Monday, July 22, 2013

Click! There He Goes!

There was a funny little bug trapped in the sink the other day. He was a tiny brown oblong beetle who apparently couldn't fly. He also wasn't able to get himself up the sides of the sink. He'd get halfway up, then slide back down. He circled the sink, exploring every inch of it, but everytime he got about 4 inches up the side, down he'd go again. But the best part was when he climbed halfway up, rolled down and landed on his back.

Now, I'm not saying that just because I'm cruel and like to watch bugs suffer. Not at all. I don't like to watch bugs suffer. Even the icky ones. I say that because it was very entertaining. Let me tell you why:

He didn't just wiggle, arch his back and flop over like some bugs. He also didn't just lay there and give up. So what did he do? He make a nice little click and popped up into the air about 6 inches. I saw him do it several times. It was very endearing.

And after a bit of research I discovered he was a click beetle. He can fly, but is apparently too lazy to do so, so instead he circles the sink for hours and days on end. And when he finds himself stranded on his back - CLICK! - there he goes! So cute!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Spider Smashing Stick

The other day I mentioned my contraption fence that I put around the tomato plants. I'm hopeful that it will keep the groundhogs out. But I know it won't keep the spiders out.

I know for a fact that the spiders like tomato cages. They can make some very elaborate webs in those things. And I'm sure that now that I have these tomato cages all clustered together it will create new opportunities for web building. For the sake of the anticipated tomato picking I left a path of sorts between the pots. I have to step over a pot here and there, but it's navigable. At least until the spiders get their webs strewn across the path with the hopes of catching me unprepared. I would make quite a meal.

So, I've got my spider beating stick at the ready. I plan to use it for sweeping webs out of the way, but if it comes down to it, I can use it for spider smashing too.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Munchin' on Tomatoes

I decided to be proactive. Not too long ago I mentioned that I have some tomato plants and that so far they are untouched by the groundhog family that lives in the yard. But I just know as soon as the tomatoes turn red, they will be fair game for the varmints. So, I got out my tools and my cable ties, chicken wire and fence bits and got to work. After a few scratches, a bit of sweat, a few mosquito bites and minimal swearing, I was done. Voila:

I checked and double checked and don't think the critters can get in. (Not easily anyway). My lettuce and tomatoes are safely wrapped in wire.

I know I'm being very optimistic. I know that critters are very resourceful, but I'm hopeful. However, I fully expect to go out onto the deck someday and find all 5 of the little buggers trapped INside the fencing, happily munching tomatoes.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Fuzzy Umbrella

The other day it was raining. But despite the rain, there were several squirrels on the deck with their faces in the birdseed. Every single squirrel had his tail up over his back and head like a fuzzy little umbrella. It was very cute! It was hard to get a good picture of it with the rain and all, but here's one of them:


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hansel! You Evil Little Kitty!

I have two seemingly unrelated subjects to discuss today. But at the end of this post you will see that although the topics seem unrelated, they will tie together nicely at the end. Just wait.

We have a freezer in the basement. We mostly use it to hold ice cream - lots and lots of ice cream. But it also holds the occasional loaf of bread, chunk of hamburger, bag of french fries, tub of homemade spaghetti sauce or unidentifiable frozen lump. It's one of those chest freezers so sometimes getting things out of the bottom can be a challenge, but for the most part we are very happy with it.

On to topic #2.

Sometimes I wonder exactly what the cat thinks of me. I grew up with dogs and with dogs you know where you stand. But with cats it's different. You can be petting her one minute as she rolls around and purrs and looks all happy and then the next minute she's shredding your hand like an industrial food processor going after a chunk of mozzarella cheese. She never comes when you call and when she even deigns to acknowledge that you spoke to her at all, it's to give you a disdainful look - 'yeah dumb-ass. I heard you'' and then she wanders away. She rarely seeks out affection, but will occasionally allow us to pet her if we do it right.

I get some satisfaction when little miss graceful races up the basement stairs for some catty purpose and trips over one of her many feet. She always tries to look like she either meant to do it, or pretends it never happened at all. But I know that under all that fur she is blushing like a mad-woman. And I will snicker and ask if she's OK in a sweet voice. She just prances on by.

Now this is where the two subjects come together.

I was in the basement the other day and I opened the freezer. Of course what I wanted was at the very bottom so I was digging down through the various boxes of ice cream with my head in the freezer and my rump in the air when she jumped up next to me to investigate. I glanced over and she was sniffing at the various boxes and bags and chunks of ice. So I went back to work digging through the contents.

Then, the next thing I know she's leapt to the top of the freezer door and with every muscle in her little kitty body she closed that freezer door right on me! And not only that, she then leapt onto my protruding rump and tried to shove me into the freezer! I actually felt her paws (and claws) as she launched herself off my lower back, shoving with all her evil kittiness.

All of a sudden I knew how she felt about me. I knew exactly how she felt about me. I am the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel. I am the crone who confines her in the house, not letting her outside to eat play with the birds and chipmunks. I am the prison guard who controls the food like a greedy hag - only doling out the gravy-soaked kitty chow when I feel like it.

And I had to be disposed of. Mwah ha ha ha.

Of course I shrieked and pulled myself out of the bowels of the freezer, thankful that my butt was big enough to anchor me to the ground outside the freezer, otherwise, where would I be then I ask you? Exactly, just like the witch, but frozen instead of cooked. "Hansel!" I shrieked. "I mean, Dutchess! You evil little kitty!"

But of course, she pretended that nothing had happened and that I imagined the whole thing. She sat and calmly cleaned her ears.

Let me tell you, I now watch my back very closely when I'm baking cookies.


Monday, July 1, 2013

And Time Slowed Down

So there I was, just sitting on the living room floor, minding my own business. I was surrounded by my recipe binders as I struggled to reorganize them. The cookie and dessert recipes were taking over and had busted out of their existing binders so it was time to do a bit of cleanup. But that's not what this long-winded, boring tale is about. It's about the the feathery-legged, squirming, skittering critter that appeared from under the couch and made a mad dash right toward me.

I was in no condition to move quickly. I was surrounded by recipes. I was sitting on the floor, legs splayed out awkwardly, recipes balanced on my shins and thighs. But even though I was in no condition to move quickly, the adrenaline must have kicked in because I did move quickly, perhaps  more quickly than I have ever moved in my life. I leapt to my feet in a single graceful movement, recipes flying around me like butterflies, or like blood geysers in a slow-motion Quentin Tarrantino scene. I danced across the carpet as the critter advanced, still making a beeline for me despite the flailing limbs and shrieking.

The entire world slowed down. The recipes continued their slow upward and outward flight. The hubby rose from his chair like a satiated lion slowly rising its head from the grasses of an African savannah to watch a passing gazelle. My hand slowly moved outward, pointing to the critter that now seemed to be advancing like a snail across the carpet in a world slowed down.

I pulled my foot back as if moving through molasses and the critter oozed over the vacant footprint where my foot has been moments before, carpet fibers still springing back as it crossed the depression.

I landed across the room in a crouch, knees bending to take the impact, arms outspread,every nerve tingling as if covered in thousands of centipedes. And as I landed, all at once the recipes fluttered to the rug, the hubby turned his head, the critter skittered beneath the couch and my shrieks echoed and reverberated off the walls, fading into silence. It was gone. Beneath the couch. There would be no finding it now.

But I'm sure it will show its face, and its legs again. When I least expect it I'm sure