It took just over 12 hours, but my tree frog is complete. I decided to explore the branch a bit further and incorporated some other textures and colours. I also added a bit of whimsy into the left of the picture. I really enjoyed drawing this one. Of course, I look at it and think I would do things differently if I did it again. But sometimes, you need to stop and share. read more

We have been raising monarch butterflies for a few years now. Initially we did it as a way to bring science and nature into a more accessible setting for our daughters. It has evolved to become an annual exercise in addition to our hope that we can have an impact on the population.

We have been lucky enough to find other moths and butterflies like the eastern black swallowtail. The eastern black swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly that frequents our region from mid-summer to early fall. As with most butterflies, they begin when the female butterflies laying eggs on certain plants. In this case, they prefer parsley and other plants as opposed to the milkweed which monarchs enjoy.

My daughter found an egg a number of months ago.  Once it hatched, she fed it everyday a healthy diet of parsley.  It entered the chrysalis phase just over 2 weeks ago. The chrysalis changed colour over the last day and we knew by the transperency that today was the day.

Here is a video of the butterfly emerging. I was disappointed she turned the other way but it is still amazing to think they know exactly what to do.

A few hours later my daughter confirmed it is a female and we released her outside. Here she is being a little bit lazy but probably working on attracting a male.

Bat in church

We had the privilege of being invited to attend the Ontario Music Festival provincials this past weekend.

As the level 6 students played their beautiful pieces in the hot and humid church, this bat thought it would join us. It flew around the church for a couple hours while the students played on.

The kids were mesmerized but a few parents had to quickly evacuate the building 🙂

Duck box

Every spring before it gets too warm, we open up each of our bird houses and clean them out of the previous year’s nesting material. We remove the material but we spread it in the woods so other animals can repurpose it.

However, we also have 5 duck houses around our pond. Duck houses are typically inhabited but mergansers or wood ducks. These ducks are cavity nesters and rely on us to fill the boxes with shavings we get from a local pet store. We have 5 nest boxes and all of them will see use this year.

Now that the boxes are ready, they should arrive in a couple weeks once the water is exposed again.

Duck house 2

(a couple of our 5 duck houses)

Duck house 3

(the holes are quite large)

duck house 1

(full of shavings, ready for them to make it their own)

Butterfly on flower

We took a trip to the Montreal Botanical Garden to see the annual Butterflies Go Free exhibit. It is stunning to see all the varieties of the butterflies moving around in utter silence.

The exhibit ends April 24, 2016, so there is still time to catch it.

If you can’t make it, here is a meditative video I made from some of the slow motion video I captured, as well as some pics from today. Enjoy!

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It’s been crazy cold for the last 2 days here in Ottawa. So, today with wake up temp around -35 C, my daughter thought it would be fun to shoot a slow motion video. We brought some water to a boil and I headed out in full winter garb. I think it turned out pretty well.