Yesterday, I was digging a planting hole and dug up a big ugly thing the size of my thumb. It looked totally alien. After the initial shock, I realized it was a cicada larva. Threw a big leaf over it to keep it in the dark/moist, ran back to the house, called the kids to come out, and we inspected it. Amazing looking thing. I've found and collected the empty shells a number of times in the summer -- even DD2 said she's got a few of them in her collection LOL, but I've never seen a pre-emergent cicada before.
I took some photos, then dug a deep hole and stuck him back in. Then started another hole for my plant, and what do you know? I came across ANOTHER ONE! We looked that one over -- it was a little bit smaller and less developed than the first -- took more photos, then covered it up. Another hole... and ANOTHER cicada larva! By this time, I'm more frustrated that I can't get the darn flower planted. This one was about 1/2 the sized of the others and mostly white. OKAY, fine already, lesson over. I buried it without even taking a picture... which I regret now, of course. WHY couldn't they have been unearthed at once so I could've taken a picture of all of them side-by-side?
About 5:30~6AM, our cat Kiki was intently watching something out of DD1's window: there was a tiny black furball running around and around inside the (empty) Purple Dinosaur Pool. Realizing it was a mole, I rushed outside. (There was another mole squeaking somewhere back by the house) I was going to let the one in the pool go immediately, but realized the rare opportunity to observe a mole close up.
Ran inside, woke the kids, grabbed cameras, and we all rushed back outside. We took photos and videos. (I jokingly told them that the other mole is looking for this one: "Baby! Baby! Where are you!") After we watched it for a while and speculated that it HAD to have come in through the drain hole, though the construction of it made it impossible for it to go back out, I got a (mismatched) pair of leather gloves and prepared to pick it up. After a couple of futile attempts -- the little guy was FAST -- I told the kids that they could try touching it, which DD2 requested earlier and I said no -- hey, it was definitely NOT trying to bite and I was going to CATCH and HOLD it. So they each gently touched the mole, though DD1 said she couldn't feel it -- don't know if it was because she was TOO gentle or if the mole fur is THAT soft. Once I got it in my gloved hands, I tried to let it go -- it tried to run up my arm in panic! Tried again and successfully put it down by the patio where there is a mole run, into which it disappeared.
Interestingly, when we later walked by the end of the patio a mole ran out onto the cut grass, squeaked a couple of times (I shoo'd it back), and ran back into the tall grass -- DD1 said it came out to thank us.