Thursday, June 23, 2011


The summer solstice was also the boys' first day of summer vacation from school.  The Caterpillar thought that coincidence made all the snow days worthwhile.  I'm not so sure.  But it actually felt like summer as well.  Summer in Western Washington, anyway.  All 75 degrees of it.

It was good enough for Rollo and D2.  They got out the sprinkler, dutifully applied sunblock to their snowy skin, and made a swamp to splash in.

On the second day of vacation, we went back to school.  Just can't stay away, can we?  You see, Rollo brought a friend home with him.

This is Jake, the painted lady caterpillar.  Rollo's classroom was an absolute menagerie this year.  Besides the resident fish, mice, dog, and hamster, the children raised worms in the fall, and caterpillars in the spring.  They kept the butterflies, instead of doing a grand launch, and let the life cycle begin again.  Jake is a member of the second generation. 

Rollo learned that caterpillars like to eat lupine leaves, and he brought some home with Jake.  But soon he needed a refill.  What to do?  We don't have any in our garden.  But Rollo knew.  He told me the Legend of the Lupines: 

"An old teacher, before Mrs. E. was here, read a book about this person who went around the world, and where she went, she would plant lupine seeds. The teacher wanted to do the same thing, and so she took her class back behind the fence at the school and planted some lupine seeds. And now, all these years later, they have come in use for caterpillar food."

I was interested to see the Secret Lupine Garden.  So the boys hopped on their scooters, and off we went.  Not far behind Rollo's classroom, there was one plant with a few purple flowers.  It provided some serviceable leaves, but didn't impress me.  Since we were there, the boys enjoyed the playground that wasn't occupied by those poor kids who have to go to school all summer.  I decided to wander back to the fence and see what was on the other side.

There I found the Secret Lupine Garden.  There were all colors, growing amid the long grass and other wildflowers.  Is the legend true?  Was there a Mrs. Lupine-seed who traveled the world, planting caterpillar food?  Or was it . . . Dennis Moore?

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