My love for Monarchs began on a trip to Boone, NC & a visit to the Orchard at Altapass,where I met a wonderful lady, she was known as the Butterfly Lady, a name which has become my moniker over the past 8-9 years in my town. I raise Monarchs, BStails, Tiger Stails, & am giving a try at the Luna Moth for the first time this year. I think the lady at the Orchard was Judy Carson, & she & I talked about butterflies in general, & I returned home and found that milkweed was not plentiful, or even 'locate-able' in our immediate area. By now I had raised my first batch of BStails & was hooked on butterflies in general. I contacted Judy by email & told her the Boone trip in the Fall was a tradition for my hubby & myself, & she said she would have some mw seeds for me the following year. Sure enough, we returned to the Orchard & she had the mw seeds. It was in late October, so it was too late to do anything about the mweed seeds, so I guarded them, placed them in a safe, remember-able place for the next year. The rest is history. Monarchs play a major role in my life nowadays, as do the other bflies I raise, but the Monarchs are special. The whole process, from egg, to live release is a very special time for me. Starting out with one of the large pop-up pavilions, to adding on a solarium, as we had already planned a master suite addition, I just added a solarium with decking inbetween, & decking running the entire length of the back of our home, I knew the solarium would end up being my Butterfly space. So with my 18x35 solarium & matching master suite, both opening to the decking, Pella windows & Solar tubes, I was ready to enjoy life, as God had blessed us so richly with a wonderful life & blessed marriage. I have several health problems that would normally stress-out the average marriage, but we turned this into a situation that made us closer & our marriage has remained stronger, with God's blessings & His help. The bflies ended up being great therapy for my Fibromyalgia, Lupus, & 3 failed lower back surgeries. Instead of taking the stronger pain medications, I would take moderate doses of Darvocet N-100 & work in my plants, as I was retired, & loved staying at home, my days were filled with beauty & peace. I hate to think, if it were not for God above, my loving husband, & my love for nature & God's handiwork & beautiful creations, where my life would be today.
I can't think of a better way to start my days, except when the really cold weather comes, than to go out on my deck, with my first cup of coffee, & watch the ending of the sunrise, overlooking my milkweeds, (in Monarch season harvesting cats for the safety waiting in my solarium with more pavilions than I can remember, adding the 100 gallon black mesh "Reptarium" I treated myself to this year), & the various nectar plants, anxiously awaiting the first sighting of my beloved Monarchs. In colder weather I manage to keep my days full with the tropical houseplants & citrus that I keep inside in the solarium in cold weather. Life has its trials & getting older can be a pleasant experience if we look at the glass as half full & the weather partly sunny, rather than the usual partly cloudy. I really enjoy the forums & others' experiences. I thank God for each & every one of my 63 years on this earth & know how blessed I am, and loving my life of Loving my Monarchs. Love to all.