Wednesday, April 27, 2005

We have a butterfly

We let our butterfly go Saturday. Yes, out of five caterpillars, we got one butterfly. Pretty expensive deal. Hmmmm. I did get one picture that was decent.


Tomorrow night is the last night of Awanas for the year. They are having a little program for the parents. That should be fun. Peanut is sad about it being the last night. She really liked it. But before you know it, it will be time to start back again.

Friday, April 15, 2005

More bird stuff...

We watched our wrens today. I don't know if this is the mama, but I'll just say it is:

She spends a lot of time there now. Peanut saw one of them go in with a bug in their mouth, she wondered if they were feeding babies. They are either feeding babies or the daddy is bringing food to the mama. After explaining this, I had to make up voices for them and what they were saying which the kids enjoyed immensely.

The chrysalids are doing well. We are keeping them out of Junior's reach, so they will stay safe. He dropped the cup the other day. I pulled two fallen ones out of the bottom of the cup and put them on a paper towel in the bottom of our little "cage" thing. The website actually had info on what to do if any of them fell off the lid, so I guess we are not the first people to have this problem!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Update on the caterpillars

When we got home last night, we discovered that our caterpillars had started changing. I was able to get a pretty good picture this time when I tried. I think the key is that I opened the kitchen windows to let in plenty of light. I will try to remember that next time.
Here is what we have as of noon today:


The one in the middle is a chrysalis, and on the left is a caterpillar that has attached himself to the underside of the lid and is curling up getting ready. The one on the right is holding out. He is just crawling around very slowly, but he hasn’t quite made it to the lid yet. They ate a huge amount while we were gone. It looks like they almost finished up their food supply. When they are butterflies we are supposed to feed them sugar water sprinkled on fresh flowers.

Friday, April 8, 2005

Caterpillars that we ordered

I wish I could get a picture of our caterpillars, but my camera is not that good. We got these in the mail last Friday in a little plastic cup with a lid. The cup has about a half inch of some kind of solid agar stuff for them to eat. You do not open the cup at all until they are pupa. They have tripled their size in the past week, it is just amazing.

The cup thing is really gross now. Since you don't open the cup and clean it out...well. And the caterpillars spin silk to crawl around on. I think it would be more educational to raise them where you can just feed them with leaves, etc. It has been interesting to see them grow so much, but you don't get a picture of how much they eat. I wonder how hard it is to find their eggs? I'm sure this cup method is better for classrooms so you don't need to take care of them every day.

We are waiting for them to climb to the top of the cup and turn into chrysalids. Hope it is not while we are gone to Grandma's!

We'll keep updated and maybe I can at least get a picture of a butterfly. I looked online for a unit study on butterflies and I guess I will have to make my own. There are some available for purchase, but how hard can it be to make your own, especially for a Kindergarten/1st grader. I'll bet I can do better than representing the life stages with different shapes of pasta. Yeah, that was actually an idea. Ooookay.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

New drawing

Here is Peanut's drawing of the inside of the birdhouse. It has an attic and also a staircase for elegant birds who do not want the trouble of flying up there. They have stored a trike and a Christmas tree up there.

We had rain and wind today and stayed in all day. A squirrel ate all the birdseed out of our feeder, that was the most exciting thing that happened. Six feet from the bird feeder is a squirrel feeder where the food has not even been touched. But oh well. He was pretty funny, he had to do some serious gymnastics to get the food, so I guess he earned it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Stuff we've learned about our birds...

We have Bewick’s wrens. They are not migrating birds. They usually build nests near the ground. The male wren usually builds several nests rather quickly. Then he takes his mate from nest to nest so she can pick the one she likes best. Then she helps him fix it up a little better, and she lines the nest herself. She will lay 5-7 pink or white speckled eggs, one egg each day. She will brood the eggs herself. It takes 13-15 days to hatch the eggs. Both parents feed the babies. The babies will fledge after 12-18 days. Even after they start to fly, the parents will feed them sometimes for two more weeks. If the female is ready to nest again, the male takes over parenting by himself. They will usually have two broods each summer. Sometimes even three.

They eat primarily insects, but they may be attracted to peanut butter, sunflower seed, and suet.

They usually stay hidden in hedges and shrubs. Ours must be a little more brave because we see them several times a day, and the house is out in the open near our back door.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

April Fools stuff

This morning when Peanut got up I fixed her some cereal. I usually put their milk in a little cup to pour on the cereal. I put in a couple of drops of food coloring to make the milk turn purple. This is not as funny if you do not know how grouchy she is in the morning. Grandpa J. will be able to relate. She whined, "Ehhhhh, my milk looks PUR-PLE!" So I say, "Quit griping, it's just plain milk." "But....eeehhh, it looks PUR-PLE. What's WRONG with it?" "Oh, here, let me see..." I go look and then say "April Fools!" It took her a full ten seconds to process this, she just gave me one of her mad stares, then she busted up giggling. It was priceless.

Then she helped me with my more elaborate joke. I got the idea from a magazine to make meatloaf in cake pans and "frost" it with mashed potatoes. So we got Daddy with that one. It didn't look too bad. Mine was not as professional looking, of course. Here is the one in the magazine:
I also made the kids some jello with fruit in it that I put into drinking glasses with straws so it looked like punch. Beautiful, the only problem is that you can't suck it up the straw.

Then I made the traditional dirt cake for dessert. In a flowerpot-looking thing. This one I only fooled Junior, but it was worth it. I pinched some of the cookie crumbs out of the pot and ate them. He kind of half-smiled like he didn't know what to think. I said, "Try this, it's good." "No, mama, I don't eat dirt." He was so confused, so we had to tell him.

I know this is not what they mean when they say you should "play with your kids." But for one day a year, it is pretty fun.