Monday, May 31, 2010

Two frogs, two froglets and a tadpole.

Several weeks ago, my husband brought home some tadpoles that he had collect from a puddle at our neighbors house. They were really tiny, the heads probably measured about 1/8 inch, and they were less than an inch long. We set up our 10 gallon aquarium, filled it with a couple inches of creek water, and some creek 'muck' leaf matter etc. So the tadpoles had something to eat and places to hide.

The kids have been fascinated watching the tadpoles transform into frogs. They both check them daily and report any changes they notice. We also read about it in the book Watch Me Grow Frog, so they can understand the process the tadpoles are going through.

This was taken on April 16th. Here are three of our tadpoles they are about 1 inch long. We thought we only had 4 tadpoles, and then were surprised to find tadpole number five!

This is from may 4th. Our tadpoles are growing quickly! i am now about 1 1/2" long.

On May 12th, we have started to grow back legs!! These first appear as little leg buds, and then slowly develop into large back legs.

By May 25th, they have arms and legs. Their tails are slowly disappearing, skin has grown over their gills and they now have lungs! We watch them come to the surface of the water to breath.

May 29, this guy is now a froglet. He has arms, legs a tail and lungs! He tail is getting smaller and smaller everyday.

Today, May 31 we have two frogs, two froglets and one tadpole with back legs.

The frogs have been climbing the glass in the aquarium, so we'll be taking them to the creek to release later this afternoon. They are only about 1 inch long. It is always a fun and rewarding experience to raise and release tadpoles. Anytime we play at the creek and see a frog we wonder if it may have been one that we raised.

Here is a really fun Tadpole Puppet printable you can print up from Scholastic to show how tadpoles transform into frogs through metamorphosis.

Here is another good printable that shows the life cycle of the frog.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Upcoming Featured artist and Giveaway!

i thought i would give you all a sneak peek on the next featured artist and giveaway i will be hosting!

Julie from The Peaceful Peacock, makes the most divine teas and handmade reusable tea bags. Check out her Etsy shop and have a look around! Are you as excited as i am? i thought so.

This is just a teaser, but in a couple weeks we will be giving away a set of these fabulous tea bags and a delicious tea blend. Maybe a few runner up prizes as well. So check back!

i am always looking for new artists to feature. If you are an independent artist or crafter interested in having me run a feature and/or giveaway here on my blog just let me know! i love to support handmade products, WAHM's and indepentant artists.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Unwelcome visitor.

So after just posting last week, how boring our life is...we had a visitor this morning that really shook things up a bit. i heard my rooster crowing their usual predator warning. On most days this just means there is a hawk circling, or a fox near by in the woods.
So i ran outside to count my chickens, and scare away anything that may be out there.
When i walked up to the chicken coop, i noticed they were all huddled together under the coop and the goats were looking alarmed. i immediately started counting they are always the first to 'disappear'. Then i looked up and saw this on the other side of the fence.

That's a black bear!! i totally panicked, of course...ran around the house and yelled at Kenan..then ran in the house for my camera. :) i know there are bears around here, but this is the first time we've actually seen one in the yard.

It was seriously checking out my goats and chickens, and didn't really appear all that scared of us. It wasn't until i let the dog out, and the dog started barking at it..that it backed away from the fence. It climbed up this tree, which is next to the fence and just sort of looked at us and the dog.

Thankfully, Kenan has a glass student here, who just happened to have a few fireworks out in his car. So we set off a couple that made a loud 'snap' sound, and the bear finally ran off into the woods. So yikes, lots of excitement this morning. That was a little too close for my comfort...especially in the middle of the day. It's not at all uncommon for Sage to be down by the chicken coop, while i'm working in the garden.
i think we are going to have to seriously consider adding solar electric fencing. It was something we had planned to do down the road, to keep the goats from getting out and eating the garden. i didn't realize how necessary it was to keep them safe.

Hopefully we gave the bear a good 'spook' and he won't return anytime soon and we can get back to our laid back, boring life.

Emerging butterflies!

i mentioned a couple weeks ago, in this post that we had received a Butterfly Garden from Insectlore with painted lady caterpillars and were observing them and their transformation into butterflies. We also had a Great Spangled Fritillary Chrsyalis that we were raising and anticipating it's emergence.

