About five or six years ago, the eleventh plague descended upon our little patch of real estate out here in the country. When it finally abated about three years ago, I would almost rank it up there with loss of the firstborn. Of course, I'm referencing the dreaded grasshopper.
Back then the little critters were voraciously eating everything, especially the line of photinias that separate us from the property to the north. Walking out to the road to get the morning paper became a forced march through enemy territory as scores of 'hoppers jumped toward you, some landing on your clothing and bare skin.
I simply don't know why God created them. They have caused billions of dollars in crop damage in the past 100 years; probably billions of drachmas back in Egyptian times, too, or whatever their currency was. They're ugly, too.
I scarcely noticed them this year until I finally got around to putting in a flower bed in front of our house. A couple of weeks ago, I planted 208 vinca and about 4 days later, word spread throughout the grasshopper community that dinner was served. So, with powers vested in me as commander-in-chief of my property, I've declared war. My first weapon was Howard Garrettesque - diotamacious earth...a powderly white substance that makes microscopic cuts in the skin of insects and vermin, thus killing them over the course of 3 or 4 days. I would head out to the garden in the heat of the day, a time that the hoppers like to spend sunning on the bricks next to the flowers. I got 'em good, too.
But now, reinforcements are arriving. Not content to let these fresh guys live more than a couple of hours, I'm blasting them with straight shots of insecticide. It may be a protracted war that I'm getting into. I can't let the enemy get the upper hand.
(Do you really think that Albert Schweitzer picked up every ant that got in his way? Neither do I.)