Old Blog

Freeschoolin' Raises A Butterfly!

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 9:05 AM

I was harvesting dill from the garden when I found this lil' guy on a stalk.  It's a Black Swallowtail caterpillar.

Freeschoolin' Daddy volunteered to find out what we needed to do to help it turn into a butterfly and went to work on making a home for him. (We did find out he IS a he.)

A glass jar, some screening and an elastic band worked great; we filled the jar with dill for the caterpillar to munch on. Did you know they deficate? We learned so much! Apparently they do not have a high survival rate in the wild so we were even more happy to help out!

Hope was excited to care for a new pet but she wasn't thrilled we had to let it go, though she didn't disagree at all. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity for her to learn to love and let go; it's not an easy thing to embrace. I would know.

A day later he stopped eating and started to do this, which we learned was his early preparations for going into the chrysalis.

And then like magic,  just hours after the last photo, this is what we found.

For 9 days it stayed like this but on the 10th day the cocoon turned dark.

I sadly missed snapping a photo because in no time, while I was out, Daddy witnessed a beautiful Black Swallowtail butterfly emerge and rest on the side of the jar.

We all decided it was time to let our newly transformed friend back into the wild so he could fly free. Hope was excited!

I suggested the dill patch we'd found him in, in case he wanted to chill there for a bit before taking off.

We waited a while but the butterfly didn't seem eager to leave his jar home. 

We were in the midst of brainstorming where we could leave the jar to let nature take it's course when a breeze hit the butterfly's wings and he fluttered inside the jar suddenly.
In a blink he was out flying over our garden, higher and higher into the blue sky and up to the trees and ultimately, out of line of sight.

I was bawling in awe, exclaiming how beautiful it was. Hope was a little sad but also in awe. She learned to love and let go which is important if she wants to work with animals; her dream.  It's also so healthy as a person to be able to love so openly. These are the kind of Freeschoolin' lessons we learn that I find it hard to relay and they happen all the time.

The empty chrysalis.

Thanking Daddy for being the cataylyst for this awesome experience! Now we know how to care for future caterpillars we find which will be even more likely as I am expanding our garden.

This was our Freeschoolin' classroom!

Much Love,
Wendy - Freeschoolin' Mommy

Categories: General Freeschoolin', Unschooling , The Freeschoolin' Homestead

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