Caterpillar Poop

We kept it in an old fish container that had lots of tiny holes on the top so he could breathe. We put tape on the two bigger holes so he couldn’t escape. It seemed like the perfect artificial habitat for our little caterpillar.

Bradley found a couple small sticks to put in there so he could climb. We fed him milkweed leaves because that is what we found him on. Aunt Terry even special delivered milkweed leaves for our hungry caterpillar and we stored them in a baggy in the refrigerator.

We put him high up on a shelf so Collin couldn’t reach him. We were afraid he would let him out, shake it; or even worse, smoosh him!

We got him down the next day to look at him. He ate almost all of his leaf! It is unbelievable such a wormy little thing can eat so much. The other leaf was dried and shriveling.

“Bradley, we will have to give him more food.”

“Yea, Mom. Because caterpillars eat and eat like in the book (referring to Eric Carl’s famous book, “The Hungry Caterpillar”). He has to get really fat first before he turns into a butterfly. Right, Mom?”

“Yep. We will have to put a few more leaves in there for him. Not suckers or pies like in the book. I don’t think he will like those things. And don’t forget, he will be a chrysalis before he is a butterfly. Remember?”

“What is all this stuff on the bottom, Mom?” Bradley asked, his nose was practically smooshed on the glass to examine his new finding.

Small brown pellets littered the bottom of the container and some were stuck to the sides.

I held it up closer, squinting, to investigate. I thought they were little bugs, but they weren’t moving. I thought they might be eggs, but there were so many of them.

“Bradley, I think that is caterpillar poop.”

“Gross!”

***

Three days later…

We checked on our caterpillar everyday. We cleaned out the poop and gave him fresh leaves to chew on. We looked forward to having a chrysalis and wondered what kind of butterfly he might turn into.

Then one day, he was gone. He just disappeared. (Shhhh…Don’t tell Brad.) We looked and looked everywhere. We couldn’t figure out how he escaped and we couldn’t find him anywhere.

I gave a little shudder thinking of this hairy wormy creature roaming my house. For several days I would keep my eyes on the wall and the windowsills thinking I would find our lost caterpillar. I was a little creeped out and irritated. “We fed you, we gave you a nice house, we cleaned up after you, and you just disappear?! I even kept weeds in a baggy for you in my fridge!”

Bradley was a little bummed, but then he was just ready to go find a new one.

To this day he still hasn’t shown up.

Maybe he will be that pesky moth flying around the chandelier light while we are trying to have dinner. If that does happen, I hope I remember our little hairy creature before I smash him with a fly swatter. Because that annoying moth could be our little guy.

Note to self: Shoo moths out of the house nicely if there ever is one.

xxx

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From Tadpoles to Tiny Frogs

I step out onto the back porch, the concrete burning my feet, and tap the turquoise tote with my big toe. I watch the remaining two tadpoles fly through the water, startled and swimming for the next rock or pond scum to hide under. The color of the tote reminds me of the ocean, somewhere tropical that I will not be visiting for a long time…we will wait until the babies get bigger, but a girl can always dream palm trees. The ripples my tapping toe makes must look like tidal waves to the little creatures. Their new skinny frog legs flailing at their sides.

And yes, there are only two left. One died of natural causes and the other from a curious toddler who decided to go wading in the tote. Oops!

They are so tiny, they could sit on a dime and still have lots of room. “Be careful,” I warn Bradley as he catches it with pinching fingers and sets it gently on his palm. I am hopeful it is still alive as he puts it on his hand. A hop and a jump…yep, it’s still kicking!

We had a lot of fun raising them and watching them change and grow. Hope to do it again next year.

xxx

Below is a short video of the babies Bradley caught at the farm. There was so many! We let them go before we went home. Bradley lightly dumped the jar and they jumped, darted, and swam away.

 

Raising Tadpoles

The dishes are done, the laundry is clean, and all the sweet babies are in bed. It’s been a long day and the bottoms of my feet just ache. But FINALLY…I get to sit down and relax (hope I didn’t just jinx myself). I’m lounging on the couch on the front porch, enjoying the cool breeze.

There is a large plastic container sitting on my counter (the one where we end up collecting all the junk; purse, bills, etc. It would make a great kitchen bar if we could just knock out part of the wall). The braided pretzel label on the container has been wet and is wrinkly and trying to peel itself off. This is our makeshift tadpole home. It is equipped with a nice large rock, courtesy of the Mississippi River, and 4 tiny tadpoles, courtesy of my mom’s co-worker. Bright green pond scum floats lazily in the murky water and clings to the edges of the rock. Tadpoles dart around the edges, as if they are racing. You can see their tiny little frog legs right by their tiny tadpole tails. 

Directions for taking care of these babies are handwritten on a scrap of paper and scotch taped to the sides, along with the lid.

Keep in shade. Needs a rock to get out of water (check). Do not feed. They eat their tails. Rain/distilled water. Keep water clean (need to do that).

Now we will just keep our fingers crossed they live and we get to see them turn into frogs or toads.

I will keep it updated.

xxx

Below are a few misc. pics of the day and a video. The boys had a blast cleaning the rocks, but of course! It deals with water. 🙂

Worms Need Love, too…and Good Literature

Bradley ready to dig up the worms in the farm.

What a busy day. I think my favorite part about having our worm farm, besides there is little to no care for them, is listening to Bradley and all the things he says and thinks about worms. Worms smile, sing, play, and worms need love too, right mom? Of course. 🙂 He even made a worm dance. The worm dance consists of “Stretch and wiggle…stretch and wiggle…” across my kitchen floor.

