From the day that John and I first saw it, I’ve always felt a strange vibe, here on the farm. When we first pulled in we immediately rejected it. The house was in the middle of a remodel. The old fridge was on the deck. There wasn’t a garage. The yard was all dirt and weeds, scattered with huge piles of garbage. No.
But then we got out of the car and walked around a little. There were glorious old walnut trees and lots of flat sunny property. The old white fence was charming and all I could see was the potential of it. Plants and animals and happy kids everywhere. Fast forward 2 1/2 years and my vision has come true!
The tagline on my website is, “Where little miracles happen every day”. Now, I’m not at all religious, but I so believe in the magic of miracles. The first little sprout coming out of a seed. The little chicks that peck their way out of their shells, even the child, who doesn’t like vegetables or animals, realizing that they, in fact, do. My days are filled with these subtle, magical moments,
Other times, the magic just slaps me upside the head.
Last month, I was so excited to see 2 caterpillars chomping away at my Butterfly Weed
(Asclepias-the favorite food of the Monarch Butterfly).
I rushed to check their coloring and it looked like they were Monarchs, but one can never be too sure.
A few days later, after filling their bellies (it really happens that way, just like The Very Hungry Caterpillar!) I found both had spun into beautiful cocoons, hanging from the broccoli plant that I was about to pull for the season. (so it remains). I watched them for days, making sure the birds didn’t get them. I was excited to share them with the after school kids, who joined in the daily wellness checks.
Then, on my wedding day, I went out to pick flowers for a bouquet. I love the yellow stalks of flowers on the now-going-to-seed broccoli plant, so I carefully looked for a branch that I could cut without disturbing the cocoons. With one snip I had, of course, cut the branch that one of them was on. This, honestly, was the biggest moment of stress on our wedding day! I felt terrible! John helped me to set it up, without disturbing it, in a vase, tilted at the same angle that it had been, and we set it in the house for safe keeping.
Farm Camp started last week. On the first day, I was excited to share the cocoon that was still outside, with the kids. Without mentioning it, I read them this book (which is one of my very favorites) Then I told them, in a whisper, that I had something special to show them, but we had to sneak-walk over and be very quiet and still. They all did an excellent job of following, sneakily and excitedly, over to the broccoli, where I looked, and looked, and couldn’t find the cocoon! I was so bummed. Maybe it had hatched and I missed it. Maybe the Blue Jays got it. Luckily, I had the one in the house, so I ran up to get it. When I picked it up, I noticed that the black and orange of wings was visible through the now clear cocoon! We set it up on the table to watch it. “Maybe” I told the kids “it will hatch while you’re here this week! Wouldn’t that be cool!?”
Of course, I didn’t expect that to happen.
Right then, I had to take one of the girls to the bathroom. While we were there, I heard my name being called, and excited shouting. Three other girls came running to say that the butterfly was hatching, RIGHT NOW! I was sure they were kidding me and said so, but they grabbed my fingers with their tiny hands and dragged us back down to the safe spot we had made for the cocoon.
And, guess what..
It took hours for it to un-crinkle and spread its huge, beautiful wings. So we moved it to the sun and watched while we had lunch
And when it finally flew away, one of the kids burst into tears! I thought he had been hurt, but he said he was sad because his Mommy was going to miss it. (and I felt that little tug in my heart, that miracles always cause). We kept a close eye on it, and his Mommy got here just in time to see it take flight and go off out of sight.
I did find the other cocoon, which hasn’t yet hatched. Hopefully, another group of kids will get to see this little miracle at Peaceful Valley Farm!