The kids were mesmerized by the catalog of cool 'bug stuff' that came with the kit. They eventually noticed the caterpillars too. :)

The painted lady caterpillars were really tiny, and arrived in this small clear cup on May 11th. The stuff in the bottom of the cup is their food, and it provides them with everything they need. They are completely maintenance free, all we had to do was watch.

Honestly, the little cup seemed a bit too small for the five caterpillars. It quickly got overwhelmed with the silk/webbing they spun and tons of frass (caterpillar poop). So it really didn't make for the best observation or photo experience.

We usually raise monarchs, and i keep them in a large aquarium, where we can create a natural habitat with milkweed (their host food) and flowers to make it pretty. We also clean up the frass, and add new plants daily. It is much easier to observe them, it they have a nice clean environment much closer to how they would live in nature.

Here they are on the 14th, they have tripled in size. You can the frass all over the sides and webbing.

By May 16th, 5 days after we had received them they had all formed their chrysalises. In this photo, you can see the caterpillar in the center is in the process of shedding his skin for the last time. Caterpillars shed their skin several times before they form their chrysalis. Many folks believe that butterfly caterpillars form the chrysalis around themselves like a cocoon. They actually shed their skin a final time, and the chrysalis is underneath it. It starts off soft, and eventually hardens into the chrysalis form.

According to the directions that came with the butterfly garden, we were supposed to remove the paper (under the lid) and pin it to the side of the butterfly garden. Our paper was pretty torn and not very stable and so i decide to move all our chrysalises onto a piece of yarn. We sometime do this with the monarchs if they fall off where ever they were attached to. It is a pretty simple process. i cut around the paper where they are attached and used a dot of hot glue (administered with a pin) to glue them to a piece of yarn. i then ran each end of the yarn through the holes in the butterfly garden, and knotted it in place. It made it much easier to observe them.

i also removed out Great Spangled Fritillary Chrysalis from the pickle jar. Remember him? i was able to just glue the leaves he was attached to onto the yarn with the others.
Then we waited.

Right before a butterfly emerges, the chrysalis will turn very dark, then translucent and the designs of the butterflies wings can be seen. This is a painted lady, can you see it? This is 10 days after the caterpillars had formed their chrysalises.

This is also the first day we had left the house in about 10 days, and came home to find our butterfly garden laying on it's side on the ground...with my cat standing over it. Three of our butterflies had emerged, and the other three chrysalis had been knocked off the yarn and were laying on the floor of the butterfly garden. My cat had apparently been waiting for us to leave for his chance to attack them.

i was able to re-attach the three chrysalises that had fallen. Our fritillary chrysalis, was the only one that appeared damaged. It's side had split and it wasn't moving. :( The other two were very wiggly when i tried to re-attach them. i was really worried that our fritillary had become of victim of the cat, when all of a split even more and the butterfly emerged!!

The Fritillary is at the top, and the painted lady at the bottom. You can really see the size difference of the two.

We are keeping the painted ladies for a few days to observe them, before releasing them. i am hoping they lay eggs inside the enclosure, sow e can start the process over again. Hollyhocks is one of their host foods, and we have plenty of them growing here. The butterflies sip nectar from fresh flowers, and i sprinkled it all with a bit of sugar water.

Our other two chrysalis have become transparent, and i'm expecting them to emerge sometime today and then we will release them all tomorrow morning.

The butterfly kit was fun, although it didn't work the best for taking pictures or observation. i personally find a 10 galleon aquarium to be much more ideal. If you don't have access to caterpillars and their host foods this is still a really good way to get to experience the miracle of metamorphosis.

If you'd like to see my past blog showing our monarchs transform you can see them forming the Chrysalis here and emerging here.

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

Friday, May 21, 2010

Still here, just doing our thing.

i've have been having a rough time updating lately. i have said before that i'm a crappy blogger, and that's not an apology...i'm just stating facts. :) i like posting pictures and sharing projects, but other than that i really don't have a lot to say. :)
Our life is very laid back and slow paced. Many folks, i'm sure would find it very boring...which is fine by me. We keep ourselves quite busy working, planting, working, playing and chasing the occasional butterfly.

