Sunday, November 07, 2010

Who Would Have Ever Thought...

...we'd be so interested in the life and times of a single praying mantis? Not me. This weirdly beautiful alien-looking creature showed up in late September and took up residence in the yard. First it was on the sun-netting (you've seen that photo twice!). Then it moved on to the sunflowers. There it has stayed for more than a month.
The other praying mantises died, the one on our screen door (a six-week resident), the one on our deck chair (a four-week resident), gone. Well actually their bodies are still around, but they've been dead for more than a week. I thought that meant this brown beauty would die as well, fall to the ground in heap, and be a snack for the ants.
But it stayed around, and as long as it was still here, I checked in on it every few days. There is nothing quite like having a praying mantis turn its triangular head and stare those other-worldly eyes at you. I always say hello, it always gives me the cold shoulder. If it could talk, I know it would say, "Get out of here, you crazy human. Do I ever bug you? Ever?" I don't really get close, but it notices me anyway. Oh well, I guess that's what it gets for showing up and staying here so close to the house.

And not only didn't it die, it stayed incredibly robust and healthy. It had a good appetite, and there have been plenty of bees and ants for it to munch on. The benefit of checking in regularly yielded this video (15 seconds of a bee being eaten).
When the sunflower the mantis had been on finally turned brown and dried out, it moved on to another larger, fresher sunflower. There it met a friend. They stayed like this for several hours on Friday. Saturday morning, she was still there, but the male was gone. Did she eat him? I wish we could answer that, but we don't really know.

Now we're hoping for a fantastic brood at some point. All the websites I've checked have various opinions about praying mantis life cycles, so your guess is as good as mine when the babies will hatch out. I hope they stick around and take up residence in next year's sunflowers.

In other news: Monday is Roger's last day of chemo until November 16th! He's quite happy about that. The end of therapy is definitely a bit rougher than the beginning, but he's incredibly resilient.

Bonsai is doing very well. I won't go into the details of his daily excretions, but will say he's become very much like a normal kitty cat. On Saturday a stray dog, wandering on the other side of the fence, scared him. Bonsai ran into the house, past us at the dinner table and into the guest bedroom. I went out to see who had chased him, saw the Australian Shepherd and told it to go home. It ran. I went into the room to tell Bonnie that he was safe; he puffed up and swaggered out of that room, moving his shoulder like he was ready for a fight. Hah! We knew he was feeling better!

This post is number 1100! We thank you so much for reading us and sharing your thoughts, concerns, love, and friendship. We hope we have always reciprocated in kind.


  1. Been reading you two for at least 5 years and cannot imagine NOT doing so regularly. So much has happened in that time, eh? Including the funny santa cruz six degrees of separation-thing! Life looks mighty fine there. Even the praying mantises are thriving. Love always! xo

  2. Great to hear of Roger's progress and resilience.

    And of the sunflower-filled world of the praying mantis who eats so delicately.

    Wonderful that the 1100th post is near the 11th day of the 11th month as we approach 2011. This is a fine meeting place for kindred spirits. Thanks so much!

    Bonzai feeling better, too (-:

  3. Congratulations on so many posts - all of which are interesting and show your compassion for the earth and its animals!

  4. Congratulations on #1100! And this was a fascinating post about the mantis -- but then all of yours are fascinating in one way or another and I always look forward to them! So glad to hear that Roger will get a break at least and he is indeed resilient! Have a wonderful week, Robin!


  5. Here's to 1100 more! I really enjoyed this one.

  6. Congratulations, oh bloggers who got me started blogging. Your posts, your variety of interests, and your humor have kept me coming back since the git go. Not to mention that I know you and love you.

    That photo of the mantis coming up over the sunflower is to die for! He's looking right at you!

    Seems as if not only the sky has you in it's clutches, but the bug world as well. You are hypnotized by the world around you - admit it!

    Love to Roger and Bonnie - such great news for both of them.

  7. What a super post. The report on your mantis is delightful! Very cool creature. Great news about Bonsai and happy for Roger getting a break.

    In 1100 posts you've helped me take a much closer look at the beauty in the world around me, through your interesting posts and amazing photos, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. I thank you and hope we get at least another 1100.

