Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

As so many children, I've read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The story of the little guy green, mulit-footed critter who eats and eats and eats. I thought it was just a quaint tale to tell the little ones so that if they found a caterpillar in the garden, they'd know that the creepy crawly thing would eventually become a butterfly. A story to help train little minds into sympathetic and educated adults I did not realize it was a factual story.

But then, my collard greens were suddenly filled with holes. It was the Pearl Harbor of critter attacks. One day we're playing ball and having a good time, the next we're under fire from little green monsters who eat and eat and eat! My response was worth of a hunt the monster video game - picking off caterpillars of all sizes and dropping them into soapy water. But then I felt bad - killing the unlucky loopers (the ones I have are called, Green Loopers). So then I took to launching them into bushes that have leaves I was not inclined to eat and I felt marginally better.

Not only were they eating my collard greens, broccoli leaves and cauliflower leaves, they were eating my ego too. All while I was in England, there was a bit of gnawing away at my brain. Before leaving, I asked one of the nice people doing dog sitting shifts (we had three lovely ladies help us out -more on that later) to check my plants for caterpillars. I do think I'm strange - asking someone to go on a caterpillar hunt.

My only solace came from Tiger the cat. As she favors the silver moth as a toy. I realized this was one giant cycle. The moth lays its eggs on my plants, my plants serve as host to their babies and then my cat toys and kills the adults (too bad not before they lay their eggs). Mother Nature has such a sadistic streak in her!

Yesterday, I couldn't take it any longer. I harvested the Collard Greens. They got cooked in garlic, olive oil and lemon. Since they came from my veggie plot, they tasted better. However, I did have to wash them twice and do an extra find check to see that the little green guys weren't hitching a ride into the cauldron of boiling water that I put the leaves in. I let Marc know that I could say, with 95% confidence, that his dinner was caterpillar free. Good thing Tiger doesn't have to make that statement.

Time to go and do my morning sweep for Caterpillars to prevent them eating their way into the heads of cauliflower.

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