I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Right now, I’m surrounded by monarch caterpillars. Not exaggerating! We started out with maybe twelve caterpillars. Not so bad — cool science project, right? Then, every time I went outside to pick fresh milkweed, I’d find one more caterpillar. And then one more, and one more…
Today, Kirstyn and Cory came with me to the back field to cut a LOT of milkweed for our monarch zoo. Guess what? That’s right. MORE caterpillars! Like, fifteen of them! I tried telling Cory once, “We have enough. Let’s leave that one!” He protested so strongly I just had to bring that caterpillar home too, you know.
He gets this “creature love” from me. I’m a major softie when it comes to animals! I figured if we left the caterpillars in the field, they’d get eaten by birds or spiders, or get mowed down by the brush hog. Inside my house, they might have a better chance of survival. IF I can keep up the fresh milkweed feedings!
The other night, I was up until 12:30am swapping out the milkweed. It takes a while! First, I have to find all the caterpillars on the old milkweed. And in case you forgot, that’s a lot of tiny caterpillars, hidden in curled up, drying leaves. Then I have to transfer the caterpillars to newly cleaned, empty cheeseball and pretzel containers. Well, not empty. Covered with wet dirt on the bottom, to keep the new milkweed stems fresh as long as possible. (I probably change the milkweed every four days.)
And NOW, after today, I have over thirty caterpillars! Four caterpillars already in cocoons, one caterpillar hanging upside down in a “J,” two super-fat caterpillars in their very own mason jar (I figured they would probably “morph” tonight), and around twenty-five itty bitty and not so bitty caterpillars in FIVE five gallon buckets. So. Again. I may have bitten off more than I can chew!
Kirstyn has a library book right now called, “The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate The School.” Relatable. I definitely feel overtaken! If even half of the caterpillars survive though, it will be awesome.
P.S. If any of my local friends want caterpillars, I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE YOU SOME! I’m going to beg my sister-in-law Erin to take care of my babies while I’m gone. We leave for Massachusetts, um… tomorrow. ‘Cause it’s already early Thursday morning!