Chickens, a Hawk, and the Hatching of a Monarch

Posted by mrssmythe on September 28, 2017 in Chickens, Crafting, Critters, Garden, Seasons, Week in Review |

At last…Fall.

For our chickens, this has meant rapidly decreasing daylight, molting, and – as a result – lower egg production. I actually had to buy eggs at the store this week – something I haven’t had to do in over a year!

Another challenge these days – hawks.

Hawks are commonplace in our area, and we still aren’t comfortable letting the chickens free range unsupervised. So, to get the chickens out of their run as much as possible, I try and read or knit in the back yard where I can keep an eye on things. CPT A and I drink our morning coffee on the patio, too. That gives the chickens some additional time out of their run in the mornings. I don’t know if we’ll be hardy enough to continue this sort of thing in December, but, for now, it’s buying the chickens some freedom.

Returning to backyard knitting – here’s my latest project:

It’s going to be a cardigan. I hope to finish it in time to wear before the holiday season. I’m optimistic as the yarn is thick, and the pieces are knitting up quickly.

The most exciting news this week is the hatching of the monarch butterfly. (Do you say “hatched” with a butterfly?)

One morning, I checked on the chrysalis and noticed it had turned black.

Later that day, when I checked again, I saw this!

Now, at this point, I should have sat down on the lawn and just watched. But, thinking the process was going to take a while, I finished walking the dogs. Twenty minutes later, when I returned to the bush, the monarch was gone.

I was so disappointed. I had no idea everything would happen so fast. I expected, at least, to find the monarch somewhere in the garden, sunning itself, getting used to its new wings. But no. No monarch anywhere.

If I ever get another chance to see a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, you can bet I will put everything on hold, sit down, and watch the process start to finish. Lesson learned.

On a side note, this whole experience has encouraged me to plant more things that will attract butterflies.

Elsewhere in the garden, the flowering quince has managed one last crimson blossom – a sort of farewell to the growing season.

Isn’t it lovely?

And, finally, a picture Pepper took this evening from the car.

A coyote! In the middle of town!

Pepper reports it was a sleek, healthy looking creature, and CPT A says it was the prettiest coyote he’s ever seen. I’m just happy it lives well away from our chickens.

From the dining room table, glad we haven’t taken the A/C units out of the windows yet (It was in the 90’s here today!),

Mrs. Smythe







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  • Sarah Bro says:

    Lovey pics as usual! I think it’s called “emerging” for the butterfly? I found a decent monarch butterfly website: http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/ Check it out!

    And, I’m sorry I missed the comments time frame for your zoo day! Of course, all the animal photos were great, but I loved the photos of the cotton-top tamarins especially!

  • TeaLady says:

    Your sweater is lovely. I’m anxious to see this finished project!

  • Ann Marie says:

    The yarn is beautiful! I am sorry you didn’t see the hatching of the butterfly. If you ever want to use mine, I have a butterfly house you can borrow. You can order the hatching kit online and have at it!

    • mrssmythe says:

      Thanks, Ann Marie! The yarn is Berroco Lodge – it was on clearance at Webs. At first I thought I’d make it into a scarf…then I liked it so much, I thought a sweater would be nicer. As to the butterfly house – I might just take you up on that if I don’t see another chrysalis in the wild soon.

  • Jenn M says:

    Oh I was so looking forward to the monarch! I can imagine your disappointment, but now lots of us know what to expect!
    Lovely yarn for your cardigan; it has finally cooled down here so I can start to think about sweater weather.
    Happy days,

    • mrssmythe says:

      Thanks (about the yarn)! I found it on clearance and was thrilled to get such a good deal. Working on the cardigan the last couple of days hasn’t been as fun as I’d expected, though, because our temperatures suddenly popped up into the 90’s. Bulky wool is not my yarn of choice for warm weather knitting.

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