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Butterflies and the Flu AGAIN?!?!

The crazy spring weather we’ve had this year meant that the butterflies took a few extra days to hatch.  It normally only takes 7-10 days but somehow Mother Nature seems to know when it’s not a good time.  So it took more like 14 days for the butterflies to hatch.  That’s probably a good thing so the butterflies didn’t freeze to death when they were released!  However, the kids were busy caring for all 9 chicks so they had other stuff to occupy their time thankfully.

 Taking care of chicks is serious business!  I mean, you have to wrap them up in chick burritos and snuggle them, right?  Ha ha!

The kids were so busy taking care of chicks that they nearly forgot about the butterflies hatching.  Ok, so did I!  I woke up one morning and went to start my day and was startled by a sweet little butterfly fluttering around in the net.

The kids were ecstatic when they woke up!  I was ecstatic to finally be getting my kitchen back from the butterflies!!

 Look at that big smile from Maylin!  For a girl with the flu who hasn’t eaten in several days-that’s a beautiful sight for this Momma!

Maylin had been hit with the flu really hard and was so pitifully sick.  It was nice to see her get up off the couch and set the butterflies loose.  Of course, she didn’t want to set them loose, but after a little talk…or two, she decided the butterflies should be free.  First, however she had to chat with all the chicks about not eating her new friends, the butterflies.  I just love her tender, sweet, little heart!

Butterflies and more butterflies.

 Every time we turned around we had more butterflies.  Finally we all just sat down and watched so we didn’t miss any more hatching. 

Cam and Maylin sat at the kitchen table for hours waiting and watching for more butterflies to emerge.  Wow!  Where is that patience the rest of the time???

The butterflies took almost 2 days for all of them to hatch, which was wonderful.  The kids got to see them continue hatching for several days and not just all at once.  Several times we were able to actually see a butterfly “pop” out of the chrysalis.   It truly is miraculous to watch.  After they hatched we let their wings dry and made sure we had some nectar at the bottom of the net for them to drink.  Each day we did a butterfly release in groups of about 10 at a time.  It was beautiful!

 Sweet Maylin felt well enough to name each butterfly and then give them a sweet little pep talk about enjoying their life and coming back to visit her.  Oh, how I love this girl!

 Maylin sure does love her butterflies and I’m pretty sure they are fond of her as well. 

 Honestly, I didn’t even realize that Maylin was wearing her butterfly dress that day until I took this picture.  Well, I’m a very observant mother, now aren’t I?

We only had 2 chrysalis that didn’t hatch.  I think it had something to do with the nectar at the bottom of the butterfly pavilion getting spilled on them.  Yeah, a wet chrysalis might not hatch as easily.  Next year we might have to think of a way to separate the hatched butterflies from the hatching butterflies.  It could save a butterfly’s life.  Jim died laughing when I said that to him.  Why is that so funny?

We also had one butterfly that hatched with a crooked wing.  I kept telling the kids that the wing would straighten and it would fly away.  Why, oh why, do I make comments like that anymore?  I know good and well that this is the Carter house and Crazy is going to happen!  So, why not have a butterfly with a wing that doesn’t straighten?  Yep, that sounds crazy enough to fit in just fine with us.

 This is a normal butterfly wing…

 This is a not so normal butterfly wing.

Days went by and the butterfly’s wing didn’t straighten.   Nope, the wing stayed completely ruffled.  I maintained that the butterfly would get stronger with time and her wing would fix itself.  Yeah, keep dreaming Melody!

This poor butterfly couldn’t fly at all.  Every time we took it outside it tried to fly away but instead tumbled to the ground.  That’s not good. 

Well, that means the butterfly can’t fly.  Do you know what else that means?  Y’all.  I have a pet butterfly on my counter!!!!   I am not kidding.  Jim thinks it’s hilarious.  I think I’m completely crazy here!  We are trying to start a farm and one of our first animals is a pet butterfly that can’t fly.  A butterFLY  that can’t fly??  That just shouldn’t be possible!  And I don’t have the heart to leave it outside to get eaten by the birds…..Oh, we are  in so much trouble here!

