~ FROM FUZZY TO ISABELLA TO FUZZIBELLA ~

On October 22, 2017, Fuzzy, the Woolly Bear Caterpillar, came into my life.  Actually he came into my hatchway.  I didn’t know a lot about Woolly Bear Caterpillars but I had decided that if Fuzzy wanted to live in my hatchway I was going to find out what he needed in order to survive.  I did a post about Fuzzy that you can read here.

He needed leaves to lie under and eat and some water on the leaves each day to drink.  It was Fall and most of the leaves had dropped from the trees and were brown.  I tried several types of leaves before I found the ones Fuzzy preferred.  How did I know he preferred these leaves, because he ate some.  They were the leaves from my pear tree, it’s a non-fruit bearing pear tree.  I gathered up as many leaves as were left so I could switch out fresh ones every now and again.

I put a pile on the floor at the bottom of my hatchway.  I was debating if I should bring Fuzzy inside, as it was going to get so cold when Winter arrived.  However, in my readings, Woolly Caterpillars like the cold and if you bring them inside it would be too warm for them and they would die.  Ok so the hatchway it is.  I found another caterpillar in March, that’s why there is another set of leaves on the next step up.  I set that caterpillar free a few weeks ago as I was not sure if he was alive or dead.  I put him in my garden.

Every morning I bring bird feeders out thru the hatch, so each morning I would greet Fuzzy with a good morning.  I would wet 10 leaves, yup I counted 10 leaves each day cause that’s just the way I am, I would talk to him for a few minutes and then would say goodnight to him at the end of the day, when I brought the feeders back in.  Boy it was so cold in there during the Winter, and I worried that maybe it was too cold, but apparently it was not.

Spring arrived and I started reading more articles about Fuzzy.  One said to add a twig to the environment so that the caterpillar could climb it to cocoon or pupate as they called it.  So I added a twig and waited and waited and waited.  No cocoon.  Hmmm.

I was having water issues in my cellar and after a day of heavy rains a large part of my cellar had water, plans were made to have it fixed.  A few days before the workers were to arrive I planned to move Fuzzy so he wouldn’t be disturbed.  It happened to rain again that day and more water came in, including on the floor of the hatchway where Fuzzy was.  I had bought a container for Fuzzy to stay in while the workers were here and when the work was finished, I planned to put him back.  When I went to get him, the floor was quite damp and so were the leaves.  I laid out some paper towels to put the wet leaves on and as I cleared away the leaves there was no Fuzzy.  Oh No!!  Where’s Fuzzy…I looked everywhere and could not find him.  No, he couldn’t be gone, after all this time…I just saw him a couple of days ago…who knew I would panic over a caterpillar, but after 7 months I had become more attached to him than I had realized.

Then it occurred to me….did he cocoon???  I looked in the crevices around the door jam and I saw what looked like a hairball.  I got my phone and turned on the camera and magnified it so I could see better as it was night and rather dark in there.  Huh, is that Fuzzy?  I ran upstairs, googled “what do woolly bear caterpillar cocoons look like?” and yup that hairball was my Fuzzy!!!  I was so excited.

The workers were coming the next day, I told them to be careful.  When I got home that night, I checked on Fuzzy and the workers had done some work in the hatchway.  I did not know they were going to do this, apparently they needed to seal the side wall.  They sanded the cement down and then sealed the wall.  Of course the wall was nearest to where Fuzzy was and his cocoon was covered with cement dust.  OH NO!!

Once again I ran to Google, don’t you just love Google, and looked up to see if it was ok to move a cocoon…turns out it is.  So I got a big plastic jug, more twigs and leaves and carefully removed the stuck cocoon from the wall.  I have to say I was so afraid I was going to ruin the process.  The article said to be careful not to snap the piece that’s sticking out of the cocoon, but I couldn’t see anything as there was not a lot of room where Fuzzy was.  So I hoped for the best and gently removed him.  Phew, ok next I took my little paring knife and delicately removed as much cement dust from him as I could.  The twig I got was from my lilac tree and conveniently it had a curly vine on it that wrapped around the cocoon, perfectly holding Fuzzy in place.

Uh oh…which way was the cocoon hanging!  I think the bottom is the end with the most cement dust on it, so that’s the way I’m going to hang him.  It takes from 10-15 days for the Isabella Tiger Moth to emerge from the cocoon.  Day after day I would check to see if Fuzzy had emerged.  I wondered if the vine was too tight around the cocoon although it barely was holding him in place, no I think he’s fine.  I changed out the leaves every few days and waited.

Saturday, May 26 2018, at 5:30 a.m. I hear some fluttering noises coming from the container.  I got up to see what it was and there was Fuzzy, clinging to the netting I had put across the top of the container staring up at me.  I was such a proud Mama at that moment.  Fuzzy you did it!!!  You emerged…you are now an Isabella Tiger Moth…and so pretty.  It really was so exciting…I was so relieved that he didn’t die from either the noise of the sanding machine or the cement dust.  He completed his cycle.  Now what?

