Like a Prayer

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Egg case.

Yup.

We have not one. Not two. But THREE praying mantis egg cases on our Christmas tree. It was in fact one of the reasons we selected the tree (although we only saw one egg case on tree-tagging day). But I was afraid to mention it in case the farmer read this blog and thought we were stealing his mantises. Because I’m paranoid, apparently. And nuts. And I guess a little sneaky. This is especially wrong because I adore the farmer. (And here I like to think of myself as an ethical person…)

Timber!

Timber!

Anyway, the tree had egg cases and a ridiculous top which we decided we rather enjoyed. So Herr Husband chopped it down as the children and I hollered, “Timber!” And then Herr Husband hauled the tree up the big hill in the sled (I’m starting to see where my children’s warped sense of gender roles comes from; I just wish they knew it wasn’t a woman thing but a me-being-lazy thing. They’ll probably understand this distinction as time goes on.)

As we loaded the tree into the car, the farmer noticed the egg case.

“Hey!” he called out, “Do you know what you’ve got here?”

I tried not to look guilty. “What’s that?” For some reason I decided to play dumb rather than tell him about the Mantispocalyse last year, or about the fact that we knew full-well we were taking his mantises.

“It’s a praying mantis egg case. Take it home, cut the branch off, and put it somewhere in your yard where it won’t touch the ground. In the spring you’ll have a hundred praying mantises.” (As it turns out, we’ll have 300! Triplets!).

“That’s so cool! And they’re really great, right? For pest management and stuff?”

“Yes,” he told me, “They’ll eat a ton of mosquitos.”

“That’s so neat!”

Tying the egg cases into the tree. Like totally normal people do every Christmas, right? Let's hear it for family traditions!

Tying the egg cases into the tree. Like totally normal people do every Christmas, right? Let’s hear it for family traditions!

So yes, I elected not to tell the farmer we knew all about the mantises, and that all we really wanted was another chance with them after last year’s debacle, and that we had already planned on sawing off the branches with egg cases and tying them into trees in our yard. And that’s what we did.

So come springtime, you can expect praying mantis updates from me as I obsessively stalk the pods for hatchlings.

Note the lovely antenna. It was my idea to wind lights around the top. I'm embracing the tree's quirky look.

Note the lovely antenna. It was my idea to wind lights around the top. I’m embracing the tree’s quirky look.

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