Besides all the house stuff we did this past weekend, we also discovered a whole lot of Monarch butterflies. It started when I noticed that, although many flowers had already been hit by frost and were discolored and drooping, the purple flowers seemed to have escaped. Somehow they were survivors and just kept catching my eye. When I looked even more closely, I noticed the Monarchs. First there were three, then the next time I looked there were four, and finally on a single plant, there were five butterflies all busy gathering nectar. In among them, on nearly all the blossoms not occupied by Monarchs, were bees. They're much harder to see in the photos but when you were right there, you could hear them buzzing. Now I understood why bees might be gathering nectar, but I had no idea about the Monarchs until I got home and found this link. I learned some fascinating stuff about how most Monarchs live only two to five weeks, but the fall monarchs live between eight and nine months during which time they migrate to Mexico for the winter. The butterflies that we saw were the long-lived ones, bulking up for their long migratory flight with plenty of good nectar from those purple flowers. See the photos Peter took.