Raising a black swallowtail caterpillar to butterfly, part 2 – overwintering?

Early last August I blogged about how we were raising a Black Swallowtail caterpillar.  He ate like a pig, and then spun his chrysalis.  According to Wikipedia, the adult butterfly should have emerged from the chrysalis in less than 2 weeks.  We waited and waited.

Things being as they are, the kids were playing Frisbee in the house, and the butterfly container got knocked to the ground (about a 4 foot fall).  We set it back up on the fireplace mantle, and waited some more.  Sadly, I figured it must be dead, a victim of an unintended accident.  I put the container with the chrysalis out on our covered porch. We waited and watched for it to hatch all through the fall.

Soon it started snowing, and early winter was upon us.  I wanted to throw it out, but my husband (who tagged Monarch butterflies as a child, through a research group based in Canada) insisted it was “overwintering” – that the chrysalis was just fine, and would hatch once warmer weather came in the spring.  Yeah, right.  I rolled my eyes, but my daughter was happy to hear it wasn’t dead, so I went along with it.

All winter, through bitter freezing temperatures, the container sat under a bench on our porch – a small brown chrysalis attached to a dead twig, with remnants of dead flowers carpeting the floor.

Last week my daughter brought home a small caterpillar from school.  As part of a science unit, her class is hatching Painted Lady butterflies.  There’s a big mesh tent set up in the classroom, and after each child’s caterpillar spins its chrysalis, they are placed inside while the kids eagerly wait for them to hatch.  A couple extra caterpillars got sent home with kids, and soon her caterpillar had spun its chrysalis and I needed a bigger container for it to hatch in.

It was a very warm and breezy day as I headed out to the porch, and pulled out the container from last August with the old Swallowtail chrysalis.  And lo and behold.  There it was.


Bunnyware: Whimsical pottery by Laura Burch

My morning cup of java.  I’m a tea drinker, but my heart belongs to coffee.

I call it “Bunnyware”.  I love it, because it makes me happy.  The bunny on my mug is my little coffee companion, there with me through all the deadlines and To Do lists I must tackle.

Bunnyware is whimsical pottery crafted by Laura Burch.  I’ve purchased a number of her items over the past 10 years.  My collection is more than just for show – it’s useable pottery, sturdy and dependable, lighthearted and playful.  Every piece of Bunnyware I own I purchased when I needed a reason to smile.  Every time I was struggling or dealing with really bad news, I would drive down and get me a new piece of Bunnyware.  And it would quietly warm my soul.

Laura Burch’s pottery can be purchased at Handwork (a cooperative craft store in Ithaca, NY),, or Etsy.

Music videos What's Hot

What’s Hot: Minecraft “TNT” (parody of Dynamite)

Yesterday my kids and their friends set off a massive TNT explosion in Minecraft that caused all 8 computers in our house to lag, and 2 of them to reboot.  You never heard such hysterical shrieking and gut-busting laughter.  Who doesn’t love blowing things up?

Today on the commute in to school, the kids showed me this Minecraft video – called “TNT”, a parody of Taio Cruz’s popular Dynamite song.  It’s Sweet.

You see, my new Toyota Sienna has a spot on the dashboard where there’s an indent for the back-up camera LCD – so when I’m in reverse I can see what’s behind me.  Turns out my Android smartphone fits perfectly in that spot, and we launch videos on YouTube, set the phone on the dash, and watch videos to wake us up in the morning while driving to school.  Gotta love technology.

Another Minecraft song they like is Minecraft Everyday.

Here’s the Minecraft creeper tee shirt we just bought from Jinx.  It’s so soft…

You can check out Notch’s YouTube channel here.

Here’s a couple more fun wake-up-in-the-morning songs for ya:

  • Mad Surfer – by Kenichi Asai (from Bleach)
  • DotA – by Basshunter (not much video to watch with this link, as kids aren’t allowed to watch official video with the sexy drinking…)