  8. fantastic photos of Mrs. Mantis. And love the video too.
    Congrats to Roger and Bonsai for their continued good progress.

  9. I have no idea how long I've been reading your post, but I've enjoyed them all and it's become part of my routine. Glad all are doing well and I look forwrd to the next 1100. :)

  10. This post is a warm bath. Thank you.
    She's a Chinese mantid, I think--they're the only ones who get that big. Introduced, but what an introduction!
    I sometimes take them in, parking them on a houseplant and feeding them mealworms so the frost doesn't get them.
    Which results in a sort of living wake that's half joyful, half morbid, until it's all morbid...I don't recommend it.

    And congratulations on your 1100th post. Must think to look and see how many I've done. Kind of scared to check...

    So happy to hear good news. Did Bonsai vote for Judge Branstool in the last election?

  11. I will keep coming back.

  12. HI Robin...#1100 Congratulations! And just like all the others that I've read, great fun, thoughtful commentary, and beautiful photos. I'm so glad I discovered The New Dharma Buns, as I have it listed as a favourite! So here's to many more happy moments spent in your world!

  13. Brilliant photos!

    (Of course she ate him :-))

    I'm so glad both of your boys are doing well.

  14. Congrats! Glad everything is going so well. Except maybe for Mr. Mantis...

  15. As always, this has been a fascinating peek into your world. I always feel so welcome here. Congratulations on post 1100. All of them fantastic.

  16. As always, this has been a fascinating peek into your world. I always feel so welcome here. Congratulations on post 1100. All of them fantastic.

  17. eleven hundred
    musings generously shared
    with strangers now friends

    thank you

  18. good on the chemo and Bonzai. I find praying mantises to be very fascinating but rarely see them around here lately which is disappointing; so I enjoyed your photos.

  19. Congrats on 1100!
    And wowsers! That is some sweet mantis photography!

    Nice to hear Roger's getting a break!

  20. Sure do like the mantis documentary; if you get to see the scads of babies emerging from the egg case, it will make up for the demise of their parents.
    Yay for Roger and the blog, too!

  21. "We thank you so much for reading us and sharing your thoughts, concerns, love, and friendship." How very mutual is that feeling friends! peace, MandT

  22. Just back from a long weekend away. I hoped I'd find a new post...and WOW! What a post!

    I don't think you have to worry about the mantis being bothered by you. They've always seemed very friendly and accepting of humans. But of course, it's best to watch from a distance and let them get on with their lives. I agree with those who say that the Mister got et. And hey, he died happy, you know?

    Roger! Congratulations on making it through the chemo! Woohoo!! What a relief it must be to finally get to the other side of this ordeal.

    Bonsai is a smart kitty to be shy of unfamiliar critters. That, and your compassionate care, will give him a best and longest life he can have. I wish that Aussie's owners had a tenth of Bonsai's smarts--then they wouldn't let their dog out unattended.

  23. great photos! congrats on 1100, and looking forward to much more!

    i'm so glad roger has a week off to regroup. fucking chemo. fucking cancer. and -- glad the stuff is bearable even at the bad end of a 2-week cycle.

  24. p.s. -- the feline gang here sends scritches and head-rubs to bonsai.

  25. I'm glad you all seem to be feeling/healing well. And I'd love to hang out with you and your Mantis for as long as it took to get me over my fear of them. I looked down one night at a fair when I was 16-ish and saw one standing on my shoulder, and I was completely freaked out by it. And insects don't usually bother or scare me. And soon after "The Shoulder Incident," I had a nightmare about a mantis, and truly, they have scared me ever since. I'm determined to get over it--because I do think they're fascinating and beautiful (in their own creepy "alien face" way), I realize that they're beneficial--I love to garden and be outside--and there's just honestly no real reason for them to hold on to such a silly fear. I'm always looking up photos of them on flickr, and I like to read about them (even when what I read makes me shudder [they can turn their heads?! they move HOW fast?! they can bring down hummingbirds?! they can turn their heads???!??]), and I think at some point, when I'm in a house and not an apartment, I'm going to have to have one as a "pet" for awhile the way some people do (in tanks, I guess?), just to study it and to come to think of it as something I know and not something to fear. A few hours with you and all your mantis friends would likely be great "therapy." :)