Nature Study, Part I

I’ve always encouraged my children to learn about the natural world. We have a great opportunity to study it in greater detail this year since Kitty is taking a Natural Science course. One of the course requirements is to plan and carry out a project that involves studying a living creature and its habits. Himself helped Kitty out by bringing home a praying mantis that he found near his office. For more than a month AB and Kitty have kept Ms. Mantis alive by diligently seeking other insects to feed her.

It hasn’t been easy. Earlier than usual cold spells and frosts have decimated the local insect population. There was a period of five or six days during which they didn’t find a living insect and had nothing to feed Ms. Mantis. Fortunately for her, a wasp decided that our home would make a nice abode for the winter.

I hadn’t realized that we were hosting such a temperamental guest until I opened a window one sunny afternoon. Immediately after doing so, I felt a sharp pain on my hand. My instant reaction was a series of sharp, staccato shrieks. AB heard them through the open window and came running in, wondering if I was dying. After (calmly, I thought) reassuring him that there was no cause to worry about my untimely demise, I suggested that he hunt for the villain. Although AB has a fear of wasps, having been stung himself, he gamely searched the living room and within a few minutes he had spotted the wasp, who was investigating a foam rabbit that is part of AB’s magic kit. Like a true gentleman, AB let me have the honor of carrying the rabbit and wasp to the praying mantis’ cage and depositing it inside.

IMG_5132She noticed.

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