Kenan finally bought himself a truck. It's an '85 ford, and it just screams 'redneck'. :) Seriously, we are talking confederate flag floor mats, and little skulls on the door locks and the dreaded 'Farm use' plate :)

As much as i really dislike BIG trucks. i do admit, it has come in rather handy. We have a hookup for free firewood, the trees are already downed. So all week Kenan has been out there cutting and hauling. There is some security knowing we are already completely set for next winter. The truck has also come in quite handy for hauling manure and mulch. Kenan has a hook up for that too, and brought home a load of seasoned horse manure, and a load of seasoned cow manure. He also came home with a nice load of 'hot' cow manure that we added to our compost. i never thought i'd get so excited about poop. ha ha.

i'm struggling this year to get my summer garden planted, although my spring garden is doing well. My spinach, arugala and romaine bolted as soon as the weather turned warm. My leaf lettuces, kale, broccoli, peas, potatoes and chard are still doing good and we are enjoying fresh salads almost every night. Sage loves to help to pick lettuce, and both kids love the fresh baby greens.

i love pictures like this. Just a little reminder of why we do what we do. It's rewarding to look at the picture and know exactly where it came from.

Our, berry season is just beginning but i'm anticipating a good one. The red raspberries have spread everywhere and are completely loaded. The blackberries are flowering, the blueberries looks incredible. Our strawberries have just begun to ripen, and although we are still struggling to keep the chickens and birds out of them, i think we are going to have a good amount this year. We were again blessed with about 50 new plants, traded with a neighbor for some of our red raspberry runners. Instead of planting them with our other berries we are trying some new things with them.

We have some bordering the edge of our main garden, some in a raised bed, some in a large half barrel type pot, and some hanging in a 'strawberry bag.' So hopefully one of these days, we'll finally get them established. i also transplanted a bunch of wild strawberries into a small bed. i would love to get them established as well. They are already sending out runners.
i came across this tutorial for covered strawberry boxes in Countryside magazine. As long as we allow our chickens to free range, we are going to need to build something like this in order to protect our berries.

i would love to make a batch of strawberry jam, but in all honestly we just really love to eat the berries fresh....with out any sugar added. So, i'm not sure i can bring myself to use up that many for jam...which is like 75% sugar. Not this year, anyway. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blog Awards and passing them on!

i recently recieved a few blog awards, and am i'm a bit behind on posting them.
Thank you so much for acknowledging my blog.

First, i received a blog award from Green Earth Journey blog! Thank you very much, Hyla!
*give this award to 8 sweet and friendly bloggers,
*make a post about the award including the picture and mention the person who gave it to you,
*put the award on your blog,
*let your nominated 8 know you've awarded them by leaving a comment!
i would like to pass this award to a few of my favorite sweet and friendly bloggers!!

A Mountain Hearth
Ramble On Rose
Kathi's Hippie Haven
Aurora's garden
Heirloom Seasons
Kai on Pai
Plays Wool with Others
Green Cocoon

i am very honored to have recieved the Sunshine award again.
This time i recieved it from Kathi @ Kathi's Hippie Haven

Please pass this award on to your favorite bloggers!
Here are the Rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or within your post
2. Pass the award on to bloggers who bring a little sunshine to your life through their words and photos.
3. Link the nominees within your post
4. Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mermaid tales. :)

The other day we were at the store wandering through the toy isles. Sage was looking at all the dress up stuff, and she saw a Little Mermaid outfit/costume and quickly announced that she needed a Mermaid's tail. So i took a quick look at it's construction and then we headed over to the fabric department. i let her choose her fabric, she wanted purple of course.

Don't let her face fool you, she loves it! (just doesn't like mom always following her around with a camera! ha ha) This was really simple to make. The skirt is a wrap style, with the 'tail' sewn on the back. There are additional tulle fins, sewn on the front and back.

i may try getting better pictures a little later. This is the first thing i've sewn in quite a while, and although the tulle and the silky fabric (taffeta maybe?) were a pain to work with, it came out pretty good. i'm going to redo the waistband, and make it a faux wrap with an elastic waistband so it's easier for Sage to take on and off herself.

