Larry on the stick copy

The date October 26, 2013 will forever be etched in my brain, for that is the date of new beginnings. That is also the day I stumbled across Larry.
Joel and I were working at Hallie with Arden. The weather wasn’t the best, but I was finishing up lining the flower beds with mulch. In the trench I dug surrounding the bed housed a little, fuzzy, brown caterpillar. A Woolly Bear! At least that is what we called them as kids. We had plenty in the middle-of-nowhere, where I grew up, but this was the first time since I’ve lived in Columbus (going on 14 years) that I had come across one here. I was excited! I called over Arden and told her to pet him. She was apprehensive, but delighted to find him so soft to the touch. She asked to keep him as a pet and much to my surprise, I agreed.

Arden has been asking for a pet for ages, probably because we have 2 cats that we are all allergic to. They have free reign of their basement domain, get lots of petting and have regular supervised visits outside, but it’s not quite the same as having your own animal to boss around and keep in your room. From the get-go Arden announced that this would be a boy caterpillar. WAIT! Stop the presses! In Arden’s world, nothing is EVER a boy. We could be reading a book that specifies that the main character is indeed a boy horse, but she will adamantly deny the printed words and instead insist that the animal be given a name of Purple Rain Bow or some other ridiculousness.

Until now.

Not only was it a boy caterpillar, but she would christen him ‘Larry’. We were stumped by the name choice, as none of her classmates, friends or any of the shows she watches have characters with that name. Either way, it was a dawning of a New Age. One that finally included Arden’s acceptance that boys did indeed inhabit the earth. The rest of the day she carried him around everywhere asking his opinion on just about everything. Larry isn’t a big talker, but Arden didn’t seem to notice or mind. I promptly parted with my plastic bungee cord container that was in the back of the Outlander added some dirt, grass, and a couple sticks and suddenly Larry had a home.

Larry leaf nibbles copy

On the way home I did my caterpillar research. We learned that he likes clover and green leaves best. That he drinks water but it comes from the plants he consumes. If you look at the 3x enhanced leaf photo, you can see tiny Larry nibbles. We found out that the caterpillars are most commonly found in October when they are out and about and actually make good pets for kids to observe. Larry likes to party at night and sleeps during the day. Pretty soon he will hibernate for the winter and then in Spring, spin a cocoon and emerge a Tiger Moth. I’ve never witnessed this process in person before and find myself facinated yet sad that at some point we will have to let him go again.

In the month since we have welcomed him into our home, Arden has quickly tired of the responsibility of having a pet that she has to care for. He is pretty low maintenance, but she requires regular harassing to remind her to clean out his home and fill it with fresh food/bedding. On more than one occasion, (usually when she is staying at her dad’s for the weekend) I find myself out in the yard picking him new greens. I feel responsible for his well-being and happiness since it was me that mistakenly introduced him to my pint-sized tyrant daughter. He is very undemanding and for that I gladly want to take care of him.


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