2015 Canning/Fermenting Season Yield

This year has been my top producing year for canning and fermenting! I made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam, three huge batches of garlic dill pickles, 35 jars of pickled jalapenos (possibly more), cinnamon and nutmeg spiced pear jam (from MN grown pears!), one batch of pickled beets and I even tried something new – Cowboy Candy! I’ll be canning some cranberry-apple jam this weekend as well. I also made spicy garlic pickled eggs!

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Spicy pickled eggs! These are the perfect snack to have around!

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Cinnamon and nutmeg spiced pear jam! This was A LOT of work since the pears are tiny and had to be peeled. I also had to cook it down for 3 hours!

Strawberry Rhubarb jam sealing in the waterbath

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, taking a dip in the hot tub to get all sealed up!

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Pickled beets, which I have not made since my very first year canning 8 years ago (HARD TO BELIEVE), pickled jalapeno slices and pickles!


It’s so nice to have a little helper… so glad she likes to cook!


Cowboy Candy which is basically jalapenos in a sweet syrup.

I fermented garlicky carrots and garlicky rattlesnake pole beans from the garden, which of both were amazing.  Every  3 weeks or so I make a large batch of kimchi – I’m totally obsessed and have been since childhood. I’m working on fermenting green tomatoes from the garden today.


Fermented garlicky rattle snake bean poles and carrots. All of the purple color came off of the beans as well as my cosmic carrots during fermentation, leaving the brine pinkish. And then more pickles… I love a good relish platter, especially when it’s all homemade!


We had to pick all of the green tomatoes and peppers due to the deep freeze we got the other day, so spicy fermented green tomatoes it is!

Tell me about your yield! What did you preserve this year and which method did you use? Which turned out to be your favorite?

FramedArt.com Review and $75 Credit Giveaway!


Last month we took a vacation to Nassau, Bahamas. It was our first time there and it was quite a beautiful place. The ocean was SO clear and had the most amazing shades of blue and green that I’d ever seen. Flowers were blooming on many trees and bushes and would fall in our path as if they were intentionally placed there. We saw jelly fish, sharks, colorful fish, crabs, sea shells, iguanas and even fed sting rays! Despite all of the fun daily excursions we went on, the most fun we had may have been right on the beach where we were stayed. I snapped this picture with my cell phone one evening, on Cable beach, right outside of our resort.


I adore this photo because it was a candid moment. My daughter was playing on the shore, splashing in the waves, the ocean and sky shows multiple colors of blue and it was simply stunning, so I decided to capture this moment in time. I snapped a quick pic and didn’t even realize at the time, that I had a seagull in the upper right portion of the photo. I couldn’t have staged a better photo. I love this picture.

Once back home, I decided to print the photo on canvas. I chose to use FramedArt.com for this task as they are great resource for prints & framed art. You can buy art of all kinds on the website and it’s very easy to search for what you are looking for, the site is broken up by, Rooms, Styles and Artists, or you can create your own art, which is what I did. It’s just three quick steps to create: 1. Upload photo, 2. Select the size you want and 3. Pick out a frame or canvas.

FramedArt Steps

There are multiple canvas sizes (10″x8″ all the way up to 42″x32″) and canvas options: print, museum wrap, gallery wrap or framed. Each option changes the price and the price is immediately updated so you can decide which best fits your budget.

FramedArt Order Step 2

I decided to go with the 24″x18″, gallery wrapped canvas with 1.5″ bars.

Shipping was quick and the packaging was stellar. But the best part was my canvas! I took it out of the box and looked at it and I literally got chills. The vibrant colors of the ocean matched exactly to the way the ocean looked in the Bahamas. I was stunned. I couldn’t stop looking at it and was completely blown away. It totally exceeded all of my expectations. When I look at the print, it is as if I’m looking into a window of my exact view that day. It brings me and my family right back to our Bahamian vacation. I can’t say enough good things about my overall experience with FramedArt.com and I will absolutely order from them again in the future.

Here’s my canvas, isn’t it great? I keep moving it around the house, trying to find the perfect location for it.


Now, as for my readers… I wanted to give you all the same mind-blowing experience that I had. I spoke to a Rep. over at FramedArt.com and they have been generous enough to extend a $75 credit to their website for one lucky reader. You can use this credit towards creating your own art as I did, or you can buy one of their many pieces of beautiful art. They have styles to fit everyone’s taste, I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a great site. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook as well.