Well according to what I read you can keep them for 1-2 days, their wings have to dry and uncurl.  Fuzzy’s wings looked really good to me, so I wondered when did he emerge?  Anyway, he hung around from the netting for several hours and then dropped down into the leaves for the remainder of the day sleeping.  Exhausted from his birth, I expect.  I put some more fresh leaves in for him to eat and started to read more articles.  Apparently they don’t eat after they metamorphosize.  The female moth will emit a scent to attract the male moth to fertilize her and then she will fly and drop her eggs in various spots for the cycle to continue.  Also in my readings I discovered that Fuzzy is actually a she.  Female Woollys are about 3 inches longs while male Woollys are 2 inches long.  So she went from Fuzzy to Isabella.

Saturday night when I went to bed she started to fly around in the container and I thought, hmmm she seems ready to leave.   It was midnight, quiet and peaceful outside and warm too.  A good night to go fly into the brave, new world!  I brought the container outside, said my goodbyes and removed the netting.  Nothing.  She remained on the leaves and did not fly away.  I waited about 10 minutes, still no flight.  Ok then, in the morning, let’s go back to bed.

About 15 minutes after going back to bed she started flying around again…a lot!  Ok, ok I think you’re ready now…and out the front door we went.  As I set the container down to put my shoes on, she was already on the outside of the container…wait Isabella let me open the door and get you outside.

I was hoping to record her flying away but it was dark and she was in a hurry so I did not.  I wonder if she will be out there in the morning as I am writing this at 2:10 a.m. following her release.  I couldn’t sleep.  Update: she was not out there today but happily on her way to find a mate and continue the cycle of life.

What a most wonderful, magical experience that was.  I thanked her for coming into my hatchway and sharing this bit of God’s work with me.  I may even go looking for another Woolly Caterpillar next Fall!

Til then….thanks Fuzzy/Isabella…it was the best!  I decided her name should be Fuzzibella!!

Maybe it will be one of your kids I find next Fall, Fuzzibella!  😉

(c) onceuponahotflash, 2018

44 thoughts on “~ FROM FUZZY TO ISABELLA TO FUZZIBELLA ~

    • It really was something!! I’m so happy I was able to experience it. Hope all is well with you!! I’ve been off the radar a lot lately and haven’t been by to visit in sooo long…hope you are doing wonderfully! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. How wonderful that you nurtured a catipilllar so it can go through the process of transforming into a moth! Things like that are interesting and fun! I enjoyed reading your post explaining what all you did for it! I’m back from Phoenix and home. I have been so busy since I got home because I had so many things to do. I still have more to do tomorrow. It’s nice to be home! I missed you! ((HUGS!!)) xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh it was such a wonderful experience…didn’t even realize how fun it would be and how much I would learn! I thought about you and was hoping you had a wonderful time!! I bet you do have lots to do, but don’t tire yourself out…there’s always tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!! So glad you’re back!! ((HUGS!!)) xoxo ❤

      Like

    • About 5 years ago I rescued a hummingbird and that was a fun experience! Very rewarding! Yes, I have a lot of tomorrow’s to catch up on everything and I will need them! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! It is such a rewarding experience, isn’t it!! Lol…well take it one tomorrow at a time…hehe 😉

      Like

    • Yes, it really is! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Years ago my sons found a cocoon in my dying geranium leaves. We carefully put it in a 5 gallon bucket with some of the same leaves and put the bucket in my sons’ unheated upstairs closet. We had no idea what would emerge if anything. Come spring my boys came downstairs all excited because they heard rustling in the bucket. Imagine our surprise when we took the paper off the top of the bucket and saw a beautiful Cecropia Moth. They let it go that night. It was a wonderful thing and I am sure it was that same feeling with Fuzzy!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh it really was. I was so worried in so many phases that it would not survive, but boy they are hearty!! It was bittersweet saying goodbye but I knew in order for the cycle to be complete that was my final step! I know exactly how your sons felt! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, I love the name, it reminds me of Bella the butterfly that cane into our camper, remember? This was a gorgeous story, loved reading it even though I knew much of it already from our chats. So special to see the full process and metamorphosis of life. What a survivor! Thanks for sharing the magic Deb. Big fuzzy hugs and look forward to chatting soon. xx 🙂🦋

    Liked by 2 people

    • She really was quite hearty wasn’t she?! It was wonderful being a part of her life, I feel so proud!! It was so great chatting with you and such exciting news too. Hmmm maybe one of the articles you could write about is if there is a place you can visit that is a butterfly/moth sanctuary. That would be cool to visit!! Well you’re probably fast asleep now so sweet dreams and talk soon. Big Fuzzibella hugs xo 🐛🦋💕

      Liked by 1 person

    • You should be indeed proud Deb, keeping her alive all that time was quite an achievement. Hmm, cool idea you had for an article, something to think about. Hope you wake to a beautiful Tuesday. Big fuzzy hugs and talk again soon xo 🦋✨

