Saturday, 25 August 2012

The butterfly summer

One of our butterflies.

If this summer was a novel I'd call it The Butterfly Summer. This is the year we raised butterflies, ten Painted Ladies, which arrived in a pot as teeny tiny caterpillars, sat on the coffee table on their sugar substrate getting bigger, turned into chrysalids and then hatched into pretty fluttery butterflies.

We kept them in for three days, waiting for a gap in the rain, and then released them a week ago, watching delighted as, one by one, they flew out of the pop-up butterfly house and into the garden. Mostly they alighted on the buddleia, some flew around in a big circle and landed on one of us, others flew straight upwards into the topmost branches of one of our trees.

I've been spotting them for the past week, mostly refuelling on the buddliea. I'm very proud of our butterfly 'babies' but missed having them to care for so immediately another batch of baby butterflies was ordered. This time we have little tortoiseshell caterpillars, almost too tiny to see and they're getting bigger on a diet of fresh nettles.

In between rearing butterflies we've had an austere time as we're saving to go to Mull in October. There have been sleepovers, hot tub days for H10 and R8, riding Itsy, a trip to the County Show (we got soaked), body boarding at the beach and lovely giggly friends over.

The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

In the midst of all this the Olympics happened in London and were wonderful. Brian and I got tickets for the football quarter finals at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which happened to be GB v Korea. GB did what British teams usually do at that stage and lost after a penalty shoot out but it was all very exciting and I really 'got' football having seen it live. The atmosphere in the stadium was like a rock concert - the roof was closed to keep the rain out which made it even more concert-like. We Mexican waved, we batted around big Olympic themed beach balls and we moved a huge flag. Crowds are funny, organic things and it was good fun to be part of such a big one, until it was time to queue for the park and ride buses of course! Ah well, it was an experience!


  1. Beautiful butterfly!
    Hope your saving is going well. Always worth it for a holiday.

  2. What a delightful thing to do, raising home-grown butterflies.

    Do go to Duart Castle on Mull, preferably on a wet windy day, as I did, and marvel at how people managed to live in such grimly uncomfortable conditions!

  3. Glad they went so well - my ones were a bit hit and miss. All the commas pupated and I released 10 of them into the wild! The Swallowtails grew and grew, but by 6 weeks they had all died one by one. I dont know why this happened as some were massive, as big as my little finger. Try again next year.

    Looks like you had a great seat at the footy.


  4. I love that your girls will have so many unusual and exciting childhood memories to keep.

  5. Hello Mags,

    I believe it is your birthday today. Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.!
    Have a lovely day celebrating with friends and family, lots of cake and bubbly too I hope.!

    What a pretty picture to your posting Mags of the lovely Butterfly, I adore Butterfly's, and to raise them yourself is sooo amazing.

    Sounds like you had a great time at the Olympic football stadium.


  6. Happy Birthday!!!!!
    Love the butterflies - had a great hatching of Peacock Butterflies the other day getting drunk on the Buddliea, it was about time too as hardly had any butterflies this year at all!

  7. I'm sad that it isn't a true butterfly summer - quite the opposite in fact. But at least you have seen some painted ladies - I have not seen any this year. And to think that 3 years ago they were migrating past St Davids head at 3000 an hour (that's not at typo). They are one of my favourite butterflies - I even wrote an essay about them (well vaguely) for my book. The advance copies of which arrived this week!

    P.S. If you pop down to Parrog and walk by the front there, you may see some small copper butterflies; the second brood is just out now.


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