ENTER TO WIN A $75 CREDIT TO FramedArt.com:

I’ll make this giveaway easy, all you have to do is visit FramedArt.com and tell me in the comments section of my blog post, the name of the painting you’d buy with your credit, or which photo you’d turn into a canvas. NO repeat answers please. One entry per person.

Giveaway: ends 614/15 at 11:59pm Central Time Zone. United States Residents Only May Enter. Sorry International Readers – I’ll have another one for you soon.


Richfield’s Best Kept Secret: Wood Lake Nature Center


One of my most favorite places to visit with my daughter is Wood Lake Nature Center. It’s located in Richfield, Minnesota, in the heart of the city. I say that it’s a best kept secret because even though I grew up just ten minutes from the nature center, I had no idea it even existed until I moved into the city. When I refer to it while talking to friends, many of them have no idea what I’m talking about.

Wood Lake Nature Center was one of the first nature centers built in the metro area, back in the early 70’s. It’s a great place to visit year-round and they offer several classes through the seasons as well. It’s a 150-acre natural area and it’s an amazing place to do some bird gazing.

We visited the nature center the other day and took the long path around the entire center. It was the first time we had taken that path and I have to tell you, it was the most enjoyable visit we’ve had to date.

Here are some photos from our morning:









We ended up seeing geese and goslings, turtles, a BEAVER!!, a snake, tons of birds and simply beautiful scenery.

Here is an Instagram post I posted from last summer, raving about all we saw:

Woodlake July 2014

So if you have some free time and are looking for something to do, consider visiting Wood Lake! Follow them on Facebook to keep up-to-date with events.

Where is your favorite place to visit?

Fun Stuff, Helpful Links, and Tasty Treats!

I used double-sided scrapbooking paper.

Homemade Paper Flowers

Just in time for cutesy St. Valentine’s Day decorations and card making.  These are a fun, simple way to enjoy the upcoming day of love sharing.  I used double-sided scrapbooking paper that I had in the closet.  My flowers in the photo range from 2 inch square to 12 inch.  The flowers may be used as table decorations, to embellish a card, or use glue dots to attached to a stick to make a unique bouquet for the season!  Visit Dozi for a simple tutorial.  I didn’t even use a pencil I just cut and rolled.  Be creative and enjoy!


No More Hesitation Gluten-Free Flour Mix + Banana Bread that Rocks!


27 bananas and I didn’t waste a 1!

I did a paleo diet for 8 weeks last year which lead to my realization that I have a gluten intolerance and boy o’ boy do I notice the gluten now!  Two weeks ago I was digging in the freezer when frozen bananas were getting in my way.  I decided to pull out all the bananas and to my dismay it totaled up to 27 frozen bananas!!  I love the Banana Banana Bread Recipe because it uses 2.5 cups of bananas per loaf!  However I didn’t want to make a gluten-bread.  So I looked to the Gluten Free Girl’s amazing formula for gluten-free all-purpose flour.  Using my combination of her suggested formula in this video I was able to make load of FANTASTIC gluten-free bread that very day!  Best banana bread I’ve ever had and I’m not just tooting my horn.  Everyone that tried it loved it.

Hello Outbox, Goodbye Clutter

After moving around from place to place since I graduated from high school and went off to college I began collecting “stuff” – I know you can relate.  Three college transfers, one marriage, one child, and one divorce later I’ve got MUCH clutter!  Although many times I’ve had some sort of outbox (my front porch, a laundry basket, or a corner in the basement), it has been years since I have used the system. Apartment Therapy’s recent blog reminded me of the effectiveness of a system and in just two weekends I was able to tackle a house full of clutter.  The great thing about outboxes now is that there are so many on-line swaps that you can easily make a profit and de-clutter at the same time!  Today my outbox is simply a temporary table in the basement (at least that’s the plan).  You can see mine is overflowing with de-clutter, but that’s okay because the rest of the house feels much better already.  Here are the simple rules they point out in their post:


My outbox!


