Saturday, April 20, 2013

"What the, what the......?" Part One and Part Two

(Most of this post was written last July. I thought I had already posted it which is why the title is listed as Part One and Part Two.) 

Earlier today I found Cathy Jean stuck upright on her hind legs, one of her front legs stuck in a shrub. What the...? I wish I had a photo but I didn't think to take one until after I got her back on her four feet so instead, here's a picture of Michael Ray, trying to climb his way through the screen door and into the house.

It's 11:30 pm and the temperature is 93 degrees. Last week the weather was forecast to have a high temperature of 108 for just about every day, but today it was only 105....maybe 104. I drove home from work with the windows open, the air conditioning off. For some reason it didn't feel that bad......probably because there is no humidity (a nice side effect to being in a drought). Rie says I'm weather resistant because I don't get cold in the winter and apparently I don't get that hot in the summer too.

The turtles have been sort of getting used to this consistently hot weather too. Michael Ray has figured out that I am not always there to open the door when he feels the need to get into the house so now he waits until about 8 or 9 pm to stomp up the steps and bang at the back door. I can hear him from inside the house when he stomps up the steps (yes, he stomps). I let him in, go fetch his sister, and then put them in the bathroom on the cool tile floor beside the vent with the blasting cold air, and then it's pretty much a quiet night for all of us until the morning when Michael stomps to the back door to be let out to start another day.

Well, sort of. One thing stops, another thing starts.

Way in the back of the yard I have an old stone barbecue from the 40s and on that, I thought I would put my little seedlings there to be safe from turtle stomping. And they were.....until something else got in there and..........pulled out all the identification markers!

Most of the seeds I planted are wildflowers, some of which will not germinate for a year, so if any of them do come up, I will have no idea what they are. Errrrgh.

The work was done too carefully to blame on squirrels. Squirrels are pretty exuberant when it comes to that kind of stuff (although there was that day years ago when I looked up and saw three lemons arranged in a row on a tree branch far up in the elm...not sure who could do that but a squirrel...).

And for some reason whoever did this, left part of a rib bone planted in one of the six-packs....which looked sort of like one of the markers. What the...?

Rie says it sounds like raccoons. I agree. They are as thorough as turtles but a lot more careful with how they mess with things. When they were done removing ID markers from this area, they moved to other side of the yard and removed some of the markers from those plants too.

Baby possums have been busy in the backyard too.

Just taking it all in...

...and hopefully not learning anything. I have no idea what they've been witnessing but I wish I could have been up in the tree with them to see what the heck was going on below with those ID markers. And why. Why?

This morning I checked the seedlings out back. I had replaced the markers in the few plants I could still identify but...I have no idea what has or what will be growing in those unmarked little pots. This morning, all the markers had been pulled out again. All the markers in every plant in the yard. All of them. However, the rib bone that was mixed up with the flung ID markers was gone. I have no idea what transaction took place, or didn't. Did I let them down? Was my backyard raccoon amusement park worthy of the return trip?

This mystery happened about a week after the two bats tried to move into the house. I kept expecting more bats to fly in and stayed alert to any noise that didn't sound right. One night I heard something bashing into the skylight on my deck roof and was convinced the bats had returned but when I pointed my camera flash at the was just a Pandora Sphinx moth, a beautiful Pandora Sphinx moth flying and sounding like a bat. Whew.

Good to finally have that bat craziness over and done with but I was still vigilant about keeping the back door closed when I left the house or came back in..... or so I thought.

There is a cat named Pablo who is supposed to live two doors up from me...but he prefers to hang out on my deck...all day, all night, spring, summer, fall, winter. Whatever it takes to wear me down, it is his driven mission to move into the "House of Birds." Violet doesn't want that and I don't either but what we want does not matter. Pablo has patience and Pablo has strategies and Pablo has time.

One afternoon I walked into the house and found Pablo sitting smugly on the chair in front of my computer. He had made it in and looked like he had always lived in my house. What the...? Pablo got escorted right out...even though he tried to make some quick right and left turns. Out he went, door closed and locked.

I guess when Pablo snuck into the house, Eddie felt compelled to leave her cage and luckily launched onto something soft. She was just as pleased as Pablo with her newly found comfortable spot for hanging out.

Eddie got returned to her cage but when I walked back into the kitchen, sitting in the window on my lusterware bird salt and pepper shakers was a......real bird. What the.....?

A little sparrow just sitting there, just as pleased at where he had landed as Pablo and Eddie.

I have no idea how he got in but he had so much dust and crud wound around his legs, he could not get airborne....which makes me wonder how the heck did he get in? Through some portal in the wall? That will forever be another mystery for the month of July.

The sparrow got a good bath and then he was released outside where he flew away and I made sure no one else flew, walked, or stomped in.

I hadn't thought about all these things getting into the house last July until a week ago. Apparently there are other ways of getting into the house besides flying, walking, or stomping...

Things can hatch. I was getting ready for bed one night and found....a cicada loose in the bedroom. A live cicada. In April. April!??!! It's still cold, we still have frosts at night (and still opportunities for snow because this is one cold April) but there in my house (in April!) was a flying, screaming cicada. I'm guessing it crawled out of one of my snakeplants. And that guess got confirmed when I found the shell left after it had crossed the floor and pulled itself up my hatch near my hand if I had gone to bed earlier..... eeeeEEEeeeeEEEEeeeeEEEE!*

*that would be the sound of me, not the cicada

It's just one more "what the..." to add to the series of things getting into the house. I almost wrote "my" house but then changed my mind because at this point, is it really just my house? :-P

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's spring! It's snowing! Again!

