A few weeks ago, I was minding my own business, just trying to nap in a homemade hammock.
Said hammock did not rip down the middle and dump me out onto the ground like a newly birthed rhinoceros, as stories like these usually go, instead, I got nice and comfy and started to enjoy the slight sway in the breeze. I had wrapped myself in a cheapo JCPenny quilt that I have had for at least 10 years. It's a nice quilt, and many people think it is one of those grandmotherly quilts like the one I have on my wall, which was made eons ago by a great great grandmother. My JCPenny quilt has bits trying to wiggle themselves loose and disappear in the drier every time something vomits on it, but it is still holding strong. You're probably wondering how often things vomit in my house... happily, not enough, if there ever is an enough to things vomiting in any house. The great great grandmother quilt would never go in the washing machine, let alone get vomited on. I know where to draw the line. ...and jeez, I make a better hammock than that.
So I was enjoying a sway, gazing up into the crisp autumn sky trying to think up award winning poetry, when I caught a glimpse of movement. I turned my head to get a better look at the enormous, seventeen inch caterpillar was slowly making its way to a perfect burrow spot in my ear.
Being the outdoorsy survivalist that I am, I squealed like a tiny girl and almost peed my pants.
Then I found a stick, smashed it, and went to sleep.
No, I didn't smash it, what kind of a person do you think I am? I let it crawl onto the stick and took it across the street to show my kids, who at the time were 'helping' my husband build the neighbor a shed.
We have since adopted the caterpillar. I tried mightily to identify the little ear burrower, and the best I could do was figure it was either a tent caterpillar or a tent worm. But Ear Burrower is much prettier than the pictures I found on google, so I think I have found a new species of burrowing caterpillars.
We pulled out the death trap that has been the 'fish tank'. I don't think anything is ever meant to survive in a little gallon tomb, and anyone who claims they have had a fish live longer than a month in one of these things is either lying or severely depressed. Seriously. And thanks to Grey's Anatomy that has made saying 'seriously' normal and bothersome at the same time. Seriously.
Two days into being entombed in the death tank, and Ear Burrower had yet to munch on any of the plethora of greens I stuffed into his nice new home. He was probably going through separation anxiety, which is kind of a depressing way to loose weight. I thought we were loosing him, yet I never once thought it might be a good idea to release him back to nature. It was getting cold, and I know I would be pretty pissed if I were brought into a nice warm house, gussied up in the very best of death tank greenery, then banished, in all of my nakedness, into the frozen tundra. Even if it wasn't below freezing, it will be soon, so I really had only Ear Burrower's best interest in mind.
I did further research, which mainly involves looking at the first three links that google had. So I grabbed some sand from our very own fossil pit out front, gave him some new twigs and leaves, and waited. Apparently some caterpillars actually do burrow, whether that be in ears or sand. Now I'm even more convinced that he was going for my ear. I feel vindicated. Thank you google.
Well, the same day I gave him the sand, he snuggled up to a twig and made the ugliest cocoon I have ever witnessed. It looks a bit like a piece of moldy bread that has been rolled in sand. It's not even at the top of the death tank. It's tucked about a half inch into the sand. I think I have a special caterpillar, not only does he think it's totally fine to burrow into ears, he doesn't even know that he should wrap himself in a pretty, sleeping bag looking cocoon and hang from the lid. Dumb caterpillar. Actually, I am getting pretty skeptical about the chances of Ear Borrower still being alive. Since he molded himself, I took out all the leaves and stuck his death tank near some plants that I brought in for the winter. And since we heat with wood, the air is very dry in the house. I think I may have dehydrated my caterpillar.