Thankfully, Jim sees the humor in this and continues laughing every time he sees us tending to the little butterfly.  Yes, tending to the butterfly.  As in taking the butterfly outside every day for fresh air and physical therapy for her wing (of course that means keeping a watchful eye on the sky for birds that might want to eat her), picking her fresh tree branches and flowers, giving her fresh nectar and fruit slices.  Oh yes, this butterfly is living the high life!  Every day the kids spent their free time between caring for the last butterfly and the growing chicks.  Hey, it made them happy and they took the responsibility to do it, so I say have at it kiddos! Let’s just be unique and have a pet butterfly for the time that she lives.  Does anyone know how long a pet butterfly can live???  I’m thinking only a few weeks, right?

The pet butterfly was also a great distraction from how sick some of the kids were.  Some of us had a small taste of the flu and then we were hit again much harder a few weeks later.  That was rough to say the least.  The flu just hit our house so hard this year!  We haven’t had the flu in almost 5 years.  And now I remember why I hate the flu!  Good gracious!!  By the time Jim was well, the kids were all sick.  For weeks!!!  It took each of them almost 2 weeks to get over the fevers, aches and coughs and sleep through the night again.  And then the flu kicked my tail too.  At one point,  I think I might have asked Jim to just shoot me.  I was so done with it!  Thankfully, Jim was off work that week.  Well, sort of.   He had put his equipment in the shop and had planned to burn brush piles and work on fencing all week.  I was so excited to get all week to work on the farm.  But that didn’t happen!  Nope.  I got basically nothing done that week except getting myself a shower and slapping some leftovers on plates for the kids to eat.  I figured if the kids and animals all managed to get fed then everything else could wait until I felt better.  I can’t say that my house looked presentable but at the time I couldn’t have cared less!  If anyone had dared to come to our germ infested home, I would have simply sneezed on them when I answered the door and they would have promptly ran away in disgust.  I’m so glad no one came over.

Thankfully, Jim was able to get some burning done and some grading work done while the weather was nice. He even managed to get the old barn knocked down.  First, Jim had to help me get some of the old boards out of the inside of the barn.  They were about 9 feet long, a foot wide and about 2 inches thick.  And boy were they heavy!  Some of the ends had some damage at the bottom, but the rest were in good shape.  I’m not completely sure what we will use them for, but I’m happy to have pieces of the barn to keep.  I’m so sentimental these days…

 I really hated to knock down the old barn, but it was really past time.  Every storm we have takes it’s toll on the old building.  In really strong winds you can actually see it sway back and forth now.  So it was time.  Past time, really.  Jim gave the barn a little push and that was all it took.  It really was in worse shape than I realized.  

Boy, was Jim happy.  He finally had my permission to knock down a building!  I think he thought I wasn’t thinking clearly while being sick, but in the end he didn’t care.  He only heard me agree and he was out the door before I could change my mind!  He is so funny!

 Jim had dug a huge hole to push the barn into and burn what was left.  Well, that hole had filled with water during one of the spring monsoons.  Somehow that made the demolition even more fun for Jim.  Knocking over an old building and pushing it in to a huge mud puddle?  Oh Yeah!  Jim is such a kid at heart.  I don’t think boys ever out grow their love of playing in the mud!

 Jim got really carried away and knocked over the old chicken coop as well.  I wasn’t as happy about that as he was. 


 Once the old chicken coop was gone, I could see the animals in their pasture much better though.  Once again, Jim was right.  Isn’t he always???

Poor Jim had to burn the old barn by himself after he knocked it down.  I still had so much congestion from the flu that the smoke sent me into major coughing fits that weren’t really much fun.  

 Well, Jim wasn’t completely alone.  Sweet Desi kept an eye on Jim from the front yard.  What would I do with out her?


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