A Fall "File Crate" Check-In
October Housekeeping

Monarch Monday

Now, before I launch into our monarch butterfly story, I wanted to tell you all (in case you didn't know), that this is National Earth Science Week. Also, this Wednesday is National Fossil Day. These special events offer lots of opportunities for good learning and fun!

Our younger two are focusing on earth science this year, so we've got that part sewn up. This week they're working on maps and globes, and they've started a sky log (Crackerjack) and a moon journal (Earlybird). (Bookworm, our 11th grader, is studying chemistry this year, but he's pretty involved in the sky observation, too.)

Our project for Wedneday will be to make leaf fossils ~ combining science with nature study, history and crafts. :)

Leaves are a big part of our autumn learning, as is fall migration. We've been reading about monarch butterflies (and tracking where their favorite food, milkweed, is blooming), so it was quite a nice surprise to find a real, live monarch on our deck late yesterday afternoon!




What was odd, was that the monarch was staying very still - and as you can see, we got very close to it. It was moving, so we knew it was alive, and as far as we could see it was not injured. Throughout the rest of the afternoon it just slowly made its way across the deck towards the steps. Before nightfall we got it to climb onto a pine needle branch and moved it up onto the table. I'm not sure why this seemed like a good idea, but it seemed somehow less vulnerable this way.

Unfortunately, this morning we found the monarch in the same exact place - and now it was most definitely dead.


But still so very beautiful, especially sparkling with dew.


We took the butterfly inside and gently laid it to rest on our nature shelf. 


While this story had a sad ending, it was a neat experience for the boys to see a monarch so up close. We talked about what might have happened to it ... we wondered if it was on its way south when it fell ill (or prey to a bird or beastie of some kind). 

We'll keep this lovely butterfly in a place of honor at our nature shelf (I might look into mounting it somehow) and we already made plans to plant a dedicated butterfly garden next spring. :)

On a happier note, we spied flying squirrels at the feeders again last night - three at least!

Here's the best picture I got:


(Click to zoom in.)

They're pretty cute and fun to watch - but they sure do spook easily! It was very hard to get a picture ... we couldn't be sure if it was our movement that startled them, or the owl we could hear hooting off in the woods. They have nothing to fear from us, certainly - but that owl would be very bad news for these tiny creatures!

Well, that's all for me today ... I've got to get my "4:00 tidy" on and see about supper. (Grilled turkey burgers, corn on the cob and steak fries - yum!) 

I thank you all for stopping by today and taking time to read about our little adventures. I hope your day was nice, too ... and I wish you all a peaceful evening.

See you again very soon!