HippieFairy Lover Winner Announced!

The Winner of the Hippie Fairy Lover Tea lights is #15!!

True Random Number Generator 15 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

thecatinthetree said... 15

The water bottle cozies are cute :)

i'm emailing the winner now. You have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen.
Thank you again to everyone who participated!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday updates

Happy Friday!

Don't forget to enter the Hippie Fairylover tea light candle giveaway! Check out her beautiful goods on etsy, and leave a comment to show your support for handmade!! It ends tonight!!

Our tadpoles now have back legs!! They are just beginning to come in, but it is still very exciting. We also realized we have 5 tadpoles, not 4! :) One them is just really good at hiding.

Our Great Spangled Fritillary is still transforming within it's chrysalis, we are expecting it to emerge in the next week or so.

Garden update. Our spring garden is doing great, although the week of 80 temps caused all my spinach to bold. Now it has cooled down again, and my broccoli, kale and other cool weather veggies are looking quite happy. We picked our first ripe strawberry yesterday!

About 2 weeks ago, i won a Butterfly Garden, from InsectLore and Busy Mommy Media. It arrived on Tuesday, and the kids were super thrilled. It came with 5 live painted lady caterpillars that we get to watch grow and transform into butterflies. It included food for them, and the butterfly garden pop up enclosure. . It also came with a pretty cool catalog that the kids found more exciting that the caterpillars, temporarily. :) Lots of really cool educational bug stuff.
i'm surprised at how quickly the caterpillars are growing. They have tripled in size since in the last three days. i've been taking pictures daily, and will post a full blog following their transformation soon. We are blessed to live in a place where we find caterpillars to raise regularly, but for you folks who don't have access to them this really is a nice kit, and great way to share the incredible experience with your kids.

i hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. We are planning to spend most of the weekend shoveling manure and compost and putting in our summer garden. We had a pretty good frost a couple days ago, so i have not been overly eager to put plants in the ground yet. You can also expect that we'll be chasing butterflies and taking too many pictures as well.

Hope you weekend is just as blissful.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Growing Chickens

She planted feathers in the garden so we could 'grow more chickens'.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Munching on Sweet violets.

We have sweet violets growing wild everywhere. They are in the woods, in the yard, in my garden. i am constantly digging them up and transplanting them, before my husband mows them over. i use them to border the lettuce bed, strawberry beds and in my flower garden. Sweet violets are quite beneficial, and useful for those who like to forage for wild food and medicinals. Violets are wonderful because all parts of the plant can be used, and all members of the viola family are edible. i like adding a few blossom to my salad.
My friend Danielle has a great post on making Violet Jelly over at her blog One Green Tomato. Then, swing over to 5 Orange Potatoes blog to see some other fabulous violet recipes.

Sweet violets are also the host food for Fritillary caterpillars.
About a week ago, we came upon an interesting looking caterpillar in our yard. It was black and spiky, and one we have not seen before. So after a bit of googling. We identified it as a Great Spangled Fritillary Caterpillar. What does it eat? Sweet violets of course!

So we decided to try raising it inside, so we could watch it transform. We have raised monarchs and swallowtails...this would be the first time raising a Fritillary. So i created a habitat using an large pickle jar. i planted a huge clump of sweet violets in the bottom, and added a few rocks and dried leaves. Unlike some of the other caterpillars we've raised the Fritillary doesn't form it's chrysalis up high on trees. It rather likes to form it under rocks, dried leaves or logs.

Also, unlike the usual caterpillars we've raised, these guys are nocturnal. So i didn't get very many photos of him. He does most of his munching and crunching at night. During the day he would hide himself within the dried leaves and rest. i would have to get out my flashlight to find him hidden under the leaves in the very center of the jar. He grew quite quickly, and after only a few days had already doubled in size.

A little over a week after we brought him inside, i found him hanging upside down hidden deep within the dried leaves. We left him alone, and when i went back to check he had already formed his chrysalis. i removed a few of the leaves he was wrapped up in so that he was visible.

