Friday, November 28, 2014

Monarch Butterflies - A Florida Nursery for an Endangered Species

As you know, we spend significant time in Florida every year and while we're there we help nature along as much as possible. We get cuttings from my family's yards (which is an understatement - their yards include 10 acres of gorgeous gardens, and what I affectionately call 'the Amazon forest' when referring to my brother's yard).  Some of our plants include milk weeds which is the only plant that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on, as well as the only plant the Monarch caterpillars eat before cocooning.

I watched the first group of tiny Monarch caterpillars and, to my horror, saw about 6 killed and eaten by wasps, so I bought milk weed in pots and brought the remaining caterpillars in to my porch to protect them. It became a significant project with 9 chrysalis. Unfortunately, three cocoons failed and with another three the Monarchs' were born deformed and we had to euthanize them. But the last three turned into gorgeous large healthy Monarch butterflies. We have another in chrysalis now and six more baby caterpillars eating their way to being butterflies. It's a magical process to watch up close. Here are some photos of the 'nursery' and butterflies.

                                                         Various stages of chrysalis

                                                      See the three caterpillars on the left?

Two caterpillars here.

                                             The magnificent result of this miraculous transformation.

Friday, November 21, 2014

La Rochelle harbor, Atlantic Coast of France

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Lanterne tower on the left
Chaine tower on the left, Saint Nicolas tower on the right
Saint Nicolas tower
Old harbor

Friday, November 14, 2014

Oleron Island, Atlantic West Coast of France

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Chassiron light houseChassiron light house

Saint Denis village
                                                                  Saint Denid beach
Beach huts
Low tide, surfers
Through a puddle in low tide
                                                            La Bree les Bains village at sunset

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hike on the Belledonnes Mountains in French Alps in early Spring - France, Part 2

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Blue gentiana