Friday, April 10, 2015


Deep in the heart of every man still lurks a little boy.

Boys building in the sand at Pt. Reyes Seashore

While we were remodeling our house, our contractor came over to me excitedly. I walked over with him to the rest of his crew who were all huddled around one part of the house's foundation. 

They pointed at what they wanted me to see: a colony of termites as dense as a beehive, wiggling and squirming around the wood part of the foundation. I just knew they were waiting for me to shriek. But I didn't. I love to look at bugs, and here was a whole feast. Finally, one of the men shivered and turned away. I smiled, knowing that they not only wanted me to know about the termites, but they had been hoping for that age-old 'girl' response to insects of any kind.

I love insects. As a young girl, I used to collect them, suffocate them in jars, stick pins in them and put them on a display board. All I can say about that:  I didn't know any better, and that's what insect collectors did, right?

As an adult homeowner, I can no longer kill a bug intentionally (mosquitos are an exception). I keep what my husband calls, 'my bug cup.'  So when we have a spider or insect, including wasps, trapped in our house, we sneak up on the insect, put the cup over it, gently slip a piece of paper under the cup, and trap the insect inside until we can open a door to allow the insect to escape. Making up for all those beautiful insects that I killed when I was young, I guess.

A large Sphinx Moth

We have caught some interesting ones around our house: many Daddy Long Legs, ant lions, bumble bees, moths, butterflies, and one that I had never seen before, a hummingbird moth. I thought at first the fluttering I was watching was a hummingbird -- same size but this one had a long feeding tube instead of a bill. What a beautiful sight to see!

Makes me want to get out my book of insects again, and learn more about them. I've started taking pictures of them so that I can paint them. They are hard to get since they move so quickly and are so small. What kind of insects are your favorites?

One of the cicadas that fill the trees with their clicking in Arisagawa Park in Tokyo in September -- not painted yet!


  1. I also put spiders and bugs outside... and try very hard not to kill any of them outside.. .except mosquitos of course... that Japanese cicada is beautiful.

  2. Thank you, Donna,
    I haven't learned to love mosquitoes either. They belong in that class of living things that cause more problems than benefits, I think. I am now counting the pollinators in our garden for the Great Sunflower Project. Small bits.

  3. I love your insect drawings and paintings Martha!

  4. Thank you, Roxanne, (RiverGardenStudio). I appreciate hearing from you. Your artwork is a joy to see!


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