Earlier this summer, my mom called one evening saying that we “had” to come up to see the caterpillars on her Milkweed plant and to come quickly before they ate the whole plant! I was in the middle of making dinner, but since I love any excuse to get out of the kitchen I grabbed my camera and scurried up. What I saw was this mass of caterpillars:
Granted they look pretty cute here in this photo, but in really life they were really wiggly and they made me feel a little woozy. As you can imagine it is hard to focus and hold your camera steady when you are feeling a little woozy. Individually, they are very cute though and sort of remind me of the designer dogs the girls have been going on about.
They were very rapidly and systematically eating the leaves off a milkweed. I had to go home to finish making dinner, but later we all returned to see what they were up to. What do you think the Agents thought? Yup, you are right, Agent K had to hold some while the other 2 laughed at her antics.
I had no idea what they were so I didn’t blog about them immediately. So now, this is where the vacation part of this post starts. On our way home, on our very last day of vacation, we were driving through the Poconos at lunchtime. I saw the Pocono Environmental Education Center on my map and thought there might be picnic tables there. It turned out that they didn’t have any picnic tables, at least not near the parking lot, but when we went inside the building to use the facilities, there was a display with both the Milkweed Tussock Caterpillars and the Monarch Caterpillars. The Monarch was happily munching away, but the Tussock was already in its cocoon that actually looks like a little round mass of felted brown fibers. Very cute! They had a little information posted on the display and the good news is that the Tussocks do not compete with the Monarchs because they like the older tougher milkweed leaves while the Monarchs like the younger fresher leaves.
Well, I better get ready to drive to field hockey practice. Last night Agent K tells us that there are 2 mandatory field hockey parties this week. Sometimes, I wonder if she knows me. As Jenny can attest, the best way for me to agree to something is not to tell me that something so obviously non-mandatory is mandatory. Also, when I asked Agent K for more details on the Saturday night party, she says, “Don’t worry, there will be seniors there.” Ah, parties with seniors? Surely, she doesn’t believe that is a good selling point.