Tomato Hornworms Provide Bigger Pay-Off Than Actual Tomatoes

At least for my six-year old son. 

When he first spied one of the chubby 3-inch long hornworms among the tomato foliage, he recoiled in horror.

Horror gradually turned to cautious fascination as he helped me find several other hornworms that were feasting on my plant. 

Charlie provides Last Rites to a Tomato Hornworm

Five minutes later he was plucking them off by hand, studying them, getting to know them as individuals, naming them things like “Mr. Chewie” and “Spike”.

Then he happily ushered them into the Lepidoptera Afterlife by submerging them in tub of soapy water.

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Crispy Fried Water Gardens

Yesterday my sister and I visited the beautiful  Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in northeast DC for a photo class.  Even though we got there at 6:45am to get the best light, the air still felt like a wet diaper. 

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Vicious Baby Bunny Devours Defenseless Wildflower


Photo credit: Sally and Andy Wasowski

I’ve been cool with the young bunny that lives in my yard…until yesterday, when I discovered that he’d chewed my brand new, adorable little southeastern native wildflower Marshallia graminifolia down to a nub!!!!  

You tell me which is cuter: the Marshallia or the gluttonous herbivore that feeds mercilessly upon it.  There is no contest!

The Large Piece of Turf

Albrecht Durer’s “The Large Piece of Turf” features a chunk of soil and weeds that could just as easily have been dug up from the vacant lot down the street from me (here in 2012) as from the German meadow that likely inspired Durer hundreds of years ago.

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Children’s Film Features Kids Who Roam Unsupervised, Trespass, Get Dirty.

Based on our enjoyment of Ponyo, Netflix thought that our family “might also like”  Kikkerdril, a Dutch film about an adorable little boy named Max who wanders around the Dutch countryside in search of frog’s eggs. 

Now, the original Dutch title translates as “Frog Spawn”, which I guess the American distributors felt wouldn’t go over well here, so they renamed it Max’s Magical Journey.

Whatever.  As a person interested in both nature and children — and in films that present nature to children — I found this film to be delightful.  It’s a refreshingly simple and earnest depiction of a kid discovering nature.  Totally low-budget.  No CGI.  No amazing macro photography.  No underlying environmental message. 

And I love how Max just wanders around with no accompanying adults —  through meadows and woods, riding through town on a bike, sneaking onto a public bus to get back home, encountering strangers with dirty teeth and making friends with them, messing around with irrigation equipment, milking other people’s cows —  all stuff that, if an American parent allowed their kid to do, they’d be investigated by Social Services.  

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