Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Caterpillars

Chitter and Chatter have always been obsessed with caterpillars. All three of The Indian Princesses used to catch them for pets. They collected the caterpillars in mason jars or sand buckets and tried to force feed them grass until the end of the day when they turned them loose to go back to their caterpillar families. One time they tried to teach them to swim-I don’t think I need to tell you the results of that experiment. Then there was the time Chitter got in trouble at school. She was in Kindergarten. Wanting to get just one more caterpillar for her collection of pets she went out the door she was never supposed to go out. That caterpillar episode ended with her sitting in the hallway and a request for us to please remind Chitter of the perils of going through the door that was only to be used in emergencies.

Caterpillars are out and about here.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    April 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Yeah, the caterpillars are all over the place. Seems to be more this year than normal.
    And I believe that caterpillar is on a pocket knife.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Tipper–I’m late reading this and other recent postings, but I know of one kind of caterpillar those loquacious young ladies (if they don’t know the meaning of loquacious, have them look it up–it goes with their monikers) didn’t fool with. A packsaddle’s sting hurts about as bad as that of a yellow jacket, and I used to hate helping Grandpa Joe pull fodder because of those minions of Beelzebub.
    I also wonder if they’ve ever found a tomato horn worm, a giant of the caterpillar clan and a pure nuisance on maters in late summer. They have great disguise coloration, but they are so greedy that their “leavings” give them away. Prime squishing material is all they are good for.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    April 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

    the only caterpillars I’ve seen so far are the tent caterpillars. I don’t like holding them, some will sting something fierce.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Thank you for the comment! Yes the girls love frogs too : ) Chitter used to pretend she had one living in her throat-when she was about 2 or 3 years old-she’s always been crazy : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
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  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    April 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Definitely a Case & thanks for bringing back the childhood memories-I still have a soft spot for Catapiillars! Do the girls like frogs, too?

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    During my hike today, I saw a slew of swallowtail butterflies, including about 20 at one location. This time of year it’s difficult to get a photo of them on flowers – they’re pretty shy. However, if they find some horse poop or urine (horse or otherwise – which is why they were congregating), they’re more apt to stay put for a photo. Of course a horse poop frame sort of ruins the attractiveness.
    There is one flower that I know of whose nectar is apparently so good that it subdues their shyness – the turks cap lily. They will let you touch them without flinching while they’ve got their proboscis straw sucking on a turks cap. Of course it’s going to be 3 months before turks caps will be in bloom.
    By the way, looks like the same pocket sword that Miss Chitter showed off to a few of us Casadas a while back.

  • Reply
    Douglas Lamb
    April 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I am totally entertained by how the wonderful blog subject of caterpillars made a sharp right turn into that cool Case pocket knife. Just let us run and we’ll tell on ourselves every time.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Enjoyed the caterpillar stories!
    Add mine to the folding knife vote, but I’m no expert on the type.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Tipper,
    Cute story about the girls and their caterpillars…They know “which ones to hold and which ones to fold”…ha…
    I saw my first tent caterpillar nest this morning on the way down the driveway…It was low in the tree and that surprised me…usually they are higher up..also on a young maple and not a wild cherry tree… I am not crazy about them eating my crab apple trees…so far none in the crab apples…
    I lost my balance coming down a bank back a few years ago…I grabbed hold of a tree to keep from rolling down the hill and got a handful of (“a pack saddle”) caterpillar, my hurt for days, that “booger” stung like crazy..
    I believe that is a pocket knife of some sort…looks like one my boys carried when they were young..
    Thanks, Tipper

