Entries by Michael

Digging Out From Under

  I started drafting this back in February; I have run into it a couple of times in my drafts, and I look at it, and put it away. So, today, I decided to post it… see if that helps me work through. I’m trying to dig myself out. I’ve gotten lost, buried under layers […]

New skins, new attitudes

    Overnight, the majority of the caterpillars changed their skins. They spin a pad of silk, and then hook their rear feet in the silk; then they wiggle and shimmy their way out of the old skin. This is an old skin. You can see the rear feet at the top left, and you […]

Too much sausage, not enough casing.

  After five days, the silkworms have grown SO much! Their heads are the same size as they were before, but now the heads look tiny on their thick bodies. The bodies look like they’re over-stuffed – like too much sausage stuffed into not enough casing.   At this scale, the head is about the […]

For I will consider my moth Jeoffry.

This is a male Polyphemus moth. I’m always fascinated by the variety of scales and textures on their wings, and I got some close-up photos so you can really see why butterflies and moths are called “Lepidoptera” meaning “Scaled wings”   The scales are formed of chitin, like the exoskeleton and the substrate of the […]

So many hairy babies….

They hatched out just a couple of days ago, but they’re already noticeably larger. They will grow until their skins can’t expand any further, and then shed. On the bottom right corner, you can see the silk strands that they lay down constantly – these function as a safety line, if one of them falls […]

Am I blue…. ?

These silkworm eggs are starting to turn “blue” – the developing worm inside separates from the shell, and they get a hazy lighter color. About half the eggs in this photo are blue – the others are likely nonviable. If you look really close, and you’ve got a good magnification on your camera or hand […]

Calleta hatchlings

The Calleta caterpillars (Eupackardia calleta) started hatching today. These beautiful moths are native to much of the American southwest. I am raising them mostly for the fun of it – they do produce silk, but it’s not one I’ve made into yarn yet. This tiny hatchling is eating cenizo – Leucophyllum frutescens – which many […]

Silkworm Season is beginning!

Every year it happens… the leaves pop out on the local mulberry trees, and then it’s time to start the silkworms. The Ancient Wisdom version says that you should start the silkworm eggs when the leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear. We don’t have the kind of long, slow spring where that lasts […]

Mimicry, and seeing life in macro

I’ve enjoyed nature all my life. I was that kid, tromping in the woods, turning over logs to marvel at the life beneath, watching the patterns of light and shadow on leaves to see the hidden snake. Getting a camera with a good macro, and learning to take close-up shots, has taught me to look […]