While backing up my stories and getting ready for the writer’s workshop that starts in a couple of weeks, I have run across some of my favorite stories–the tales that were most fun to write.
Here’s an oldie from before we decided to get chickens.
Joe the Bug Hunter: Grasshoppers in the Mulch
Originally posted 10/29/2013
It was a crisp October day and Joe was outside walking the property. With his bug gun in his holster he wandered by a pile of wood chips the family had planned to use for mulching the garden beds. He stopped suddenly when he saw a few chips puff up in the air.
Slowly he approached the pile of mulch. With his super sensitive hearing, honed to sense bug sounds, Joe could hear the “Puff, puff, puff!” of the chips as they flew in the air. Joe crouched down and waited to see what was causing this movement.
After a few moments, three or four tiny grasshoppers jumped in unison, almost gracefully, above the pile. Joe smiled and reached for his weapon but stopped short, remembering he would need to observe and research the habits of these creatures first to discover why they had come to invade his mulch.
Slowly, Joe put the “observation” attachment onto his bug gun and captured one of the grasshoppers. He carried it back to the porch and dumped it into the bug house, a perfect place to observe…close up…the activities of the grasshopper. Now for the research.
Joe knew that grasshoppers liked to eat cereals, leaves and…well…grasses. He also knew that they did virtually no preparation for winter hibernation. So he was a bit surprised to see them in the wood chips in October. Why weren’t they in the huge grassy field gorging themselves as they are known to do?
After researching for a bit, he learned a few surprising things about the pest. Apparently, their little bodies are high in nitrogen, so in their death they not only help the decomposition of plants, they also help with soil amendment. They do a better job of this then large piles of poo because they have little bodies that are more easily broken down in the soil.
But…the benefit of these little guys does not outweigh the risk of millions attacking and ruining a robust and thriving garden so the grasshopper must go. After combing all his usual sources Joe was certain of what steps needed to be taken.
He smiled, knowing that he would be getting a few new pets on the homestead.
“Mom! We need chickens!”
And now we have them!