  1. Anything can go in the Outbox
  2. The Outbox is allowed to get messy
  3. Everything must stay in the Outbox for at least one week
  4. After that time you have several choices:
  • Take anything back out
  • Leave anything you are undecided about for one more week
  • Dispose of the rest by moving to the garbage, recycling bin, or giveaway pile – or post to on-line swap and make a little extra cash

LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pumie Scouring Stick!

pumieBetween my white (but stained essentially black with cooking scars) electric cooktop and the bottom of my rust-stained toilet bowl any normal person would have thought twice before spending a week at my house!  Both which had brought constructive feedback from close friends and family always wanting the help me with my “cleanliness problem”.  After little effort they too would inevitably give up.  And since I prefer not to use harsh chemicals, I was actually considering a new toilet because I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore!  Fortunately for me I discovered the Pumie Scouring Stick!  Both my toilet and cooktop were stain free in less than 10 minutes after I returned home from the store!  Maybe me, my friends, and my family are the only ones that don’t know about this amazing, chemical-free, must-have-in-every-household item, but as I see it, it’s too good not to share!  Each stick is less than a few bucks and is so versatile you should probably just pick up a couple!

BooksTo.Me: Instagram Photobook { Review and 75% off Promo Code + Giveaway! }



I began using Instagram just over a year ago and it has quickly become one of my favorite social media networks. It has proven to be a great way to meet other people around the world that have similar interests to me and it’s far more interactive than any of the other popular social media sites that I’m apart of. The only downside for me was that I had all these neat photos that I never did anything with. Of course I always had good intentions of making creative albums with my IG (Instagram) pics, but I never got around to it. So when I stumbled upon BooksTo.Me a few months ago, I got very excited because I knew it was exactly what I was looking for but didn’t know existed.


Here’s how it works…

BooksTo.Me automatically generates photo books using your Instagram pictures. If there is a photo you do not want included in your book, just simply write #noBTM on the photo in your IG account and it will be emitted from the book.

You subscribe to the service on either a monthly basis (one book per month) or a quarterly basis (one book every three months). Once you subscribe, you can cancel at anytime without any fees. There is no additional fee for shipping either! It’s very straight forward and so hands-free.

I have received books for the last three months now and I cannot tell you how much my daughter and I look forward to our delivery. We love showing off our books to family and friends that stop by, whom of most are not on Instagram and would not otherwise ever see the pictures.

The books are 8″x8″,  hardcover and in full color. BooksTo.Me adds a little highlights page on the front of the book with your most “liked” photos. Shipping is super quick too. It says on the website that shipping takes 7-10 days, but we have continually received our books two business days after my month’s end. Very impressive!

This is a family-run business out of Denver, Co. Unfortunately this is only a product available for residents of the USA at this time but it is something they hope to offer internationally very soon.

BooksTo.Me has been SO generous to host a GIVEAWAY and also an AWESOME PROMO CODE! One lucky winner will win two months free of the monthly plan! For everyone else, BooksTo.Me is offering 75% off of your first book! When signing up, enter: mfs75 to receive 75% off of your first order. The promo code will expire February 8th, 2015. Don’t wait to see if you won the giveaway… if you sign up and do happen to be my winner, you’ll be comp’d for the two following months! :)

TO SIGN UP FOR THE GIVEAWAY, please follow the Rafflecopter link below:

——->a Rafflecopter giveaway<——-

Good luck!

Giveaway ends 1/18/15 at 11:59pm Central time/US residents only

MinnesotaFromScratch Turns 2 Today! {Party Time!}

2 years

It’s hard to believe that two years ago today, I sat down and wrote my very first blog post. It feels like yesterday that I was publishing our one year birthday post. It’s really incredible to think back two years and realize how much life has changed. My daughter was 2 when I started the blog and our crafts included painting and gluing and now she is 4 and can bead and sew! It’s been fun to document the last two years over the blog and I’m so overjoyed that so many of you are interested in our lives and enjoy our posts. Thank you!

Here are the top 5 posts that repeatedly keep new visitors coming:

#5.  Baked Zucchini with Mozzarella Cheese AKA “The New Garlic Cheese Bread” Mmmm it’s so yummy, I might need to make some tonight!

#4. Homemade Organic Strawberry Jam – No Powdered or Liquid Pectin Added Having this on hand in the winter brings a little taste of summer to your palate during the deep freeze!

#3. Chunky Cream of Broccoli Soup Recipe – No Blender Needed Ugh YUM, this is one of our favorite recipes and it’s SO easy.

#2. 101 Things I love About My Mother Who knew this would be so popular?? I definitely didn’t, but I’m glad it is :) Love you, Mom.

#1. Picked California Mixed Veggies – Spicy Pickled Cauliflower with Carrots, Celery and Red Bell Pepper Mmm, Mmmm good!

Thanks for all of your support. If there are certain topics/recipes you’d like me to cover this year just let me know in the comments!

Happy 2015 everyone! Let’s make it great!

