Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Even Eric Carle* Would Be Impressed

When I was growing up in DC (INside the city limits, thank you very much), my family and I weren’t really *into* nature.  On the weekends, my dad usually took us to any number of parades happening on Constitution Ave or to see the First Ladies dresses at the American History Museum.   The closest I got to nature, I recall, is scaling the side of a plastic rhino on The National Mall outside the Natural History Museum (ironic since now I live amongst the rhinos!). For vacations, we went either to NYC to see grandparents, New England to see relatives or to Nags Head for the summer.  But never once did we economize by camping or any of that nonsense.  Hilton, Sheraton, probably even a Ho Jo or two.  I think the first time I ever saw the inside of a tent I was pushing 20 years old.  Needless to say, I have had to make up for lost time!

I went to Tree Hugger U (in which I branded myself with a butterfly tattoo) for undergrad, then I went and lived in rural Honduras for 2 years using mango trees as landmarks, I followed that up by marrying a outdoorsy mountain man from Colorado (who STILL hasn’t taken me to the Grand Canyon) and now I live among wild animals in East Africa.  So you can imagine my amazement when Millie started saying over and over again "dudu, dudu" (not what you think it is.... Swahili for insect [technically mdudu]) and I realize the outside wall of our house is apparently a Sheraton of sorts for soon-to-be butterflies!
The one on the right was being spun as I snapped the picture!
Behold…. a caterpillar cocoon!  Has anyone ever seen one of these before?  The Very Hungry Caterpillar notwithstanding, this is a first for me.  And actually, it’s not just one cocoon, it’s many…. fourteen to be exact.  These guys just set up shop on these two walls at the front of our house and then, two weeks later…. Out pops a beautiful butterfly!

 *Eric Carle - one of the best known childrens book authors!


  1. How exciting! Miss D.'s class actually grew butterflies a few years ago, and they were so excited when they hatched. I'd be a Sheraton for butterflies any time--it beats other kinds of mdudus!

  2. Those are beautiful cocoons. I grew up in California with tent caterpillars which develop into moths. :P Their cocoons look like a little puff of yellow cotton.

  3. The kids would have loved to have watched that. Very cool!

  4. Your first paragraph blew me away even more than the butterfly pictures. I had that same kind of childhood and am so impressed that you have become such a nature girl. I am still camping-averse! :)

  5. Forget about E, *I* would have loved to see this myself!