How to Raise a Monarch Butterfly
Part I of V



My name’s Karen and I have 3 major embarrassments in my life.

1.  I have square feet a la Fred Flintstone.

2.  Once when I was 13, I laughed so hard at something my friend Debbie said I peed a bit in my Road Runners.

3.  I raise Monarch butterflies every summer.  Even though I don’t have kids.

I must tell you, the Monarchs have elicited the most laughing and finger pointing.

But it doesn’t last.  Once the butterfly-bully actually sees the miraculous transformation, they get all warm and gooey inside.  Like a lava cake.

I once witnessed a hardened criminal (O.K., just some guy who tried to use an expired grocery store coupon) grin with delight after watching part of the Monarch process.

Something just comes over you when you see the amazing, enthralling, captivating sequence that is the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly.  Right in your kitchen!

In fact I think if officials were to implement “The Butterfly Program” into high security jails, inmates would immediately become calmer and friendlier.  Ditto for rehab centres, war zones and grocery stores that only have 1 cashier working on the Friday of a long weekend.

It takes about a month to grow your own Monarch butterfly.  They have 4 distinct stages to their lives:


The Egg (lasts 3-6 days)



To give you some perspective, this is what the egg looks like on a small milkweed leaf.



The caterpillar (lasts 10-14 days, with 5 growth periods which involve shedding its skin like a snake)



The Chrysalis (lasts 10-14 days)



The Butterfly (lives 2-6 weeks, unless born in the fall, in which case it will become a “migrating” Monarch which will fly to Mexico, live there for 6-8 months, breed, and then die)

If you too would like to divert attention away from your other embarrassing traits, and grow your very own Monarch butterfly.



  1. Karen: This is a sad but true story about a monarch who shared our lives for a bit.


    • Karen says:

      Thanks Mike! I clicked on it, but I can see it’s the kind of story that requires attention so I’m going to save it for later tonight. 🙂 ~ karen

  2. Christina says:

    I’m a square foot girl too! And now I know my brother wasn’t all that original with his Flintstone jokes.

  3. Nathalie says:

    I’m not sure I would trust Lindsay with butterflies. She may try to smoke them 🙂

    Anywho, do you think I can raise butterflies in my apartment? THAT would be fantasmogoric!

  4. KatMoss says:

    You may (or may not) be happy to know that three members of my family have square feet. Husband, step-daughter and step-son – thankfully, I do not have square feet. I have scrawny, bony, narrow feet with toes so long, they could be mistaken for fingers. We all have our crosses to bear! Thanks for the great article – can’t wait to read more!

  5. Karen L says:

    Well at last somebody else in the world admits to having Fred Flintstone feet! People do you realize what we’re dealing with here? Short and wide doesn’t even begin to describe our tootsies. Summer is my favorite season (9 months of the year where I live!) since I can wear flip flops every day.
    We need a fancy schmancy designer person to make us some shoes we can actually get our feet into! 6 1/2 wide load!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful! I would love to do this again…we did it in the kindergarten class that I taught several years ago. It’s pure magic. It makes my heart smile that you do this is your kitchen…just because. I would love to do the same…looking forward to your post telling us where you bought them! Monarchs are gorgeous. And also, Lindsay’s under house arrest and her house is huge. If they added some potted flowers, she could just let them loose in the house. Bringing the outdoors in, right?

  7. Sorry it took me so long to read this. I adore you even more now for hatching butterflies 🙂 I am off to read the rest of the story.

    PS: You should contact Lindsay’s probation officer. Top notch idea.

  8. deborahrs says:

    Thankyou! You’ve solved a mystery for me – what the strange stripey caterpillar was that I photographed in the Huntington Gardens earlier this year – not a monster after all.

  9. Laura says:

    Every time I read this blog, I think to myself, “I wish my life was just like Karen’s.” I swear we are kindred spirits, because every entry on here is something I had on my life long to-do list. Cannot wait to see tomorrow’s entry because butterflies seem like the ideal ‘pet’… no fur… no litter… no drool… I think I’ll try ’em out!

  10. Rosemary says:

    Your post made me recall a time when my 9 yr old son thought he had netted a butterfly “with 4 wings”. We put them both in a jar, added willow leaves and watched the entire process from our dining room – from the mother laying the eggs to the new butterflies unfurling their wings and being released from the jar. Awesome – and quite a science project!

  11. Amy says:

    YEAH another butterfly farmer.. We raise Swallowtail butterflies here in Florida. They love to lay their eggs on my Fennel that grows over six feet high. Then the little guys chew it down to a couple of feet and after they hatch they fly to the front yard and drink from the Pentas plants. They always return every year and I always have lots to share. Yeah I started it for the kids, but they are bored with it, Been there, done that, but I love it every year and can watch and watch them every year. Glad there are other butterfly farmers out there.

  12. Maggie says:

    I’m very excited, I’m going to google to see if we have them here (or some other species I could do instead).

  13. Jacque says:

    Wow!! That’s awesome! My kids and I LOVE to do this kind of stuff, but, we’ve been having to find new things to do because we can’t find anywhere to get butterflies. 🙁

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jacque … all the information on how/where to get the butterflies will be in the next post. Hopefully it’ll help you out. 🙂 – karen

      • Jacque says:

        Ohhh! I can’t wait!! I’m sure my kids will thank you as well, but seeing as it’s 1am… they’re sleeping.. which is where I should be….

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