Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It’s a Jungle Out There

Officially, we don’t live in the jungle. But this week it certainly felt like we did. Yesterday morning at 5:30 I woke to the sound of my new guinea fowl squawking loudly in our yard. Like I've said before, I love the sound of guinea fowl. To me they are (in a strange way) the song bird of Africa. It was the 5:30 a.m. part I didn't care for so much.

She was standing on a mound of dirt on the boundary between our and Rick and Heather’s yard doing the call that is characteristic of guinea fowl hens: “Buckwheat! Buckwheat!”

Pardon the poor quality, but here’s a close-up of her making noise.

I was worried that she’d get a little more than just buckwheat if she kept up the racket, so I went out on the veranda and shooed her away then went back to bed for a few more winks. About 10 minutes later, Mushu chimes in with his high-pitched barking. *Groan* I got up once again to shoo “Buckwheat” away, assuming she was the reason Mushu was barking. When I opened the door I realized that the branches of the trees in our backyard were swaying and alive with pesky monkeys!

This is the kind of mess monkeys leave after feasting on fallen mangoes.

I decided that the only fix for this unruly gang was for me to venture right out into the yard and show them that I was serious about wanting some peace and quiet. They responded as expected to my small display of power (strutting toward them in my pj's in the wet grass) by scurrying off into the green, leafy bush. I felt quite triumphant to have peace at last, but by then I was too warm from the exertion in the muggy heat to sleep. So I guess the animals won that one in the end.

A few other guinea fowl, besides my own, have come to spend a few days with us while they await distribution to orphan homes. They are Unique Christmas Gifts that people have donated toward and are sure appreciated by those who receive them! Here’s sort of a play-by-play of last week’s guinea fowl delivery:

First, Dwight had to catch them in the cage

Next, we tied their feet so they couldn't get away.


Then, we loaded them in the van but apparently hadn’t tied their legs together properly (guinea-fowl nubes that we are) so they just wandered all over under the van seats while we drove to their destination. Oh well, they were quiet so we were happy.

Finally, birds meet happy, new owners. Happy, new owners, meet birds. Hope they're used to getting up at 5:30 every morning!

It’s been raining lately--a lot. And in the bush, rain always ushers forth both weird and wonderful sights. Yes, this is the bug part of this post. But I make up for it with a pretty flower at the end.

One of the weird sights recently was flying ants.

They’re termites, to be exact, and every year after the first few rains they come out in droves and are drawn to lights after dark. They beat around and around ‘til their wings fall off and then they find a mate and walk away. Now--many of us wouldn’t dream of eating these things, but for the people here they’re a real treat! In fact, when the ants swarm under streetlights and in front of vehicle head lights (cars even park along the highway with their headlights on for this very purpose) people gather with containers to pick them up as they fall so they can have a tasty snack later on.
I found this photo of someone frying flying ants, but from what I understand this isn’t quite how it’s done. I was always told—in the unlikely event I actually decide to do this--that you pluck off and fry only the abdomen. Yum. *Cough*

Another weird and unpopular insect that we see during the rainy season is this stinging centipede.

Usually the odd few of these finds its way into our house during the rainy season. That’s bad enough. But this year for some reason, we’ve had two per night—at least. One night, we had about 8! These insects pack a nasty sting so whenever we see one it’s a mad scramble for a shoe or whatever, then the frenzied smacking begins.

This more pleasant fellow was in our house last night. I like how his wings make him look like a man with a Fu Manchu moustache. (For a look at more strange insects, click here.)

Some of the wonderful things that come out when it rains are what Dwight and I have dubbed “Flat Plants”. Very original, I know. Likely they have a scientific name which means just that too.

And last but not least, I found this gem in Francois and Alta’s yard the other day when I went to empty the rain meter. Isn’t it beautiful?

Well, now that the jungle tour is over, I better run. 

And oh, just so you know, we managed to coax "Buckwheat" back into the pen where she has some company. Our yard is now blissfully quiet again every day at 5:30 a.m. She's happy, we're happy. Now if only I had a solution for those nasty stinging centipedes.

PS: This blog was done with Penny in mind since she did a Mozambique post awhile back. She’s a homeschooling mom and has a passion for missions. If you’re interested, you can check out her blog (specifically the post on Mozambique) by clicking here.


Penny said...

Thank you so much! That was a wonderful post. I especially liked the part about how to cook the flying ants! (Not that I'll be trying them any time soon.)

Have a wonderful day Lynn,

sandra wood said...

We have eaten the ants!! Your blog bought back sooo many memories - especially of all the people out in the streets around the lights trying to catch the things!!

They tasted to me a little bit like bacon bits!!! - once I had gotten over actually putting them in my mouth and biting into it!!!

We had to take them off Stephen in the end. He was only 4 and wanted to eat the bag full. I wasn't sure if that was good for him!!

Russoft said...

mmmmm... I'd take that over an alarm clock any day.

Maddy said...

Well I was looking for a solution to flying ants - but I never thought of cooking them! Thank you for this accidental and delightful peek into you world.