Of Parsley and Caterpillars

| 8/19/2008 5:49:09 PM

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Cross MothIt’s almost 6:30 in the morning. My husband is getting ready to leave for work. I am stylin' in a tee-shirt and a comfy pair of shorts. You know, the kind that you would be perfectly happy to live in and never have to change. I slide on my brown furry lined clogs that look especially good with my current outfit, and head out to feed the chickens and ducks who are becoming very vocal and demanding about their hunger pangs! I go down the steps, looking at the containers of growing things I have setting all over my porch and steps. I notice something has been munching at my parsley, and make a mental note to check it when I’m finished feeding the animals.

I’m now finished with the animals and back in the house. Apparently, that mental note was not written in bold print! I’m thinking about taking the camera out on the porch. There are some really cool looking moths sitting on the siding that I would like to get some pictures of.

Eastern Black Swallowtail CaterpillarOut I go with the camera, snapping away, when I remember the parsley. As I pick up the pot for closer inspection, I see the parsley eating culprits. Now, most people would be upset that their parsley was being eaten up, but I am thrilled! The parsley bandits turn out to be Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars.

After taking lots of photos, I set the pot back in its place, caterpillars and all. I’m hoping when they cocoon, I can get more photos, and maybe I can even see them emerge from those cocoons! Yea, Yea, I know what an exciting life! Watching caterpillars! But to someone such as I, the nature-loving photographer, this is an exciting prospect!

 Lori Dunn is a freelance photographer specializing in rural subjects and nature. Contact her at chickadeezl@yahoo.com.

8/24/2008 8:43:29 PM

Hello Robin from KY! I just visited the link you posted, and your photos are wonderful! I also thank you for serving this nation, as I read you were in the military, and stationed in Germany for a time. I'm happy that you're enjoying the blog! My daughter and son-in-law are talking about homeschooling when they have children. I think it's a great idea, one that wasn't really an option when my kids were growing up, At least not as well known and popular as it is today. I hope you continue to check in, I'd love to here from you! Debbie, I love dried flowers too. I try hanging all sorts of different flowers to dry, just to see how they turn out. Some dry beautifully, and others..well..they just make a mess on the floor! Statice dries very well by hanging, and looks very good in arrangements. Maybe you could give me a few tips!! Lacy, it's a funny thing, my chickens have somewhere around 12 acres they can range over if they choose, and wouldn't ya know it, the one place I don't want them to be (my garden boxes) is the one place they think they just must go!!!!!!! What a great idea to plant some things just for them! The camera I use is a Canon eos 20d SLR. I really like it, and it's done a great job for me. I am thinking about upgrading to a bit larger MP size in the future. Cameras are kinda like computers. When I got mine, it was one of the best that I found according to the reviews, but in a very short time there is always something much better out there!

razor family farms
8/24/2008 2:37:11 PM

I have never seen parsley caterpillars anywhere near my parsley and am very jealous. Not that I want parsley-eating varmints -- more that I am just aching to see one of those things in real life. We plant our parsley next to marigolds which has eliminated any and all critters from digging into my wonderful parsley patch. Of course, our free range chickens occasionally take an experimental peck but are soon distracted by their tomato plant (we have one with grape tomatoes that is just for the chickens... not that we love our chickens or anything). As always, I love your photos. What kind of camera do you have? Will you give us photography tutorials??? Blessings! Lacy NEWS at Razor Family Farms (GRIT.com) RazorFamilyFarms.com

8/22/2008 10:29:37 PM

Hello Miss Lori. Hopping over here from the main Grit site. I am enjoying reading your blog this evening. I homeschool my two daughters and we love learning. :) I took a photo of this exact moth on my Dusty Miller a few weeks ago. Here it is: http://robinrobin.wordpress.com/2008/07/01/dusty-miller-or-silver-ragwort-senecio-cineraria/ Off to read some more of your blog - Take care, Robin Stokes (in KY)

8/21/2008 8:22:30 PM

Lori - That is very cool ... I have never spotted one of those yet. Now when I do, I will know what it is ..Thanks! I love observing and taking photos of all those nifty bugs in the garden! I will be growing curly parsley next year - it's suppose to be a great addition to dried arrangements. Something more I have taken interest in and trying to learn all about!

8/20/2008 9:31:07 PM

Hank, I counted 12 caterpillars on my parsley when I first found them. Since then, they have completely eaten all the leaves that were on the plants and moved on. It did not kill the plants however. They are now re-shooting fresh growth from the base of each plant. So far I've found only one of the caterpillar cocoons. It's on the rim of a pot that I have a tomato planted in on the same porch. I've been keeping a very close eye on it!

hank will_2
8/20/2008 12:11:00 PM

Wow Lori, you take awesome photos. We had swallowtail caterpillars keep our fennel and dill plants more or less stripped last year. This year they have taken a liking to Kate's parsley. Kate wants me to "do something" but I like swallowtails (we have black, yellow and a mess of others on the farm) more than I like parsley. If they were decimating the basil, I would be the first in line to pick the caterpillars and move them. Actually, if there wasn't sufficient parsley to share, I would pick the caterpillars, just because Kate likes it so much.

8/20/2008 6:43:06 AM

Cindy, It's a very good thing that we live back in the woods, with no neighbors in sight! Otherwise, I wouldn't be surprised to find my picture in a fasion magazine with a caption under reading something like " Fashion mistakes-How not to dress! " I am NOT a natural morning person. I wake up and start sipping on the coffee my dear husband has brought me, with eyes still shut! It isn't easy to coordinate outfits with eyes closed, so mine tend to be on the wild side sometimes! Of course I always fix my fashion errors before leaving to go anywhere! :^)

cindy murphy
8/19/2008 11:51:48 PM

'an exciting life - watching caterpillars'. Too funny, Lori. I've got a half-written blog about my caterpillars. I actually named them after finding them about the same hour of the morning that you found yours. I was not so stylishly dressed though; barefoot, and in my wouldn't-be-caught-dead-in-except-when-hunting-caterpillars-in-the-morning pajamas. An exciting life indeed!

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