Every Seventeen Years

Seventeen years ago I did not even know my husband. I was living a very different life in a very different place. The place that I live now was entirely covered in trees. In those trees female cicadas were splitting twigs and laying eggs. Those eggs hatched, the larvae fell from the trees, and they buried themselves deep in the forest floor.

This weekend those cicadas once again dug through the soil and emerged above ground. They came through holes like the ones you can see here at my pinky and my wrist.

After coming above the ground they continue to climb the trees or other nearby plants. They shed their outer shell to reveal their adult forms. The shells stay behind.

They will live above ground for four to six weeks. You can hear them in the heat of the day; a low humming in the distance. Some say it sound like they are calling, "Pharaoh." They will mate, the adults will die and larvae will bury themselves for the next sixteen and a half years.

There are many "broods" of cicada (also called 17 year locust.) This is the year for the brood where I live, but different broods emerge at different times. The cicadas do pose a threat to trees, especially young trees. (Glad I didn't plant fruit trees this year!) Young trees should be protected with netting, or other cloth.

Reportedly, Cicadas taste very good. They have been compared to shrimp and crayfish. In my head eating them makes sense. Have you ever seen a whole shrimp? The really are not the most appealing thing, but my stomach can not get past the idea of eating something that looks like an overgrown horsefly. I've eaten a lot of things people may see as strange, but I draw the line at cicadas.

It is hard telling how life will be different the next time these insects make there appearance. In seventeen years I am sure to be a grandma. I hope to still be living here, but hopefully not in this house. Perhaps I will be adventurous enough to fix of dish of cicadas, but probably not. If there still is such a thing as a blog, and I'm still at it, I will be sure to tell you about it!

Cicada Resources
Cicada Mania
Cicada-Licious (recipes and information)

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Every Seventeen Years + wild foods