Cicadas at Bishop’s Ranch

“Gosh, it seems like the trees are vibrating” said a 3rd grader. Their hiking buddy said the sound was like tiny chainsaws revving. The Bishop’s Ranch staff was leading groups of Westside Elementary Students on a hike through Gina’s Orchard in mid-May and were impressed by the calls of the male Cicadas.
These insects are diminutive in size but mighty in sound and it is Cicada season here at the ranch. Eggs are laid in niches in tree bark and when hatched, the tiny larvae feeds on tree fluids and then falls to the ground where it burrows into the soil and feeds on roots for a couple of years. The tiny nymphs emerge from the earth and make their way up into trees and shrubs and shed their outer skins. Free of their old skins the wings are unfurled and filled with fluid and their adult skin hardens.
The sounds they make are largely attributed to the males and they are saying, “Don’t eat me!” “Honey come see me” and “I found the love of my life!” The male cicada makes the noise using “timbals” located at the base of his abdomen (see picture). He uses strong muscles attached to the timbals to make them vibrate rapidly, which creates the slightly electrical sounding hum. Females flick their wings to make a clicking sound in response.

By, Julie Miller, Guest Services

Photo by Mark Aanonsen

A poetic offering

This poem was offered in the latest issue of Coming Home. I thought it deserved a to be highlighted.

There Is a Field

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.


That field is simply known as the “Ball Field”, but don’t let that simple name fool you. This is a magical place, a “thin place”, as the Celts would say. Early, on a clear morning from its center you can watch the world wake up, come alive, as the deep purple of night gives way to the golden glow of first light. Signs of life grow exponentially as the sun breaks the horizon.

As day comes into full being a few or more children of all ages and a ball transforms the field. It comes alive and vibrates with energy in all directions. Everything in motion. The sound of voices full of energy ring out. And the games are played.

As evening approaches a hush comes over the field. The telescope is readied as darkness descends. That which was hidden by our Sun’s glare all day begins to show itself. With full darkness the Cosmos in all its glory reveals itself. There, before us is our Home, the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Rejoice and be glad in it, for this is what the Lord has made.

by Dickson Yeager, long time Ranch supporter and our guide to the night sky.

A Team Effort

Many mornings, I walk with our dog, Lucky, down to Westside Road to get the paper. On my trek I observe many of the great projects that our facilities and land team have accomplished along with the help of many volunteers and Americorps crews. [Read more…]

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