Four of our butterflies “hatched” from their chrysalis (what is the plural of this?) this week. Two were beautiful and healthy. I always release butterflies as soon as they hatch as they have such a short life span, I hate for them to spend even one day kept in the small enclosure that comes with the set. The photo above shows one of the healthy butterflies. Unfortunately, this set of butterflies has not been as healthy as previous sets we have raised. One butterfly still has not hatched and I am beginning to doubt that it will. Another butterfly had one deformed wing. Yet,another was greatly deformed (note the photo below). It’s torso was very short and its wings were curled up such that they could not open. I still opted to release these two butterflies as they did not seem capable of getting to any food that we set out (they kept falling on their backs and were incapable of turning over without our help), so it seemed better to let Mother Nature take care of them as she saw fit. I finally wrote Insect Lore to ask about our ladybug larvae, which still have not arrived. Supposedly they will ship next week and have continued to be delayed by extreme weather. In celebration of our butterflies hatching, we made a butterfly-shaped stepping stone for our side yard. Dora decorated it with a handprint and glass shards. Dora also suddenly decided that she likes play dough after all and kept asking for it, so we made some spring-colored play dough using the basic recipe that we have used in the past.
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 2 tablespoons of cream of tarter
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 2 cups of water
- Food coloring
Directions: Combine all ingredients, except for food coloring, in a nonstick saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball. Turn the dough onto a non-stick surface (I use a silicon cutting board, but your counter is fine) and let it cool slightly. When it cools enough that you can handle touching it, knead the dough until it has a smooth texture. Add food coloring as desired (if you are just making one color of dough, it is actually easier to add the food coloring before you cook the dough, but I wanted a rainbow of colors).
We read several spring-themed books, though the only one that really stood out this week was one I just happened to find at the library. It’s called What Does Bunny See? and teaches color through flowers (i.e. yellow primroses, red poppies, and so forth). The text is more poetic than most children’s books and the drawings are soft and gentle, though as soft and gentle as many of the other spring books we have read recently. Dora really does not seem to care for the soft, ethereal type of illustrations that are so popular in many books about seasons and nature.She likes flowers a lot, so this book really captured her interest.
Finally, we spent at least one hour every day this week at a park, even when it was raining. Dora has become my outdoorsy child again, now that it is not so cold. We played on the playgrounds, but we also just explored some woods and meadows. She has become enraptured with sticks and collects them wherever she can. We also have spotted a lot of birds recently, particularly getting close to some pileated woodpeckers, who treated us to some songs, aerial ballets, and pecking.