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Monday, 19 August 2013

The Unofficial Ceremonial Dance of Kosher Entomology

There is a vile little critter whose purpose for existence, I do not understand.  Their biddy eyes and bendy legs... yuck, just describing them gives me the heebadee jeebadees!  I am even reluctant in squishing them because they leave an ooey mess on my shoe and the pop sound brings up a little of my lunch.  Oh how I hate (and yes, I use that word rarely but appropriately right now)... grasshoppers.

And we have millions of them right now.  Millions.  They deceivingly lie camouflaged in the grass, the dirt, the flowers and even the gravel but as you take a step, you're suddenly startled by a wave of moving scenery!  Like parting a sea of grasshoppers.  It's their sudden, unexpected movement that has me yelp out in surprise but it's the big ones with wings that jump and randomly aim straight for you that have me squealing despite my best efforts.

The kids, of course, think this is absolutely hilarious.  While Ethan is innocently leaning over to pet one, Anika runs towards me causing one to flutter right towards my head!  I yelp and step away only to watch a couple more jump and stick to my capris!  Oh yuck, yuck, yuck!  Anika, now six and a half, thinks this is beyond comical as I try to go for a nice little walk with the four little ones after lunch.  Sivana, almost three, exclaims "EWWWWW!" after squishing one with her sandals... remnants left between her toes.

I yelp at the feel of one landing on the back of my bare leg only to turn around and see Anika rolling on the ground laughing (with the grasshoppers) because she'd thrown a tiny pebble at my leg to mimic the feel of one landing on my skin... how sympathetic!

I live in the country.  I grew up in the country but big 'ol juicy, ugly grasshoppers have long been my summer nemesis!

So you can imagine my "excitement" one night when Duane was working a night shift and two strangers on bikes rode down our driveway while I was outside and asked if those were our sheep way out in the field by the diversion.  I perked up and said "yes!"

"Well, there's a black bear out where the sheep are!"

Gulp!  Black bear?  Technically speaking, these are Richard's sheep, a man in his 60's who rents our land, but he'd left for supper and wouldn't be back for a while.  No one else but me.  Great.  I walk around the yard looking for our quad.  Alright Lord, please be with me as I try to chase a black bear away, or better yet, please don't let it be a bear!!

I haven't been for a quad ride in a long, long time so there is a little bit of excitement to it.  Off I go at full speed out the farmyard and into the fields towards the hilled diversion 1/4 mile away.  I'm at a good clip when I suddenly notice a neck level wire at the last second and manoeuvre a not-so-fun version of a Limbo move that could rival those found in the Matrix... thankfully I managed without falling off the quad!  Mental note, watch for the electric wire that feeds the fencing!  Mental note, try not to decapitate yourself!

Recomposed and on a mission, I keep going along the stretch of wire to where the 400 sheep are grazing.  On the alert, I am watching for any black form... and I spot it!  Right in the sheep pen!  As I get closer, my heart pounding, it becomes evident that something is not quite right... it appears to be grazing peacefully among the sheep INSIDE the pen!  Before I reach the edge of the fence, it dawns on me that I'd humbly forgotten about our large black cow sent to pasture with these sheep along with her calf. Good grief!  But I suppose this is a good time to whisper my thanks to God that I didn't have to chase a black bear... or vice-versa!

Why these friendly neighbours didn't think to tell me the "black bear" was IN the pen AND grazing grass is beyond me.  Perhaps that would have puzzled me enough to triggere my memory about the cow out there with Richard's sheep.  Regardless, the sheep were safe as was the cow and calf, but I was not going to go back the way I came given my now sore back from playing limbo with the electric wire back by the yard!  So I decide to follow the fencing, avoiding having to drive through the crops to hopefully make my way up and down the other side of the diversion instead.

Well, it is a flippin' labyrinth of portable electric fencing and there seems to be no end in sight!!  I notice the fence is down in one spot and make a note to tell Richard where it is.  Finally, I find the edge and make my way up the diversion but once at the top, I realize the fencing goes all the way down to the water's edge!  And to my horror, there is a multitude of grasshoppers now trying to jump on the quad!  Yuck, yuck, yuck!!  I gotta get out of here fast!  I decide the crop will have to survive with one quad pass through it.

I turn around and begin my trajectory at a gentle pace through the crop only to be horrified at the swarm of grasshoppers jumping up TOWARDS me!  Heart pounding, I pull my sweater up over my mouth, squeeze my eyes shut, kick it into high gear and just book it through the field screaming at the top of my lungs while grasshoppers are bouncing off my face and head!!  Thank God we have 500 acres to ourselves or neighbours might have called 9-1-1!

Between the ricochet of grasshoppers against my face and those clinging to my hair, I peek cautiously, aware that clipping through a field at 40 km/h with my eyes closed is really not a good idea!  The high pitched ongoing scream leaves me grateful that my sweater is covering my gaping mouth... preventing accidental consumption of the onslaught of grasshoppers!!  Finally, I reach the edge of the field where the main drive between fields heads back towards the farmyard.  I stop the quad, jump off and start jumping up and down while spinning like an enthusiastic jig while swiping my hair free from the grasshoppers still clinging to it for dear life!  In the midst of my crazy-lady dance, I am suddenly aware of the sound of a tractor...

To my horror, there is Richard, having had to stop the tractor, waiting ever so patiently for me to finish my moment of temporary insanity before continuing his drive back towards the yard.  Had I been five seconds later, I would have driven right into him!  At this point, I am almost wishing I had!!  I look up at him in horror and did what any sane person would do... started laughing hysterically, (which by the way, does nothing to convince someone you're sane!).

I humbly mouth the words "I'M SO SORRY!"and hop back onto the quad well aware of the fact that any dignity I had left was somewhere out in that field being eaten by locusts!  Swallowing the inner screams as I notice the plethora of grasshoppers still holding on to the hood of the quad and all starring at me as though threatening to jump at me, I start heading back to the farmyard and am equally stunned to see Richard's son standing there, also witness to what has just taken place.

Are you kidding me?  Do I explain?  Do I pretend everything is normal?  Nope, I laugh hysterically yet again and the only words are able to come out of my mouth are: "Um, your fence is down over that way.  Just thought you should know."

Smooth.  Real smooth.

So apparently Richard hadn't left to go home for supper afterall.  And apparently his son decided to come out and help.  Even trying to explain that I thought the cow was a bear was not going to help in this moment.  Best just chalk this up as a humbling moment and hope he can still look me in the eye the next time he bumps into me outside.

This is assuming, of course, he was not witnessed my "special" dance before entering the house.  What?!  With the multitude of flies swarming around the house door, and small legion that get in each time we open the door, you'd do a little dance of waving your arms around enthusiastically, too!  Right?  Gulp... right?  This isn't working for me either, now is it?


So here's hoping your day is a little less humbling than mine was in that moment and, I pray that should you be chasing a black bear disguised as a gentle cow grazing among sheep while letting grasshoppers play trampoline on your face and Tarzan with your hair, that you handle it with more dignity than I did.  And the next time you see your neighbour doing what appears to be some voodoo dance, remember this story and remember... they may simply be trying to overcome their fear of creepy critters.

Blessings to you all out there!