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Offbeat – 23 November 2012

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You won’t see me trying to kill a spider with a phone directory. I’ll more likely be rooting for it to catch more mosquitoes. The scorpions that wander in during winter, get put back outside.

Forget the zombie apocalypse. Apparently the thing that is going to get us all, aside from the rising sea level, and the heat, and asteroids from space, which is where they always come from, is the food crisis. From what I hear, the prices are going to go so high that bread will become a luxury. No kidding. I’m getting ready for it with a pick, a spade and a huge pot of composted leaves from under the tree in my backyard.
I have been growing things, with some success. The mealies are shooting up well in their seedling trays, and threaten to burst out if I don’t plant them really soon. The lettuces have survived the dogs stepping on them. The spinach hasn’t fallen over yet, And I have a couple of pots that are going to provide me with so many baby marrows, I believe, that my family will probably tire of them quickly.
Now all I need are paprikas, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbages, carrots, beetroot, broccoli and onions. I have a suspicion there is going to be a lot of digging ahead. I’m not going to plant wheat though. I hope that the money I save on vegetables will be just enough so that I can still afford a bit of bread from time to time.
I’m not the only one who is pleased with the results. A lot of the plants have holes in their leaves, and chewed bits. It seems as if the insects in my back yard are getting fatter before the harvest. Christmas comes early to them.
I have spotted some locusts to begin with. They are big, fat ones, obviously not on a diet. I went to the nursery in search of some repellant. There was nothing like that there. I don’t use poison as my cat thinks they are great playmates. It looks like I am going to have to put the cat on a diet until she gets the idea that she should eat them.
Other than that, and the wild cockroaches that want to come in when it rains, and centipedes which move too fast for my liking, I don’t have a problem with insects. You won’t catch me squeaking if a shongololo shows up like a sleek black toy train with hundreds of orange legs. You won’t see me trying to kill a spider with a phone directory. I’ll more likely be rooting for it to catch more mosquitoes. The scorpions that wander in during winter, get put back outside.
Looking at Facebook, it seems as if fear of insects is becoming a valid hobby. “Today, I’m going to be scared of giant leeches in the Amazon. I’m going to post pictures that make me want to crawl right out of my skin, and I’m going to creep out all of my friends while I am at it.”
The hobby is going global. Now friends from Austria to Azerbaijan can all share the horror of one global post. And I’m sure there is at least one person in the Gobi Desert who suspiciously examines the water in his well, just in case those leeches from South America decided to make the trek.
As I said, I’m on the other side of the thing. I try to find good things about the creatures. Let’s take dung beetles for instance. Most people seem to want to reach for the antibacterial hand soap the moment they see one at work. I read somewhere that, if not for them and their ability to break down dung, people in may parts of the world would be up to their eyeballs in dung.
It makes me wonder about what it is that we actually walk on, and whether or not I should have the antibacterial soap ready whenever I take of my shoes and socks. Maybe I should wear double layers of socks.
The insect that really mystifies me is the house fly. I believe that everything has a role in nature, but I am absolutely uncertain why they exist. They seem to hang around in houses most of the time, so I really don’t know what eats them. The dog tries to catch them, but spits them out when he gets it right. Maybe they are just meant to spread diseases and keep the human population down.
Humanity is too antiseptic. Just because it looks weird or gross doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing. When it comes to bug spray, mine stays mostly under the zink, where it is safer. It is only used for cockroaches, and even that is rare.

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