Friday, April 30, 2010

Homemade Butterfly House

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Our internet got cut off recently due to unpaid bills, but despite an inordinate amount of Home Depot trips we are back in business!

The bus-to-RV conversion is moving about as fast as one man (Tom) can manage to build an new home from scratch on a budget provided for by his infrequent writing gigs and my random art workshops and placenta pill making. Ordinarily this wouldn't be so bad, but we have committed to move out of our house in 2 months so unfortunately pressure is on.

Thankfully Transit Antenna alumni, founder, and our personal hero, Bob came down to Miami to oversee the installation of the veggie system. He and Tom have been coming back exhausted and covered in engine grease for the last couple weeks and although Bob is now safe at home, Tom has continued to tinker and apart from a few connections I think its safe to say that its almost done.

Following them on their way to work on the bus one day, Mateo, Harper and I set about yet another homeschool project. With springtime and the promise of burning veggie oil in the air we decided to remake our makeshift butterfly house - it was looking particularly sad that morning.

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The basic design consists of two wooden circles, a top and a bottom, held apart by sticks - the more tree/branch like the better for the butterflies - and wrapped in mesh.

Our first lesson was the use of a compass. Mateo was impressed that we could make a perfect circle with this little device.

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We then jigsawed the circles we drew. We used wood scraps that the boys cast aside from the bus build-out.

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With the baby strapped on this was no was no easy task!

Next we used a router to round out the edges - thanks Richard for the loan of the tools. Then Mateo sanded the wood rounds with a jitterbug sander - he was happy to get his hands on some tools without adults intervening.

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We found some fallen branches from a nearby mango tree and then we, or rather, Richard, screwed the branches into place.

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Finally we took the old mesh (with chrysalis still attached) and wrapped it over the new frame, leaving a little gap for access that we pinched with a small bulldog clip. I would like to add a string to the top of it so that once we are on the bus we can hang it.

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And hey presto! A home fit for a metamorphosing king or queen. Maybe I can make a bunch of these and sell them on Etsy.com for a bit of pocket money while we're on the road. In the meantime, leave your orders in the comments section!

Yesterday - about a week after we finished the project - Mateo's first butterfly emerged. Unfortunately it did it at night so we didn't get to see it, but Mateo had fun releasing it into the wild all the same. Its a Cloudless Sulpher butterfly that we pulled of off Ariella's tree (Childhoodmagic).

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Now we have 3 more caterpillars in pupa form that have made it their home. Quite the getaway!

Happy May Day!

8 comments:

Mihr Danae said...

This is a great learning adventure. Math, construction, animal (well- insect) husbandry, ecology.
I like that Harper gets to watch the whole thing- taking it in deeply no doubt. Good job Mateo and super mom Sam! Maybe we can build some more when you come to Virginia!

Melody said...

Sam,
This is soooo beautiful! ALL of it!
You, Mateo, Harper, the learning, the building, the home, the butterflies - just divine! DIVINE!
Love, Melody

Transit Antenna Home said...

thanks guys! yes we should definitely make some when we come up!

Montessori Beginnings said...

I love your ideas and am so interested in you travelling bus project. I was wondering though where you are planning on "parking" your bus when you start living in it? Do you have a plot of land or are you going to stay on friends land?
The reason I'm asking is I travelled down the west coast from British Columbia to Mexico about ten years ago in an old 79 VW van. It was fantastic but we found that there were very few places we were allowed to park over night other than paid campgrounds. Over the years this has sadly become the same over here on Vancouver Island.

Transit Antenna Home said...

Hi Montessori beginnings. At the moment our bus is parked at our friends house. Although a plot of land would be amazing and hopefully we'll be ready for that in the future, for the moment we will be living there temporarily til we get her road ready. We plan on moving about and parking where we are welcomed -Farms, national parks, and if all else fails there is always Walmart to back us up. They have an RV-friendly over night parking lot.
I loved to hear about your travels!

Tatiana said...

I am soo impressed! This is beautiful miss!

ariana. said...

Oh, what lovely butterflies. It seems you all made them a very happy home! Thanks for visiting my little blog and for leaving such kind words behind. I am looking forward to hearing about all of your adventures to come! Cheers!

Amanda said...

I love the images of you working your wood with power tools, little one wrapped to your back. So perfect!