Friday, November 4, 2016


We arrived back in Ecuador just in time to pick the tiny caterpillars off our granadilla (a cousin to passion fruit) and put them in the terrariums given to my son by my high school English teacher. It's one of my favorite projects, watching those tiny specks grow in three weeks to hairy, big-eyed monsters, then build their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies in another three weeks or so.

This year, I found a clump of 50 caterpillars, just hatched and swarming together. It took most of the leaves off my granadilla to feed them, so I'm not sure I did my plant any favors, but they finally made their chrysalises a few days ago (we say cocooned for lack of a better verb).

It's worth waiting 6 weeks for the moment the butterfly bursts out of it's paper thin shell and stretches its wings for the first time. They are very tame and readily climb on our fingers for the trip outside. Even when we let them go, they hang around the yard, flashes of orange that brighten our days.

Kitty doesn't remember doing this a year ago, so the wonder is brand new for her this year. Raccoon does remember, but he is very faithful and gentle about releasing them after their wings dry. He says next year we should sell the chrysalises so everyone can see a butterfly being born.

We are homeschooling again and Raccoon is in first grade. Kitty had two traumatic days at preschool and wants nothing to do with school, nor does she ever want to grow up and have to go to school, nor does she want to have any more birthdays. So for now, she's just watching. :)

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