Monday, October 8, 2012

Got bugs?

The elusive furry yellow resident in my uncle's green bean fields. Photo is from The Homestead Fritz.

I love the way the South Carolina state Farmers Market SMELLS... its 1000% stronger (better) in summer, but it smells great all year round.

I've never seen any open markets in the north during the winter (the heating costs would be staggering), but if they do exist, they probably can't sustain that heady, heavy "soil scent" the southern markets have. The earthy scent reminds me of the fields in Ohio where my uncle grew green beans. Every year, we went out to pick them for ourselves and then my grandmother made huge pots of fabulous, scrumptious beans, cooked all day in onions. It was a wonderful yearly ritual. I loved the scent of the fields, as I knelt and started harvesting the fat beans.

I also remember the tiny fuzzy yellow 'bugs'--which were usually on the leaves.

As a kid, I remember thinking the yellow bugs were just so cute... but I couldn't find their eyes. I tried to turn them over and look for eyes on the underside, and they weren't there either. Bugs with no eyes? How weird is that? I remember them as "furry yellow bugs with no eyes"--I would come home from picking the beans and they would be stuck to me, all over my clothes. They didn't bite, and as a child, this meant they were 'good' bugs. And I thought they were just so cute. But no antennae and no eyes? I remember looking in an insect book at the library and not finding the yellow mystery bugs.

Lo and behold, three seconds on that modern marvel, Google, instantly yields my answer: they were larvae, not bugs. This explains the lack of eyes. They are the larvae of the Mexican Bean Beetle. (I also remember seeing the adults, but I didn't know they were related.)

I often wonder how it is to grow up in a culture in which one can find out anything in three seconds flat, but without any actual contact with those things? When I was growing up, if you were moved to look something up in a book at the library, it signaled it was pretty important to you and you really wanted to know. It wasn't simple idle curiosity.


I've been on an unofficial blog break, due to a major quandary about troublesome life events that I would love to blog about (which I regard as a form of exorcism, banishing various emotional boogeymen once I subject them to my mean-redneck cultural analysis and withering wit)... and yet, knowing that this might well come back to bite me in the ass. Especially where work is concerned. I have decided not to. Better safe than sorry, blah blah blah.

And so (as a similarly-catty consolation prize), here are links to the last two radio shows: September 28th and October 6th. Have a listen!

The amazing Albino Skunk Music Festival was a much-needed balm to my soul. And just in the nick of time!

Hope your weekend was as terrific as mine was.