Monday, August 20, 2012

The Woodland Witch

There is this crazy lady that lives in my woodland, and open minded as I try to be, she sometimes scares me.  She could be classified as a tree-hugger by more moderate environmentalists and perhaps as a witch by those less kind and with a younger more myopic view of life.  Me?  I just tolerate her.  I don't want to drive her further over the edge as I must interact with her fairly often.  This particular story involved her herb garden.


The new morphing on her part is that she now thinks she is one with the woods.  She has been observing it so many years that talking to the birds and squirrels is pretty normal for her.  But last week she decided to be a savior.  She had noticed that her parsley was being eaten by caterpillars.  These were probably future black swallowtails as these tend to favor parsley and fennel, both of which are in the Woodland Witches garden.  They were doing a number on the leaves for a few days, but when she went out to water her herbs, she noticed that most of the little buggers were gone.  You would probably look on this as a good omen, the demise of predatory insects without the use of any pesticides.  We should all be so blessed.

It seems a discussion ensued (with herself which tells you she really is a witch) and it became clear that the many birds that live in her yard were eating the little caterpillars as fast as they grew.  Oddly, she saw this as a predicament!  Her solution was to take the largest caterpillar and bring it inside her home and house it in a small glass mixing bowl to protect it from the birds.  I am not making this up!  She would clean the bowl daily of poop and then add a new parsley sprig as the little green worm-like creature got bigger every day, which, of course, it did almost before ones eyes.  I cannot begin to describe the odor that such an odd little green worm-like creature emits as he is being moved from his house for cleaning!  Only a witch would tolerate this!



Eventually it seemed to go into a stupor.  The Woodland Witch had read an article about these creatures being like Chimeras and re-inventing themselves as something so totally different that it could be considered a form of re-incarnation by some.  When the caterpillar climbed to the top of a twig she had placed against the glass he spun just a few silk threads around his chubby waist and seemed to throw back his head and hang himself in despair.  But instead of death he morphed into the loveliest green silk chrysalis as any 5th grader could tell you.



Our witch lady took him outside and carefully placed the twig in the shelter of the front porch and far from any predators.  You may be able to see it just above the sign in the photo below. She was eager to see this Chimera come out of the chrysalis after the magic spell had been completed.


Of course this story does not end here because she looked carefully and did find one more of these caterpillars and now is daily cleaning the home and feeding the stomach of a second tenant!  I do not need to tell you the name of this crazy old-lady witch...do I?  But I will show you the results of the magic.


19 comments:

Daniel LaFrance said...

Well I found this tale titillating to say the least. An intriguing neighbor indeed. Better the witch you know than the one you don't.

Beautiful images!

Angie said...

A fabulous story---and I think the woodland witch is my star sister... ;D

Brian Miller said...

ha...def and enchanting story...and love to see the end product....all the little sky dancers in their pretty colored outfits...

Lynn said...

The next time you encounter The Witch Woman would you let her know how enchantingly bewitching she is . . . afternoon delight!


Joanne Noragon said...

Good save.

Red said...

Well told story to go along with the caterpillars and butterflies.

lime said...

gorgeous black swallowtail. my mom does the same thing with monarchs only she goes so far as to collect the eggs.

wanted to thank you also for your recent comments on my colorado posts. so glad you have enjoyed them and thanks so much for giving me the names to some of the plants i found!

Peruby said...

Didn't need to tell me the name! I figured it out as soon as I read the part "She had read an article..." LOL!

Love the part where he hung himself. I got a chuckle out of that.

Dave King said...

Yeah, well, you've got to admit: that's real magic! Wonderful tale.

Mary @ Colony Mountain Stitcheries said...

Great story and pictures! We need more Woodland Witches!

Robert Sobczak said...

Intriguing indeed, and the metamorphosis at the end utterly shocking. This late in August there must too be hints of fall. Our hint down here is a hurricane heading our way.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Love your stories....

Betsy Adams said...

I know people like your 'witch' friend... They take nature to EXTREMES --in my opinion...

One time I was talking to a lady about killing a roach in my office (this was in Florida).... That lady had a fit... How could I EVER kill any living creature????? I quickly got out of that conversation and changed the subject....

I'm all for nature and saving it for the future.. BUT--I don't carry it to extremes.... Oh Well--takes all kinds of people to make up the world, doesn't it?

Hugs,
Betsy

Granny Annie said...

Let's see a picture of this witchy woman. You capture photos of everything else:)

joeh said...

I was going to follow simply because you front page has my absolute favorite bird the Cedar Waxwing.

LOved your story as well...it must be witchcraft!

cranky old man

Kat said...

Haha! You are such a clever witch. ;) I am the same way. And what a beautiful stinky creature you saved! Well done! :)

Mage said...

She must have a good heart to put up with the smell, indeed. What magic she produces.

Hilary said...

Bewitching woman this caterpillar whisperer. You are such a beautiful friend to nature.

Barb said...

Well, I've always considered you bewitching, Tabor! Your photos and the story are indeed enchanting. You've become one with Nature! PS The kit fox you asked about was newly out of its den just off our property. I took the photo from a top deck. It gave me a startled look but didn't immediately run away.