My Lesson from Ms Jenny

Milkweed is a pretty cool plant. I’ve always thought so. The regular old milkweed that grew in my grandma’s back pasture was fascinating in every stage of its being, and then, in California, where milkweed has an easier life, it blooms beautiful flowers that are loved by tiger swallowtail butterflies.


Out here — and I didn’t know this — milkweed is the preferred plant of monarch butterflies. One of my friends teaches pre-school and every fall she goes out to find caterpillars to bring into her classroom so her students can watch the cycle. I knew nothing about this — I’m not even sure I’ve seen a monarch butterfly, but when she shared the photos of its transformation, I was amazed, especially by the golden and jade cask that holds the, is the, chrysalis.

Milkweed is everywhere, but apparently not enough everywhere because there is a movement for gardeners to grow milkweed to help out the monarch butterflies. I knew nothing about this.

Retirement has been, for me, like landing on an unfamiliar planet in many ways — not just this monarch butterfly thing but stuff like frozen pancakes you can microwave? Why?

4 thoughts on “My Lesson from Ms Jenny

  1. There used to be billions of monarch butterflies. They are unusual in a lot of way, and not only being really beautiful to look at. The thing is, that more efficient plowing techniques wiped out the milkweed that used to grow along the edges of fields. Now, hopefully, people are planting it. I’ve had not luck at all with it. Either it has been drought or too cold or something, but I’ll try again next spring. I haven’t seen a monarch now in years. Milkweed is the only thing they eat and we don’t have any.

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