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 noise....it 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 bedspread...to 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

5 comments:

Leenie said...

If any one species is taken out of the mix the whole balance of Nature can be upset--except humans. Take people out and the world would keep on turning and be the better for it. Kinda makes me feel a little nonessential and expendable.

Creatures have their ways of letting us know that. Stealing our identification markers, crashing around in the houses we put in their way. Still they never stop to talk. Just lots of passive-aggressive stuff to let us know we're the visitors here.

Maria said...

Hiya Leenie! And as to your comment, I completely agree. I'm just always surprised at how bold and fearless they are even when they're just fooling around. All the plants I recently potted that I got from the Dept of Conservation have been squirrel-inspected as of yesterday.....so once again, the growing (???) season has officially started.

K Rooney said...

Love it. BTW, in my area little turtles are out and crossing the roads in April and May. I've already rescued two this year. I want you to know that as I pick them up and they are air swimming, I realize (thanks to Michael Ray and Cathy Jean) that they are not so much thankful for my efforts as tolerant. Haha!

Maria said...

K Rooney-Hahaha. I wouldn't be that generous with my description of them. Hahaha. It's nice that turtles somewhere are enjoying the outdoors. Michael Ray and Cathy Jean got to go out for one day and then....on Thursday night it started snowing. In May!!!!

Maria said...

Air swimming. Hahaha. I forgot to comment on that very accurate description. I can picture what they're doing exactly, their faces too. :-)