Friday, September 09, 2016

Day 9 third time lucky?

"Dumbass" may or may not make it, in the process of being transferred to a fresh leaf he freaked out and pooped silk like a squid and tried to swim away. Writhing like he was on fire he managed to get tangled in his own filaments, and needless to say he *might* have fallen and been dropped on his head... a couple times :/ The two that were moved before him were just fine though.

The one that stopped eating is dead :/

We found more eggessess!!! We found 8 on the calmansi, no wait 9 on the calmansi, oh, hold on 10?... nope 12, 12 eggs on the calmansi, which we collected by snipping and putting them in vials of water to keep the leaves alive. And we also found 3 on the Rue, so maybe they really do like Rue!

We are thinking that part of the reason the first batch didn't make it was because the leaves they hatched on were already drying out and dying?

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1 - forget about it.

Batch #2 - Four out of six, for now...

Batch #3a - 12 eggesess!
Batch #3b - 3 eggs on the Rue

Day 8 progress!

12:00 pm

The one we recovered from batch #1 is definitely dead :/

One from the second batch may also be dead... he just seems to have stopped eating and is now quite small compared to the others.

The baby caterpillars have grown to ~2/8 of an inch. Here are their leaf nibbles from yesterday and then their progress to today!

And this... this is "Dumbass"

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1 - We've given up on any remaining survivors from the first batch, by this ppint they should be big enough to spot in the Rue and we've found nothing... they're "missing and presumed dead"

Batch #2 - Four out of six from the second batch with one unhatched.

Day 7 nibbles... and bits

1:00 am

I found one of the first batch still moving!!!!

We then recovered two bodies from the base of the Rue plant... and found 2 possible body parts?

*gasp* they're canniballistic caterpillars!

I couldn't help but be reminded of the life lesson I learned from the time I tried to grow tadpoles in our aquarium in the house. I think I was in grade 4... It was really cool, I was keeping a journal of all the changes and checking them daily, and then the first one finally hatched!!!!

*gasp of awe and wonder*

... and then he ate all the other ones :/

Life lesson? Nature sucks sometimes.

The caterpillars in batch #2 have grown significantly but haven't quite doubled in size yet. We moved them onto their "calmansi condos" so their leaves will last longer.

11:00 am

The one that was moving appears dead dead and doesn't seem to have eaten anything :/

The second batch however are doing nicely and have made sizeable bite marks in their respective leaves.

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1: 0 out of 11 :(

Batch #2: Five out of six still!

Day 6, less... and then more

~11:00 am I heard this disembodied voice float up the stairs...

The Ninja: "Sam?... I think the caterpillars... are all... dead."

me: *eternally optimistic* "maybe they're just sleeping...?" I hollered back down... as I pushed myself away from my desk to teundle down and investigate.

The Ninja: "No... I'm pretty sure they're dead. They're not moving"

We looked and looked and looked, and the ones we could see seemed to be even smaller than they were yesterday, the others well they're missing... We concluded that they could be anywhere in the Rue plant by now though, they're so tiny!

3:00 pm

Our second batch of caterpillars hatched with the exception of one... maybe he just needs to cook a little bit longer.  They were quarantined from the first batch in a container, so we tried adding some Rue leaves. They didn't seem to be the least bit interested, like I don't even think they tried a nibble. They seem to love fresh calmansi and water mist though.  Well, we assume love, but they might be freaking out too.

We're trying to keep them separated so they don't eat each other... or whatever happened to the first batch.

Caterpillar count: 

Batch #1: Maybe two out of 8 in the Rue...

Batch #2: Five out of six in the quarantine container.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Crafty like that!

This is our new "over the toilet shelf". Reactions have ranged from "Awesome!" to "I feel like its going to fall on me when I'm pooping"

You might think we have gotten *slightly* carried away with our air plant masterpiece... But isn't it awesome?!?

I'm half-seriously considering either installing full spectrum lighting on a timer, a window... or doing something creative with mirrors like the Egyptians used to... Once I start seriously researching this project it'll probably end up being something creative with shiny things.

The brackets are from a tiny little shop in a tiny little town up near Pismo... I think Cayucos, and then we just put a pretty border on a chunk of tabletop wood and stained it... twice, because the first set of colours looked awful ;)

We be jammin'

I'm so proud of us *smug grin* we just made our first two batches of jam... and they ALL sealed (including one from each batch that we poked - yep each of us separatly, it was the Ninja's first time, but Mom I still haven't learned and it was an accident! I was just *pointing* at it and it popped I swear!)

Two phone calls to Mom to gird my confidence, random canning supply shopping an oompf and we finally just did it!

It turns out that the Kraft "Certo" brand is "Sure Jell" down here... whatever Kraft, and it now comes in powder or liquid which mixes in sooooo much faster *rolls eyes* We tried both, cooking time is comparable, although we're probably not the best benchmark ;)


The first batch looks prettier, but I think its cause we brought it to a boil at a lower flame, so there was less foam to scrape off... see? So pretty!


The second batch is the weird one, I would blame the liquid certo but we cooked it at a higher temperature and it was foaming up the sides... and even with a little butter it tried to climb out of the pot! We gave up trying to scrape the foam off  because we would have been left with strawberry jello jelly :/ ... 

Also, this happened:

me: *peering into the sterilized lid pot* "Gross what's all this stuff?!? that *definitely* wasn't in here when I started..."

The Ninja: "You put the one with the label in there...?" It wasn't even a full question, like she already knew that's what I'd done :p

Yeap... *sheepish look* I forgot to take the label off of the one lid before sterilizing it... I very carefully made sure we cleaned the one off of the jar before putting them in the oven though... *sigh*

The Ninja almost went diabetic when she saw how much sugar goes into how little jam... but then she tasted it on hot-out-of-the-oven baking powder biscuits ;)


I am loving the sound of jars sealing, it is so satisfying :)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Day 5 we have babies!!!

So around 3:20 pm there was this one...

And then another one just behind it, and then we literally got to watch one hatch!

First he squeezed his big head out, and then he wiggle wiggle wiggled!

It was so cool!!

By 6:00 pm there were 8 baby caterpillars measuring ~1/8th of an inch!

It's amazing how much bigger they are outside their little eggs... like they get vacuum sealed in there or something and inflate upon opening :p