Adventures on Lilac Hill
by Anna Weaver

Chasing the Clouds Away
Chapter Three

Several weeks later Joseph dashed into the kitchen. "The seeds came! The seeds came!" he called as he plunked a box onto the kitchen table.

"Oh, goody! May we open the box?" wondered Daniel.

"Yes," Mother replied. "Let Joseph open the box while you get a pencil for me, please. You may get the packs out and hand them to me one at a time. I want to see if everything came. Joseph may put the seeds back into the box then," decided Mother.

"I'm glad we moved to the country. Now we can have a big garden. May I help plant the seeds? I'm eight years old now." Joseph stretched, standing as tall as he could.

Mother smiled. "Yes. I think eight years is old enough to help plant garden. Daniel may help, too," added Mother, seeing the pleading look in Daniel's eyes.

After comparing all the seeds with the order blank, Mother said, "Yes, everything came. Joseph, please put the box of seeds into the basement until Father says the weather is warm enough to plant."

"Could Daniel and I each have a little garden of our own?"

"Hmm, maybe you could. We'll have to ask Father about it. Of course, if it were your garden, you'd have to keep the weeds out," reminded Mother.

"Of course," Joseph nodded.

"What would you like to plant in your garden?" asked Mother.

"Onions!" replied Daniel promptly. "You know, the kind that have long green tops and long white stems that we eat with butter bread. Mmm." Daniel smacked his lips. "And carrots. I like carrots and radishes-little round red ones."

"That might be enough for a first garden," suggested Mother."Actually, Daniel, the white part of the onion is part of the leaves too, but it does look like the stem."

"I want beans in my garden, and lettuce and spinach," decided Joseph.

A while later, Daniel's truck stopped in front of Mother's ironing board. "Mother, will you tell me a story?" he pleaded.

Mother smiled. "So my little boy would like a story."

"Please." Daniel's dark eyes sparkled like black marbles.He loved stories.

"What shall the story be about?" asked Mother.

"Bugs," answered Daniel promptly. Bugs always fascinated him.

"What kind of a bug?" questioned Mother.

Daniel thought a bit. "That one, " he said pointing to a fly that had just whizzed by.

"That was a fly," Mother informed him.

Daniel nodded. "Tell me about it." Daniel wanted to know more about everything he could see.

"There are many different kinds of flies," began Mother. "In fact thee are thousands of different kinds of flies."

Joseph came running from the other room where he had been working on a puzzle. "Thousands!" he gasped.

"That's right," Mother replied.

"I'm going to swat that fly." Jospeph picked up the fly swatter and gave a swing at the fly. "Aw! It got away."

"There it is! Up on the ceiling." Daniel pointed. "How can it walk on the ceiling? Why doesn't it fall?" he asked.

"Each foot has two claws, and each claw has a sticky pad. A fly uses these pads to help it walk on the ceiling or wall. These sticky pads and the hairs on its legs are what tickles when a fly walks on your arm or leg. These parts easily carry germs too. Here, Joseph, let me try to swat the fly."

Mother waved the swatter at the fly on the ceiling. It flew down and landed on the table. Swat!

"There it is. Now tell me what you can see," suggested Mother.

"It has big brown eyes," remarked Daniel.

"Yes, they are called compound eyes. It also has three simple eyes on top of its head."

"Where?" asked Joseph. "I can't see any."

"No, they are so small you cannot see them. That is why it is so hard to catch a fly. It has eyes on top of its head, as well as on each side," explained Mother. "What else do you see?"

"What are those things in front of its head, like a butterfly has?" asked Joseph.

"Antennae," replied Mother.

"What are they for? I mean, what does it use them for?" wondered Joseph.

"A fly does not use its antennae only to feel as some insects do. It also uses them to smell. A fly can smell some things from a long distance," explained mother.

"Is that why there are always so many flies on the screen door whenever we bake cookies or make applesauce or things that smell good?" asked Joseph.

"Yes, they smell it and come to get some," agreed Mother.

"What else do you see?" probed Mother.

"A funny tongue," observed Daniel.

"Its tongue is a hollow tube. The fly uses this tube to suck up juices," Mother informed them.

"Flies sure are interesting," stated Daniel.

"Did you know that a fly only two weeks old can lay as many as one hundred to one hundred and fifty eggs?" Mother asked. "In one summer, one fly can have more babies than we could count."

"Really!" exclaimed Joseph. "No wonder there are so many flies. But, Mother, you said thee are many different kinds of flies. Can you tell us about some other kinds?"

"Oh, there are deer flies and black flies. These flies have a poisonous bite that gives an itchy welt, like a mosquito bite."

"I don't like basquitoes," Daniel said, shaking his head.

"Mosquitoes," corrected Mother kindly.

"Mm-mm-mosquitoes," repeated Daniel.

"That's right," encouraged Mother. "You want to learn to say your words right, don't you? Did you know mosquitoes are related to flies?"

"Hmm. I guess they would be. They can fly," remarked Joseph.

"March flies are tiny and are often seen in flower. They carry the pollen from the inside of one flower to another like bees do. Of course, thee is also the tiny red-eyed fruit fly," Mother went on.

"Oh, I've seen those, " said Joseph. "At Uncle Edwin's they were on the apples that were on the ground spoiling. Father said they were fruit flies."

"That's right. Fruit flies usually find the spoiling fruit. Now I must go get dinner." Mother folded up her ironing board and put it away.

Chapter 3 of Adventures on Lilac Hill
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