Monday, June 14, 2010

Gigantor Lives!

Let me state up front that this is a long and rambling story. Sorry about that! A better writer would condense this somehow, but I am a talker, not a writer, so listen if you have time…

My Sunday morning started with an orange juice shower. No, it actually started with me making a (very large) pot of chili at 7:00 am. I have a bad habit of putting off the fellowship lunch preparation until Sunday morning. It’s a combination of being too lazy or too busy on Saturdays, but either way, it results in the family waking to strange smells. Then I headed to the shower, a real one. It was shortly after that the orange juice shower occurred. I wasn’t there to see the scope of it, and by the time I arrived on the scene it had been cleaned up, or so it appeared. Thankfully there were no church clothes involved, since a few of the kids are so short of nice clothes it would have resulted in a serious wardrobe malfunction. So I moved on to getting ready to leave.

Fast forward 20 minutes. I came back down to the kitchen, all ready to go except for my shoes. That’s when my feet stuck to the floor, and I discovered the scope and reach of the orange juice shower as well as the deficiencies of the clean-up effort. Now I have no choice but to mop the floor before church. Ok, I do now realize there were some other choices, but this was my feeling at the moment, which I know some of you can understand completely! I grabbed the two nearest boys who were fully dressed and they began to move the seven chairs and four stools out of the kitchen. One of them began to scrub o.j. off the chairs, too. I grabbed the bag of trash someone had pulled out but not really dealt with and sat it on the garage step (still not dealing with it). Then there was a flurry of super-fast aerobic sweeping and mopping. I ended up quite hot, asked another boy to get me some water, and dashed up the stairs for my shoes. We were still going to be to church on time!

Edwin was then the first one out the garage door, where he ran into the bag of trash. He picked it up to put it, finally, into the big trash can. Under the bag of trash he saw this:

Gigantor, who turned out to be a Polyphemus moth instead of a Luna moth, was out of his or her cocoon at long last, and probably nearly met an early end to an already short life (as a moth, anyway) by my rudely placing a trash bag on the step! This resulted in the need to fully examine him and take some photos, and figure out what to do with him. After seeing the state of his bowl it no longer seemed a good idea to let him just live his life on the screened porch so we could watch him (Since the moths do not feed and we thought it was a beautiful Luna moth, it seemed like a good plan before.). Finally, we drove to church, and we did make it there in time to deposit the pot of chili in the kitchen and get seated before the announcements. Amazing!

Why was Gigantor in the garage, you ask?

Well, we had all but given up on the moth. Here’s the back-story. The kids found the really large, green, and quite disgusting caterpillar at church last year on August 2. Thankfully, it made a cocoon very early the next day. I was glad about this since it meant we didn’t have to feed it and clean up after it, which is quite nasty with even a small caterpillar. And this was no small caterpillar! Unfortunately, I had hastily placed it in one of my most-useful bowls, thinking I would find it a more-suitable home the next day. But, lo, the next day Gigantor was busy permanently attaching to the side of my bowl. Ugh. Still, it would come out soon enough.

Or would it? After a month in the house with no action, I decided it may be too cold in our house (this is a recurring theme) for the poor moth to know what season it was, so we moved it out to the screened porch. All of our previous caterpillar experience was with Monarch butterflies, so we had expectations of seeing the moth in a month or less. We took the bowl to a friend’s house in case he emerged while we were on vacation. We came home a whole month later to find it unchanged. So it stayed on the screened porch.

Eventually, it snowed, the wind blew, and Gigantor’s cocoon was covered with snow. We learned that Luna moths do sometimes over-winter in the cocoon, so we waited. Some of us thought it was surely dead. I held out hope. Surely it would come out in the spring. Spring came and almost went, and I started to waver. I determined we would dissect the cocoon if it was still sitting in my bowl in mid-July.

Not long after that decision the time came for the house to be painted. We ripped the old screen down and cleared out the screened porch. We nonchalantly sat Gigantor’s bowl on a shelf in the garage, somewhere between the paint scrapers and the baseball gloves. We certainly did not know that after 314 days, Gigantor would emerge and not even be a Luna moth. And to think, Gigantor may have never been seen again, but for the orange juice shower…


Gail said...

That's great. I just knew that moth would surely come out...glad you waited on him/her??? instead of dissecting the poor thing. Funny how things come about.

Anonymous said...

I take some credit for your being on time to church since my prelude ran almost 3 minutes late. :)

Good story!

Tracey said...

We can always use a little help!