How to Make Kombucha at Home: {Guest Blog Post}

Last February I handed over the blog to Kirstin Bernau and she explained the benefits of bone broth and how to make it. If you missed that post, you can catch it here. Today she’s taking over once again and will be teaching us how to make Kombucha!


If you’re into health and wellness at all, you have probably come across Kombucha. It is a fermented sweet tea, chock full of probiotics, great for detoxifying and wonderfully good at aiding your digestion. Kombucha is also tasty; a cold, refreshing, slightly fizzy drink that comes in many fruity flavors as well as the original (which is great as well).  I absolutely love it, but due to the price (nearly $4/bottle) I decided it was time to learn to make my own.  You can make it for pennies on the dollar compared to buying it pre-made. It’s easy to make and full of great health benefits including:

Probiotics and Naturally Occurring Acids– These both work to heal our whole digestive system, leading to a host of other benefits like clear skin, decreases in mental health issues like depression and anxiety, healthy weight, and improved immunity.

Detoxification– The malic, gluconic, and succinic acid have a powerfully detoxifying effect.  Additionally, by healing the gut and re-balancing our bacteria we boost our body’s ability to detox hugely.  A healthy gut is the most powerful detox system you can have, even greater than the liver or kidneys or lymph system.

Enzymes which help us digest our food more effectively and actually use the nutrients we eat. You can have the best diet around but if your digestion is impaired (and for most of us it is) you won’t get many of the benefits.

B vitamins– these are important for energy levels, mood, healthy skin, hair and nails.

Kombucha also makes an awesome soda replacement if you’re trying to kick that habit or just want something fun to drink.  I’ve even seen recipes for fruity kombucha cocktails!  So are you ready to give it a try?  Here are my recommendations:

  • Buy a bottle at your local store first, so you can see how you like it.  I’d suggest trying a few different kinds as there is a range of sweetness and flavors.  I love GT’s organic.  There’s about 20 different varieties at Whole Foods, and they sell a few kinds at most grocery stores now as well.
  • If you enjoy it and are ready to try making it, you need to find a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts).  If you have a friend who brews, you can probably get a culture and starter tea for free.  Otherwise, I’d recommend culturesforhealth.com or growing your own using a bottle of GT’s from your local grocery store.  If you order a SCOBY, follow the directions on the package to get started correctly.  If you want to try growing your own, it’s really quite easy but takes more time. Directions at the bottom.
  • Find a glass jar for brewing. Plastic, metal and ceramic containers are all problematic, they can leach chemicals or metal into the kombucha and are more inclined to harbor less than friendly bacteria.

Here are the ingredients for a gallon of Kombucha, adjust up or down depending on your jar size, but be sure to keep ratios the same:

  • 1 gallon clean, filtered water.
  • 2 Tablespoons or 8 tea bags of Black Tea (English Breakfast works well)
  • 1 cup organic sugar or “Cane” sugar if you can’t find organic- most other sugar is full of GMOs which can harm the SCOBY
  • at least 1/2 cup plain kombucha – you can buy at the store if needed, 1 bottle will be plenty.

1. Make the tea as normal (boil water, add tea, steep 3-5 minutes or whatever your package says.)  Then add the sugar, stir until dissolved.  Let the tea cool to room temp, but keep it covered so no flies or food get in while it’s cooling.

2. Add the cooled tea to a jar with your SCOBY and kombucha. Once you’re onto your second batch, I aim for a ratio of about 4:1 Sweet Tea: Kombucha.   This is probably more kombucha than absolutely necessary but it’s important that the mixture retains enough acidity from the start to protect the SCOBY from any mold growing on it or bacteria growing in the mix that you don’t want.  I’ve never had a problem and I’ve brewed more batches than I can count, but it always better to lean on the side of generous with how much kombucha you keep in the jar for the next batch.

3. Cover the jar a paper coffee filter, layers of cheesecloth, or a paper towel, and secure with a rubber band.  This way it can ferment and breathe.  Leave it somewhere warmish (70-75 degrees ideally) and not in the sunlight or next to other fermenting foods.  I use a pantry or linen closet usually.  My husband thinks it’s creepy so it’s not welcome on the kitchen counter…

4. Check the jar after about a week  to see how it tastes.  It may help to have a bottle of store bought kombucha on hand to compare at first but it should taste a little tart and a little sweet. It shouldn’t be like drinking straight vinegar and it shouldn’t taste like sweet tea either.  If it’s too sweet- wait a little longer and try it again.  If it’s too tart, pour a little out, add in some more sweat tea, and keep a close eye on it.  In winter my house is usually around 63-65 degrees- less than optimal- so it can take a month to finish brewing.  I just ordered a warmer to help speed things up so we’ll see how that goes!  In the summer, our house is between 74-80 and it brews in about 7-10 days.

