February 5th, 2010

end of a decade

unexpected caterpillar

A truly unexpected sight as I left the house on a frosty morning. A substantial, one might even say juicy, caterpillar, dangling from the front fence. It looked on the way to dying, but it wasn't dead yet; and, more to the point, how had it gotten large enough to choke a blackbird by the first week of february?

The answer, I suspect, goes back to shortly before Christmas when I was chopping down chunks of the trees out back to let more light down into the back garden. I chopped lelandia and laurel, neither a likely food-plant for an overwintering egg or larva, but there were also passion vines strung among the branches. A delicious evergreen food plant strung among cosy evergreen trees, facing the morning sun? What could be more congenial for an overwintering butterfly egg?

Chopped and tucked into my green recycling bag, it hatched in the warmth of my shed, and gorged on chilled but still tasty leaves, away from the frost and snow while for almost a month my green waste lay uncollected, recycling lorries kept at the depot for fear of ice and snow. Like a caterpilllar in a jam jar it grew fat and fast.

The morning they finally came to collect the green waste, though, was brutally cold. Shaken from its cosy bag it chilled and died. By the time I got home in the evening, something had made a meal of it. Mmmm! Caterpillar slush-puppy.

What species, though? I'm guessing one of the commoner whites.

aseasonal caterpillar
envelopegirl

moments between posts

This also happened today:

  • 12:08 Oxford bus company - please tell us if you're going to randomly stop at a stop for ten minutes I was on time for work damn it #tellus
  • 12:10 Imaginative shop window displays + all the mannequins have headdresses made of fabric flowers, ribbons and artificial birds #tellus
  • 14:17 Head cold - no way I can stay at work today. Sneezing all over the place. Hopefully haven't infected colleagues with rhino #tellus
  • 14:32 Rainbow maker + takes sunshine, makes it better #tellus