18 Apr

Pocoyo: A Family Favorite

Pocoyo and FriendsMy kids and I enjoy watching Pocoyo together. He and his animated friends get into all sorts of hilarious situations. The cartoon is one that has enough *wink-wink* content for parents to get a kick out of the show; for instance, the popular music references in the video below…was that “Billie Jean”? We have the English-dubbed version at home, but you don’t have to know Spanish to enjoy this episode.


13 Jan

Recounting a Swallowtail: Hesitating Beauty

I had pretty much given up on the fourth chrysalis. With the other three having fallen to predation, I assumed this one was a dud since it had hatched neither swallowtail nor wasp.

I forgot about the lone chrysalis and it remained on the stick to which it was stuck in the butterfly tent in our kitchen. Normally, I would have deposited it in the fence row.

The Friday before New Year’s Eve, my wife sent me a photo by text message of a gorgeous Black Swallowtail butterfly on our kitchen counter with a message of “HELP!” Read More

10 Jan

Recounting a Swallowtail: Locked Room Murder Mystery

flickr.com vickisnature

I suppose you could call me a butterfly midwife by now. I started nurturing butterfly caterpillars through their transformations about a decade ago when I was working in the summer camp realm. Butterfly hatching has since become a family ritual and the church librarian keeps us stocked with Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars from her parsley patch in the summer. Between her broods and the monarch caterpillars on our own milkweed, we may hatch two-dozen winged beauties in our kitchen every year.

Our first batch of swallowtail caterpillars came last July. We carefully rigged up an old pill bottle with a hole in the lid as a small vase for keeping parsley sprigs fresh. The swallowtail caterpillars had a veritable salad bar at the ready. Three tiny crawlers soon became three big whoppers. Read More