Friday, September 4, 2015

Creepy, Crawly

Ed and I had egg salad for lunch, made with farm fresh eggs from Vivian's chickens who free range just down Dover Road. Once the boiled eggs were chopped and the mayonnaise added, I thought it needed a bit of dill, so I headed out to the garden to cut some.

I wasn't the only one who wanted some dill for lunch. About a dozen green-and-black-stripped caterpillars were munching away on my dill. I had plenty to share, so I just snipped around them, leaving them to enjoy their salad.

Once back inside, I consulted my Field Guide to Butterflies and quickly figured out that they were swallowtail caterpillars, which made sense because I've been seeing lots of beautiful Eastern Swallowtail butterflies fluttering through our fields.

I've also been seeing more Monarch butterflies – still not many, but definitely more than last summer. As you may recall, we planted milkweed in our fields in hopes of attracting them. Sure enough, last month while out walking with my friend Patrice, we found some Monarch caterpillars feasting away on a milkweed plant that grows on the edge of one of our trails.

And in other caterpillar news:

Yesterday while Ed and I were moving the barn wood table to the end of the garden, we disturbed an odd looking creature that turns out to be White Marked Tusscock Moth Caterpillar. Good thing we didn't pick it up; its short, bristly pincushion hairs are poisonous – and can cause an irritating rash. We left him to crawl away.

We've been seeing lots of woolly bear caterpillars. According to folklore, if the caterpillar has more black area than orange, then the winter is going to be long, snowy and cold. Better get some wood piled high; the ones we have seen have been almost completely black!
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