A month ago I was thinking we were going to have an early spring (just from having to listen to Cathy Jean's hellbent focus on getting out of her tank every waking minute!) but then one morning, the outdoors looked like this...

But at least it sounded like spring. Despite the sudden twelve inches of snow (which was all the more dramatic because it did not melt away the next day), the outdoor birds continued to belt out their spring tunes.

I should have gotten a yardstick out to show off the depth. Those steps are mine. That trail crossing my tracks is what was left from a fleeing coontina customer. I know I shouldn't laugh, but it was kind of funny to watch that fleeing stray cat "swim" through all that snow to get away from me. No harm done. She was back the next morning for an early lunch.

But then, a couple days later, another foot of snow...

One foot of snow in Kansas City is dramatic enough...

...but another foot of snow just a couple days later?


And yet.....I was still confident there was going to be an early spring because the odd thing was, you could still hear those outdoor birds singing...lots and lots of earnest singing. You really couldn't hear anything else because the roads were unplowed, the car were buried under snow, and since the local news stations told everyone to stay indoors and off the roads, in my neighborhood (at least), they did. If you closed your eyes, it sounded like a spring day (without lawnmowers of course) just didn't look like one.

This is not my handprint from where I fell in the snow...

Those are little raccoon handprints. I haven't seen any raccoons in a while and it makes me happy to know that they're still out there waddling from somewhere to somewhere.

The snow started to melt but I was anxious to see more proof of spring besides listening to outdoor birds (and indoor turtles) so I dug down in the snow and.......voila! Daffodils!

There was one 84 degree day when most of the snow melted (most, not all...there were still huge banks of snow left from snowplowing that just sat there unchanged in size while people walked by in flipflops). I was still adamant about calling it an early spring though....and then after the vernal equinox, I was just as adamant about calling, spring.

But then, yesterday the snow business started up again... 

Robins puffed up while waiting it out...

And stayed puffed up while waiting it out the next morning...

Crazy. But then, every single season is different every single year...and every single season can be described as crazy. I guess for me, it doesn't have to look like spring for it to be spring. The calendar says it's spring, the turtles say it's spring, the birds outside are enthusiastic about everything that happens in the spring.....I'm just going to choose to ignore what I see out there and go with what I'm hearing. It's spring. It sounds like a North American jungle out there.

And I know, it's been a long, long, long time since I've posted anything on this blog. Do I have a reason for not writing anything in half a year.....or more? Mmm, not really. I wish I had a good story. I just don't. What I have been doing is knitting shawls like crazy and I'm still not quite sure what the story is behind that but I sure have a lot of them (fifteen so far!). One of my most recent ones seems pretty germane to this crazy confused spring and its constant but intermittent 1-2 feet snow...a shawl the color of sunshine. It will keep me warm until what is going on out there catches up with the calendar and decides to warm up....for a plural amount days!

To shamelessly quote Cathy Jean Law (Cathy Jean's "aunt")...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Michael Ray...

Caladiums before Michael Ray and his new found climbing and stomping skills:

Caladiums after Michael Ray used his new found climbing/stomping skills:

I am not going to post a picture of what he did just one day later. It's just so....... why do turtles have to be so darn thorough?

When I come home from work now, Michael Ray is at the back door pushing, pushing, pushing. Behind him are all sorts of plants that have been thrown over the deck or turned over or if they can't get turned over, he pulls himself up over the edge of the pots and plants his front feet in as far as they will go (I haven't seen this....yet......but I know what went on because of the deep "tracks" he leaves behind). I did remove a lot of plants from the deck but not all of them.....I thought some of them were in pots too tall for him to get to......I guess that's not a problem if a turtle also puts in an 8+ hour day.

I came home from work last Thursday to find that Michael had been busy rearranging furniture on the deck (a thing he loves to do when he sometimes finds himself loose in the house). The glider needed to be reset at an angle...

And here he is working on moving a storage bench to another angle...

He is a very busy turtle. This was his Friday project. Do I even need to make a comment here?

True. That old whiskey barrel was falling apart (that clay pot used to hold a horsetail which died when the barrel couldn't hold water anymore)...but only 2 or 3 of the staves had fallen off. Michael just finished the job. He also moved a couple trees in 5 gallon pots away from the fence so he could have his old route back.

It's hard to live with a turtle who is too hot. Michael can't put up with the heat. I'm kind of tired of putting up with him. What to do....what to do...

Turns out a fresh tomato or a plate of sliced strawberries is all a turtle needs to make him happy.

And that means happiness for me too because once Michael is full of tomatoes or strawberries or a slice of watermelon, he loses interest in climbing the deck steps for the rest of the day. We have finally worked things out. I hear him stomping up the deck steps and I race out with something red and delicious and life is back to normal.

For now.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Hatchdays

The always good and always sweet Starlinka turned 11 years old in June!

Stella turned 21 in April but unlike Adele, she's not going to make anyone cry about it.

And then there were the twins....the terrible, terrible, no longer teenager twins.

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Michael Ray and Cathy Jean may have turned 20 years old last month but they certainly didn't get any more mature.

Nonetheless, everyone had a happy hatchday...some just involved more cleanup afterwards than others. :-/