Articles

Little Grasshopper Houses

We all have childhood memories visiting us from time to time. We conduct our daily routines of life, and then out of nowhere, a flashback to a more simpler time and place pops into our head. Some of these visions are so clear it’s as if time has stood still just for a moment. Summer days, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the simple games filled with laughter and smiles. Games such as jump the brook, tag, and kickball were some of the favorites. A special occasion was never a requirement for fun, we only needed a few neighborhood kids or visiting cousins, and the laughter would begin. Picking flowers, chasing butterflies, or throwing a ball, making up our own songs to our favorite tunes, humming along while we washed the dishes, swept the floor, or folding towels. To kids today, some of these memories would sound boring or unfamiliar. But, it’s important to share our memories with the younger generation. By doing this, they can understand the differences between then and now, and it becomes a perfect concept linking past to present while preserving the good stuff.

It’s amazing what kids will get into if left alone to explore the backyard. For hours we amused ourselves and were never bored. One of the simplest things to do was making grasshopper houses. Mom taught us the basics and attached a life lesson with them. The category of grasshopper to us back in the day meant a nasty green bug with wings. Mom pointed out that bugs have families too, and wouldn’t it be nice to make a house for the grasshoppers? Long story short, hundreds of grasshopper houses lined the backyard for many summers. Mom’s lesson passed on to the next generation, and even more grasshopper houses appeared. The moral of the story is everyone deserves respect for who they are and what they represent. Our job is not only to respect this rule but to find a way to help one another. Even grasshoppers need a little help. What better way to do this than to construct a house for them?

A requirement is needed to build a proper grasshopper house, a tall weed with a budding cone on top. They were always in abundance in the backyard. A good bundle or handful is broken at ground level and bent into a triangle shape. Tie the roof with a couple of weeds and success. Place on the ground where grasshoppers are living and instantly improve the landscape.

After searching for hours, I finally discovered the actual name for the weed used for these houses. Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is the proper name and it grows throughout the United States. It is a common fibrous-rooted weed found in poorly managed turf grasses. That is the perfect description of my childhood backyard.

The grasshopper house is pictured in the center courtesy of Kimberly’s Garden

The summer days were the best, filled with sunshine, cool raindrops, and lots of ice-cold popsicles. Riding bikes, climbing trees, and finally catching a few lightning bugs. We would be so tired from all the fun and continued our laughter into the night. No cell phones, no internet, no video games, we had no idea what we were missing.

All of your memories are priceless, so be sure to share them with friends and family. It’s the best part of our personal history, and by sharing them, you preserve the past for the future.

2 replies »

  1. Love this post! Growing up, we entertained ourselves for hours on end. Climbed trees, rode bicycles, played dodge ball. In the summer we just ran wild having fun, went outside after breakfast, didn’t come back until lunchtime, and then left again until suppertime. After supper we played outside until dark. My next door neighbor kids weren’t even allowed back in their house on summer days.

    Liked by 1 person

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