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I would normally say on “Daddy’s pocket knife” But knowing your girls, it probably belongs to them!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    a pocket knife is my guess.
    i used to love catching caterpillars as a child. i’d put them in a jar with some grass and a stick and keep my fingers crossed that they’d spin cocoonc. i got some cocoons but never did succeed in getting a butterfly to emerge. i suspect i didn’t wait long enough!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    In Soufli, a small village in Thrace – Northern Greece – caterpillars are used in the local silk textile industry. In the village, there’s a caterpillar and silk museum. While on holiday there last summer, I purchased a gorgeous silk table cloth and was offered a necklace made of caterpillar cocoons. To many people in this area, caterpillars moths are their only livelihood. Most of the silk textile is handmade.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    April 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    love your indian princess stories.. and that they love nature as they do.. only caterpillars i like are the ones that turn into monarch butterflies.. 🙂 but we do get fuzzy black and orange ones in the fall…
    too cold here to know if there are any critters.. ugh im ready for your warmer weather
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    April 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Maybe a Case but it’s hard to tell.
    Caterpillars don’t come out in February, which is what time it is up here.
    Good piece, Tipper.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I think your caterpillar is on the end of a pocket knife.
    I used to catch caterpillars as a child, it gave my mother fits! Once I had a few in a jar and that actually spun cacoons, they never did hatch though. A lot of us climbed trees for tent caterpillars back then. There weren’t a lot of little girls of the “delicate flower” variety in my neighborhood!
    The Cleveland, Ohio area has Wooly Bear festivals, celebrating the caterpillar legend says can predict the severity of the coming winter by the width of the red and black bands on its body.
    It’s too early for them up here, but the weather is improving, bit by bit. Soon I will be hunting bugs again with my granddaughter Kate!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I pretty much leave caterpillars alone. I picked one up a long time ago and it stung me. The spot continued to sting for hours! I should have taught it to swim…before I sent it to caterpillar heaven.
    That is a knife…looks like the Deer Hunters picket knife…the one I cut corn with because it was good and sharp!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Looks to me like one of the girls
    is holding their favorite weapon.
    A catapillar just happens to be on
    the knife end. Bet the other end
    is open. Chitter recently showed
    me her first finger that got cut
    real bad and had to be stiched up.
    She said that was her ‘trigger’
    finger, and I said “but its on your left hand.” To that she let
    me know “them turkeys don’t know
    which hand I’m shootin’ at ’em
    with.” Now that was cute…Ken

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Loved this Tipper! I was a bug collector too as a child; I know all too well the thrill of the hunt. Looks like a yellow-handled Case pocket knife to me!

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 9:17 am

    it is sitting on a folder pocket knife. they are fascinating critters, but the 3 princess story was even more fascinating. once i got a call from school when son david was in 4th grade. seems he had a pocket full of baby rats and would not give them to the teacher. i had to leave work and go to the school. when i got there, he pulled out the 3 little ones and i said to the teacher, these are NOT rats, they are baby opossums. i took them home with me in a box. i asked David why he would not give them to the teacher, he said MOMMMM she was going to flush them down the TOILET. thanks for sharing your memories, they stirred up mine. the little ones did not live, they were newborn, he found the dead mother hit by a car while walking to school and took the babies out of her pouch.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Looks like she has caught one on the end of a knife. It’s good to see those girls having fun,doing things most girls would run from.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Too early here, also. The weather is just not wanting to cooperate this year. have only had a few sunny days, otherwise it’s been cold & very rainy.
    Is it a pen knife?

  • Reply
    Sandra Sarafian
    April 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

    In Irvine, KY there is a festival for caterpillars, “Wooly Worm Festival”. Is that a pocket knife handle?

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 18, 2011 at 8:35 am

    a knife (probably a Buck knife)

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    April 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

    A yellow handled, Case, two bladed pocket knife–like mine.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 18, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Here in South Florida, we used to see a caterpillar that would strip the foliage from a particular shrub, until we replaced the shrub with a different variety!
    I remember having wild cherry trees in the backyard in East Tennessee and those trees were full of tent caterpillars every year.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    April 18, 2011 at 7:59 am

    my first thought was a pocket knife. ooooo I’m not too crazy about caterpillars–they are braver than me

  • Reply
    April 18, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Too early here yet Tipper — except for the wooly bear caterpillars which always seem to be just under the surface of leaves and mulch.
    Funny stories about your girls and their pet caterpillars. 🙂 Most girls could not get up enough courage to even get close to a caterpillar, let alone handle and try to teach them to swim!

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