This morning I was clearing away the amaranth that had been such a treat to the bees last month. It had gone to seed and was no longer attractive to the bees, yet it was still green enough that I wasn’t tortured by the spikes that harden when it dries. Still, as I moved the “forest” aside, I realized that I was disturbing the ecosystem of a couple of friends. I encountered two praying mantises. I have been surprised to find praying mantises in my garden, especially since I live in the desert and I never saw them in my bay area garden. Mantises seem like they would enjoy a more humid, lush environment. In any case, I consider them to be very auspicious. I knew they eat insects, but I was surprised to learn that they also feed on small lizards and hummingbirds! I am actually hoping they might help maintain the grasshopper balance in my garden. I have been sporting a few very large grasshoppers lately. Further, I believe the grasshoppers may have been responsible for the decimation of a young patch of cucumbers plants.