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Insects and Other “Pests” and the Human Ego

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This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Insect Alliance

I discovered what i am about to tell you purely by experience and the experience came purely out of a sort of non-decision. This may sound confusing but, hear me out.

For some reason, i am not sure if this is part of my karma or my genetic makeup or some weird internal leftover italian/chatholic guilt from my childhood or if it’s something else, but for some reason, i have a personal issue with the idea of harming other creatures. Of course non-intentionally we all cause harm to creatures including our fellow humans, but when given the opportunity to meditate on the subject i unequivocally choose an alternate route. Sometimes this is to my own chagrin.

I will start this story backwards, it starts with the near end, in the case of me packing and getting ready to leave the land for the winter. The day before i was going to leave L’isola, i thought i had pretty much had all my ducks in a row (so to speak). I put all of the left over dry foods in “mouse proof” bins and what little i had in my pantry box (that Jayden so graciously and wonderfully mouse proofed using only wood and ply wood) i figured to be safe.

I open my pantry box to make some breakfast, to my dismay…a mouse jumps out to escape.

This fact, although annoyed the crap out of me, showed me that the mouse didn’t have another way out, leading me to believe he got in while i was organizing the day before. Nevertheless, he wreaked havoc…destroying recipes i had written on cardboard, cheese cloth, bit open a bag of lentils, bitten several pieces of fruit and nibbled on the dark chocolate John gave me! For this i was peeved!

That morning, for the first time i thought to myself, “this cannot go on!…i will poison the mouse!” I made my breakfast, eating around the mouse bites in my fruit…i did some other chores on the farm and after some time had passed i had made mental plans with myself to go to the country store and see if they had some sort of mouse poison. If you know me, you would know that this is totally out of character. All of a sudden i felt like i was at war, not only “at” war but actually joining a force that had already existed…”the human army” that thinks they need to eliminate all “foes.”

When i first got to the farm, i didn’t even dream that i couldn’t just leave fruit in a bowl on a table. Back where i come from that is totally normal. I forgot i was living in “the wild” so to speak. My rude awakening came when two weeks in a row i found holes in my avacadoes that i then attributed to some sort of odd rotting process.

When i realized it was mice i did a lot to protect my food, but i also may have done what some other humans would call “silly things” i.e. leaving bits of food and edible things for the mice because i figured, they were my friends and they deserved to eat too…

We even adopted a pack rat friend who i then named “chester” though later we found out that chester is actually a female. The pack rat was discovered sometime in april i believe and it was when we had a rather impressive wood pile in the back of the kitchen. Every morning the wood was “disrupted” and large pieces were put over by the small pieces. It started as a mystery but then when we realized what it was we were all sorta dismayed at how this small creature could move all that wood in a night. Needless to say i gained respect for such a hardworking being and perhaps this is when the alliance began.

There was one night i set out a bowl of chickpeas to soak. The next morning half the bowl was missing. I thought i was going crazy because i remembered putting far more chickpeas in there. Then between our pallet floor i saw a pile of chickpeas!

It may have been around this point that our friend chester was becoming barred from our food supply. Though i admittedly still was purposely leaving little offerings to our friend.

Chester built nests every night and we destroyed them every morning. Until one point in july or august, while still choosing to reside in the kitchen, chester gave up on the nests. I forgot to mention, chester didn’t just build cute little wood nests. He would take ANYTHING that was laying around. Small glass containers, paint brushes, pens, oven mitts….you can’t even imagine the things we had found in there.

Chester even caused some unrest in the community dynamic because we would accuse each other of losing stuff around the kitchen…then find them later when we would clean under the pallets.

I digress…

So i trudged around the farm that day, thinking about going to the store to get the poison…After some time passed, i thought well maybe i don’t have to do that, i don’t want to kill anyone….maybe there’s got to be another way.

I knew i had run out of space in all of my mouse proof bins. And after the incident i realized that not even fabric was safe in plastic bags (after a pair of my socks were ravaged by a mouse). I had to get creative or else resort to death. Of course i chose life! i Figured out i can put things in those 5 gallon buckets and then cover them with the plywood we had laying around.  Voila! A way out!

So how does this relate to insects and the human ego? I guess you’re just going to have to wait to find out!

Stay tuned for the next post…

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