For the last couple months, I've been working as caretaker
for these apartments I live in.
Over by the second building, there's a patch between the parking lot and the highway fence that's lumpy, overgrown, and unmowable. It gets knocked down with the weedwacker every few weeks or so.
Milkweeds grow there. When I cut the grass, I've been cutting around the milkweeds.
This morning, at 8:15 a.m. as I frantically chopped, trying to finish up the yardwork before the owners arrived for inspection (which varies from "OK, the building's still standing" to white-bloody-glove, depending on their mood at the time, and no way to know what it will be until after they've already been there and gone) I saw movement in a clump of milkweeds.
I knew exactly what to do.
I grabbed a shovel and carefully dug up the clump, gently dropped it into a garbage bag lined five gallon bucket, carried it back to my apartment, and potted it up.
About 9:00 I woke up Minieponymous. We went outside, and there, industriously chomping away, was a black, white, and yellow caterpillar the size of a decent pencil stub, with two long, soft, black horns on the head and another pair, slightly shorter, at the butt. What is it?
It's going to be a Monarch, I answered.
We dubbed the caterpillar Munchie, because that's what sie is -- a couple inches of appetite on stumpy legs. We found another, smaller one hiding in the leaves, yclept Twitchy Slowpoke.
In the afternoon, Miniepo came running in. Something came out of Munchie's butt! It's green! What is it?
It's caterpillar poop.
But it's green!
That's because everything Muchie eats is green. Go watch some more.
This evening, when I went out to check, Munchie was gone. I found hir a few feet away, industriously climbing a scrap of plastic under my tall barstool. I transfered hir to the Bug Barn (our old fishbowl, the one that had from 1 to 50 guppies in it for the last four years, until the last one died last month, and we filled it half with dirt, planted grass, and made a lid out of old window screen and a large embroidery hoop, all insects (mostly grasshoppers) paroled after a 72 hour psychiatric hold) along with a bunch of milkweed leaves (in case of hunger) and a stick.
Now we wait for the crysalis to happen. Twitchy Slowpoke's going in too, whenever sie's ready.