Agropraxis Farm

  (Scotts, Michigan)
A Ultra-Low Carbon input farm using Eco-Bio methods.
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? Praying or Preying Mantis?

Monday’s are a busy day as I harvest and prepare for CSA Pick-Up. This Monday the day was stormy at the farm. About 9:30am the dark skies and rumbles of thunder let loose and it rained for almost 2 hours steady. Sometimes a simple downpour though a few times the rain was light so I could get out and do a few things; like fill wash tubs or run work debris to the compost pile. I spent time cleaning the storage onions, sharpening hoes and cleaning equipment. And, observing the insect life in the greenhouse.

I observed a solitary Praying Mantis on an end board. It mostly stood immobile, occasionally turning its head. For the first time I noticed its color was brown like the wood it was on. I recall seeing many in the fields that were green. So I had to check online and see if they have different color phases but learned they can blend colors a bit with their environment. I don’t remember seeing any red, orange or blue versions so I suppose they are limited in color choice. It is cool to finally realize that this “Preying” insect can adapt. We love predatory insect consumers like swallows, bats, toads and Mantises.

A few years ago I was similarly stormed into the shelter of a barn. I sat and watched the rain for a bit. What surprised me this time was that a couple of toads and spiders crawled into the barn to wait out the worst of the storm. With deliberate haste two toads hopped into the barn and found a convenient spot to avoid the cold, wet rain. Interesting company in a storm…

Eventually the rain stopped on Monday and I was able to return to my harvest. The field was spongy, the beans were soaked so they had to wait a few hours to dry, and carrots slipped out the ground easily. I had to hurry to get done. And, was left pondering the good fortune of the Mantis that can change colors…

Farmer Pete

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