Monday, June 6, 2011

Bugs & Blooms

Practically overnight the non-descript pile of leaves on either side of our path toward the front door started sprouting flowers. We'd been keeping an eye on it ever since new green leaves emerged from underneath the brown and dried up old growth but it definitely surprised us!

After saying good-night to the ol' bush of lanky leaves in the evening, we woke up to three big stalks adorned with sweet pink and white flowers the next morning.


My close-up shots also brought us face to face with somebody living in and liking our Lilies a little too much. Can you find him?

This not so little guy is an "Eastern Lubber Grashopper". We saw his siblings earlier this spring en masse haunting the lilies and decimated their numbers through simple stomping. You'll be surprised how eager a pair of 7 year old boys will go to work when you tell them to "send the bugs to their demise". In one of their early nymph stages these critters are a manageable 3/4 of an inch (about 1 cm for the European readhership) and colored black with a dash of red here and there.

After a while we saw fewer and fewer of the hoppers. However, the few we managed to catch and capture for "show & tell" at school had double in size.

Today's hoppy guys, however, are in their "Adult Intermediate Phase" and a whopping 4-5 inches (or about 10-12 cm) long. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, will make me stomp one of these, and even the little man refuses. They are just waaaay too big.

So we caught one for a follow-up "show & tell" at school this week and just shoo off the remaining two we discovered hiding among the lily leaves. They are surprisingly mellow and slow and rather move out of sight than hop anywhere.

Aside from their freaky factor due to sheer size, they are fascinating and sort of cute. I mean, look at that face ...

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