Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Fireball is in grade two now. Specifically for this age group (no idea why), they have an event in school known as the Yago Tori (ヤゴ取り/collecting dragonfly nymphs). The school usually clean their pool and get it ready in summer. Just before they emptied out the pool completely, the students were told to enter the shin-high swampy green water, to save as many dragonfly nymphs as possible.
I was totally fine about helping the dragonfly species, to do our bit by saving their young. But when we were given the option, whether or not to bring the nymphs home and babysit them till they morph into dragonflies, my answer was a quick “NO”. It was a noble thing but I am not a big fan of insects (other than ladybirds, bees, and butterflies, which I love to have in my garden). Dragonfly looks pretty cool but I can’t say the same about the nymphs, and I was told they are not easy to take care of. They are picky eaters who prefer their food to be alive so I will have to store live worms in my fridge (YUCK); they will die if water temperature is above 25°C, etc. Anyway, I heaved a sigh of relief when my seven-year-old agreed not to bring home any, since he is also not a big fan of insects, and neither are my cats.
The event was last Thursday. Most of his classmates bring home their catch and Fireball did not. WHEW! However, he was excited and told me he found nine dragonfly nymphs (including babies). I gave him a pat on the back and was so glad that the event was over. The next day, Fireball came back with our six-legged friends… (I think my furthest neighbour could hear me when I let out a really loud cry of “WHY”) :P
I was so afraid the YAGO would die in our care, so I was planning to release them in a nearby park on Saturday. As I lifted up our DIY container, trying to see our guests through the dirty water. One of the little fellow happened to be looking out. Our gazes locked and it struck me how pretty its eyes were. That moment, my heart of stone melted away. I can’t abandon them. So, I dragged my kids to the nearest home center, brought 2 kg of pebbles, 3 water hyacinth plants, and transformed an old cat little box into a container pond…
We drained out the dirty water to find our guests. Instead of nine, we could only see six of them but one was dead. There were no babies. I feared that they were probably eaten by the five survivors, given the fact that they weren’t fed for three days. Our little friends seemed to know that the makeshift pond was their new home, they were climbing into it without being told. :D
I did not have time to prep the water, so I used a method I learnt online: boil tap water for 2o minutes. It is the fastest way to remove chlorine but it will not remove chloramine. I let it cooled down and used it for the pond. In the afternoon, I bought a water conditioner from a pet shop (the one on the right is from Daiso) and a package of dry food for the dragonfly nymphs. According to the package, this is food for the YAGO too. I used a wooden chopstick to feed them, most of them run away, except one, it was holding on to the dry food and eating away.
I plan to find a long stick to put in the “pond” in case one of them is ready to morph. To be a good host family, we still have so much to learn. Do share, if you have the experience. I hope to see these little fellows all complete their nymphs stages and become fearless dragonflies. Gambatte, YAGO-chan! ♡♡♡♡♡