Begin Again

The hose was slowly dropping cold water down my arm. I was aiming for the base of my tomato plants. They're so laden down with gorgeous heavy tomatoes that their long branches are drooping to the ground making it hard to water them well. I moved from the row nearest the wildfire we call watermelon and pumpkin vines to the row of two tomato plants separated by a single parsley plant.

"Logan! Get the bug cage!" I called out. Of course the command was first met with the obvious 3 year-old question: "Why?"

By the time he appeared with the cage I was ungracefully diving over the garden fence and hefty tomato plants while trying hard not to drop the spring of parsley in my grasp. On it crawled a relatively small stripped caterpillar similar to the former inhabitant of our bug cage. This new friend is not as plump or quite a long as our old one, but its clearly the same species. He's lighter in color but as we've researched that's often due to the amount of sun exposure the host plant has. Of course its hard to think that parsley plant gets a whole lot of sun with those monster tomato plants surrounding it on four sides! Ah, but I digress.

I put the new Black Swallowtail caterpillar in the little bug hotel with his dinner of flat leaf parsley. I asked Logan what we should name him, reminding him it wasn't Newchur so we needed a new name.

He smiled that devilish little smile he has. "Nooch!" he declared. I have no idea where he gets these names from. God help my future grandchildren!

Logan settled in the house to play trains while I walked around to survey the availability of the rougue parsley we had found our original caterpillar on. The first plant was stripped bear. Not a single leaf left.

"Uh oh" I thought. That wasn't a good sign. That meant there was another parsley-eating caterpillar afoot. I highly doubt little Nooch had wiggled his way from the side of our house to the back of our yard - albeit not a large yard, still a great feat for a small caterpillar. I looked down at the second parsley plant in the otherwise vacant bed. (Vacant that is, unless you count the weeds.) I almost missed him. The other caterpillar.

So now there are two little parsley ingesting future butterflies taking up residence in my living room in the bug box. The second one is much longer and wider than the first. I'd expect it to go to cocoon sooner. Logan's named that one "Newchee." I first thought he said "New-cheese" but no, just Newchee.

It is important to note that there is at least one particular Black Swallowtail butterfly that frequents our yard. In fact, as I returned to watering my garden, this butterfly kept settling upon the my cucumber plants. It bears the familiar blue patches on the lower end of her wings. I like to think its the original Newchur back to visit her home.

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