In 2015 my place was designated as a Monarch Way Station. Many Monarchs migrated through my flower beds that year. I’ve increased the number of milkweeds to feed the Monarchs at the ranch. There are now perennials asters in several garden beds (like the flowers in the photo above), and planted wildflowers in the pasture for season-long blooms. A good number of Monarchs migrated in 2016, but there are just a few this year.
2017 can be called the Painted Lady year. The flowers have been full of Painted Lady butterflies for weeks. They share the sedum flowers (below) with Monarchs, bumblebees, wasps, and occasional honey bees. Monarchs and honey bees are in decline.
Butterflies feed on Autumn-blooming plants on warm afternoons. They are eating as much as possible before beginning the next legs of their journeys. I can identify with the idea of feeding on the warmth of fall days, conserving the last of the garden veggies, and picking the last of the apples, to get ready for winter’s cold. I envy the butterfly’s ability to move to new life stages with seeming ease. Going south during the coldest part of winter also sounds like a great retirement idea.