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Hello Little Guy

August 8th, 2013

One day, Mr Chiots and I were sitting out back under the maple tree taking a break and we noticed this little guy walked across a log.
caterpillar 3
I grabbed my camera to take some photos so we could i.d. it. A quick google search leads us to believe it is the caterpillar of the white-marked tussock moth. From what I read, they defoliate trees and the birds love to eat them.
caterpillar 1
They’re rather interesting little caterpillars, so intricate with so many different kinds of hairy tufts.
caterpillar 2
This is one of the things I love about gardening, you get to see so many interesting thing, particularly insects. Check out this spider I spotted the other day. I told Mr Chiots that I found Shelob in the garden. It had a grasshopper all rolled up in it’s web.
You just never know what you’re going to see when you head out into the garden every day!

Have you spotted any beautiful insects recently?

OK, I’m a HUGE Nature Nerd

August 20th, 2010

So, I’m driving home from the farm after picking up milk yesterday afternoon and I spotted what looked like some trash in the road. When I got closer, I noticed it was crawling – not trash. I slammed on the brakes, pulled off the road, put on my flashers. When I got close I noticed it was a HUGE caterpillar with HUGE horns, I had never seen anything like it.

I ran back to the car, grabbed a container, and scooped it up to save him from getting smashed in the road. I knew it would be right at home in the woods by our house. When I got home and showed Mr Chiots, who was as impressed with this caterpillar as I was.

Earlier this spring I spotted a huge chrysalis in my front garden and I couldn’t find what kind of caterpillar it had come from and what kind of moth it would become. After searching and finding out that this was a Hickory Horned Devil Caterpillar, I realized that this was what became the chrysalis I spotted earlier in the spring. I think I spotted the moth that comes from it a few weeks ago as well, although I didn’t take photos of it or the chrysalis.

The Hickory Horned Devil is the largest caterpillar in North America, this one was 5 inches long. They look ferocious with the huge spikes on them, but they’re harmless. After being in the caterpillar stage for 35 days during which it eats a ton, it then burrows into the soil and pupates and overwinters and a pupa. They come out as Regal moths the next year and live just long enough to mate and lay eggs and are nocturnal. Too bad I forgot to take a photo of that moth and chrysalis, I may never see one again. (If you’d like to see what they look here’s what the moth looks like, and here’s what the chrysalis looks like, thanks to some Flickr members).

I’ve stopped many times to save turtles from being smashed the road, and once we saved some baby bunnies, but I’ve never stopped for a caterpillar before (although I do swerve to miss woolly bears all the time). I released this one in the woods behind the house, hopefully it keeps away from the road.

Every stopped the car to rescue something from the road?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.