Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cross-Country Camping Trip, Part 5

Coming into New England feels like coming home. It just feels comfortable. The style of the houses, the look of the vegetation, the early-September hint of color in the woods, all remind me of growing up in Connecticut. I feel like I should be shopping for binders and pens and getting ready to go back to school.

On Friday (9/2/06) we got to Shaun’s dad’s vacation house in Vermont. We got in about 6:30 at night, just in time for dinner (good planning, that!) and spent the rest of the evening just hanging out with Shaun’s dad, stepmother, and friends of the family that are staying in the house while they finish building their own house. His dad is having some unidentifiable health issues right now, so it was a bit distressing and depressing to see him, but hopefully the battery of tests he had last week will bring some good news, or at least some answers.

Saturday (9/3/06) was spent mostly relaxing at the house. We did venture out for a couple hours to go to a craft fair (lots of beautiful things for sale, though there seemed to be more jewelry than anything else) and to view the house that the friends are building nearby. The house is going to be lovely, but it’s the land I’m jealous of- 10 acres of meadows and forest and a stream with a waterfall. The meadow that the house will be in was thickly vegetated with milkweed, and there were monarch butterflies everywhere...

There were also lots of caterpillars on the plants, munching away. They ranged from about an inch long to almost three, so it seemed to me that they were still hatching and there should be eggs, though I didn’t find any in my quick survey of the plants.

There were dozens of chrysalises (chrysali?) hanging from the plants, lumber, house foundation, and framing. A monarch chrysalis starts out by the caterpillar choosing a spot to metamorphose and assuming a “J” position to begin pupating.

The fully formed chrysalis is jewellike, all shimmery luna-moth-green, studded with gold buttons.

When the butterfly is approaching complete metamorphosis, the chrysalis turns translucent dark brown and the nearly complete butterfly is visible through it.

Then the adult hatches out, and it begins again. If only I had seen eggs and emergence, I would have the complete cycle!

It was a quick trip to Vermont, but we’ll be stopping overnight in Connecticut to see Shaun’s dad and stepmom again after we leave Maine.

Next stop- Maine.

No comments: