Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mother Nature

Look, I know that we are all One. I really do. I remember, not even a year ago, opening up a big plastic storage box and being nearly overcome with the toxic stench of it. That's when I really got it: If it's bad for the Earth, it's bad for me; if it's bad for me, it's bad for the Earth. This is true whether we're talking about beef or FD&C Yellow#5.

I just went off to research -- only in my kitchen -- that FD&C thing. Is that the agency that approves and disapproves of color in food and health products? Or is it the actual color code like PMS in four-color printing? Or what, please? Well, I'm amazed, but I couldn't find any food item in my cupboards that had color added. I have canned goods, but there was nothing there. I have boxed mac-n-cheese, but it's organic so its color is natural. Before we all bow to my superior eating habits, let me remind us that I can hardly remember where I left the stove.

Anyway, yes: We are all One. The Earth and me. You and me. Critters and me. Oh yah? Guess what this is:

Well, sure, it's the bucket I use when I mix up the Secret Bubble Formula Sonny Fenwick ( whispered in my ear one time. But it's also the containment for the critter below. Now, if the creature had been standing on a nice shiny black surface like that, looking all fresh-from-the-showroom, still having that new-bug smell, I might not have squeezed an eeek from my tightened throat and gone running back into the house, acting as if I were being chased by the Four Horsemen.

I came back out with the pruning shears. I don't know what my intent was. Several weeks ago, I was so deeply offended by seeing the smaller, black grasshopper -- the one with a thin orange dotted line running up its back like a please cut here coupon border that is the adolescent version of the one in the photo -- that I knocked it off the plant with Benji's leash and then just smashed it with my flipflopped foot.

But this creature, this giant, adult one? No. I simply saw it lurking on the Mandeville and went screeching into the house for a weapon. I did knock it off the plant with those shears, but it started hopping away. I smacked the ground a couple of times, trying to smash it, but I was really too creeped out to keep a decent aim. The larger part of me didn't really want to connect with it anyhow. What a huge mess such a big bug would make. Plus, it turned around and started coming at me and that's simply too awful to tolerate, so I tossed the bucket over it -- and I didn't get it right the first time, either. I doubt very much that I have the guts to remove the bucket. Even if I did, I'm sure the thing would have found its way out.

I had wondered why the Mandeville, above, had stopped thriving.

Fernando from Colombia's mother says you have to cut off the head of these grasshoppers, that cutting them in half -- at the bellybutton, say -- won't make them die. I believe her.

While I'm at it, what do you suppose came up out of this hole? Or yipes! do you think something went down first? Wow. It just now occurred to me that I do indeed think something came up first. I wonder how I thought it breathed. Or did I think it didn't even need air? Or that it breathed dirt? Well, jeeze, does that mean the thing is still down there? Doing what? My ignorance is vast.

Whatever it is, I have a lot of them. I just don't know if they're out or in.

I've often wondered just how big the bug would be if you could combine all the bugs I've ever killed into one giant bug. I'm not even talking about the bugs that are killed when The Bug Man comes over. I just mean the ones who died by my hand, as long as we understand that that hand usually had something in it like a spray can of poison or a fly-swatter or a paper towel, and also that that hand could have been a foot, surely clad. Would it be as big as a dog? a bear? Surely not an elephant. I'm unsure of its size, but I think I have a good idea of what its attitude would be.

Speaking of attitudes, go back and look at poor Mo on May 8 of this year (KT's birthday revisited!). Now come back and look at him as of today.

Yep. He had cancer surgery one day and then again six weeks later. Poor thing! He's really a great cat, though, always ready to be affectionate, rarely upset by anything. He's so lively so soon after the operation that it makes me think if I ever have to return for surgery, I'll go to the vet instead.

Mike's coming home from Colorado today, so Benji got a bath despite all his protestations. Mo will stay at least until his stitches come out next week, and maybe longer. Mittens has licked her paws of the whole thing. First Pook, then Mo. She's disgusted. There's talk of running off with Nero but I've warned her I'll only feed one stray.

I just read How Far to Bethlehem?, an historical novel by Nora Lofts. I used to read her all the time. I probably haven't read one of her books in more than twenty years, but I quite enjoyed this one.

My writers' group meets Sunday. I hope I write something by then. I wish my blog would count.


jeepgirl said...


Gale said...

Those things are wicked - I've been killing them for weeks now and it's disgusting. I leave the ones in the front yard alone because I think if the front yard looks crappy the burglars won't bother us. But the ones dining on all my hard work in the back yard -they die! You are hysterical! Surely blogging counts.

PsychMajor said...

Hmm, Barbara, I wonder if the holes were made by armadillos? Seems like I've heard they burrow in the ground.

Yeah, impressive "fresh from the showroom" grasshopper photo! You may recall me saying my neighbor said they must be beheaded. I've never been able to commit such an atrocity, and after stepping on one, that was a one-time experience. Ewww. It also didn't die for days, and I saw that fire ants were feasting on it while it was alive. I couldn't bear that, so I rescued it and set it in my compost heap.

