I guess we are really really really lucky cause we’ve had a cricket take up residence in our kitchen for the past couple weeks!
Every night they sing and I follow the sound (warmer… colder… warmer…) until I zero in on their exact location. For a week it was the cabinet to the left of the stove. Last week it was a different cabinet! Then a couple days ago, jiminy went over to the hutch.
I suspect this magical adventure is sponsored by Elvis, who is a professional cricket catcher and loves to share his catch with the family.
I came across a couple mantids yesterday while I was watering and weeding out back. Yay! Check this one out.
As I take out the trash today, I decide to water the decomposed granite. It has needed to be done for awhile so that it compacts into a hard pan. (I need less sandy beach vibes when I’m pulling trash cans across it.) For some reason, I choose today.
As I turn the corner of the house with the hose, I see something jump from my spray. I stop the water. A tiny green mantis lunges forward to the damp ground. I can see they are desperately drinking! The mantis had been hanging from a pipe that runs on the southwest wall of the house. It is over 110 degrees today. Poor thing is baking there with no foliage for cover!
My normal MO is to get a stick or container for bug relocations, but for some reason, in this moment I decide to be brave. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I released these mantids in the yard and couldn’t even feel them on my finger!
I spray water on my hand and offer it to the mantis, who climbs on board, licking my hand as they go. I take them over to the Jasmine vine, where I have seen other mantids in the past.
I try, unsuccessfully, to dismount the mantis onto a marigold. They insist on sticking around to lick me and climb up my arm to avoid being escorted away.
I wiggle and giggle nervously, thrilled- really! that you like me- honored even! …but I’ve got to go… wash my hair. I hold up my other hand as a stop sign in front of my new friend. I pull a Jasmine vine over and gently scoop the mantis onto a leaf.
Just as I begin to worry that all of the mantes we released have perished, I run into one. Today I encountered a mantis who escaped the path of my crab grass weeding and hopped onto a nearby marigold.
He quickly flipped upside down and settled in on the under side of a leaf. I’m sure I’ll see him there again soon. He is about an inch long now, three times bigger than when it hatched. The color is a kind of translucent olive green.
I love marigolds because of how readily they reseed. They flower again and again, providing endless splashes of orange ruffled blooms.
The neighbor kids have picked up on my practice of deadheading, which is to remove the spent flowers that have dried up into seed pods. Now the plant will put it’s energy toward flowering again.
I sprinkle my saved seed in the very back, against the hot block wall, where the crab grass is creeping. With time and disregard, a secret little marigold garden has bloomed behind the giant agave and red yucca. What a gift!
We are bird-sitting this week and noticing a lot of bird stuff. I am watching a show called Ghost Town Terror on Trvl channel. The show investigates haunted houses that have dead birds trapped inside.
Then I’m driving around playing my latest greatest Grateful Dead mix on Spotify and it smart shuffles a song called Bird In A House by Railroad Earth. Now this got my attention! I mean, this is not a common theme for a song, right?
When I arrive at my craniosacral session today, there are a pair of quail with five little babies just inside the gate.
I get to Iko’s house and on the front walkway is a huge brown pile of bird poop. There was so much, it had splattered onto the side of the house! I tell Iko to look and she says that was not there ten minutes ago! Whatever bird was leaving from or landing on the house, they must’ve left that just for me. How nice.
As I pull out of the driveway at the end of my session, the quail family is making its way through the yard.
Busy season is over and I’m enjoying backyard bird watching again. A towhee came running down the wall, chased by another, as always. (Eating the mantis aka my spiritual advisor gave em a good power up.)
The starlings are roosting in the saguaro. Their babies chirp as the sun sets.
A woodpecker drops in on the palm tree, just under another starling in it’s nest. Treetop neighbors.