Something is on my Parsley!

by Mary and Danny Oppman
(Dunedin, Florida)

Two years ago, I decided to grow my own herbs, as I loved the idea of going outside to freshly pick what I needed to prepare our dinner. It was early summer, I went to my parsley plant to get a few sprigs when I noticed 4 beautiful colorful caterpillars munching away. I went online to find out what else besides me...was eating it. I identified the culprits as black swallowtail caterpillars!

My husband and I decided to donate the whole plant to them just so we could watch and see exactly what happens with caterpillars...and exactly how...they turn into Butterflies. So my 4 cats became 3 and 3 became 2, the next day this one cat looked as if something was he had attached himself to the plant....the next morning, much to my amazement, he had become a chrysalis. I wanted to know more, so I took the last cat, put him in a jar, provided food and a stick. But that little bugger didn't wait on me...he attached just like the previous. Well I was still in hope of seeing exactly HOW they become a chrysalis....again...missed that too! We waited patiently until one morning the first had was so beautiful! The second...we actually witnessed it emerging! We were both hooked!

We now spend all our free hours cleaning butterfly habitats and searching for and filming their life cycles. We have made many mistakes with them, lost some to our errors, but we now raise Monarchs, Black and giant swallowtails and starting this year Orange Barred sulfurs.

Our neighbors think we are half crazy....but will be the first to tell you that they have never really taken notice or appreciated butterflies until we helped open their eyes to them. Most neighbors can identify many different types now and eagerly tell me what they saw when I was at work. My husband and I now have a hobby that has brought us closer together than we could have ever imagined, and we have gained a new found appreciation of all the small wondrous creatures that inhabit this world with us!

Karen says:
Mary and Danny,
I am so sorry - somehow I missed your submission. What a beautiful story! Thank you :)

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