September 11, 2009

A Poisonous Snack

I won't be winning a prize for best butterfly photo, but Phillip and I had fun discovering a frenzy of butterfly activity while we were on a hike at a nearby park. The minute the patch of milkweed came into view, I knew we'd see Monarchs. I'm no expert on butterflies, but I was able to explain to him the difference between a Monarch and a Viceroy. The Viceroy has a lateral black line perpendicular to the veins in the wings.....something like that. He didn't care much about that fact, but his ears perked up when I told him that eating milkweed turns the Monarch into a poisonous snack for its predators.

He was very interested in the milkweed pods, so I let him pick one off the plant, open it up and take a good look. I know you can order milkweed seeds online, so we brought the pod home and have plans to plant the seeds. Will we ever see milkweed growing in my yard? Probably not.

By the time we made our way up this hill, we were hot and tired. As we walked, we talked about how in the winter this same hill is used for sledding and we decided we would come back in the winter with a sled.


  1. Donna,
    This is a wonderful post about teaching children how nature can be pretty dang cool! My son loves learning about snakes, spiders, beetles, and I am going to tell him now about the milkweed. He will enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.
    And thanks for the nice comments you left on my blog.
    I thought your monarch photo was fabulous.


  2. did you show him all my butterfly posts ?
    I know he'd love them...
    as I am now officially a monarch momma :)

  3. Those butterfly pictures are beautiful! And that does look like a great hill for sledding. :)

  4. Oh, how tall he looks walking up that hill. What a great hike for the both of you, and I got a lesson along the way. I don't know much about butterflies!

  5. Hi Donna, this is a precious stolen moment with your grandson. What a way to walk with your grandmother talking about plants, learning about butterflies and dreaming of sleding in the summer. You're so blessed.

  6. Rosey Pollen - Kids are like sponges when it comes to learning new things, especially if it's outside the classroom.

    Beth - How is it that I didn't know you were the Monarch Momma?

    sweet bay - The kids around here love their sledding. The parents...maybe not so much.

    Sue - I don't know much about butterflies either. Have learned some things from blogger friends.

    Barefoot from Heaven - Dagmar, I probably include P in too many of my posts....can't help myself. Yes, I'm blessed. I'm still thinking about your beautiful doors.

  7. Donna, that is the kind of grandmother I hope to be...spending lots of time with the little tykes and teaching them everything I know. I only have neices and nephews now to teach but one day.........
    I didnt know that about the milkweed. I have a butterfly weed in my yard, I know that is a type of milkweed. But you know, the butterflies didnt visit it.

  8. What a lovely story. You and that sweet boy sure have some great times together. Lucky both of you!

  9. I think you butterfly photos are great. Well done. Love that you and Phillip had such a nice adventure. It makes me miss my guy when he was little and loved being with his Muma. This 17 thing really stinks. I just keep praying that my real son comes back some day. Teenagers!

    Love the new photo of you and Phillip.

  10. I wish we had the Monarchs visit here, but they don't make it quite this far. I've always wanted to see them in person. Good luck with the milkweed, I hope it will grow for you and you get Monarchs in your garden.

  11. I got milkweed volunteers in my garden years ago and let them grow. I now have a great patch that attracts the monarchs to my garden every year. The plant itself is interesting and the flowers smell wonderful.
    Great picture, BTW.

  12. simply beautifully captured shots....lovely butterflies!

  13. They're wonderful pictures -- the butterflies and the boy, too. It would be such fun to have a boy around again to explore with. Well, maybe there's one here in spirit.

    I was visited by two Giant Swallowtails today. The Giants and the Tigers were nectaring together; reminded me of a football game. Pics later.

  14. What an interesting fact about milkweed & butterflies. Not knowing what milkweed is, I have to ask, is it poisonous to everything else as well?

  15. Thanks so much for visiting The Marmelade Gypsy on Pink Saturday.

    Your butterflies are awesome! And I love your banner!

  16. MissyM - You'll be a super grandmother. Butterfly weed is one of my favorite plants. Mine made a late appearance this summer. Think I'll use a photo of it for tomorrow's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

    ArtCricket2 - I try to cram in all the activites I can because I know eventually he won't want to hang out with grandma.

    Lindalou - When I think back, age 17 was the most unpleasant of the growing up years for our son. Things get better with every birthday.

    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress - Sometimes I think that I don't sit still long enough when I'm outside to notice the butterflies.

    Sylvana - You've given me hope for the milkweed. If it grows in your WI garden, why not mine?

    flyingstars - Really nice of you to stop by. Thanks.

    Nell Jean - There's a little boy in every man.....but sometimes we have to look hard to find him.

    joyce, joyce, joyce - Hi. I'm going to send you an email to make sure you know why I haven't been leaving comments on your blog. Good question about whether the milkweed is poisonous to anyone other than Monarch predators. Don't know the answer.

    Jeanie - Pink Saturday...I couldn't resist checking it out.

  17. What a fun time! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'm thinking that if those seeds are ripe, you very well could have some milkweed next year. I'd plant or lay some of the seeds on the ground when the weather turns cold for them to come up late spring. I didn't even plant any, but had one in my front curb area this summer. It's about 3 feet tall. In the last week, a few more sprung up near it. I need to decide how many to keep, and if the one blooms, if I'll let it go to seed. I hope yours grow and you see lots of monarchs at your place.

  18. I love milkweed -- I keep trying to grow more and more to make my patch more dense, because the hornets and wasps hunt my little monarch caterpillars. The little guys need a better way to hide!

    I'm glad you left a comment on my blog today -- thank you for visiting! It helped me find your site -- I love how much time you spend with your grandson outdoors!


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