We did have a little worm accident this morning when we were excavating them. They kind of went for a little ride, darn dog. Who knew worms could fly? Check it out in the video below.

OOOPS! We did manage to find all of them but one. I guess he has returned to his natural habitat.

Our next try at a video went better.

Some things we learned about worms from our observations and books:

1. They like to be read to.

2. They are nocturnal, or come out at night.  a.k.a. night crawlers. 

3. When the soil is hard, a worm will take a few bites of it so it can dig and tunnel its way down into the dirt. Dirt, yum! It’s a balanced meal for a worm.

4. Worms do have a head and tail. The tail end is flatter and more blunted, and the front is pointy. Never knew that!

5. The smooth ring that circles the worm’s body is called a saddle, and only grown up worms have them. But you can’t ride them. hee hee

Source:  “Natures Children: Worms”  by Jen Green

*note* I love seeing Bradley soak up all this information and new vocabulary…then try to use it. So cute!

This is also one of my favorite activities because we put the worms on a little lid and Bradley and the worms entertain each other for an hour or two!

Hope you had a great day on our worm farm, we did. See ya next time!

xxx

Below are extra videos. Thanks for reading and watching 🙂  And feel free to leave comments. They make my day.

Down on the Worm Farm with Minibeasts

It is a good thing that a worm farm does not take that much care, otherwise our poor little worms would be suffering. There is little you have to do to worms living in dirt, so I think it is just our speed. It has been a very busy weekend. I have had three sick babies and have gotten very little done except taking care of them. We were in the ER all morning with the three youngest. They have RSV. I am keeping a close eye on them.

Bradley is feeling better now and it was a nice day. He was out in the garden digging for more worms. He didn’t find any, but he did get a few leaves and tear them up and put them on the top of the dirt because he saw this in one of his books. He is such a smark kid, very observant.

Keeping Minibeasts: Earthworms, by Chris Henwood

We recently went to the library and checked out several books on worms, along with an Iron Man book. Bradley is flipping through one of the worm books, “Keeping Minibeasts: Earthworms,” (love the title) and sees a picture of a worm stretched out on a wet sidewalk. He is so excited and says, “See, Mom! I TOLD you they like water.”

 And the only thing I can picture is a poor bloated worm tangled and tied onto the end of a sharp fishing hook. I did not tell him this, but we did continue reading and found out that they like water, but they can drown. I don’t think Bradley has made the connection of fishing and worms. Gardening and worms, yes. Fishing and worms, no. And I just see Papa Bear eyeing our worms for fishing. I told him they were going back in my garden. Poor worms. They are “minibeasts” and very useful, ya know!

More on worms later. Bradley is loving the project. He is just soaking up so much information.

Poor coughing babies, wheezing babies, and feverish babies. Back to cuddling.

xxx

Worm Farm

What a great digger!

It all started with Sesame Street. The letter of the day was “D” and dirt starts with “D” and worms live in dirt…and on and on… which got Bradley’s brain a turnin’ and he had a million questions about worms and he really wanted a pet worm.

So we decided to start a worm farm.

We got shovels and a container to put them in and we headed out to the garden.

Ane we got lucky! As soon as we broke ground we found a worm!

I think it was love at first sight for Bradley.

Oh, all the things he wants to know!

And I want him to learn by exploring and with lots of hands on activities. That is just the teacher in me. I will be digging out my Science binder from my methods class. I’m pretty sure the awesome professor I had, Dr. Serianz, gave us all types of activities and information on worms. I will probably add some of these to the agenda.

Check out Bradley in this cute video. My camera battery died and cut it off.

We also made a “Worm Journal” and we started a KWLC Chart (what we know, what we want to learn, what we learned, and what views changed). Below are pics of our journal. I also let him put a worm on a plastic lid so he could look at it closer. We saw it crawl through a big dirt clod and stretch out in the water in the crack of the plastic lid.

(SHHHH!!! Don’t tell Papa Bear we had worms at the table. hee hee. If he only knew the crazy things we do all day!)

Bradley studying his worm (on plastic lid) and drawing the cover for his journal.

Some of the things we have listed for our KWLC chart for what we know (or what we think we know, sometimes things change as we explore and learn more, that is the reason for the C in the chart/what ideas we changed):

1. They live in dirt.

2. They like water and they like to swim.  (haha…fish like to eat them under water, but I didn’t tell him this. And he thought that because the worm he was watching went to the water, so good conclusion for a five-year old).

3. Ducks eat special worms and that’s their supper.

4. Worms like to burin the dirt deep.

5. They like to play sometimes. Sometimes they play with their daddy.

6. You can pet them.

7. They have no legs.

8.  They are slow like snails.

Some of the things Bradley wants to learn:

1. What do worms eat?

2. Do they eat dirt? Or do they eat what I eat?

3. Do they sleep?

4. Do they like to be pets?

5. Do they have bones?

6. How do they breath?

7. And I want to know how they are classified.

And after you have been outside in the cold digging, you need a cup of hot chocolate to warm you up. And it always tastes better in the special mug Bradley and I made together.

Bradley’s side of the mug doesn’t show as well because he didn’t color very dark. But it is super cute.

Stay tuned for the rest of our experiments and see what is happening down on the worm farm.

xxx

p.s. Collin was learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion. With all that room to run in the backyard he was off…until he fell…again and again. His body just can’t keep up with his feet.