Orange you glad I didn’t sow a banana?

Knock knock jokes are “in” right now in my house. As is potty humor (let’s be honest, humor in my house is never 100% clean.)

Sowing has kicked it up a gear this spring with my freed self and some inconsistently eager sidekicks. This post’s feature, though, was entirely not-my-doing.

An orange tree, from seed.

This is its second pot. It grew heartily after its first transplant and has stalled at this height for what seems like ages.

We can both guess why.

“I’ve given it all I’ve got, Captain!”

So in lieu of ripping out more grass to put in more food (we’re moving in a couple of months, we plan/hope/think), and in need of a soil-centered way to ease my mind nearby the house during nap time, I found a taller pot. But first, removing this start from its home was not something it had prepared for. And why should it? It wasn’t planning/hoping/thinking it would move soon. It was likely planning/hoping/thinking it would never move. That this was its home-home and would thus stay put forever.

I’m pretty sure each root tip was cemented to the pot itself. I’d never had to work so hard to remove a plant from a pot. Minding the roots and the fat long earth worms, I finally extracted it from its outgrown home. Of course I didn’t actually have any potting soil. I put a few sticks in the bottom with some cotton bur compost, chicken manure, soil from an empty pot, soil from the pot I had just emptied, and still needed a bit more…so borrowed some from an empty section of the front bed.

The compost teasing the sidewalk with its tea.

And chose to leave it in plain sight for its “actual” caretaker to spot it after school today.

Something’s missing…

One could philosophize as to whether the leaf is missing, or the caterpillar that ate it is. I would simply argue that both are long gone. DH was upset enough that as soon as I found the perpetrator, the perpetrator was no more. No chance for a photo op for the hungriest caterpillar.

Not only was it the hungriest I’ve seen (our poor small pecan lost nearly every leaf in such a short span of time) it was (likely as a direct result of its voracious eating) also the largest caterpillar I’ve ever seen.

If you haven’t seen the caterpillar for a Sphinx Moth before, I hope you get to some day (outside of your own gardens, that is!)

It was easily more than two inches long, and bigger around than my thumb. Not unlike this photo I found:

I am grateful, however, that I didn’t come upon it when it had reached this stage:

As that guy actually creeps me out a bit.

The one in our yard had unfortunately nearly finished off every leaf by the time I found it.

But thankfully, a few short weeks later, the tree looks to be making a solid come-back.

Lesson learned: Don’t leave your trees to fend for themselves.

I’d never really considered checking trees for caterpillars or other pests before. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, there are so many trees that to do so would be a full-time job that never ended. Here though, where our trees are more sparse, it would be easy to simply do a quick walk-by and make sure that I found the smooth criminal (or fuzzy!) long before an entire tree was in danger of being eaten.