When I was a child, I was a total bug lover. I have a vivid memory of being on the side of our house, I must have been 6 or 7,  finding a black ant pile. Well, I knew that only the red ants bite and I knew the black ones didn’t.  I sat there and let those little critters crawl all over my hands and arms, as the little hairs on my skin stood up while their teenyness marched up and down my skin. I believe my mom discovered me and unintentionally burst the bubble of my little peaceful moment, fearing I was sitting in a red ant pile, as I was a world away.

My love and respect for nature has always been a part of me and as I aged, the more mature my thinking became.  I grew to understand how much nature and the creatures of the earth could teach us…compassion, order, survival, all exist in various forms within the natural community.  An incredible and somewhat mysterious world survives alongside our human world. The way the insects build their colonies, the queens and their societies, the intricate patterns on fur, wings and webs…perfection. Seriously, have you ever seen an imperfect or offensive insect, reptile, amphibian or animal?  The color, shape and shiny back of a cockroach could possibly be appreciated if separated from its ickiness…well, maybe, but you know what I mean;)   What I find to most astounding is the theory that there are no right angles found anywhere in the natural world….(cue the music).

Over the summer, my youngest, Willow, had an exciting fascination with these beautiful giant, colorful grasshoppers while we were spending time on the west coast of Florida.  Every morning she would be standing at the front door, demanding to see the ‘hoppers’.  I would place them on a leaf or twig for her to carry around and she was in heaven.  So, to celebrate her second birthday in September, bugs were the theme. I hired a fabulous insect-specialist (?-not sure of the appropriate title) to perform a bug show.  My 8 foot table was covered with live and dried specimens, all kinds of incredible creatures attended the celebration and the kids went wild for them!  For the party favors, my vision was to send each child (@20) home with their own caterpillar who would chrysalis and eventually emerge a butterfly.  The caterpillars arrived too soon and I had to start the growth cycle early.  I had a hanging, netted house that came with our first 5-caterpillar experience (Insect Lore, click), so I slipped the 30 or so caterpillars into this special case.  Well, as you could imagine, it was a bit over crowded and they were escaping like crazy and crawling all of the house!  This kinda freaked the kids out and I needed to find a new caterpillar container, quick!  I eventually did, the perfect one and we have been housing and releasing butterflies continually for a few months now.  It’s an amazingly special experience and my children have yet to tire of watching the metamorphosis occur. Their love, admiration and compassion for the creepy-crawlies, the not-so-scary-scalies and the soft beauties of the earth is evolving and I couldn’t be more proud.  Shockingly easy to obtain, with a click on your phone or computer, any one can create a little wonderland for the nature lover in everyone.


Our little caterpillar house


Willow’s Birthday celebration with all kinds of interesting friends Wacky Wild Science, click


The hit of the party, a bag of 1500 live ladybugs from Aunt Tracy!  Quite an experience releasing them…they are used as a natural way to alleviate pests in the garden but are also fun just to play with, watch crawl around and fly away! gardening zone.com, click