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  • Writer's pictureBruce Siebold

Waving a White Flag

The exact time the grasshoppers arrive on Eighty Acres is always a mystery to me. I wonder... Is there a signal given from their high command to invade Eighty Acres? Do they march into the land in perfect military formation? Or do they use the cover of the night to silently slip across the border? As I walk the prairies, their presence is impossible to ignore as they burst from the grasses, swirling and fluttering in all directions. It sounds like rain falling as thousands of grasshoppers leap across the dry prairie grasses, and yes, at times, a few will hitchhike a ride as they cling to my bluejeans and denim shirt.

They are dinosaur-like, ancient looking creatures and are one of the oldest living herbivores dating back over 250 million years. Grasshoppers have five eyes. Two large eyes protrude form their head, one eye on each antenna, and a smaller eye sits between the antennas. Near their wings are thin membranes that serve as eardrums, They are great leapers, can fly, and sing by rubbing their hind legs with their wings, But what they do best is eat! It is estimated they consume over 16 times their body weight each day and in large numbers can completely destroy domestic crops like wheat, rye, barley corn and alfalfa. On Eighty Acres, they seem particularly fond of my morning glories, dahlias, cone flowers and daisies. So what are my options to defend Eighty Acres from the invading hordes? Really not many. So after much deliberation. I have come to the conclusion I will simply enjoy their songs, and share the land with them. I am waving a white flag. I surrender!

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