Sunday, September 7, 2014

Entomology in our backyard...

Today was a beautiful day and we (but mostly I...) spent it outside...catching bugs!   I'm working on getting my kids used to the bugs they can and can't touch.  I'm sure some moms would say not to touch any of them, but I find it to be a delight of childhood and a way to gain appreciation for all the cools things that God makes.  I can't make a butterfly or a tree, I can only help them grow or kill them...but I can't create them.

The kids have a plastic place mat that feature BUGS of all kinds.  There are dragonflies, cicadas, fireflies, earthworms, on and on...and I noticed that out of the twenty creepy crawlies on there, we are only missing about 3 in our yard.  Thankfully, no tarantulas, ticks or scorpions.  That I know of!!  

After my mom sent me a picture of a monarch coccoon with the beautiful gold dots...we went outside and saw this beauty drying it's wings in the sun.  The kids had it cornered and begged me to catch I obliged!  I cupped it in my hands as to not destroy all the dust on it's wings, and we passed it back and forth until it was ready to fly off on it's own.

Cicadas are probably my top favorite bug.  They're big, simple, are lovely in color, and of course they emit that attractive SHRIEKING noise, especially when squeezed ever so lightly.  Yesterday we were out with a neighbor who is admittadly afraid of bugs.  A cicada buzzed around our heads and landed on a tree in our yard.  I called out "MINE!" (as if dibs were necessary) and snatched the cicada off the tree and it began to buzz loudly.  Our neighbor learned a little more about me at that point.  I did get her to "high five" a grasshopper.  Maybe I should start a "bug appreciation 101" class for adults!  Full of ideas...right?

Grasshoppers...a classic favorite.  But unlike cicadas, these will bite you.  Or rather, a katydid will bite you, a grasshopper just works up a nasty brown "tobacco juice" and spits upon you.'s no big deal.  You just have to know where to grab.  And it's also "polite" to grab them just right so they don't rip off their own leg.  Here is where my mom would insert story upon story of my childhood invention..."The Grasshopper Olympics".  There was swimming, wrestling, and of course...long jump.  But things happen.  Life is rough.  You lose a leg?  No problem, that's when I invented the..."Grasshopper Special Olympics"!!

And here is one bug that I will not touch.  They have quite a reputation as it is, but there's something about the way they tilt their head and look right into your very SOUL.  I will touch it's back, but I've never grabbed one.   A few years back, I was getting a better look at a praying mantis on a tree branch.  As I got in close, my roommate at the time who was a outdoorsy nature girl said, "Ooh...he's sizing up the jump..."  And as soon as I said, "Huh?!"  It jumped onto my hair!  Imagine here...the scream of a real girl!!...Loud and hysterical and swatting at my hair, "Get it off!  Get it off!  Dear Lord save meeeeeee!!!!"

Good times.

But I do love bugs...and I love our yard.  All 1/5th acre of it!

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