coffee, I noticed some fluttering as I passed the butterfly habitat, and upon my second glance, I saw that two of the butterflies had emerged over the night. (Two more emerged a couple days later, and one sadly didn’t make it out of his cocoon.) Aidan was excited to see them, though a bit disappointed because somewhere in our research we read that the painted lady butterflies are pink. When they first emerge, ours didn’t look pink at all. But despite this slight disappointment, Aidan thoroughly enjoyed observing and taking photos of the butterflies as they fluttered around and drank with their proboscis from the orange slices and sugar water that we provided them.

After another week, we finally convinced Aidan that we should let our butterflies go into the wild so that they can enjoy flying free. The release occurred on a nice sunny Friday afternoon with Mike and Aidan sporting their cameras and me carrying the habitat to a spot near our butterfly garden. We opened the habitat and waited and waited and then, with a little prompting, I got one of the butterflies to crawl onto my hand and brought him out to the open. He moved onto Aidan’s hand and sat for a moment, perhaps taking in the fresh air, before opening his wings and flying high above us. The others followed shortly afterwards. A couple remained in our yard for awhile, enjoying our flowers and allowing us some good photo opportunities. And Aidan’s already asking when we can order the praying mantis nymphs.

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