Saturday, September 06, 2008

beware of caterpillar

Now here's something totally unexpected- I was stung by a caterpillar today. Really, it was as bad as any bee sting I've ever had. I didn't even know we had stinging caterpillars here in Minnesota.

I was harvesting my onions, in a bed that I had let get pretty weedy. In fact, my whole garden is like that this year. I spent too much time on other stuff, like laying slate tile and nailing floors I guess. But still I had a good crop of onions, even if it was hard to find them amongst the clover and sorrel. I would plunge my hand into the weeds until I found an onion top somewhere. In the midst of doing this I suddenly felt as if I had brushed against a thistle or something sharp on my left ring finger. I peered into the bed; no thistles. I felt a burning, stinging sensation growing in my finger. I looked again, and there was this bristly looking caterpillar hanging on some clover.

At this point I would normally show a photo, and I did take several, but I think my camera's USB cable is kaput. I tried to download a picture for last night's post, but it didn't work.

Luckily I am not deathly allergic to insect stings, although I guess a reaction can develop at any time in one's life so any sting should be a cause for concern. I put some Benadryl gel on the sting, which was visible as a few raised white patches on my finger. Later I noticed all of my fingers were kind of puffy, so I wondered if that wasn't part of the reaction. I took a Benadryl capsule and went out to dig potatoes. Halfway through digging I started feeling the spaced out buzz, and it's a wonder that I finished the job and hauled in maybe 50 pounds of potatoes. Oh, right, you're not supposed to drink a beer when you're on Benadryl.

I did get in a decent harvest of onions and potatoes, and I even discovered a pepper plant loaded with long skinny green peppers. Now if I could only remember what kind of peppers I planted. I'm terrible that way, I'll even have to go back through my email and find my potato order to see which kind of red potato it was that produced more than any other potato, and find out what kind of yellow potato not to order next year because I like my potatoes bigger than golf balls.


Floridacracker said...

OUCH! I know that feeling.
We have saddleback caterpillars down here that give a sting just like you described.
Not fun.

Jayne said...

Oh, OWWIEEE Deb! I've never heard of stinging caterpillars! LOL... sounds like something I'd do. Take the Benadryl and then forgetting, have a nice glass of wine, putting my sweet self on the! Hope it's feeling better today.

Mungo Says Bah! said...

Ouch... that's scary. Caterpillars are supposed to be cute and very laid back.

Last week I felt a burning, needle sensation on my fingers while on a hike in a valley up here in Toronto, and realized I got stung by a red ant. Ouch.



arcolaura said...

I read somewhere that the size of potatoes you get can be influenced by the way you cut up the seed potatoes - the more eyes per piece planted, the smaller the potatoes. I have been planting pieces with two or three eyes and - at last - getting quite satisfactory potatoes. But I suppose the variety must have some influence too. Our current favourite for the heavy soil here is red Pontiac.

I hope your fingers are better now. I had a wasp drop down the back of my boot this summer, and I had a big red swelling on the tendon that was sore for days.

Lynne said...

Molly and I both tried to picgot stung by a hairy caterpillar a couple of years ago. I remember that the burning went on and on. OUCH!

Carolyn H said...

I can truthfully say I've never been stung (or is that bitten?) by a caterpillar. I hope I can keep my record going, if your experience with it is at all typical.

Carolyn H.

Deb said...

FC- Florida definitely has an edge on stinging, biting critters over Minnesotarctica.

Jayne- it was more like 2 or 3 beers; I like a beer while I'm puttering around in the afternoon. At least I didn't have to drive anywhere....

Mungo- Welcome to Sand Creek!

Toronto eh? Our baseball Twins didn't fare too well there on the tail end of a long road trip. But I still think they're exciting.

ArcoLaura- They sent some Red Pontiac as a substitute for Purple Viking, and the yield and size were pretty good on those.

Lynne- It must have been an Io moth. The adults are very pretty.

Carolyn H- Actually it was probably more like a stinging nettle than a bee sting, but nevertheless I would try to avoid it in the future. I bought some new garden gloves today.