I hold the bright red plastic bowl in my hand as I move slowly along the grapevines. At my feet, a couple of hens follow, eager to take advantage of the “ones that got away.” My eyesight has never been anything to write home about, but the coppery gleam in the setting sun allows me to spy my quarry easily. At this time in the evening, approximately an hour before nightfall, they are more sluggish than they are in the beating heat of the overhead sun at midday. Still, with the temperatures in the high 90’s and the humidity approaching 80%, I battle the need to mop the sweat from my face, as I grab a leaf upon which a pair or a gang of them is having an orgy. With a quick flick of my wrist, at least 50% of the coppery interlopers find themselves doing the elementary backstroke in my red bowl of water.
My combing of the grapevines and fruit trees each evening this time of
year, takes about 30-45 minutes. When my bowl is wall-to-wall copper
and green, I make my way into the chicken yards. There, just before
taking to their roosts for the night, the chickens enjoy a bed-time
snack of Japanese Beetles.
Tonight, after feeding the older chicks their helping of
these chicken delicacies, I took the red bowl into the coop of the
brand new babies (born Wednesday and Thursday). I put the bowl on the
ground to see if Mama wanted any. I was surprised to watch as she
picked the bugs out of the bowl and tossed them to the chicks, who
immediately fought for them. They worked the bugs into manageable
pieces, and gobbled them up.
Farm chores come in all varieties.
This one has definite rewards, and I find myself actually looking
forward to “going japping,” as we refer to it.