May 27, 2014

Caterpillar Turned Moth

About three weeks ago, while cleaning out the gardens, I came across a green caterpillar. Evie is obsessed with bugs, so I picked up the caterpillar, and placed it in a jar with a few different types of leaves. I noticed that the caterpillar preferred daisy leaves. So, I dug up a small daisy plant and put it in some dirt in the bottom of the jar. After a couple of days, the caterpillar had sealed himself within a leaf. I thought at first that he might just be protecting himself as he ate, but, apparently, he had built a cocoon for himself. It was not until I came home one day to find a moth sitting in the jar that I realized he had been spending his days in the leaf transforming.

I showed Evie the moth, then we placed the jar outside, on the railing of the deck. Thankfully, the day he emerged was warm and sunny. He stayed in the jar for a few hours, then eventually flew away. I picked the leaf he had enveloped himself in out of the jar and opened it for Evie to see the cocoon.

It was fun to see the transformation and share it with Evie. I did a Google search on the caterpillar shortly after finding him, so I knew to expect a moth to emerge. I think he was kind of cool looking, for a moth.

May 22, 2014

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

Now that we live pretty close to Como Park Zoo, you'll probably be seeing more and more photos of this place. I don't get tired of visiting there, and neither does Evie.

I went on Tuesday this week thinking it wouldn't be too busy, being a weekday and all. Except, apparently every school in the area had nothing else they could do with their students on this particular day, so they schlepped them all to Como (admittedly, it was a GORGEOUS day and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it indoors, either). So, from the pictures, it looks like all we did was visit the conservatory gardens and the rainforest exhibit. But we did visit the animals. They were mostly napping and blocked anyway by hordes of kids. 

So, yeah, we toured the zoo part first, then we walked through the gardens. Big difference between the zoo and gardens crowd-wise. I guess ferns and flowers aren't worth making the field-trip agenda.

And, of course, when we got home, I could not resist a few photos of the flowers and plants in the garden.

May 19, 2014

Arbor Day Event

This past weekend, a nearby recreation center hosted an Arbor Day event. Jon volunteered at a table, handing out tree seedlings and answering any questions someone might have about trees. Unfortunately, there were fewer people who attended the event than anticipated. However, Evie had fun, and she took advantage of the smaller crowd. Nearby the information tables were a couple of climbing activities for kids, including a rock wall and a rope ladder. The lines at these activities remained short, so Evie was able to go back and try them over and over again.

Getting ready to climb a rope ladder

First time on the rope ladder, and this is about as far up as she got

Testing the rock wall next, with a little more success at climbing higher

Another rope ladder attempt

"Look how high I am, Mom!"

Ringing the bell at the top

Dropping/swinging down was half the fun

A quick hello to Smokey The Bear

We're finally experiencing more spring-like weather, now that it is getting to be the latter half of May. And we're finally beginning to see a few more blooms in the garden...

Like tulips...

And pussytoes...

And meadow rue...

May 14, 2014

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Over Mother's Day weekend the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum held a plant sale. We decided to go check it out, and we came home with five new plants for the gardens. The previous owner of our home removed the grass from a section between the sidewalk and boulevard, but did not have a chance to plant anything there before selling the house. We covered the area with wood chips last year, but this year we are starting to fill in the space. It is enjoyable working towards transforming the yard to what Jon and I envision, and Evie likes helping where she can. She shows off her Hello Kitty gardening gloves to anyone who will pay half a second's attention, and she has become skilled in helping her dad load wood chips into a wheelbarrow to spread around the garden beds.

After dragging Evie around to look at boring old plants at the sale, we took her over to a children's natural play area at the arboretum. Next to the play area is a building with an attached greenhouse that houses mostly tropical plants. We walked through the greenhouse (they provide water bottles for kids to help water the plants), then headed out into the play area.

Before leaving the arboretum, I could not resist a quick tour through the tulip garden area. Not all of the tulips were open yet, but some of them were.