Posted by: oceannah | July 23, 2012

Milk for Monarchs Part Deux

Well, with little fanfare the caterpillars have hatched out and are merrily consuming the milkweed.  They were not alone though.

These communal feeders, the aptly named Milkweed Tussock Moth Larvae were clamoring for a milky bite too.  The thing about feeding on milkweed is that the caterpillars become toxic to birds (if  a bird were bird-brained enough to chomp down on a critter clearly displaying the DON’T EAT ME colors of orange and black trouble would ensue).  If the bird did not spit out or regurgitate a milkweed fed larvae it would likely die of heart failure.
In another few days the Monarch larvae should begin to form their chrysalis’ and pupate.  I hope to catch a few hanging here and there to share with you.

I stuck my snout in one of the lilies the other day for a nice full whiff of that tantalizing scent.  About half the day went by and I’d been on a few errands.  Then my daughter came home and immediately shrieked, “Mama, what the heck is on your face?”  I startled and thought there was a bug on me.  Turns out I’d been walking around all day with a kind of war-paint look unbeknownst to me.  Wondered why the postman looked at me funny?!  The pollen from the lilies goes on very easy but does not come off without soap and water.

This one is just arrived and has not had the first bite yet.  Very beautiful critters.

I have multiple patches of lilies and I like this one the best.  The white and the stargazers mix it up well I think…no need to cut them at all they are a standing bouquet!

The rains have arrived.  Much needed for certain, although we just pulled the garlic and would prefer it not get rained on.  Looks like the next two days will be dry so we can bundle the garlic and hang it to cure!  And….lots of basil too….pesto on this weeks menu!  What’s on the menu at your place?  How are you using the bounty of the season?  Your thoughts are always appreciated.



  1. You are so lucky! I wish I could be at your farm today seeing all this.

    • Ahh…the magic of the internet allows us to see each others gardens even though there’s a continent between us, that’s pretty cool too.

  2. The lilies are beautiful….stargazers are my favorite!!!!!

    • Mine too Julie. I’m so glad you enjoy them.

  3. Holleee! Don’t the little creeps; ) just LOVE your milkweed patch!!
    Thankfully you only got pollen on your face and not your clothing… But, if you ever do, use a piece of masking tape to gently lift the grains off – do not try to brush it off as it stains really badly. (LOL… Sorry, still picturing your “war paint”: )
    The white lilies are so beautifully crisp and cool looking but that green “landing strip/stripe” with fade to white pistil and stamen are just the icing on the cake – SO fabulous (but ‘specially side-by-side with Stargazer… Together, they look like a bevy of ballroom beauties at a fancy-dress ball – heads together with whispered comments – giggling, gossiping, all aflutter with excitement over the evening’s festivities. Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous photos!

    • Yes, Deb, I’ve gotten pollen on my clothing and it takes a lot to get it off…thanks for the masking tape tip! I was watching them today and they are still munching. They usually don’t pupate on the milkweed and I’m thinking of harvesting one and keeping it in a confined space to allow readers to share the experience since I don’t know if I’ll find a cocoon or not.

      • Hi Anna, Hope you don’t mind but I’ve “borrowed” your white lily closeup for my computer’s wallpaper. You’ve done such a great job with the details here, (light, focus, framing) is so incredible in this photo… What kind of equipment are you using? (Other than just an amazing eye, that is; ) Thanks: ) D.

      • Don’t mind Deb, happy for you to have a wallpaper on your computer that you enjoy. I’m sure you realize also that all the work/images/text are copyrighted and not to be used otherwise ie: for sale/profit

      • ABSOLUTELY! Nothing worse than thieves (except liars; )

      • xo

  4. Great photos! Love to see nature in action!

    • Thanks Susan! It’s a blessing to witness. Glad you stopped in and had a comment to add I appreciate that.

  5. My pure white cat, Oyster, use to rub up against the lilies and become all yellow. Would take days nd days to get it all off!
    Can’t wait to see the pics of the butterflies!!!

    • hahah! I can’t wait either. It’s so magical.


  6. Your gardens are paradise. So wonderful.

    • Thanks for that fine compliment, it feels like paradise many times…but sometimes it just feels like a lot of work 😉 They’re both true.

  7. I appreciate how you combine the whole of your life – flora, fauna, food and creepy crawlies. What a hive of activity. Glad you have some rain though it looks like you must have been able to water generously.

    I’m enjoying our farmer’s markets. The produce is so tasty and appreciated. However, we have to remember that we need exported produce in winter! So we don’t want to bite the hand…

  8. Such an amazing opportunity to watch their life cycle. Thanks for sharing!

    • Then you’ll enjoy the remainder of what has inadvertently turned into a ‘series’

  9. […] Part 2 […]

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