We now possess in a larger-than-shoebox-sized tote covered with hole-ridden wax paper the coolest of all of our captured bugs to date… a praying mantis.  He’s got to be six inches long.  My kids, my niece and I watched him catch and devour in short order one of two grasshoppers that we had transported back from grandma’s house in an old Wendy’s cup before spending two hours at the park.  When we came home, the second grasshopper was mysteriously missing.  Nowhere can I find information on how much to feed a praying mantis.  I guess our bug hunting has taken a more serious turn as we try to provide for our one ‘keeper’ bug.

Lithany and Orion, true to form, have dubbed our new friend as “Mad Scientist” and “Samantis” respectively.

You’d think that this would cause a Hitchcock “the Birds” type dream of giant insects hunting us down with 180 degree turns of their heads; but instead, I’m dreaming of acreages and furrier beings. My sister and mother and I were trying to figure the feasibility of affording a relatively reasonably priced, but still way too rich for our collective blood acreage containing two houses and multiple outbuildings to cooperatively own and operate.  I’ve dreamt about this place since we began passing it on a regular basis in our travels to Central City.  I think I was seven at the time. 

This one has since been sold.  Pulled off the market.  It’s truly for the best since the financial figures we were playing with just weren’t breaking even.  Anywho… now we are looking for more reasonably priced options.  Preferably one that can house all of us.  If not, one that’s cheap enough to allow Mom to keep her house so that one of us can live there and do a large share of gardneing and haying for the livestock kept at the other place. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I very much want to protest and argue, the truth of the matter is that my sister’s family would be more capable of caring for livestock, the most unhappy if forced to deal with vegetables while my kids were feeding calves, and the least likely to fit into mom’s three bedrooms upstairs. (our three can all fit in a SINGLE room if need be, but my sister’s are all 2-3 times my kids’ size and she has two more than I!)  Gardening is NOT the prime reason that I desire an acreage, in case you haven’t guessed.

So now I dream of finding one that we can all fit in so that I can retain my desired status of ‘livestock tender’, or of the day no more than two years from now when we realize that this really is a cost effective lifestyle (raising your own meat, milk and eggs), that we aren’t too lazy to make it work (a legitimate concern on all accounts) and either buy a second acreage for mom and I to occupy or sell both of the two we would then own and get a single large one as previously planned. 

There is another option… Mom and I have officially typed a letter to the Hooper city council requesting permission to keep livestock on her ‘in city limits’ property.  That would truly be ideal.   Anything that ends with my kids and I working together with fuzzy and/or feathered (if destined to be dinner) animals. 

Surely there’s a humorous twist on the words ‘calf’ and ‘hen’ like there is for our mad scientist… I mean praying mantis.