      Liked by 1 person

    • I found another penny yesterday…at the same store I keep finding them at. I was thrilled because it had been awhile since I found one!! Yeah I thought that would make for an interesting off the beaten path topic. Well it’s Tuesday night now, I’m watching Joanna the Medium, I watched Libra, but now I’m watching my moon, rising and midheaven signs…which are Aries, Scorpio & Leo…I just really like her and they say to listen to your other signs too for further clarification! Big Flower Full Moon Hugs xo ❤ Talk soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, another penny, that’s so cool. Your money mountain is building. 🙂Enjoy watching your moon signs, sounds like a divine way to spend the evening Deb. Big hugs and yes, talk soon. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Read every word and enjoyed your story! Thank you for sharing your nurturing and caring heart for the “least of these”. So very beautiful to know you and your heart continues to care and bloom in this world. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awe thanks Denise, what lovely words, my heart appreciates them! It was such a wonderful experience, I cannot express enough just how gratifying it was. I’m happy you enjoyed the adventure with us. Many blessings to you too. 💖🐛🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful Deb.. thanks for sharing your magical experience. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure Wendy!! It was sooo magical. I’m so happy I got to experience it. xo 🦋🐛💗

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not surprised. It took me back in time to when I was about 7 years old and my sister hatched out a beautiful butterfly in a jam jar which then didn’t fly away and instead would fly around and then land back on her shoulder… it came to a very sad end though when a horrible boy asked to look at it and she held out her hand and the boy slapped it flat. We were devastated so I can completely understand how attached you became to your little Fuzzibella xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awe what a lovely story right up until the boy part!!! I totally understand how devastated you both felt….wow was that mean!! I love that the butterfly would fly around and land back on her shoulder, what a thrill that must have been for her!! xo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know – the meanest thing!!! It was a thrill though and a very cherished memory.. until the ‘end’!!! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • We’ll leave out the “ending” then…xo 💛

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes definitely Deb… Meany – we’ve been traumatised ever since… (well not quite traumatised but…)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Deb, thank you for chronicling Fuzzibella’s life cycle and sharing it with us. Don’t you just love Google? Loved this piece! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do love Google, it was sooo helpful. I Youtubed some videos too which were also helpful. Thanks so much Michelle, it was truly a blessing and one I’m so grateful for. Hope all is well with you!! xo 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    • All is well, Deb. I sent the link from your post to a friend. We’ve been working on the theme of transformation through our spheres of influence, and butterflies are popping up everywhere as a symbol.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow that just gave me goosebumps!! That’s God talking to you, reinforcing and inspiring your work and ideas!! But you know that. Wishing you great success with it!! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely start to my week Deb. I loved reading about Fuzzibella. Have you thought of creating a children’s book of her story?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Huh, no but what a great idea!! I might give it a whirl. It would be a cute story. Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week!! xo 💜

      Like

  8. That’s so sweet. I am glad Izzy did well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She did so well!! How are you? Hope you are doing well too!! I’ve been laying low for some time now, I have so many people to visit and catch up on!! I hope you are happy, that Baebae is treating you like the Queen that you are and that work is fantastic! xo ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad to hear. I am okay. I, too, have been laying low. Work has been intense. BaeBae treats me very well. He and I went to a convention recently. How have you been?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am well too thanks!! As yours is, my job has been quite challenging for several months, hence one of the reasons I haven’t been on as much…pretty tired come the end of the day and all I want to do is relax! Ohhh a convention, was it a Comic-con convention? That would be sooo cool to go to!! xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • Basically, yeah. I enjoyed my convention. When I get time, I will blog about it. And yes, my job is stressing me out right now. Lol. I had to hide in the bathroom to calm my nerves. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that will be a great post!!
      It’s important to do fun things, in fact try to tip the balance so that you are doing more fun things than work things! Oh I have done the bathroom thing before, more than once!! Are there positive things about work that you like, if so try to focus on that when it’s getting stressful…I also try to remember not to take life so seriously!! I’ll think to myself…in the grand scheme of things is this really worth my getting all stressed about…and it’s not, but I do!! Lol..<3

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Deb,
    You are a blessed creature. I can’t say how much your story touched me- there are tears in my eyes as I write this.
    God bless you !
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww thanks Susie…there were tears in my eyes too. The picture of her looking back at me is the one that really gets to me. I believe she knows who I am, love that pic!! I think I will have it printed, enlarge it and frame it!! Ohhh thanks for giving me that idea. Wishing you many blessings too and hope all is well with you and your family!! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Of course Isabella knows who you are – she will come back one day.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love it ! Thanks for sharing

    Like

  12. I will never look at a catapiller in the same way again. You have shared something very special and I certainly have a new appreciation for such a little creature. I am so glad she did survive all her challenges. She chose the right place and mom to look after her.

    Like

    • Awe thanks Jean!! I’m so happy that she chose me…and I agree with you, I’ll never look at a caterpillar the same way again either! 🙂

      Like

Thoughts? Please share...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.