The magical Insect Inn that houses visitors to Oh Valley was due for some TLC -tender loving care. It was decided that the renovations could not wait until spring. The work needed to be done now, before the harsh winter set in, to ensure that all travelers could enjoy a “snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug” warmth during their stay.

The supervisor would be Grampa, an elder grasshopper, who had heard stories of the last time the Inn had been upgraded. He would have the best information and he would be aided on site by Buttercup due to all his knowledge from reading everything in sight. Buttercup had read up on the newest technologies in building and insulation and would be Grampa’s lead hand. Plans had been drawn up and approved and all the measurements and angles checked and re-checked to be sure there would be no wastage of time or materials. The construction would take place on the very next sunny day and ALL Fancifulls were eager to get the project underway. They wanted their visitors to be comfortable when they stayed at the Insect Inn.

The perfect day came, as pronounced by Belvedere, Oh Valley’s weather prognosticator and senior Bumble Bee. Fancifulls except Bizzy (Queen Bee) came out for the work party. Bizzy had a full brood of eggs to oversee. She also held back a few of her Drones Bees to help her too.

Darby, Dirk, Michelin, Leah, Dash, Driscoll, Baxter, Lily, Bianca, Dexter, Brighton, Delta, Lexie, Marcus, Dixie, Billy, Louie, Monday, – all Fancifulls lined up to help with collecting and transporting twigs and small stones.

The young grasshoppers, Gryffin, Gracie, Grommet, Gwen, Gabby, and Grady agreed that they would be on transport duty. They had all recently graduated and become qualified C.H.A.S.E (Catapulting for High Adventure and Sighting Exercises) specialists. They could now fly high and land with accuracy. Because of their size, they would carry the larger stones, twigs and all the mud required to the work site. Flutter and Fanny wanted to prove they could do the heavy lifting too so they were assigned loading detail at the river. As load masters, they would be loading mud onto the grasshoppers’ backs and ensuring each load was perfectly balanced to make it easier for the grasshoppers to fly.

Oh, you’re wondering how Thanksgiving Celebrations went? Phyllis brought some homemade “Gapple Glug,” a Malaysian Leaf Insect specialty that usually accompanies big parties in her homeland. All Fancifulls tried some. They found it went really well with Teddy’s “Snarlguk.” Before you could say, “Happy Thanksgiving!” all of Teddy’s Snarlguk was gone! If he could only remember who gave it to him. Do you remember? At the end of the evening, after another marathon game of Crokinole, that Bradley won again, everyone retired with full bellies to their homes or upstairs for the visiting guests.

The loads of mud brought from the Mighty Oh River by the team of grasshoppers was starting to pile up. It was time for Belvedere (Senior Bumble Bee), to step in with his secret formula to make it the best ADOBE mud ever. The formulation had his own secret ingredient, passed down from his ancestors, bees wax. All Fancifulls in the valley have seen Belvedere’s hive and wonder how it stays together so well. Even Baxter, his own nephew did not know the secret. Today, Belvedere has decided, is the day he passes on the family formula to his nephew to carry on the tradition of secure building. He taught him how to make honey mead for the Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s high time he learned how to mix mud too.

The dragonfly team lead by Darby, uses their keen eyesight and expert maneuvering skills, hovering and perfectly positioning twigs and stones to produce the strongest supports for the walls and roof. Grommet and Gryffin, after a short break are on duty again, using their weight to shove each twig into perfect alignment before the adobe can be packed in. They were even helped by a passing earth worm who said his name was Linear and he helped them mark a straight line to build to.

Linear helped ensure the foundation lines were straight.
He was about 16 inches long when he was fully stretched out!

Now, our movie star, Dinah, was a bit reluctant to get dirty at first. She was not liking the idea of messy, manual labour. She imagined she would sit back and watch but as soon as she saw all the fun everyone was having, she had to jump in too. Her life has completely changed since she moved to Oh Valley. What a wonderful place and wonderful Fancifulls!

With all the mud ready to mix, the Fancifulls rest and wait for Belvedere. This part is tricky. It depends on the temperature of the mud and the temperature of the air to know just how much bees wax should be added to make the adobe pliable. If too much is added, the structure will begin to melt on a hot summer day. Once he knows the temperatures and the volume of mud that will be mixed, Belvedere refers to his secret charts to be sure he mixes the right ratio. Then Belvedere and Baxter start blending in a secret amount of bees wax and stir until you can no longer see what has been added to the riverbed mud..

Now came the fun part, mixing the mud. All Fancifulls, including Dinah, were required for this task. She noticed that the mud was all squishy and smelled really good though she didn’t know why. (Secret Bees Wax). She even tested it on her face thinking it would be a good mud mask to help keep her youthful appearance. (You can take Dragonfly out of “The Hills” but you can’t take “The Hills” out of the Dragonfly.) 🙂

Now poor Dexter, He was really good at bringing in the stones. He would attach his suction cup to the larger ones and place them exactly where they’d benefit the structure most. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to mix the adobe very easily and had to call upon Darby, Gracie, and Dirk to rescue him as that same cup stuck into the mud and would not let go. After the three laughed at their mired friend for a few minutes, they lifted him out.

Lily, Bianca, Bradley and Lexie were very good at stamping the hardening mud in places between the twigs and stones. Their little legs allowed them to reach into crevases the other insects could not get to. Lily and Lexie could get their whole bodies in between the stones and press firmly to pack everything down and ensure the chill of winter stayed outside, where it belonged. The work was hard and monotonous but working with friends made the day go by quickly.

Miss Phyllis – School Teacher

By days end, everyone was exhausted. The job was done and by morning the renovations should be dry and the new rooms ready for occupancy. Gramps thanked everyone for all their hard work. Gracie and Gryffin’s teacher, Miss Phyllis came with more Gapple Glug and Teddy dropped by with Snarlguk he’d found hidden away for longer than he could remember. He didn’t recall putting it there. He could find no better friends to share it with. He would stay with Buttercup overnight and hoped to learn more about his own family. Teddy has met Calvin and was amazed to learn all the things Calvin told him about Caterpillars and Butterflies. He wanted to know what happened to Maeberry, his sister. Would Calvin’s Uncle Buttercup know? It was going to be a long night!

Axie, the Fancifulls and me hope that your home is ready for winter too and that you’ll be as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug once it arrives.

Sue Gibb