In which homeschooling makes our stomachs churn

The garbage collector comes on Tuesday mornings so every Monday is time to bag up the week’s worth of trash. Today, I gave the girls explicit instructions to include a forgotten 32 gallon can that was languishing apart from the others. I warned them that they might find horrible things since they had skipped that can for far too long, but I never dreamed what those horrible things might be.  They did find a frog in the trash can.  He just jumped on my back while I was typing. I’m ok with that, because I’m cool that way.

The frog is cute, but there is a new and horrible creature in the jar with him. We’re wondering if the frog might eat him. Actually, we’re hoping. Desperately. Because we found about 50 of them.

Rat Tailed Maggots, or Drone Fly larvae

Being homeschoolers, we couldn’t just tip the can and let the nightmarish little things die. To do so would be to perpetuate our ignorance of these creatures. We had to get online and google them. We had to find photos that matched, and then take some of our own. We had to learn from the experience – we had to learn more than just the benefits of emptying all 5 outdoor trash cans every week.

This creature looks like a big, fat maggot, nearly an inch long. He has a long whip-like tail, which can shrink to nothing or expand to four six eight inches or more. We’ve seen it happen. You should have heard the screams and squeals. He uses it as a breathing tube. He has an appropriate name: Rat Tailed Maggot. He is the larva of the drone fly, which looks like a honey bee. Obviously, he gets cuter with age. His name gets cuter with age too. When you grew up, wouldn’t you rather be a drone fly than a rat tailed maggot?

Want a better look at their cute little tails? Of course you do. Just for the record, that is not a quart jar.  It’s a big tall jar, more like 2 quarts or even a gallon.  I’m not going to empty it and measure the capacity for you right now.

Maggot tails: not as cute as puppy tails

See? The joys of homeschooling. You learn something new every day. Gag.


  1. Oh man! I thought the bunches of daddy long legs last summer were bad, but these are a close second. And the loose tarantula was pretty bad. I think you’re in danger of being known more for the creatures in your house than the number of kids you have! 😉 lol

    After reading about the critters (spiders, scorpions, etc) down south I think the snow and ice here in Boston looks better…

  2. Oh my.
    We sometimes entertain the thought of moving to Texas… but… I guess I don’t come by here enough, cuz when I do it seems there is some critter you’re talking about. 🙂 Oregon is so boring in the critter dept.

  3. You see, now I know I was weird. I wasn’t homeschooled, and I still would have looked the thing up …even pre-internet. No wonder everyone but my teachers thought I was a little strange 🙂 . Who wants to learn when it’s just …useful (or, in this case, fun) information? I mean, that’s not even going to be on a TEST (gasp)! Guess I was just a wanna-be homeschool kid a little ahead of my time :). Homeschool kids have all the fun.

  4. BETTER YOU THAN ME!!! Blech. Blech, blech, blech!!!

  5. That is both the most disgusting thing ever and very interesting.

    Are you really pregnant? (just kidding!) I’d be throwing up if I was in the same house as that – my sniffer works overtime as a pg mama and accute smelling one of my earliest symptoms!

    It was nice to learn this little lesson virtually!!!! 🙂

  6. My four boys would be in heaven!! They love all that sort of stuff. In fact, for our “homeschooling” today the boys have been out in our backyard catching snakes all day! We caught a salamander last week, but he didn’t, ahem, live through the night:-) I just have to love the great pacific northwest…

  7. EEWWWW….. I thought you had mostly GIRLS!!! =) I leave those sorts of things to the boys.

  8. Whenever I meet a teenager or twenty-something who thinks things in nature are really cool (even if they are disgusting)…it is ALWAYS someone who was homeschooled at some point. I have never met someone who’s amazed by nature who was also public schooled their entire lives. I find this rather interesting….

    And yeah, those are pretty disgusting looking!

  9. Ummm EWWWW! But strangely interesting to this homeschooling mama! PS I’ve commented a ton on your blog today. I’ve read for awhile, but finally added you to my thunderbird reader, so it gave me several posts to read at once. LOL

  10. I would have thrown the icky creatures away right away. And we homeschool! Can’t stand the thought of having SPIDERS living in my home either. Guess we are just not as cool. Oh, well. Maybe my children can read this and aspire to be better than their mama. 🙂

  11. Oh.My.Gosh!!!
    This is one of those few and rare moments I am glad that I wasn’t homeschooled 🙂

  12. I think I almost gagged just looking at it. I don’t like icky things.

  13. That’s just about the worst name a poor creatue could be saddled with. Ugh.

    (on a side note my daughter used to love maggots. Thought they were cute.)

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