Caterpillar of the Apocalypse!

Woolly Bear Caterpillar with fallen cedar bits as a comparison. The little guy doesn’t look impressive in the photo (and its russet middle doesn’t show well). That’s a ruse….

Must be dead, I thought when I found it on the driveway. Even at noon, the 21F/-6C temperature was much too cold for caterpillars.

After lunch, I prepared to go back to work. The woolly-bully was closer to the car. If I squinted, its tiny feet seemed to be moving! Slllooowwwwly, though. It’s also curling a little in on itself, as woolly bears do when threatened.

When I came home at sunset, it was motionless as I took the photo. I had no doubt it was still alive. I didn’t want to accidentally squish it under the tires or scrape it up with a shovel of snow, so I tried to flip it onto an oak leaf. It “stuck” because its amazing grippy feet were clinging to the tiny grooves in the cement. Gently, I rolled it onto a leaf and put it in the flowerbed.  

Today it was gone.

A charming custom in Eastern and Midwestern USA is to look for woolly bears (“woolly-bullies” where I grew up) in the autumn. The length of its black bands was said to predict the length and severity of winter. If that were the case, what apocalypse is foretold by it hightailing in the dead of winter?!?

Secret Lives of Insects

I took a couple mini vacations and returned to an undisturbed Casa de Tontería.

Or so I thought.

Yesterday I spied a strange sight near the bathroom door: a tiny artsy mobile shivering in the wake of my passing. I put my glasses on and took a closer look.

Gossamer threads sported teeny husks of insects.

Yuck! I tolerate most insects outdoors, but indoors, no. But an exterminator could make them no deader than they are.

It’s been very dry for over a week – just a half day of rain – and various creatures have been seeking water. As they came up through some hairline opening along the bathroom doorframe, a spider awaited.

Plus teeny flies – we call them “sink flies” – came out as the pipes dried. They lived and died while I was away, their bodies lying in the basin until I scrubbed my hands and washed them out.

I imagine them throwing parties, getting drunk, and taking things too far while the landlady was away. I hope they had fun.

And I’m firing up the vacuum in case I find any stragglers.