It is often said that your first impression is what you ought to go with when you are trying to figure something out. It has been an interesting endeavor talking with and emailing readers about the mysterious “mud balls” that are appearing daily in yards and gardens. Now, I think we know what they are.
According to an article in the kids’ section of last Sunday’s Washington Post, these mud balls are indeed made by the emerging cicadas. They are made by the cicada nymph after the bug reaches the surface and are called cicada huts. The article doesn’t say whether the cicadas stay in this hut, but it does say that the cicada stays underground until the temperature of the earth is 64 degrees, then they climb up the nearest tree to molt, or climb out of their shell.
So, as it turns out, my daughter was right. She said they were cicadas. And looking back on the article I wrote in April, that was my first guess, as well. With the ground temperatures rising, I suspect we are all going to see enough of these mud balls or cicada huts to last us another 17 years.
Last week I had the pleasure of spending a few days on the Atlantic shore with my son, Jason, and a couple of his closest friends. What a delight. We had gone with the idea of doing some surf fishing and catching a striped bass or two as they come out of the Chesapeake Bay and head north. “We” caught two stripers. Well, Jason caught them both.
The first one was on our first day there, late in the day, and it was too small to keep. After fishing hard all day Wednesday, Thursday and most of the day Friday, with nothing but clear nosed skate and puffer fish to show for it, Jason caught one more. And what a beauty it was. Forth-two inches of striped bass, caught in the surf. That, my friend, is fishing at its best.
It was a wonderful trip. I did a lot of sitting and playing guitar, and watched three young men fish and cook and have a good time. And, yes, you can eat the skates, they taste a lot like scallops, and even the puffer fish is pretty tasty, if you don’t eat the poison part. We had clam chowder one night from clams they harvested, and a crab feast another night from the crabs they caught. In addition to the spring garden, it was another good way to welcome summertime.