5. Pour into bottles and refrigerate to store.  This slows the fermentation process.  If you want to try adding some fruit juice or puree- now’s the time.  Just avoid citrus or pineapple. About a 4:1 ratio (Kombucha:fruit) and then let it sit at room temp with airtight lids for a couple days.  It will begin to carbonate so be careful but when it’s the way you like it, pour it over ice or store in the fridge.  I’ve made ginger + blueberry as well as mango.  Both were quite good, but I had to strain out the blueberry/ginger solids.


To make your own SCOBY: Buy a bottle of plain Kombucha.  Add it to a quart jar, along with about 2 cups of cooled black tea sweetened with 2 T sugar.  Cover as stated above, let it sit for a week or more and you will see a white film growing on top (your SCOBY!)  The scoby will thicken and add layers over time. Keep checking the tea and replacing with sweet teas as stated above when it’s ready. I think mine took a few months before I got a good solid SCOBY, so if you want to get going quickly I’d just order one online.

Please leave any questions/comments you may have below and I’d be happy to answer them.

Thank you!


Kirstin Bernau is an Intuitive life coach for people who are looking for more peace, direction and purpose in their lives.

Through her one-on-one coaching, blog and speaking events, she’s here to help you get in touch with your intuition and create the life you dream of — while making it all feel easier and richer than you ever imagined.

When she’s not writing and coaching, you can find her indulging in meditation, long walks with her husband and dog and reading good books in cozy corners with a cup of tea.  

Meet Kirstin + get ready to find your way home (to you) at http://www.KirstinBernau.com.

New Year’s Resolutions vs. Goals

new year

What does a new year mean to you? I’ve never been huge into celebrating New Years Eve and I’ve never been one to create a long list of resolutions for myself. But there is something distinct about the closing of one year and the start of another. I’ve been sitting here this morning, having my coffee and thinking about 2014 in its entirety. For me, it was a great year. I wouldn’t mind if 2015 was similarly good to me and my family. When I think of the upcoming year, I see a blank slate, filled with many opportunities.

As I said before, I never make resolutions, however I do make goals. What is the difference? Read the definitions below:





To me, a resolution would be something I’d come up with that I want to change about myself or my lifestyle. If I didn’t live up to that, then I’d have some sort of guilt or regret for not holding up to myself.

Now, a goal is something I hope to do but if I don’t, then hey, maybe next year :) In the past, my goals have included: travel more, go camping (I really dislike camping) and get together with friends more often (sad when you have to schedule that, but hey, life with little ones can make it hard to be social).

Maybe it’s just semantics, but I see a distinct difference between the two words and one makes me feel much more at ease. So, for 2015 I have come up with a few GOALS…

1. Read one book a month, a non-children’s book that is. <—- That shouldn’t be too hard, right?! Well, I think in 2014, I read maybe three books in their entirety. It’s hard for me to fit in that type of uninterrupted time in any given day, but I’m going to work hard to make that time because I really like reading and I’ve missed it since I became a mother.

2. Take a walk every day that weather permits. I always feel so good after a walk, yet it’s something that rarely crosses my mind, especially in the wintertime. My daughter suggested we go on a walk after dinner the other night and I tell you, it was the best walk I’d been on all year. It was cold, but we bundled up and we let the Christmas lights dictate our path. It was great and I want more of that.

3. Be better to myself. It seems like every day is crammed full of work, house chores, shopping/errands, play dates and more work, but I rarely find time to do things for myself. I was sick a lot in 2014 and I think a big part of that is because I run myself too thin. I stay up too late working on jewelry orders or watching a movie with my husband, even though I’d rather be sleeping. Well, in 2015, I’m going to try and keep my 10pm bedtime and get the rest I need, because without my health I really have nothing.

4. Make it to the North Shore this summer. It’s stunning up there and I haven’t been in 14 years.

5. Can 50 quarts of pickles and 25 pints of pickled jalapenos. My 2014 goal was 50 quarts of pickles too, but I think I only made 27 quarts…

6. Blog more. Work was so busy in 2014 that I put the blog on the back burner and I apologize for that. I would like to post much more frequently in the coming year.

That’s all I have so far, but I’ll probably come up with a couple more goals throughout the day.

