Hi, friends! Long time no see! We are emerging from "summer hibernation" (avoiding tourists until kids are back in school) and have lots and lots of fall activities planned. We kicked off with a trip to Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground, which you can read about on the Castle & Wand Travel blog. Here in St Louis, we had a monarch container garden class at the Sophia M Sachs Butterfly House the other day, which happened to coincide with the Faust Park Historic Village Folk Festival. I do love a good historic craft festival, and it was so fun to see Lil try out things like washing laundry in a tub and dipping candles. She was fascinated by quilting and cornhusk dolls, as well. Her writing assignment yesterday was to contribute to this blog, and here is what she said: The blacksmith was old fashion-y. The butterflies. ["I liked ____" implied.] I liked climbing the big rock. [at the playground] If you have any interest in native pollinator gardening, you probably hear milkweed, milkweed, milkweed. We have to build a road of milkweed to Mexico! I expected this monarch container garden to involve milkweed. Well. As was pointed out to us at the beginning of the class, milkweed is for caterpillars in spring and summer. What the monarchs need to get to Mexico is FLOWERS! So keep building those pollinator gardens, folks, and try to work in milkweed if you can. We have tried every year and can't get it to take off, whether we do seeds or starts. I'll keep trying, but in the meantime I feel better for having lots of fall flowers in our yard! This morning we walked outside to work on schoolwork and guess what was waiting for us? A monarch! Lil recognized right away that it was a fresh one that had just emerged from a chrysalis on our weedy little rose bush. No idea where it found milkweed around here, unless there is some honeyvine milkweed in the neighbor's yard. It's so fun when hands on lessons come together like this.