Praise Be

The  swan plant I ordered to replenish my monarch caterpillars’ food supply came yesterday, just in the nick of time. It has been planted,

Praise be for more food

Praise be for more food

and my remaining caterpillars are now busily chomping on their fresh greens. Hopefully, the caterpillars will  have enough food to take them through their fifth  instar and into their chrysalis stage.  Most of them look big enough to be close to their final and complete metamorphosis.

Is this the 5th instar?

Is this the 5th instar?

Whilst the caterpillars are nourishing their bodies in preparation for change, I thought we might do the same. Would you care to indulge?…..

in a taste of the last of summer in this delicious, spicy rhubarb cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

or, perhaps, in a little something that speaks of cooler mornings and the colder days to come; a gingerbread cake.

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

But, if you are wanting a lighter indulgence, may I suggest a serving of the apple, instead of the cake.  Again there are two choices; Cherry Gala apples lightly cooked with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar and a handful of rose petals;

or Royal Gala and Eve  apples , sautéed gently in a sliver of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Mmmmm…How was that? Delectable? Are you feeling suitably indulged and ever so glad that we are not limited to one food type like the monarch caterpillar; that we are able to experience so many taste sensations; that we have such variety in our menus.

Praise be to the  butterflies  and bees that make that possible.

~

At 12.51pm today we marked the  third anniversary of the  February 22nd earthquake. At the memorial service in the Botanic Gardens, the Mayor said “Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those who are still struggling. .. For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask for our help… We can get through this together.”

In caterpillar terms, ( because I have this essential life form so much on my mind 😉 ) most of us have made it through the first instar; some of us are almost ready to be butterflies; indeed, may already be  flying freely. Some of us, such as myself, are still  ambling along in the third instar. But there’s no rush. With nourishment and nurture, we will, eventually, be transformed.

( I think I will make a good  butterfly, don’t you?  🙂   Better keep my feet clean, though. Butterflies taste through their ‘feet’! )

© silkannthreades

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90 thoughts on “Praise Be

  1. sethsnap

    Do those caterpillars hide in shoes and sting folks like they do in other parts of the world? My parents lived in the Seychelles for a time and it happened a lot over there. When I visited them I was frightened to death of getting my foot stung.

    Reply
  2. Leya

    You lovely butterfly lady – a real goddess you are to them! How fortunate you got the plants in time to help the caterpillars. Now we are all awaiting the miracle.

    Reply
  3. greenlightlady

    You can’t get any lovelier than being a baker of sweets and a butterfly lady too. I imagine you get wonderful pictures of monarchs when the caterpillars are reborn? I’ll have to snoop around your old posts…

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Reply
  4. womanseyeview

    Thanks for the stories of your caterpillar friends. They need any help they can get as we’ve disrupted so much habitat … Do you know where your monarchs migrate to and from? Ours travel from Canada to Mexico although they seem to be losing the battle to survive us right now.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I think the answer to your question may be that we are still learning about the habits of NZ Monarch butterflies. They don’t travel like yours do. This is from the NZ Monarch website.
      “There’s a lot we don’t know about Monarchs in New Zealand. We do know of some of their overwintering sites, for instance in parks in Timaru, Christchurch, Nelson, Hastings, Napier, one or two specific trees in Tauranga and Auckland – and at Butterfly Bay near Kaeo in Northland.

      However, we are trying to find out more by tagging Monarch butterflies each year – if you look under Projects for Tagging you will see a lot more information.
      – See more at: http://www.monarch.org.nz/monarch/forum/topic/where-do-nz-monarch-migrate-to/#sthash.GGjwefjH.dpuf ” And no one seems sure how the Monarchs came to New Zealand but they have been here at least since 1870. http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/MonarchButterflies-environmentecology.pdf

      Reply
      1. womanseyeview

        Thank you for these sites – such interesting information and isn’t it nice to have a bit of mystery about what the monarchs do in New Zealand to overwinter. Maybe NZ will be the saviour of monarchs for future generations.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          We could well be! Recently we had scientists visiting from the UK looking for a certain type of bumble bee that they wanted to re-introduce to the UK. They found the right bumble bee, originally from the UK, but I don’t think the re-introduction went well. But the possibilities are there for such projects.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Mary. Today I have been watching one of the caterpillars prepare to pupate. I am looking forward to seeing what it is like tomorrow. And, hopefully, I will see it emerge as a butterfly at some stage.

      Reply
  5. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    Gallivanta – You have a blessed way of introducing your new plant so that it might nourish your caterpillars. I almost felt as though I could hear church bells ringing in the background as you measured and pampered and now we await with anticipation the beautiful butterflies to emerge.
    Your transition into delectable food is awe inspiring. I’ve been told that food is the hardest of all photography. The next time someone tells me that, I believe I should give them your name. You certainly have the skill mastered.
    What a delightful story you’ve given us. We were in the present and now looking into the future as we await the butterflies but not forgetting the past as we taste the lush desserts. Sheri

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Sheri for your kind words. It is a challenge to photograph food; I don’t want to make it look more glamorous than it actually is, by photo editing, but I also want it to look as attractive as it does to me, in real life. I am anxiously awaiting the butterflies…will they emerge, or won’t they? Did they survive the hail or not? I shouldn’t worry really. Nature can take care of itself if we give it a chance.

