Mantis Party

I came across a couple mantids yesterday while I was watering and weeding out back. Yay! Check this one out.

Mantis on lavender

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.

Mission complete.

Have a nice day little one!

No photos of todays mantis.

My hands were full!

Two mantids in the lavender

Mantis Sighting

Marigold Magic

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.

Close up mantis on marigold

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!

Secret Marigold Garden

Green Mantis

Watering the potted cactus on the front porch and I run into my buddy!

I dash for my camera- the mantis my captive subject. It always freaks me out how their pupils follow me. I have respect for this little creature but I also do NOT want to get landed on! Photo session complete, I decide to let my buddy alone.

I peek out on the porch a couple minutes later and the mantis is POOF- nowhere to be found. I run into him enough, that I know we’ll be seeing each other again soon.

Cicadas eyes are watching you. They see your every move!

Fantastic Fungi

We just watched Fantastic Fungi on Netflix and it was awesome! Mushrooms have so many applications from breaking down oil and plastics, to bug control, to immune support and maybe the next antibiotic that slows a pandemic! Mushrooms can save the world.

The documentary explores studies on Turkey Tail for cancer, Lions Mane for dementia and of course the magical Psylocybin for depression and anxiety.

Once again, regenerative agriculture comes to mind where fungi and bacteria benefit the life of our soil, plants, animals and climate.

I’ve started using mycorrhizal fungi when we put a plant in the ground because it helps the roots reach out into the soil and bring back nutrients. It also holds water. And sequesters carbon. Good stuff!

Found a dried praying mantis at the front door yesterday; it was a blue moon. Does anybody know what that means? LOL