10 August 2010

When life gives you caterpillars

They will make frass. Loads and loads of it. Unbelievable quantities of it. You will mutter to yourself, How can three little caterpillars possibly produce so much frass? You will have to clear it out, every single day.*


And you will have to feed them, from the herbs you were intending for another purpose, every single day. You will grumble, How can three little caterpillars possibly eat so much? And why do I feed them, when it just turns into frass that I must then clean?


Then, without regard for your science lesson schedule, the little buggers will pupate overnight, so you can’t even watch them do it. You will wake up and discover these brownish dull things taking up space on your counter, completely insensible to your careful plans, to say nothing of your preferred d├ęcor. At least they’re not frassing everything up anymore, but neither are they making much of a positive contribution to the household economy. How long can this go on?


But then—oh! A crack in the chrysalis—the wiggle of a wet wing!
You will hold your breath at the glimpse of a miracle in the making.


In the blink of an eye, the frass is forgotten, as improbably metamorphed beauty takes flight.


*On the bright side, frass is neither stinky nor goopy. In fact, I’ve read that it actually tastes like what the caterpillars eat, in which case our caterpillars’ frass would have been parsley-flavored. We decided not to test that particular factoid, so do let me know, intrepid readers, if you verify that.

9 comments:

Rebekah said...

Beautimus!

Gauntlets said...

I spent all summer clearing frass and its detestable producers off my cabbage plants. I like your butterflies way better than mine. :D

I've said it once and I'll say it again: You are the coolest mom.

Pam said...

Hey, this is totally the stuff of what I hope to do this school year with my kiddos. A year of transformation and healing, this one.

Very appropriate analogy for us, thank you!

Reb. Mary said...

Gauntlets, I couldn't abide the thought of squishing the caterpillars, so we made them Science instead ;) Path of least resistance to getting them out of the garden.

Pam, I've been at least as excited as the kids about this...we've got one still in in-chrysalis, and I can't wait for it to emerge.

Reb. Mary said...

p.s. The frass pic here is the only one I didn't take--our caterpillars' frass was actually more BB-shaped. And ours wouldn't have been bothering your cabbage, but your parsley, carrots, or dill. :D

mz said...

Hey, metamorphosis was the word of the day on Sesame Street today. What a coincidence. :)

So the word of the day here is frass?

MooreMama said...

I can't believe you couldn't get a frass tester. In the name of science and education and all...

Dakotapam said...

very cool!

Anonymous said...

Were the little critters given names?