      Reply
  6. dadirri7

    I am fascinated by your post Gallivanta, such a warm feeling seeing your big fat caterpillars and their new milkweed plants … oh the stress of seeing them strip the earlier plants and disappear!! Now I will be waiting with bated breath for the first chrysalis pics, and the emerging butterflies … I had to look up all your links, such as instar … who knew caterpillars moult their skin and change so much along the way … Eric Carle does not mention that in the Very Hungry Caterpillar! PS love the recipes too, just my kind of cakes 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My first duty every morning is to peek out the bedroom window and see what is happening with my caterpillars and butterflies. I don’t want to miss anything. 🙂

      Reply
  7. melodylowes

    I love butterflies and their life stories. A friend of mine told me not long ago that I had descended into the depths of the chrysalis, where my very core was melted down; now, I am waiting for my new wings to dry. I love that. We are all on a journey to becoming our truest selves – I’m hoping my journey includes gingerbread cake…. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Gingerbread cake will definitely be included. I think the life cycle of the Monarch has a lot to teach us, about waiting, resting, nourishment, transformation, not rushing, taking our time…….letting nature do its magic. I can see your wings patiently waiting for the warmth of the spring sunshine…ready to stretch and unfold.

      Reply
      1. melodylowes

        Ahh, that does my heart good! I so agree about the lessons we can glean from those little squishy caterpillars – what a great way to learn some life’s truth, watching nature’s best secrets unfold before our very eyes.

        Reply
  8. Virginia Duran

    Somebody had a great Sunday 🙂 You sound cheerful and it’s contagious, I really enjoy reading how much love you put in every activity (especially in your garden). By the way, your posts always make me hungry, those cakes look delicious!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It always seems to help to be as cheerful as possible. Some days are, of course, less cheery than others; even for caterpillars, I am sure ;). And a beautiful cake always makes me smile. Glad you enjoyed being part of my day.

      Reply
  9. Just Add Attitude

    I hope your caterpillars make it. I am sending good wishes on the third anniversary of your earthquake and I hope as your mayor wishes that those who are having difficulty get the support they need. 😉

    Reply
  10. Clanmother

    I have been thinking a lot about having a thankful spirit – of embracing gratitude as a state of mind. It is being present in the moment, of accepting the joy that has been given. I smiled when I saw the tape measure and remembered my favourite Sesame Street song.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Clanmother 🙂 You always know how to make my day extra lovely. So happy to be reminded of Inch Worm and the sweetness of these living-in-the-moment words “inch worm, inch worm, measuring the marigolds, seems to me, you and stop and see how beautiful they are”

      Reply
  11. Mrs. P

    Wow, you have quite a few very large and very hungry caterpillars. I do hope the food holds out. You are such a sweetheart to buy food for caterpillars…a true lover of everything garden. I did especially like the picture of the measured worm…he was very co-operative!

    And, I did enjoy the delicious gingerbread, but I was a little naughty and sampled some of the sauteed apples as well, delicious!!!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The caterpillar was wriggly so the measurement is not quite accurate! But it gives an idea of size. Glad you enjoyed the gingerbread and the apple. The recipe actually wanted me to add lemon icing to the gingerbread but I didn’t think it needed any more sweetness 🙂 .

      Reply
      1. Lavinia Ross

        I’ve never used it for anything, and had not encountered it before on the east coast, where I am originally from. I have seen fields of it here in western Oregon, and seen the hives placed in it. Looks like snow on the ground. The honey is other-worldly!

        Reply
  12. Juliet

    Yes, you will definitely make a good butterfly; in fact you already have wings. What gorgeous fat caterpillars, and I’m glad you have enough food for them.
    Blessings and love on this anniversary, and may you all in Christchurch emerge from your cocoons into a glorious new stage of life for the whole city.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Juliet, sometimes I do feel I have wings, but, other times, not so much. It will be excellent for the whole of New Zealand when Christchurch is healed and whole again.

      Reply
  13. robynpod

    Thank you for reminding us of the tragedy of Christchurch. As Aussies we enjoyed the beauty and hospitality several times of your lovely country and find it hard to believe the time lapse since we sat transfixed watching it happen. Thoughts for those still grieving their loss and amenity. We will return to you.

    Reply
  14. teamgloria

    we can hear the cautious mister caterpillars chomping their greens from here and the butterflies picking up tasty morsels of dew and pollen with their delicate feet as we bow our head in silence and give a virtual hug to everyone who survived your earthquake three years ago.

