Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bugs in the Berry Patch

  "Watch out for bees," Kate said. "They love the raspberries."
  I jerked my hand back from a berry out of which two large bees crawled free and flew off. "I noticed. Well."
  Kate chuckled. All through the patch, the hum of honeybee wings created a steady drone. They were everywhere. Now, I'm not one to be afraid of bugs, but there were quite a few bugs present that day.
  There were the honeybees, of course. Fuzzy little things with orange abdomens and black stripes and, of course, painful stingers.
  And then there were the Japanese Beetles. Their hard shells were dark but decorated with a rainbow of color, as if the light of a prism had fallen across their back and stuck there.
  And the Picnic Beetles. Teeny tiny bugs with black shells bearing an orange stripe across it. Now these ones I have a particular dislike towards, due to the fact (and I recount this story often) that one of them bit me on the tongue as I was trying to eat a raspberry. How was I to know the poor fellow was in there? It wasn't my fault.
  Last but not least was the new scourge to the Orchard Family Farm. Asian Beetles. See, they're tricky, because while they look very much like ladybugs, their shells are tainted rust orange instead of red. And they bite. What else do they do? Well, they eat crops.
  Like raspberries.
  The sun shone down on Kate and I and the bugs with nary a cloud in the sky to hamper the warmth. This, at least, made up for the bug infested raspberry patch. Ah, sunshine...
  The reason the patch was so bug infested in the first place was mostly due to the high tunnel. The berries in there were the biggest, juiciest, most amazing raspberries you've ever tasted. Beautiful! There were so many, too! Handfuls and handfuls of them, like delicious pink jewels hiding amidst the leaves.
  Unfortunately, because of this bounty, the high tunnel took priority. And since there are only so many workers on the Orchard Family Farm, the patch just outside the high tunnel did not get picked nearly as often as it used to. So when Kate and I grabbed a handful of halfpint containers and started our safari through the canes, we found many of the berries either overripe, or overeaten.
  However, that warm Almost-Autumn day, after a couple hours dilligent scouring, we still came away with several full halfpints of lovely berries rescued from the clutches of various types of mandibles, and not a single sting to show for it.


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