Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Attack of the Hornworms & Lesson 31

I can't believe how late we slept this morning, even Keree slept in till after 830am. Since we are having a break in the miserable hot weather, we were happy that we could play outside for a bit. After Keree picked the few veggies that were ripe, she rode her scooter up and down the sidewalk, while my Mom and I discussed what was destroying our tomato plants. In just days, they went from beautiful, healthy, lush plants to just sticks that were starting to die. We kept think maybe it was a bunny, deer or raccoon that was eating on them. So we sprinkled them with what was called on the bottle tomato poison. We have tried to keep our garden organic but it's sort of do or die for our poor plants. While we were sprinkling them, my Mom noticed this gigantic caterpillar on one of the stalks. This caterpillar was as round as a hot dog and almost as long as a hot dog. My Mom picked the stalk off with the caterpillar. We have never seen a caterpillar like this, so we really spent some time examining it. We finally convinced Keree to hold the stalk and soon as she did, he started climbing up it. She freaked and dropped him to the ground. We finally convinced her to come back and just watch him crawl around instead. Neither my Mom or I wanted to squish it because it was so large. So since we had to run errands, we took him with us in the car and threw him out into a grassy area far from away from our house. After our errands and when we got home, we spent plenty of time researching the strange caterpillar that we found. We found out that it was called a Hornworm and we found out that there are two types distinguished by the Horn on their rear. The Tobacco Hornworm has a distinctive red horn on it and usually found in the South, while the Tomato Hornworm has a distinctive black/brown horn on it and usually found in the North. We are Middle America, so I guess we could have either Tobacco or Tomato Hornworms. But ours was 100% for sure a Tobacco Hornworm. After Keree took her nap, we finally headed back outside. We had read also that the Hornworms hid underneath plants and we guessed because of the damage of the plants that were being ate on, more than likely there was more caterpillars feasting. Keree and I searched, searched and searched some more. We also tried to shake our tomato plants because we were told they would make a clicking sound. No matter how hard we tried to listen, we never heard anything. Finally underneath the Patio garden structure on one of the tomato plants, was a Hornworm. We had also read that if you capture them and feed them, they will eventually turn into a Hawk Moth. So we put the one we found into Keree's bug house. We then went back to searching, by this time my Mom was searching with us and right as we were about to give up, there was a Hornworm. So we put him in with the other Hornworm in Keree's bug house. We had lots of fun sitting outside watching the Hornworms through the magnifying door on the bug house. We couldn't believe how quickly they could eat a leaf and no wonder our plants looked like they did. So it seems now that everyday towards dusk we will spend some time trying to make sure there is no other Hornworms eating our plants. We finally ended up heading inside when the mosquitoes started biting. We watched Keree's favorite show Wipeout, it's so funny hearing her crack up laughing and then in the same second, telling the tv that they were trying to do their best. Once the show was finished, we worked on Lesson 31. I can't believe the summer is almost over and we are not finished yet. I blame myself for not being as dedicated as I had planned on being. So I'm hoping for the next 10 days to cover two lessons a day, which we would then be at Lesson 50. Which then in reality, we could be finished totally by the end of September. It's going to be interesting to see how well I do, considering she is going to pre-school for 2 1/2 hrs every morning, 2 - 1 hr PT sessions a week, 2 -2 hr Cheerleading practices a week, 1 - 1 hr visit from the homeschool teacher a week, 1 - 1hr socialization with the homeschool coop a week, we have a few big shows booked and of course anything else that comes up. I'm ready for the challenge!

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