Then I read in Ted Andrews' "Animal Speak" book that grasshoppers represent our grandparents. Certainly I don't wish to squash my deceased grandparents! Plus, it's hard not to marvel at their impressive coloring. And okay, I've gone too far, as when I inadvertantly almost drowned a grasshopper I rescued it, built a platform of mulch chips amongst a plant's foliage, then felt like a monster when a smaller grasshopper came to comfort the almost-drowned dear, looking at me with an expression that surely was meant to convey that it, too, thought I was a monster! Jeepers.

I checked on the recovery process of the platformed grasshopper through the day and evening, and was more touched to see that the little one had wrapped its legs around the injured one. Yeah, I checked to see if maybe it was in the process of consuming it, but nope, they were just cuddled together.

By nightfall, I was out there with a flashlight, even feeding the injured one with small cuttings I took from a corn plant in my house, thinking that might be a delicacy. I was REALLY moved when I saw the injured 'hoppers gentle mouth movements as it attempted to eat the corn plant offerings. Doodness.

Obviously I am of no help whatsoever when it comes to offering advice on how to KILL these beautiful, "fresh from the showroom" 'hoppers. I figure anything I plant isn't that important to where it can't serve as food for critters. Though I did plant giant sunflowers so they'd have a smorgasbord to keep 'em busy and away from other plants I didn't wish to serve up to them.

Yeah, good luck with all that. Heh.

Oh, and I think when they hop towards you it's just by accident, or maybe out of curiosity. Maybe it's a friendly gesture to show you they aren't a threat to you? Just to your plants, heh.

Maybe I need to stop reading Ted Andrews' "Animal Speak" book?

Hmm, as for Jeepgirl's comment, I've recently learned what ROFLMAO means...and it's not what I expected (Roll on floor laughing with Mao Tse Tung).

Glad to see Mo's recovering so well! Ha, as for going to the vet yourself, I concur. Today I discovered that I have contracted ringworm from the newest litter of affected feral kittens, so I applied some of their miconasol ointment to the spot on my leg. I called the pharmacist (after discovering my vet was already closed for the day!), and the pharmacist said that's fine to use the kittens' ointment on myself - saves on making a trip to the store and spending money on tinactin!

Well, and seeing how well Mo does after back surgery by the vet, surely it's in my best interests to go to the vet if I'm forced to undergo spinal surgery again! I wonder if my dental work would be better and cheaper if performed by my vet, too?

Goodness, you're so helpful! Hmm, though I encourage you to make friends with your 'hoppers. But that's just me, apparently! ;)

Anonymous said...

(This is my second attempt to send this comment; I'm glad I copied it first.) Swarming grasshoppers/locusts/katydids can devour a crop in no time, as the early Mormons in Utah knew. However, if other protein sources are in short supply, they're also (believe it or not, WANT to or not) edible--as John the Baptist knew, whose diet consisted of locusts and wild honey. They're also considered a delicacy in parts of Africa. I plead guilty to slaying the occasional insect or arachnid (spider, to you) that wanders into my abode or sits on my picnic, but when possible I prefer to capture them under a plastic margarine container (minus the margarine), slide an index card or other firm, thin cardboard under it to temporarily cover it, and release the prisoner outdoors in its natural environment--which is where that grasshopper you "wasted" BELONGED. Each creature does have a role to play in the natural food chain; your victim might otherwise have been bird food. (And by the way, I'm not sure the smaller ones are necessarily offspring of the bigger ones; they may be different varieties of the same family.) In India, the Jains refrain from killing even the tiniest of creatures, and will wear a breathing mask rather than risk injuring a gnat. Even I won't go THAT far. -- :) Eunice

Anonymous said...

P.S. - Comparing that hole in your lawn to the size of the grass blades, I'm reminded of the large black beetles that invaded my lawn one year, leaving holes like that and the grayish piles of (?) around them. Since I lived next door to you at the time, I consider this a definite possibility. You might want to check with an exterminator.--Eunice

xzentricity43 said...

You may do well to heed the advice of the coexist bumper sticker adorning your art car until one of those bugs exhibits an imminent threat to the plants you are cultivating. Perhaps you experience more stress from killing them than from ignoring them in the long haul. Of course, stress often enables access to the flow of (literary and other forms of) creative juices.
Because I have so very little of it, I cultivate peace of mind instead of plants or access to the flow of creative juices. Perhaps one day when I've accessed sufficient peace of mind, assailing grasshoppers will seem like a perfectly natural approach to a life continuous serenity. Odds are, I'll not get there any time soon.
Until then, I largely act as if bugs don't exist unless their activities engage a high level of my interest. I'm simply too damned selfish to allow them space between my ears unless I've absolutely no other options.