Very Tired Monarch
We saw our first monarch butterfly today and this one looks like it ran into very tough weather between S. America and Long Creek Herb Farm. Battered, bruised, most of its color gone, it still has life. Asclepias, butterfly weed, may be its favorite place to lay eggs, but it was enjoying the nectar from my white chives that I got from Ricthers Herbs last season. Later I found him or her (how do you tell the gender of a butterfly?) in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, nearly drowning in a bit of water left from Josh watering the pepper plants he'd just put in the ground.
I rescued the monarch and put her in a pot to dry her wings. In a couple of minutes she was out, nearly dry and off on another adventure. For something that looks so fragile, they are certainly tough to make the flight back home in time to mate and lay eggs.
Monarchs live for only 5-6 weeks, but in the fall a special generation of the butterfly hatches. These, dubbed the Methuselah generation, can live for 7 - 8 months and these are the ones which come fly to central Mexico for the winter and return to us each year to start another generation. Learn the whole story here. I wonder why she chose the white chives over the purple ones? Maybe milder flavor (think honey and onions!)