Hopefully in a week or so, we'll be able to witness the transformation to butterfly. i couldn't find a time frame, on how long they stay in the chrysalis stage, but i am guessing a week or two. This is always such a fun and educational experience for the kids (and me!!). We raise butterflies every summer, but it is always exciting to find/raise a new type. We will be raising painted ladies in the next week or two (from a kit), and i am hoping to find swallowtails and monarch caterpillars again this year as well.
So don't forget to come back, and see the final pictures of our Great fritillary when it emerges and is released. You can also follow us on our adventures with raising Painted ladies (very soon!). As always, i will be documenting all the stages. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Glass listed.

It's very rare that my husband has glass in stock. These days he is quite busy with custom work, or filling orders for his current accounts. However, he recently made a few pieces to list on etsy. Since i am sitting here listing them, i thought i would share. These never sit for long, so if you see something you better snag it. :)

Buy Handmade

One of these days i plan to do an artist feature and giveaway for his shop. What would you most like to see? A bead, pendant, marble...? Would love to hear your feedback. Enjoy the eye candy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday.

'flower sprite' can you see her?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Creations by HippieFairyLover Artist Feature and Giveaway! ENDED

artist feature and giveaway!

i have had the pleasure of knowing Kathi through the online hippie craft community, for many years. She is a wonderful woman, mama and crafter.

Kathi is a homeschooling mama to 7 year old Dakota, her youngest son whom she adopted from Guatemala. She also has five adult children and eight grandchildren. Kathi creates a variety of items, which include cloth sandwich wrappers, bowl covers, clothing, candles and knit goods. Kathi's favorite part about creating is seeing the end result. Taking the raw materials and turning them into something useful and safer for the environment gives her a deep sense of pride.

"I've been sewing since I was a small child. I don't feel complete if I go a whole week without sewing something."

Kathi's main motivation is the desire to live as naturally as possible, for her and her family. She is concerned about the waste of resources in our environment, which led her to start making reusable things. The bowl covers and sandwich bags are a nice alternative to plastic wrap, tinfoil and ziplock sandwich bags. They are made of PUL which is cotton fabric that has been laminated with polyurethane. The water resistant cover will keep your food fresh. The sandwich wrappers will keep your bread soft for many hours, and PUL fabrics are considered to be food safe. They are machine safe, but will last even longer if hand washed and air dried.

Kathi's water bottle cozies are hand knit out of cotton yarns, and her tea light candles are made from EcoSoy wax and scented with fragrance oils.

All items listed are lovingly handcrafted by Kathi and sold to help her remain a StayAtHomeMommy to her loving old homeschooled son. She is totally open to custom orders and loves trades. You can read about her crafts and adventures in homeschooling on her blog.

Kathi is a proud member of the Natural Parenting and Living (NPLTeam) street team.

She is also a proud member of EtsyNJ Team.

"I am committed to doing my part to protect the environment. Therefore I am "saving the world one stitch at a time."

Win it! On to the Giveaway!!

Kathi, has generous offered one reader a dozen tea light candles in a variety of scents.

**Mandatory Entry**

Go to the HippieFairyLover Etsy shop and have a look around, then come back and leave a comment here telling me what item you love the most! Please be sure to leave your email address, or make sure it's visible on your profile. *You MUST do the mandatory entry! Bonus entries will not count, if mandatory entry is not done first!*

{Leave separate comments for each entry or it will not count}

**Bonus Entries**
Bonus entries are not required. However, you may do one or all to increase your chance of winning! If you are already a fan, or already following that counts as an extra entry!

1. Visit Hippie Fairy Lover on Etsy and tell me what scent you would most like to try. {1 entry}
2. Add Hippie Fairy Lover to your favorites on Etsy. {1 entry} (leave your etsy user name in comment)
3. Follow HippieFairyLover blog publicly on google friend connect {1 entry}
4. Follow The enchanted tree blog publicly on google friend connect. {1 entry}
5. Become a fan of The enchanted tree on Facebook {1 entry} leave facebook name in comment
6. Blog about this giveaway linking to the Hippie Fairy etsy shop, and this post. leave me a link to the post {2 entries (leave 2 comments!)}
7. purchase any item from HippieFairyLover Etsy shop {5 entries (leave 5 comments!)} must be verified.

  • Giveaway ends Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:59pm EST
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.Org., and contacted by email
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be chosen