Last Few Days With Our Praying Mantis, Duncan!

Good, early, early Thursday morning!

I can feel the air changing and sense that the cool fall air is here to stay.

Besides the breathing challenges I face w/ asthma during seasonal changes, I really like the fall.  Wherever we go, the kids are stomping and sliding and ice skating through the leaves. The gray skies remind me of Oregon a little. But the thing I miss most about this summer leaving us is our first great year w/ the garden.  We were really successful and the kids and I had so, so, so much fun tending to our plant babies every day!

Look at all this from just one harvest?!

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Yeah, next year we won’t plant so many squash/zucchini plants!

I just can’t believe this was a few short months ago!

Well, this post isn’t just about saying goodbye to the growing season; it’s also about saying goodbye to our praying mantises (and since I’m a court reporter and a nerd, I looked this up, and this is the correct plural form of mantis!?) that we hatched from eggs this year!  What a fun way to do some good for our garden and experience, sort of, having little insect pets.

Praying mantises are beneficial insects that eat other, non-beneficial insects.  They are great for your organic garden and can eliminate the need for poisonous junk being sprayed all over your edibles! Besides being great other-bug-eaters, these little guys are just really cute and fun to watch.

After our mantis eggs hatched this summer, we scarcely saw any mantises around the garden and were worried they didn’t make it.  Miraculously, months later, we have been seeing three-inch adults here and there around the yard!

According to my chiropractor, mantis sightings symbolize peace.  I love that explanation and refuse to look it up any further, as any other information would rain on my parade. :O)

Since the kids and I have a rule about playing outside ( rule being not to get distracted by technology ), we really try to use the outdoors as our playground.  (I know this could be annoying for those trying to call me, as my phone is in the house; but, i promise, I will call you back later!  Besides, there’s really no one calling me on an everyday basis besides my 82-year-old doll of a grandfather, and that’s between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.!)

Our yard is just a half-acre, so being out there everyday, you get to know every tree, every place a worm could be hiding, etc.  Sometimes you need to think outside the box to come up w/ your entertainment.

Low and behold, the mantises reappeared right when we needed to spruce things up!

I needed a way to attract them close enough so that we could watch them and interact.   Then it came to me!  We make kombucha, a sweet and sour fermented tea beverage, that bugs absolutely love!  We also own a coffee mug.  Those two things have proven golden in our quest to enjoy these last few days of fall.

For the last week, at lunch time, we have poured a little kombucha into the bottom of mug and left it out on the patio table next to us while we eat lunch. First there was one mantis that caught on and would wait by the cup.  I named him Paul the Praying Mantis, because I like to keep our names the same letter as the animal to keep it easy (we also have Pat the Bat who lives under the awning of our back porch, as an example).  Well, my youngest has been saying that his name was Duncan, not Paul.  But it had been habit for me for weeks to just address Paul as Paul.  And as Nature is the absolute mediator, two praying mantises showed up at lunch time last week!  Now we could agree that we have Duncan and Paul!  (Where he got the name Duncan from, I will never know!)

What great luck to have such charming lunch guests!

Of course I wouldn’t end w/out a photo of Paul, or Duncan (I’m not that good, so I don’t know which is which!) chowing down on a bee that he caught in the kombucha mug.

Look at this beautiful guy!

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If you are interested in getting praying mantis eggs to experience the hatching w/ your kids (or for yourself – I would seriously do this, even w/out kids!),  I got my praying mantis eggs here.

We also did ladybugs, but I don’t see them anywhere and didn’t all summer. I would say that they are more instantaneous fun for the kids as they come live.  Just like the mantises, they are beneficial organic gardening pets/tools.  They dine on aphids that dine on your plants!

You can get the ladybugs here.

I’m sure, at least here in the Northeast, you won’t be able to get these this time of year.  But this could be something fun to keep in mind for spring!  Would love to know if you get them how they do.  We will be doing both again next year!

Wishing you a fantabulous fall day today!

Chiara

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