On Monarchs and metamorphosis

This summer my two eldest daughters (Miss 11 and Miss 8, I’m yet to choose them fancy semi-anonymous blogger children aliases) ran a fairly successful small business. The year before one of them had been raising monarch butterfly caterpillars on a swan plant, and when the caterpillars literally ate themselves out of house and home she had to buy another swan plant. It was not easy to find, and it was not cheap. I could tell she was scheming something when she asked, “Mum, do you think we could grow swan plants in the greenhouse?”. We talked through outlay and expenses, marketing and selling points, and their eyes grew wide as they did the math and calculated the profit they could make on each plant. When your pocket money comes in gold coins, even $40 seems like a fortune.

And so in early November I advanced them a loan for seeds and potting mix, and they got to work. Well, WE got to work; there was a fair bit of parental input at the beginning, seeing how they’re not really proficient plantswomen at this young age. There were quite a few weeks of effort invested with little return, but it soon came time to sell them, and they sold easily. Again, I had to help out a bit here, seeing how, again, they’re not on Facebook Marketplace at this young age, nor can they drive, and their bookkeeping needed some assistance. But they bartered cleaning chores for my services and we were all happy. Happy customers, happy caterpillars, happy mum at providing such a great teaching experience (yes, I’m impressed with myself too), and happy daughters when they made over $100 each.

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