Monday, August 15, 2011

Monarch Caterpillars

Our nineteenth annual Bug Fest is soon approaching, so last week Miranda and I walked around looking for caterpillars for the monarch butterfly station.

We soon hit a small patch of milkweed, only four plants, that was covered with tiny caterpillars. We found about 20 or so of the minute creatures. The caterpillars were only a few days old. To get an idea of how small they are when they first hatch, I have a paper clip in the photo for reference. Please click on the photo to enlarge it on your screen. The caterpillar is to the right of the C-shaped mark on the leaf.

Here I have cropped the photo so you can see it a little better. Notice the teeny stripes on the body. Soooo cute!!!

These little guys are growing like gangbusters, so I will have to post more baby pictures in the future!

On the same note, Naturalist Linda Gilbert from Geauga Park District, up near Cleveland, OH, posted this amazing video of a monarch caterpillar hatching from an egg. The egg is about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen.  Thank you, Linda for taking the time to film this miraculous event through a microscope and for allowing me to share this video!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Would You Eat This?!?!

Game show time. We are going to play "Would You Eat This?!?!" The following delicacies were offered to our Survivor Camp participants during the Eating Challenge. Tribe members would face off against the other team, each member having to pick what concoction they would have to partake by drawing a number from a cup. Points were awarded when a team member successfully choked down, errr I mean, eagerly gobbled the goodies. And it had to stay down. 'Nuff said.

A favorite of my father's, canned oysters. Looks gross, smells questionable and the texture is weird. These qualities make the perfect combo for the Eating Challenge.

Psyching out the opponent is part of the game. This looks like intestines and you could easily tell the other team it tasted terrible and pretend you could barely choke it down because it is soooo horrid. What is it really?

Simply dried bamboo shoots. Easy to eat, no bad flavors. Just looks intimidating...

Another psych out food. Snow fungus. No foul taste, but a weird appearance and texture.

This winner is truly appalling. Salted Snake-head fish. Very, very salty, fishy and stinky. Triple yuck.

By far one of the worst foods on earth, in my opinion. Silkworm pupae. Yep, the pupae of a silkworm moth and a by-product of the silk industry. Not sure why anyone would crave these, but if popping these in your mouth while you relax and watch sitcoms tickles your fancy, more power to you!

Squid in natural ink. The added element of tentacles combined with the putrid smell makes this food a real challenge for the campers to surpass.

I was intrigued when I found these bad boys at the Saraga Market. Preserved duck eggs. Eggs are not supposed to be black! And, yes, they taste as bad as they look.

So, there you have it. Some of the offerings for our Survivor Eating Challenge. Have I tried all these foods, you may ask. Yes, it is my policy that if the kids have to eat it, I do too. I will eat it right in front of them at the end of the challenge to assure them the foods are safe. Do I dread doing so, you betcha! But the campers do have a blast trying the different ethnic foods and psyching out the other team. All in good fun! :)