It Seems Like Spring Has Sprung Already

I had over an inch of snow on the ground Saturday morning. About noon Sunday, I walked to the garden to check on my blueberry bushes. As I bent over to pick up some sticks, I saw insect hop. I took the branches to the burn pile and wondered about what I had just seen.

Last fall, I covered my garden with about five inches of leaves. On a warm dry day in February, I burned off some of the leaves on the surface, but found those underneath to still be wet. That being said, not all of the surface leaves burned.

I went back to kick around in the leaves and saw the familiar movement of a grasshopper. It was very small, as grasshoppers go, and brown in color. Never have I seen a grasshopper this early. I wondered if the insulating effect of the leaves had allowed this insect to survive our mild winter.

A Google search told the story. Female grasshoppers lay 15-150 eggs under the soil. The eggs look like small wax worms. The eggs hatch into a nymph which is a small version of the adult grasshopper, without wings. This is what I saw.

As the grasshopper matures, it develops wings.

This insect had recently hatched, most likely, before the snow. It probably burrowed under the damp leaves to keep from freezing.

Alan Muey also observed something strange going on in his yard. He ties pan fish jigs in a shed behind his house and would frequently, this winter, find little twigs off his big oak tree. Muey would pick them up and in a couple of weeks’ noticed lots more.

Upon closer examination, he found the twigs had been chewed into and finally saw a squirrel engaging in said practice.

I researched this practice with no luck. I can only guess they were cutting the branch back to where there was some sap and then holding it in a vertical position to eat the green portion of the sprigs.

Another mystery: I drove to Edgewood Sunday evening to have dinner with my son Greg and wife Dawn. A large group of buzzards were soaring over the neighborhood. Of course, I wondered why?

After enjoying a beef pot roast that came from a side of beef we bought from Best Farms, we watched the end of the Purdue basketball game and I headed home.

As I drove towards home, I noticed all the trash containers sitting at the side of the streets. Monday was trash day. The buzzards were attracted to the odors coming from all of the trash, but it was an empty promise; all the containers had lids.

As of Tuesday, my daffodils were blooming. Even though we are in for a cold weekend, the long-range weather forecast March 15 – 21 calls for above normal temperatures.

Lastly, I leave a stainless-steel mixing bowl filled with water in the backyard for Daisy, my beagle. After a recent heavy rain, the bowl had earth worms in the bottom.

 

 

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Rick Bramwell

Rick L. Bramwell is 72 years old and began writing for the Anderson Herald Bulletin in 1972. He likes to hunt small game, deer, turkey and morel mushrooms. Bramwell’s 174-7/8 typical whitetail is the largest ever taken in Madison County. He used to compete in Red Man and BASS Federation tournaments, but is now content to fish ponds and small lakes for bass and panfish. For most of 43 years Bramwell has coached Baseball and softball. He has three grown children and resides in Madison County, near Pendleton.

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