Water Workshop 1st Place
Beep, beep, beep. At 5:00 in the morning, the persistent beeping of the alarm clock awakened me from a deep sleep. Oh, yes! I suddenly remembered. This morning I had planned to start the Water Workshop contest.
I had invited Grandma to come with me, and soon we were walking across the field together, flashlights darting this way and that. As we neared the pond, an animal looked at us with shiny eyes, then quickly scampered away. The noise of the frogs drowned out all others.
As the sun began its trip into the sky, the frogs quieted down. Doves, cardinals, and Common Yellowthroats sang. A murder of crows cawed. Two Great Blue Herons croaked as they flew overhead. A turkey gobbled. Two water snakes glided across the pond, and a deer snorted somewhere in the woods.
There was just mowed pasture where the woods is now when my Grandpa bought it about fifty years ago. He later sold the land to my parents. The house and barn were built in 1912, so the pond itself is probably one hundred years old or more. It was built to water cattle. I wonder if they built it by hand. I don’t see how else they could have made it. It is not much more than an oversized mud puddle right now, but animals still come to drink. Deer and raccoon tracks cover the bank.
The next day, I decided to see what I could find in the water. By this time, I was almost discouraged. What could you find in an oversized mud puddle without any fish in it? But by the time I got back, I had started to change my mind. Baby crawdads without pinchers, Kirby’s backswimmers, and many other small bugs and animals waited for me to examine them in small dishes. I had even caught two baby salamanders that looked like tadpoles with feathery gills! How I wished I had a microscope! Imagine everything I could see in that water! I decided to go back and get more bugs.
That time my sister Anne and the twins went along. We waded in, and I scraped the net through the weeds. I got something! Probably just another net full of bugs. As I peeked into the net, a crawdad waved his pinchers at me.
“Wow,” I almost shouted. “A full-grown crawdad!”
The next scoop had…bullfrog tadpoles! I could make an aquarium and feed them cornstarch like we did last year. I carefully scooped one out.
“Ouch!” I suddenly shouted, shaking the tadpole wildly back into the net. “Something bit me. It felt like a bee sting!” I dumped that scoop into a separate jug to find out what bit me.
“The best way to find out is to pick each one up,” said Mom, back home.
“No way! Not me!”
“I will,” Anne offered. Carefully she picked each one up, and none bit, even though the insect guide said that water scorpions can. Anne kept poking around in the dish.
“Oh, look!” she suddenly shouted. “There’s a bug in this hollow weed!” Sure enough. We identified it as a caddisfly larva. It had made that tube.
“Yup,” Anne said, “it bites, but not hard.”
I wasn’t sure if I should believe her or not. It surely hurt when it bit me!
And although the next few days passed without much excitement, only a few tadpoles and bugs, I think I had enough excitement!