    *head_bowed*

    Reply
  15. utesmile

    Tasting through their feet, another thing I have learnt today! Well I rather taste with my mouth and nose, and oh boy did I today…. the full proper British afternoon tea today in Cambridge: 6 slices of sandwiches, 2 scones with cream and jam, 3 beautiful mini cakes with tea. Wow all in wonderful style with my friends here: http://harrietscafetearooms.co.uk/cambridge-city-centre-tearooms/
    I am still full now…. it was well worth it though! think I need a rest…. 🙂

    Reply
  16. shoreacres

    The more I see of those caterpillars, the more appealing they become – fully as attractive as the butterflies, albeit in a caterpillary sort of way. It’s wonderful that your Swan plant arrived. Did you ring a tiny little bell to announce that dinner was served?

    We rarely get good fresh rhubarb here, but rhubarb-strawberry jam making was a ritual in my midwestern childhood. Actually, the ladies made the jam. I ran around with my friends, all of us wearing rhubarb leaves as hats. We were pretty easily amused.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, a little bell. I forgot to ring it! 😀 The caterpillars seemed to get the message that it was dinner time, anyway.
      I love the image of rhubarb leaf hats! No such fun for me. Because I grew up in Fiji, I only knew rhubarb from 3 yearly home visits to NZ. And, then, it was offered, stewed to oblivion, and I didn’t like it that way at all. As an adult, with control over my own rhubarb cooking, I have discovered how truly delicious it is.

      Reply
  17. Lavinia Ross

    Good to see the catepillars chowing down! One delicacy we have made for ourselves is a wheel of brie cheese topped with a lighter honey like meadowfoam honey, and sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts. Slice like cake, and drizzle more honey.

    Reply
  18. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    and what a lovely butterfly you already are, but if you haven’t emerged via chrysalis yet, wow, we’d better buckle our seat belts!

    like the caterpillar, you’re also gleaning material to protect you from predators! chomp on, though your gingerbread morsels look much more appetizing than the swan plant!

    z

    ________________________________

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lisa, you make me laugh! I am imagining myself as a supersonic butterfly! And those swan plants are definitely not for human consumption….I will join you in your preference for gingerbread morsels. By the way, did you ever have enough internet speed to send me a gecko image? 🙂

      Reply
      1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        hey! yes, i have the images uploaded and will either email them to you or leave the file info in a comment. which would you like ‘

        i am in a cybercafe ‘ my prepaid internet thru a phone com-modem has expired, and i don´t think i´will renew it.. it´s too slow to open pages in the daytime and still slow late at night. for now i´ll be using internet when i am in town…

        i have it in an email and will look for your email address now!

        z

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Lisa, you wonderful, wonderful person. The images arrived safely in my About comments. My gecko post with my daughter’s poem and your art work is going to be such fun. Thank you from the top and bottom of my heart. 🙂

  19. KerryCan

    You are sure to be viewed as a goddess by the caterpillars! Miraculous food provision and space travel to new milk-and-honey lands! I see a whole folklore springing up from this!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      A goddess or a galumphing giant! But, yes, the stories the butterflies will whisper; except they are deaf, so maybe the story will have to be genetically encoded or passed on by some sort of vibration…..now, you have me thinking…how do they communicate and sing their songs? 😉

      Reply
  20. lensandpensbysally

    Thanks for your devotion to these majestic creatures. I looked up swan plant, and it is in the same botanical family as “our” milkweed plants here in the USA. The swan plant is native to Africa, which makes sense in terms of it doing well in your climate.

    Reply
  21. YellowCable

    Those caterpillars are so lucky to be in your garden. For people, my choice would be the Cheery Gala apples with pale pink rose on top 🙂 With these, I would not be rushing out 🙂

    Reply
  22. Mélanie

    🙂 OMG, it’s an invasion-occupation… I’m smilin’ as I’m dressed in black & yellow today… 🙂 may I have some gingerbread cake, PLEASE! thanx in advance and have a yummy weekend! cheers & hugs, Mélanie

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Now you are making me smile. Thinking of you dressed in caterpillar colours. How cheerful.
      So, some gingerbread cake for you, and may I have some of your violet liqueur? I am sure it’s delicious 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mélanie

        deal, merci and any time, dear young lady… 🙂 Speakin’ of violet liqueur, our Japanese friends visited us last May and they loved it, so we offered them 2 bottles, as you can find it ONLY in our Toulouse region… cheers! 🙂

        Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Desperate times! I also sent two of caterpillars across town with a friend today. She has a relatively unpopulated swan plant. I hope the little ones don’t object. It’s hard to know how much to interfere and how much to leave alone.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Amelia, you would have been laughing uproariously if you had seen my friend and I gathering the caterpillars. Saying ‘today’ was a bit misleading. We were actually crawling around in the garden bed in the dark, with torch, searching for the caterpillars. A real comedy duo. My friend thought it would be kinder to move the caterpillars in the evening when they were in a cooler, resting state, which seemed very sensible to me. As for times of getting rid of caterpillars….I remember an invasion of white butterfly caterpillars on my brassicas. It was so massive that, despite my best efforts at digital pest control, I eventually had to give up and let the caterpillars enjoy themselves.

  23. gpcox

    I’m awaiting the Monarchs, dining in style and hearing of friends and neighbors helping each other thru the rough times – what could be better than that!!

    Reply

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