From Friend to Foe

In a matter of seconds, tonight, our friendly neighborhood caterpillars went from friend to foe. Just last week, we had been reminiscing with Viet and Reg about Aspen’s habit last year of caring for each and every caterpillar on her walk home from the bus stop after school. Aspen loves these things. She has made a home for them each of the last two years.

Just yesterday, I woke to Aspen crying to Jenn that her caterpillar house had blown over and they had all run away. Well, no longer.

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Eastern Tent Caterpillars on my apple trees

We went out after dinner this evening for the garden walk… We were checking on the various plants, etc. And we discovered the caterpillars had attacked. On each of the 8 apples (which I still haven’t shared via photograph) and each of the 3 plums, I found 25 – 50 caterpillars! Well, we picked them off like crazy. That, in itself, was an adventure.

Oakley has never liked the caterpillars. She’s a little less attached to nature than is Aspen. But when she saw that caterpillar eating the leaves of the apple tree, that was it. She was pissed. She wanted so badly to remove that bug, but she was scared. Ultimately, she started bawling about it; all out bawling! Well, after she calmed down, she insisted she wanted to “get that caterpillar”. I told her she didn’t have to, but she insisted; she faced her fears. It was clearly hard for her, but she overcame it. I was, frankly, proud of her. Once she’d done so, this cleared her older sister Aspen to grab a few herself. (How funny that Aspen would pick them up for her house, but wouldn’t off the tree!?)

So, after an hour or so of collecting the beasts, we called it a night and hit “the Google”! It turns out we’re dealing with Eastern Tent Caterpillars, a fairly common ailment. We will begin to implement the solutions in the morrow!

To leave you on an upbeat note, we’ve had some successes as well. Enjoy.

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An apple blossom

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Some blueberries in waiting

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Another apple blossom

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