my cousin has great changes coming

Yesterday, shortly before departing on our canoe trip, I checked on the Monarch caterpillar to see if it needed some fresh leaves. Imagine my dismay when I picked up the heap of slightly wilted leaves, only to find that the caterpillar was nowhere to be seen. However, it was soon found clinging to the outer lip of the plastic container. I gently returned the little Houdini to the container and supplied some fresh leaves. Just as we were going out the door, I checked on the cat again, only to find that it had escaped once more. There was definitely more to this than a desire for fresh food. I had supplied a couple of twigs for the caterpillar to fasten itself to when it was ready to pupate, but they must have seemed unsuitable.

Looking for a quick solution so that we could be on our way, I moved the caterpillar, leaves and twigs into a tall, wide-mouthed container and fastened a bit of screen over the top with an elastic band. Then, we departed for an afternoon of canoeing. When we returned home, the caterpillar was clinging to the underside of the screen cover. By late last night, it had spun a bit of webbing to attach its hind end to the screen (see below). I shot a photo of it through the side of the container (see below). This morning, it is hanging upside down, unmoving. We’ll probably be off canoeing for the day, so I may miss out on the next phase of development, but I did find a website with an excellent explanation and images showing what to expect next. Hopefully, I’ll get to see and record these stages myself, but I’m not going to put off a sunny day of canoeing to watch a caterpillar hang limply upside down from a screen for several hours. (-:

This morning, as I was checking on the caterpillar, The Incredible String Band’s lyrics to “Cousin Caterpillar” suddenly came to mind.

My cousin has great changes coming
One day he’ll wake with… wings.
Cousin Caterpillar, seven pairs of legs for you.
Cousin Caterpillar, can you tell me what they do?
Well all that I can say
Is that they seem to help some way
To pull my little body along.

That led to other fine memories of classes with my favourite high school art teacher, Rodney Heather, who used to play that and other albums on a small portable stereo player while we were painting, making prints or spinning clay. What a great influence those classes have had on my life and work over the past three-and-something decades.


  • Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Trackback URI:
  • Comments RSS 2.0

3 Responses to “my cousin has great changes coming”

  1. jimmy Says:

    Your pictures are great…I did the same thing, but had two monarch’s They both turned into beautiful butterflies. I Photographed the whole thing from start as an egg to the final emergence

  2. robin andrea Says:

    I haven’t thought of the Incredible String Band in a long time. Nice to be reminded, especially in such a fine context. Wonderful things about to happen with that cousin.

  3. burning silo Says:

    Jimmy – Thanks! Great to hear that you’ve had good success with Monarch caterpillars. Have you put any of the photos up on your blog?

    Robin – Wonderful things are definitely happening. I’ll be posting another update this morning.