Tag Archives: grasshopper

2424.  Hopping mad

Evelyne: Good morning class. Today we are going on a nature study walk. I want you to listen very carefully to what I say about every insect, bird, and plant that we see. When we get back to the classroom we will together make a list of names of the things we have seen – this will be a help with the spelling too. Once we have a list I want you to write a description of each thing that you saw. Perhaps you might even want to draw a picture. So we do this as soon as we get back. So let’s go!

Evelyne: Oh look children! Here’s a grasshopper. I wasn’t expecting to see something like this so soon. Danny and Jack down the back, pay attention. If you’re not going to listen you can go back to the classroom. This, as I said is a grasshopper. It is… yes Abram, what is it?

Abram: Excuse me Miss, but that’s a cicada. There are many differences between cicadas and Orthopterans, but the easiest way to tell them apart is Orthopterans have huge hind legs. So this is a cicada not a grasshopper.

Evelyne: Very good Abram. You obviously know your insects. This, children, is a weed called pink shamrock. We sometimes call it sourgrass because if you eat it it’s very sour. Here children, each of you can take a stem and if you bite into it, it will be sour.

Abram: It’s also called oxalis. We have to be careful Miss because you never know if the oxalis has been sprayed with Hydrocotyle weedkiller. So we should think twice before eating it, at least that’s what my father says.

Evelyne: Very good, Abram. Now here children right on the branch over there is a common house sparrow.

Abram: That’s not a house sparrow, Miss. That’s a hedge sparrow. They look a bit the same but the house sparrow is not as dainty as the hedge sparrow. It’s also called a Dunnock.

Evelyne: Thank you, Abram. Well, class, I think it’s time to go back to the classroom now and get out your Arithmetic books straightaway.

1867. The life of a grasshopper sucks

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Quite frankly the life of a grasshopper sucks. I’ve spend all summer hopping from dahlia flower to dahlia flower. I can eke out a living by sipping a bit of the scant amount of nectar in each bloom. Apparently that process helps with the fertilization of the seed head as well, but the lady who thinks she owns the garden keeps coming out of the house with secateurs and cutting the dead seed heads off. I feel redundant and useless.

And now look at me. Everything is dead and shrivelled up. There’s hardly a sip of anything left to survive on. I know I’ll die before winter is over, simply because of cold and starvation. Here’s a photo of me on a dead branch of Jerusalem artichoke.

As I said, it’s no fun being a grasshopper. There were three of us in this garden at the start of last summer and then there were two – just me and Mrs. Grasshopper. We had a clutch of eggs and out popped a multitude of offspring. One by one they seemed to disappear. There was a lot of competition for food, and sometimes I wondered if Mrs. Grasshopper wasn’t eating her own babies. But in the end I decided that was not the case. We’re not humans. We act responsibly. And then suddenly Mrs. Grasshopper herself disappeared.

The problem is our colour. We’re bright green and stick out like a sore thumb once the foliage dies off. Some insects change colour and survive, but we have not been blessed with that know-how. I suspect the local song thrush may have got Mrs. Grasshopper. That wretched thrush has been hanging around for months. It might be responsible for the missing children as well. There’s no warning. The thrush’s appetite seems to be voracious. It’s rapacious and vociferous. One minute you’re there looking for nectar and the next minute you’re