What are some of your goals or resolutions for the coming year? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear!


Halloween Crafts for Kids: Monsters and Spiders

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day here in Minnesota and I like nothing more than hunkering down with my daughter and crafting and cooking on days like that. My daughter loves decorating for holidays and she woke up yesterday and began creating little spiders with wooden beads and pipe cleaners. That set the tone for our crafty morning and we took a peek on Pinterest to get ideas of other Halloween decorations that we could make with materials we already had around the house. One thing we found were cute TP roll monsters. Here are the spiders and monsters we made:

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts 3

One of my Instagrammers wanted a tutorial so here is a brief summary of how to make them!

Materials for monsters:

  • TP rolls or paper towel rolls cut in half
  • Paint and paint brushes/foam brushes
  • Eye balls (we bought ours at the $1 store)
  • Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors

First paint the TP rolls whatever colors you’d like:

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts

Then add the eye balls in whatever creative way you’d like. My daughter added eye balls around the entire TP roll on one monster, which made me think we could decorate both sides with a face and have them double-sided! If you don’t have the googley-eye balls, then they could be drawn on as well or cut out of paper — just be creative!

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts 2

Then we just cut mouths out of construction paper and glued them on.  For the arms, I used a scissors to cut little slits to slide the pipe cleaners through – this is a job for the adult. Be careful not to poke yourself!  And then bend the arms in whatever spooky way you’d like. To get the spiral look, just wrap the pipe cleaner around a pen or pencil.

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts 4

To make the spiders, all you need are wooden beads and pipe cleaners. My daughter received a kit from her God Mother that came with a bunch of wooden beads and pipe cleaners with creative suggestions of things to to make. I believe the kit is available at Target. All you need to do is poke four pipe cleaners through the larger wooden bead and bend the pipe cleaners to look like legs. Grab a permanent marker and draw on a spider face and that’s it!

MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com Halloween Crafts 5

Have fun!

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar Transformation in Photos

Monarch MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

When we bought our home six years ago, the previous homeowner had milkweed plants growing near the back door. At the time, I had no idea that milkweed was a huge part of Monarch caterpillars’ diet, but I was sure happy when I saw my first little caterpillar on the plant! I had never seen one in nature before, it was so much fun to watch.

This year, we had 3 caterpillars munching away at our milkweed plants and one in particular stayed the entire transformation from larva stage until pupa stage. Here is the transformation in photos I took:

This is when we first found our little buddy. My daughter spotted it somehow with her hawk-like eyesight. I cannot express how tiny this little bugger was; Less than 1mm!

Monarch Caterpillar - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

This was about 3-5 days later. The size has increased by 5 or 6 times the size when we first found it.

Monarch Caterpillar - day 5 - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

And this was the last time we saw the caterpillar… about 14 days after first noticing him. All grown up and ready for the next stage:

Monarch Butterfly - day 9 - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

Unfortunately we don’t know where he  made his chrysalis, but it would be so neat to see that stage as well. Next year we might try building something that will hopefully appeal to the caterpillars to stick around.

Monarchs feed almost exclusively on Milkweed plants and as adult butterflies, they get a lot of their nutrients from the milkweed flowers. Consider planting some in your garden if you haven’t already!

Each year, millions of Monarchs make their way down to Mexico because it’s too cold in Minnesota for them to survive. We celebrate the kick off of this 1500 mile migration at Lake Nokomis at the Minneapolis Monarch Festival which takes place at the beginning of September. It’s a great opportunity to learn tons of interesting facts about Monarch Butterflies and learn why they are so essential to our environment, plus there are great vendors with delicious food and amazing entertainers as well. I love the awareness this spreads throughout the community. Do you have a similar event in your neck of the woods?

A few facts about Monarch Butterflies:

  • Their number one most important job is pollinating and they are great at it!
  • They eat destructive bugs from other plants.
  • Once their life is over, they play an important role by being a beneficial food source to others, such as bats, birds, lizards, monkeys and snakes.
  • They are beautiful and bring joy to those that see them. :)
  • Average lifespan is 6-8 months.
  • Male Monarchs have a black spot on the bottom quarter of each wing, which females don’t so they are easy to distinguish between.
  • The prevalence of Monarchs in our environment give scientists great insight on our ecosystem and how it is changing.

So consider what plants you have in your yard and think about making a butterfly-friendly area.

Monarch Sculpture - MinnesotaFromScratch.wordpress.com

What is your favorite type of butterfly?

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