While we've hosted several black swallowtail caterpillars, we've never had the honor of hosting a monarch until this September when Em found one on some milkweed in the pasture. (Milkweed is the only host plant for both the butterfly and the larva, so if you want monarchs, be sure to plant some.) Monarch chrysalides are especially beautiful, resembling delicate jewelry with their soft green hue and golden filament. I was so excited to host one in our home, but, of course, we were leaving in just two days for the Live and Learn Conference.
Upon returning, I was so disappointed to learn that the caterpillar had gone missing while we were gone. Figuring it didn't survive for want of food, I resigned myself to waiting for next year for a monarch. Lo and behold, look what arrived unexpectedly one evening! I still have no idea where it made its chrysalis, and we've looked under and in just about every kitchen surface we can think of to no avail. So much for enjoying the beautiful transformation, but the sheer beauty of this unexpected gift was enough for this season. The kids each got a turn holding it before letting it finish drying its wings on our screen door so it could begin its migration.