"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Polyphemus Moth

Last fall, we found a large cocoon in one of our flower beds. We decided to put it in a container and, even though we had been unsuccessful in over-wintering cocoons in recent years, wait to see what - if any - type of moth came out of it. 

The cocoon was wrapped in leaves and looked like this.

So we waited. The container ended up inside, outside, and on one particularly blustery day,  we saw it getting blown down the driveway. We were heading out to run errands that day, so we grabbed it and put it under one of the seats in the van. And we forgot about it.

A couple of months later, as one of the children was getting out of the van, it fell out..and onto the garage floor. We picked it up and looked closely at it. No change. We decided that this cocoon was a dud just like all the others. The container got put on a shelf in the laundry room. And we forgot about it.

One morning last week right before school, Mimi came upstairs with the container in her hand and asked, "Mom, what are we going to do with this cocoon?"

I said, "Since it's apparently a dud, I will just throw it away." She put the container on the kitchen counter. And we forgot about it. Until...about 2 hours later, in the midst of school lessons, we heard a rustling-of-paper type noise in the kitchen. We looked around. There was no paper in the kitchen. And the windows weren't open, so we knew it wasn't the wind. We couldn't figure it out, and we went back to our lessons. A few minutes later, more rustling.  Again, we investigated and saw nothing out of the ordinary.

We heard the rustling once more before finally realizing that it could be the cocoon getting ready to open. We examined it, but it looked the same as always. Then a few minutes later, Asher was walking by the counter where the container was and announced, "A moth is coming out of the cocoon!" Asher opened the container.

We all rushed over to look and this is what we found.
At first, we had no idea what type of moth it was since the wings were still folded up. We watched and waited. As his (or her?) wings began to unfold, we put him outside on a the leg of one of our deck chairs to soak up some sun and dry his wings.
Gradually, his wings began to unfold..and get bigger...
And bigger yet..

Until we could finally identify him... a beautiful Polyphemus moth! All the children took turns holding him..

Then we took him outside to release him. He stayed on the deck for awhile, sunning himself.
A few minutes later, he was gone.
But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to sketch what we had witnessed.

Natalie's version:



And Aaron's:

Naomi hasn't finished hers yet. She was a bit side-tracked with the baby goats that day.  ;) 

Sharing with Celeste.


  1. VERY cool, Lisa!
    Nature study at its finest :-) ... I love that homeschooling allows these eye-opening experiences to share as a family.

  2. Yes, Kristyn, times like this make me even more thankful to be able to homeschool my children! :)

  3. What a great experience! We found what we thought was a dead cat with funny looking ears in our garden many years ago & I was about to bury it. Fortunately a friend rang & when I told her about it she suggested it might be a ferret, which I'd never seen before. We put it in a box and forgot about it all day & then towards night we noticed it move. Leant something that day about nocturnal animals. Your children will never forget this nature study!

  4. How interesting, Carol! Years ago, we had pet ferrets, but not for long. Being nocturnal, they kept us up at night, playing and trying to wreck our house.
    We love our family Nature study! :)

  5. Beautiful! The story, the waiting, the new life, the sketches - lovely post!

  6. You related this story so beautifully, Lisa. I love, love, love this aspect of homeschooling. We busy mothers take the time to marvel at the world around us, as a result of keeping company with precious children all day. It's such a dream come true, this homeschooling!

    Be blessed!

  7. It is truly a dream come true, Christine. I cant imagine spending my days any other way! :)

  8. What a gift to get to see that! Thank you for sharing your pictures and your story.

    1. Thank you for visiting me today, Amber. :)

  9. Wow, absolutely beautiful. What a treat to watch that transformation take place!

    1. Yes, Celeste, it was a treat. Just one more lovely aspect of homeschooling - sharing wonderful moments like this. :)


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