Thursday, February 16, 2017

Migration of the Monarcha Mariposas - Photos

Our Ballard Bunch in the foothills of the Sierra Gorda Mountains in Mexico, Mexico.  These horses were truly 'work horses' as they climbed steep trails in the mountains.  No horse worked harder than Jimmy's horse - Jimmy was about the same size as his horse.  Our littlest man loved riding and was heard saying "YeeHaw" all the way up the mountain - in between petting his horse, Lolita, and telling her that she was dong a good job.  If visiting this beautiful site be sure to bring bandannas to breathe as parts of the trail are extremely dusty.

Before we even arrived at the Piedra Herrada Sanctuary we began  having cars bright light us and we slowed to turn a corner and found clouds of butterflies flocking the road.  All of the cars were driving at a snail pace in order to allow the butterflies the right of way on the road.  The sight was amazing and brought a smile to our faces.

The horses took us three quarters up the mountain.  The final journey was on foot as the actual butterfly migration location was to be kept as silent as possible (we did have a two and four year old) and we were hopeful not to disturb the natural habitat of the butterflies.  As we entered the area I began to see butterflies on the tree trunks and flying through the air.  The guide pointed out to our family that every cluster on the trees were also resting butterflies or butterflies mating.  As the sun lit the area the butterflies take to the air and the resulting display is breathtaking.

Butterflies decorating a beautiful pine tree in the Sierra Gorda Mountains of Mexico, Mexico.

Butterflies would begin to take to the sky as the sun lit and warmed the trees.  As this pine was lit by the sun the butterflies began to take to flight.  

These clusters of trees had not been warmed but the sun yet and you can see the large black clusters of butterflies.  The limbs of the trees were bending with the weight of the butterflies.  As the butterflies took to wing it was amazing to hear the soft beats of their wings - the sheer number of them allowed for us to hear the movement of their wings!

Here, near the forest floor I photographed the flight of the butterflies, nearby were butterflies mating and others (like those pictured on the tree trunk) had died after fulfilling the purpose for their migration.

Our birthday girl (the littlest princess) loved her time riding her horse and seeing the butterflies for her "Butterfly Birthday".  

For our oldest daughter this may well be her 'last ride' in the mountains of Mexico with our family for a time. She is preparing to start her own chapters in life and this picture I took from behind her on the trail captured the upcoming departure of our girl!  She will blaze trails of her own and take her adventures by the reign - we hope she will realize the beauty that she is and the beauty that surrounds her as she heads off on her own.

Overall, our Ballard Bunch enjoyed being outdoors together, loved the beautiful weather in Mexico, the welcoming of the people and the natural elegance and beauty of these amazing creatures.  This is a memory that will not be forgotten.  If you have the opportunity this experience is one that our Bunch highly recommends!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Beauty of the Monarch Butterfly

Stunning, beautiful, fragile, naturally elegant and graceful.  Once again our family was blessed to witness the culmination of the inexplicable Monarch Butterfly Migration in the Sierra Gorda Mountains of Mexico.

We, along with others silently gathered in the dusty, cool, pine woods setting high in the mountains of Mexico.  There as we watched as Monarch Butterflies filled the skies we were witnesses of the majestic beauty of even the simplest of creatures.  What a tremendous creation and an awe inspiring experience.  As the silence of the area penetrated the air we could hear the faint flap of butterfly wings.  Even though we were accompanied by a four year old and her two year old little brother we were able to enjoy the silence and the beauty of the moment.  (Although, in true honesty, with these two little ones it was shorter lived than I would have enjoyed.)

The sky was absolutely filled with Monarch butterflies and the tree branches are drooping with clusters of butterflies in the trees.  After the butterflies mated the males often fell to the ground and died leaving the females to rest then begin their flight back to the plains of Texas, U.S.A. and the preferred milkweed plant to lay their eggs.

As stated, after mating in the mountains of the Sierra Gordas the male species will die and often there are many butterflies littering the ground that have reached the measure of their creation and have died thereafter.  Any and all butterflies you see in these photos either landed on us or were gathered from the ground by our guide - those butterflies that had mated and were dying.

Our littlest princess was celebrating her birthday weekend and enjoyed riding horses up the mountains and seeing all the beautiful butterflies.  She was able to hold a couple of the male species as they were passing away.  It was beautiful to see the gentle touch of a child as they held a fragile creature.

Our Birthday Girl and Her Butterfly!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

We're Back with Two More Little Ones...

Our first few weeks here we traveled to some familiar places and I took a picture or our Ballard Bunch in a similar pose to one taken around eight years ago(2009)!   It is beautiful to see how our children have grown and our family size has grown as well!  This beautiful gazebo is in the colonial town San Miguel de Allende - everywhere we walked we heard our older children pointing out landmarks and remembering. One comment made us smile, "I didn't realize how much Mexico is such a part of me." Our bunch enjoyed our favorite restaurant, walked the plaza and parque and enjoyed taking this second picture with our additional little ones!

Our entire Ballard Bunch - Chapters One and Two...

Our Ballard Bunch circa 2010

A Family of Tex-Mex

Our Ballard Bunch is again here in the beautiful country of Mexico for an extended stay! We are enjoying our time here - the beautiful country, the wonderful people and the welcoming culture. Our crew has been busy exploring again and introducing our two youngest to our friends here in Mexico. We will again begin posting our experiences to share with friends and family. We look forward to hearing from you!