Perplexities – What’s in Front of You?

What’s in front of you that you aren’t seeing?

“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time will know that I am always on the lookout for Praying Mantis pods. I usually find a few in the fields and forests in the winter months.

Imagine my surprise when I planted my tomatoes and found a surprise on one of the cages. Right in my back yard, in plain sight, was a perfect Praying Mantis pod. How did I not see it?

Peculiarities – Cat Snack

Sunday, I was getting myself ready to go to church and enjoy the Easter cantata, when I noticed my cat behaving oddly. He was crouched near my fireplace, intently studying something on the floor. I watched his odd behavior for a moment or two, then noticed, whatever he was watching, he was also eating. The clue is the small speck of beige on the big blue pillow.

Did you guess? Yes! My praying mantis pod hatched on Palm Sunday.

I was lucky to notice before I left for church and took the pod outdoors to my porch. At this point in time, it seems only a couple dozen or so of the mantis babies escaped the cat and are roaming the house. I have let these mantis go about their business on my walls all day, and they have darkened up in color, and most seem to be okay. Since I’m not squeamish about non-biting, benign insects, I will wait until tomorrow and then give them a ride outside on a sheet of paper. To try and handle their fragile bodies would crush them.

Most of the remaining mantis babies were born outdoors on the back porch. Thankfully, the weather has shifted, and the coming week is going to be warm and without heavy rains. They have a good chance to survive if they can find smaller insects to consume. If not, they will find each other, and it will be a matter of survival of the fittest.

By the time I arrived home from church, most of the mantis babies seemed to have disappeared. I’m hoping they are in the yard already. I know that their small size allows them to slip through the mesh of the screening.

There are still a few lingering on the pussy willow branches, but by tomorrow they will probably have found their way into the great outdoors.

Phascination & Painting – Praying Mantis Pods

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My husband and I spent the good part of an hour this past winter in search of a praying mantis pod. Praying Mantis are a terrific predatory bug for keeping garden pests in check. Unfortunately, they cannot discriminate between a bad bug/good bug, and will eat caterpillars, butterflies and ladybugs too. There have even been instances, captured on video, of praying mantis devouring toads, frogs, small snakes, juvenile rodents and other small creatures.

We never found a pod this year, and I thought…’Well, maybe it is meant to be…the butterflies will be safer this year.’ Imagine my surprise to find a pod, as in the past, quite close, hidden in my holly bush.

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I have mixed feelings about the praying mantis. I want a mantis in my vegetable garden to keep cabbage moths and other destructive bugs at bay, but I don’t want to lose any beneficial or beautiful creatures to their powerful forelegs and mandibles. Praying mantis in the garden are definitely a mixed blessing.

This month’s Floral Plant Parade Challenge at WetCanvas is a combination work of art with the subject matter of any flower with a butterfly included. Plant Parade Challenge – May 2015

Welcome to the Plant Parade for May, 2015, or a ‘Symphony of Colors’!!

With Spring showing off the different flowers, a remarkable sight begins grabbing our attention!! We notice that the flowers are not the only attraction, but small insects that have brilliant and colorful wings start ‘strutting’ their stuff!! They put on a grand show of flitting and swirling around the flowers and amaze us with their beauty!! How can there be so many unique shapes of the Butterflies? But, watch, when they land on a flower, we have stereo colors. . .both are competing for our attention! But, wait, competing or becoming one? A flower alone is sometimes breathtaking, but with a Butterfly so brilliant with its own remarkable markings, wow, what a kaleidoscope of colors!!

This month we are going to paint brilliant flowers with equally brilliant Butterflies attached to them. We will call it a “Symphony of Colors”!!

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Floral Plant Parade reference photograph courtesy of WetCanvas Library and DominicM