Being on the farm is one of the highlights in my life. We are so blessed to have the stretch of land where our cows roam at their leisure. While on the farm, my husband and I have a long to-do list that keeps us entertained, but the kids sometimes struggle to keep engaged. Now don't get me wrong, my kiddos have their share of jobs to do around the farm. From unloading and loading small supplies, picking up the barn, and being handy, helping errand runners, my children have plenty to keep them engaged. But there is something different about a job that includes childlike entertainment built into the task. Catching grasshoppers for the chickens is such a task.
As the days get longer and the heat increases, so do the endless numbers of summer grasshoppers. Just walking a small jaunt across the cattle corral will send hundreds of green and yellow critters hopping, and, yes, flying about in every direction. A challenge as simple as, "I bet you can't catch a grasshopper," can keep the kids busy for hours. One of the challenges for grasshopper hunting is the container to keep them in. We have used empty water bottles, a cricket holder, and any other bowl or bottle that will keep them somewhat contained. The problem with these containers is that no true volume of grasshopper can be contained. They either don't have air holes or the opening is too big and escape is very easy for the critters.
The other day we discovered the best grasshopper holder ever, and all we had to do was recycle and re-purpose a Parmesan cheese container. The lid has two openings, which are very helpful. The side for shaking is perfect built in air holes and the side for spoon access is a great space to put in or take out grasshoppers with ease.
Catching grasshoppers not only give us entertainment at the farm, but also leads to a great treat for the chickens as well. When we are back at the house, the chickens are let out in the yard for a great grasshopper chase. I don't mean that they chase down the grasshoppers, because my kids hand feed them to the chickens. But as soon as one chicken has a grasshopper there are three more chickens trying to take it away. My kids giggle while watching the chickens do the grasshopper dance. As soon as it has been eaten, here comes another one and the music begins.