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Pamela Loxley Drake grew up surrounded, and fascinated, by insects and arachnids of all shapes and sizes.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeThe newswoman gave her report on the much-talked-about infestation, "You probably won't know about stink bugs…"

Silly lady. Every farm kid knows about stink bugs.

Evidently, our stink bugs when I was growing up were either native or sneaked over on a boat way back in history, but any of us growing up on the farm knew that a stink bug was aptly named.

Farm kids aren't afraid of bugs. In fact, my dad taught me many lessons watching bugs

I watched dung beetles slowly roll the balls of manure down the back lane. Slow, but determined … as determined as the girl watching the bug.

I looked for tobacco hornworms hidden beneath the big, green leaves and loved stomping on them. For hours, I would gather the fat worms while the older family members suckered the tobacco plants. Much to my father's surprise, I saved them in the tobacco shed. At the end of the day, he found the shed crawling with worms. If you're gonna do a job, do it right!

Spiders lived happy lives without anyone disturbing their webs in the barn.

Bugs were just part of our rural community of critters. For the most part, they were ignored.

When fishing time rolled around, the night before we went, Dad watered the yard. The next morning, it was covered with fat earthworms and nightcrawlers. I got over the ick factor early in life.

The praying mantis and ladybugs are not only fascinating but devour nasty bugs. A Dad lesson.

We listened to the katydid and the crickets.

It was a treat to find a stick bug that was blending in the shrubs, looking like one more twig.

Praying mantis change colors according to the background hiding from their prey.

Flies and horseflies were just part of the pest of a farm. If you had animals, you had flies. Mom planted a fly swatter in my small hands and set me to fly eradication.

So many bugs.

From an early age, I learned about the cicada that, when matured, left shells clinging to the old mulberry tree. Dad carefully detached them from the tree then hooked them onto the shirt of his youngest. Treasures!

A praying mantis cocoon was often placed into a jar, so we could watch it hatch.

Sometimes he surprised us with a cecropia cocoon. Every day, I checked the cocoon kept in the backroom waiting for it to open. One day, the cocoon opened, and the moth as big as Dad's hand clung to the wall. He held the moth for us to see before he released it. Some were as large as a small bird.

Lessons were learned and my life made richer. Richer by looking at the world beneath the leaves. A heritage handed down from generations before me to, hopefully, generations after me.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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