I know summer sometimes gets a bad wrap because it’s hot and humid and riddled with biting insects but there are a lot of things that I really enjoy about the season, like swimming, vacations, school breaks, and all sorts of creatures great and small.
This year, we came across p-l-e-n-t-y of praying mantises. I wasn’t sure that many of them would make it after all the unseasonably cold weather we had but whenever we weeded in the garden or around the house, we kept finding them scrambling to get through the weeds.
Most were pretty petit but some of them were big enough that we could practically strap a saddle on them and ride them off into the sunset. Seriously, look at that girl! She was impressive and was put to good use in the garden, probably eating small mice and snakes that scurried past.
My favorite discovery at our house is that we have five-lined skink living at our house. The one we saw was a baby–it had the telltale blue tail and holy moly, they are SO CUTE! And fast. We tried to catch the one we saw but it was able to slip into the cracks of the deck before we even laid a finger on it. I’ll rip our deck apart if I have to! Which someday, I will have to do, since our deck is getting old and squishy…
Every time we went hiking this summer, we came across some neat critters, from a couple of shy box turtles to some itty bitty toads that hopped across the trail. I would have totally missed it but Evelyn spotted that little crumb jump in the dirt and grabbed it before it could get away, so we could snap a picture and send it on its way.
And, as annoying as some caterpillars can be, raiding the garden and eating the landscaping and such, I have to admit that some of them are awfully cute. Like the tiny inch worm that Henry found.
Having a pond now, there are all sorts of animals that call that pool of water home. We have fish, snakes, snails, frogs, dragonfly larvae, and crawdads! I used to catch them every summer when my grandparents would take us to the Ozarks and now, my kids get to catch their own.
This summer, we also ran into some really large ants…thank goodness they’re not that big in real life.
|Henry wrangling a giant ant.|
I love autumn as much as the next person but sometimes, I miss all the critters and creepy crawlies that disappear when the cold arrives. I’m probably in the minority (the horses and cows definitely don’t miss the biting flies) but I’ve definitely convinced my kids that bugs and reptiles and amphibians are interesting enough to stop and observe, no matter their size.