A Monarch Chrysalis

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38For everyone interested in seeing the photo progression of the monarch chrysalis…this post is for you!

Of course, a few weeks back, my milkweed plants were teaming with monarch larvae:

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com

Eventually, they got big and fat:

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com


And then they proceeded to trek away from the milkweed to find a place to pupate (build their chrysalis). We found them cruising in the very far reaches of our yard. Incredible.

But I was especially astounded when I went to give my Lady Scarecrow a spring makeover (her clothes are so Spring 2013), and as I was stripping her down, I found this!:

Monarch Butterflies at Farmhouse38.com
It was attached right to her wrist, like a little charm. Of course, I carefully readjusted her clothes and left everything just as it was.

So thrilling!

I proceeded to check on it everyday. For about a week, it looked just the same, and then suddenly, one day, it looked like this:

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com


I knew it must be close, so I started checking on it about once an hour, like a maniac. When it didn’t hatch that day, I knew that probably as soon as it was warm the next morning, the game was on.

The next morning, it looked very similar, but those pretty golden accents had all but disappeared, and the shell of the chrysalis was so very transparent, it was crazy!

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
Once it began to warm outside, we began to check on it at five minute intervals.

And lo and behold, we missed it emerging! πŸ™

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
Within a five minute span, it had hatched, and pumped its crumpled wings full of fluid.

I was so upset that I missed it, that I swore I was going to sit there and watch it until it took its first flight. So I sat and watched.

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
Slowly it flexed its wings and legs, and made its way up from the chrysalis and into the sun.
A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
I waited.
A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
And I waited.
A Monarch Chrysalis from Farmhouse38.com
And the white dog waited.

Until finally…it really began to stretch its wings in the sunshine.

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
At this point, I was finally able to tell that this was a male (by the two black spots in the center of each lower wing).

They say that it takes about an hour before a monarch is ready to take flight, but the white dog and I waited two and a half hours for this little guy.

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
I could see him start to vibrate and really pump his wings, and I knew it was the moment.

And then–just like that–he was off!

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
A bit out of focus, but there he went–tumbling clumsily around.

And then we were super tired so we had to rest on a nearby rose bush:

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
First flights are exhausting.

After a bit of a rest, he flitted to a few different resting spots in the yard, and then he was off, tumbling and flying with the other monarchs that had been playing in the garden that day.

Magic. Complete and utter magic.

A Monarch Chrysalis at Farmhouse38.com
The white dog just really wasn’t all that impressed.



  1. What an amazing experience! Your photos and story are the makings of a children’s book, Kate! My family and I have been so enamored with your FB shares, and to see him take flight must have been incredible! Go, little monarch! Go find a pretty girl monarch and live a happy life! Have lots of babies, and we’ll have the milkweed ready! πŸ™‚

  2. This is awesome. I will be sure to show my son this. Love all your action shots πŸ™‚

  3. Oh happy, happy, joy, joy…another monarch to sweeten our world!

  4. Tricia

    Wow! I want this experience in my own back yard — lucky!

  5. nice to see the progression. i have a giant milkweed plant and we usually get a few but I have never had the chance to watch one come out of the shell. have a nice week.

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