We’ve got a cupful of caterpillars, a tiny tankful of sea monkeys, a beanstalk in a cup and an anthill waiting to be made. We’re basically trying to keep everything in our house alive, no matter how small, with varying degrees of success.
Before you imagine a whole load of little brown furry creatures swinging from twigs in my kitchen, let me clarify. The sea monkeys, or Aqua Dragons, are supposed to be little swimming creatures which look a bit on the box like microscopic skeletal fleas. Sadly it looks like they are the first casualty and as far as we could see, none of the little things even hatched! Maybe time to try again with a second batch of eggs, which thankfully you can buy separately from the toy shop.
More successful so far are the caterpillars, which came in the post as a birthday present from my sister. They are part of a Live Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore, and are such a nice spring project to do with your kids, if you can stomach looking at a tub of caterpillars in your kitchen for several weeks.
The idea is that you receive your pot of six tiny live caterpillars, nurture them until they turn into butterflies and you release them into the garden. I’m much more optimistic about this than the Aqua Dragons, mainly because we’ve done it before and managed to set five pretty butterflies free. When we liberated our last set, they creeped out of the net and sat on our hands for a few minutes before deciding to brave flying free.
Although I intended to post about the caterpillars when they were in their infancy, time is passing in a blur and they have now quadrupled in size, crept to the top of the pot and each has transformed into a small black chrysalis. All seem to be ok apart from one, who sadly didn’t make it and is ‘resting’ at the bottom of the container.
Tonight’s job is to transfer these creepy looking pods into a green net, into which they will eventually emerge as painted lady butterflies. I’ll keep you updated on how they get on.
As for the beanstalk, it came into our house as a bean planted in a plastic cup of soil, and is now a foot-tall weed sprouting on the kitchen windowsill. The anthill, well I think I’ll give myself a few weeks grace before opening the box. However, there is something therapeutic about growing things, watching life cycles and nurturing tiny creatures. Watch this space.