9.04.2009

The Final Count

With the lowest guess at 35 and the highest at 372, our final egg count for the month of August was nearly in the middle.

152 eggs

And the winner is Jessica of Turkey Cookies with the exact guess of 152 eggs! I really can't believe she was right on and I can't wait to send her a little box of goodies. Thanks to all of you who played our guessing game.

Our chickens aren't the only winged creatures keeping us entertained these days. Our neighbor called one night and asked us if we wanted some caterpillars. They were ravaging her passion fruit vine. Of course we said yes. We set up a little habitat in a plastic container on our dining room table and watched them munch away until they became cocoons.

dione vanillae

Then earlier this week, while we weren't watching, a butterfly emerged. Walking by the table, I happened to catch a glimpse of wings and called the kids over. We watched as the butterfly slowly got his bearings, beating his wings, climbing up sticks and unfurling his proboscis (this was most interesting to me).

dione vanillae

After a little while, we carefully carried the butterfly out on the stick to which he was clinging. I had my camera ready and was hoping to take a picture of the kids looking at the butterfly, but he flew off in the blink of an eye. I tracked him down in the garden and he obliged me with a few shots.

In the tomato plants, I found a few more bugs munching away.

tomato hornworm

Tomato Hornworms. They are creepy critters! Big and green, with a beautiful black and white chevron pattern running down their back, and a pointy horn on their tail. I put them in their own habitat on the dining room table, and watched as they devoured handfuls of tomato leaves which I brought to them every few hours.

After a few days, they dropped to the ground and began to borrow in the massive amount of droppings they had dispensed. I put some dirt in the bottom of their home and they burrowed down deep. Within two weeks, if all goes well, they'll emerge as Hawk Moths.

Any cool bugs hanging out on your dining room tables these days?

23 comments:

  1. congrats Jessica...thanks for the fun contest Molly. I found myself googling 'how many eggs chickens lay in a day' in order to give an answer. Your critters are fascinating...we're keeping an eye on a sticky foot tree frog here at our house.

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  2. 152! I was more than a little off! Love the pictures! Wow.

    We had a huge horn worm like that and it never, ever occurred to me to bring it indoors and watch it's life cycle. I was a little squeamish of it and took it off the plant with gloved hand. What a sissy!

    What a great idea to watch and explore. Always something good to pick up here at Foothill Home Companion. Have a great weekend.

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  3. I googled it too - hah!

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  4. Thank you, Molly! I hope the chickens have a plentiful September, too!

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  5. Aw man! I was only seven off! I didn't do anything as educated as research. I estimated that between eight chickens there should be about five eggs eggs per day and added an extra one for each week. ; )

    I never could get any caterpillars to build cocoons. Sad to say, they usually curled up and molded. Perhaps I'll try again!

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  6. The butterfly is BEAUTIFUL!!!

    I hope you'll get pictures of the hornworm when he (she?) emerges. I've seen plenty of horn worms, but never saw the moth.

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  7. Beautiful photos! Love the eggs...and those butterflies are amazing. I hate to admit - I have "dried" bees all over the place. Found a perfect petrified little lady in the garage and couldn't part with her. Other than our hive inspection lady from the state, I must be the only lady with dead bees in her purse....for sketching purposes only!! : )

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  8. No bugs here though I must admit I wouldn't mind. But today we did get something special ... our first egg! A very sweet tiny brown egg. Hooray for chickens!

    BTW - gorgeous photos!!!

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  9. hi molly! no bugs here, but we've run into a few snakes out in the woods. it freaks me out, and delights the girls. no worries about passing on my fears to them, no siree.
    this post reminded me though of the years when we lived in the woods and tim and i would go out at night into our garden with flashlights to pick slugs off the vegetables. i can't say i liked it then, but for some reason it makes me nostalgic thinking about it now!

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  10. How fun to see your butterfly take wings.

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  11. congratulations on so many eggs!
    these photos are so amazing- i can't wait to show the boys. we haven't had the best of luck in our caterpillar husbandry, i'll admit...
    now, snails? we have snails!

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  12. Great fun Molly... Enjoy your box of goodies Jessica!
    That is so cool that you "raised" a butterfly. Like Tara we have not had great luck the caterpillars! But we are keeping an eye on a caterpillar who has used the hairs from it's body along with some leaves to cover itself in the "bug box" ... interesting stuff for sure!

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  13. WOW, that's alot. Your butterfly shots are beautiful!

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  14. your pictures of the butterfly are stunning.

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  15. on the dining room table.
    wow.
    what a great mum you are!

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  16. i couldn't handle the amount of poop from the hookworms we brought in. i put them back outside!

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  17. Gorgeous photos. By the time I find a hornworm on our tomotoes a hornet has already layed it's eggs on it so we have not had the opportunity to raise a Hawk Moth. This is the first year in many many that we have not raised monarch butterflies.

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  18. my little guy collects every rolly polly he can find. unfortunately I can't convince him not to leave them in the hot sun... I've managed to save a few when he wasn't looking. Fortunately we have lots of these!

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  19. Congratulations Jessica : ) That is pretty incredible she guessed right on! The butterfly is so beautiful we watched a few monarchs emerge this summer and as for now the only insects inside the house are moths, butterflies and dragonflies that had passed away around our fields this summer... I had no idea the horn worms turned to moths, interesting.

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  20. What a beautiful butterfly. I love how it's furry body matches its wings. It's like a "fur" coat from the 70's.

    Our bugs are hanging out on the kitchen counter. They're a jar full of fruit flies, to feed to our newly metamorphosed fire-bellied toads. We have nearly twenty "toads" (they're actually frogs), each about the size of my thumbnail. They're quite adorable!

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  21. Oh, LOVE the new banner!

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  22. I can only think of one thing to do with hornworms...leave it to you to turn it into an educational experiance! I think I only had one this year, but then again my harvest of tomato's has been disapointing to say the least.
    Love the pics!
    Dad

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