Monday, August 21, 2006

The Nature Hike

The youngster and I went on a "nature hike" yesterday. This would be the same youngster who loves snakes. On the other hand, crickets and grasshoppers give her the shivers. According to the signs, we were going to see all kinds of birds, butterflies, insects, marshes, glens (?), prairie grasses, wildflowers, creeks, ponds and dead trees. We might, if we were lucky, see mammals...prairie dogs, deer, baby squirrels, and bobcats! Oh yes, and snakes. Possibly.

We could also see these things in our yard if we actually went outside of our house and walked around the yard (our dog was once bitten by a muskrat and we've killed many a rat snake with the lawnmower, so we know there is nature out there; oh, and we once held captive a shrew, which eventually died given that we didn't know how to properly care for ferrel shrews). But our yard does not have signs to tell us what we are seeing; in fact, we had to take the muskrat specimen (at least our dog won that battle) into the vet's office for identification.

To spot a bobcat is, of course, a rare thing. Youngster leapt (leaped?) onto the trail in excitement, eager to catch her first bobcat (because what good is a nature hike if you're not going to capture stuff, even if the signs expressly prohibit this?).

10 yards into our nature hike, we let out our first screams. Shrieks actually. Followed by giggles. She had just been attacked! Butterflies were chasing her and landing on her like crazy. We decided it must be the papaya shampoo. And one in particular took a real liking. After walking a ways, she noticed it was missing part of its wing and must be using her to get to the next field of wildflowers. Oh, where is my camera when I need it? So much for heading off bravely into the woods in search of bobcats. Heh.

The worst part? Grasshoppers! She let out the biggest scream (accompanied by an attempt at jumping into my arms) when a grasshopper bit her finger. Bit? I dunno. I'm just reporting what she told me. I quizzed her on why grasshoppers creeped her out so much while butterflies did not (once the initial shock of being attacked wore off), not to mention snakes. Afterall, when grasshoppers are in flight, they look just like butterflies. She explained it something like this...grasshoppers are to butterflies as chickens are to canaries. Chickens don't really fly, they just jump around and flap their wings. So does this mean you are afraid of chickens, I asked? No, she said, don't be silly. Never try reasoning with a 16-year-old.

Our nature hike was a short one. We saw a few wildflowers, lots of grass and some butterflies. And many varieties of birds flocking around the nature center where they had birdfeeders set up. No mammals. No snakes.

We were sweaty and hot and decided to head over to the International Festival and meet up with MBH to sample food from around the world...dolmas, curried goat, baklava, apple streudel, crepes, shave ice, povitica, bratwurst, hibiscus juice, kabobs and fry bread. Lots of mammals there. And corn on the cob. :-)


At 6:29 AM, August 21, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Well that is definitely what I'd not call a boring nature walk!

At 6:32 AM, August 21, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Sounds like a fun walk - I love butterflies (and seriously, papaya shampoo sounds delightful as well :) ) Grasshoppers kinda creep me out too, honestly.

So, um, MLB doesn't mean here what it means over at Eric's, does it? :)

At 9:59 AM, August 21, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Oops! I better fix that. 8-}

At 11:13 AM, August 22, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Grasshoppers are yucky. Some of 'em will spit on you. Really.


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