Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

The Lost Caterpillar November 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary @ 11:05 am

Last week I bent down to water my parsley pot and thought with surprise, “I don’t remember snipping that much parsley for the soup!” And I hadn’t. Rather than suffering from faulty memory, my parsley was suffering from hungry caterpillars. The gardener in me was immediately set to kill. And yet…

Something about their orange spots and alternating green and black stripes made me pause. How clever of them to dress in my two most very favorite colors. Something about the resignation to “Mom the Caterpillar Squisher” in my son’s eyes while he gazed at them gave me more pause. But really, we’d tried to keep some other caterpillars earlier this year and they nearly ate us out of tomatoes. And! And! They had to burrow in dirt to hatch and then they just became ugly moths. You just can’t keep a random caterpillar or five.

“Eamonn,” I declared, “I will look and see what they turn into, and then MAYBE we can keep them. But only maybe.”

“Okay, Mom.” He had his hopes up. I could tell.

To make a long story short, the colorful worms turn into beautiful swallowtail butterflies and we kept them and I actually BUY parsley to feed them now because they ate all of mine.

But one of the ungrateful critters escaped the other day. (Ryan told me that he was trying to and to cover the jar but I didn’t listen. We won’t get into that. It was clearly providence. I am exonerated. And if you follow that logic allow me to tell you some time about why pie is a perfectly acceptable breakfast….but I digress.) I looked all over for him. Another had done the same the first day we’d caught them before we got them into a jar and just had them in a box. He didn’t make it, and I was worried for this one as well. I couldn’t find him anywhere at all, not even in the fruit basket.

“Well, Eamonn, at least we have three more!” Eamonn looked at me, unimpressed. (Fine, no pie for breakfast for HIM!)

A couple of times I prayed for him. It’s silly, I know. But I want a dead caterpillar in my kitchen as little as the next lady, and really the things have sort of grown on me. But I didn’t expect much. I mean, I had searched EVERYWHERE.

And then, I decided to make a second pot of coffee yesterday morning while on the phone praying with a friend. And much to my delight, there he was! Attached to my coffee press handle — just hanging there by a thread sort of curled in on himself.

And that, friends, is how I came to have a chrysalis in the process of metamorphosis in my mug cupboard.

A swallowtail chrysalis hanging from a coffee press handle

French presses...not just for coffee anymore!

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