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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Now, before you run away gagging…let me just say that possum (or opossum to some of you) stew is one of the finer things in life. NOT! Ha. Gotcha! I can’t say that I’ve actually ever had possum stew, nor would I ever choose to do so. But here’s a good story and I had to lead up to it somehow…

The other evening whilst sitting on the couch I noticed a faint scratching noise that sounded like it was coming from the front windows in my living room. As I turned the volume down on the tv, sure enough, it WAS a scratching sound coming from underneath the windows. I looked outside but couldn’t see anything rustling in the bushes. I knocked on the window. Still nothing. So, because I am a big chicken and thought that it surely must be rat in my cellar (even though I have NEVER had a rat in my cellar), I went to bed without looking in the basement.

The next afternoon I heard the scratching again and because it was daylight, and knew the boogie monster wouldn’t get me if I went into the cellar at this time of day, I headed down with a flashlight. I went straight to where I had heard the noise the night before. You see, I have a set of basement windows right underneath the living room windows. These windows are ancient, dirty as hell and double paned. Not the double-paned as in the modern, two pieces of glass that are millimeters apart and make up one window –  but two separate windows that have approximately 3-1/2″ of space between them.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Something gray…and hairy…and breathing! Gah! I almost ran away screaming but my curiosity got the best of me. I approached slowly with the flashlight and as I got closer I realized it was a baby possum. Phew! I could barely see in the widows as they are covered in dirt. Very clever how they installed them so there is absolutely NO way to clean them. Anyway, as I inspected further I could see that next to the little possum was what used to be his/her sibling. Splayed out. Dead. With flies crawling all over it.

I ran back upstairs fretting about what to do. My child got wind of my anxiousness and asked what was wrong. I had to tell her. And then she started crying, insisting that we had to “SAVE” him “NOW”. Great.

I grabbed a hammer and headed outside to see if I could somehow break the window open without killing the poor thing. No luck. That glass would not budge. I couldn’t really take a good whack at it as I was afraid the hammer would end up in the possum’s skull. So, I called my Dad and he came to the rescue with his expert glass-breaking technique. We coaxed the little fella out with cat food. It leaned out of the window just enough to gobble up the food. I’m sure it wouldn’t move any further because we were all standing around gawking at it. My child, of course, thought it was cute and wanted to keep it. It started to show its teeth when we moved closer. My first inclination was to whack it with something. Nice. I just save the poor, starving animal and now I want to kill it.

possum

I have no idea how long it had been inbetween the windows. Long enough for two of his siblings to die. Yes, two! After he climbed out we saw that there was another dead baby – he had been sitting on it. Ick. So, now I have a broken basement window full of dead stank. I wonder how long it will take for the bodies to disintegrate, because I sure as hell am not going to touch that stuff! Can I interest anyone in some possum carcass for stew??

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Spring, glorious Spring! It’s finally here and I have spent the last few days outside. I even got all the patio furniture out and had coffee on the deck this morning…it was 75 degrees at 7:30 a.m. Unheard of around here. I can’t remember ever getting to sit on the deck this early in the year. Woo hoo! I love it. I love the blue skies…

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and the flowers. Ahhhhh!

Even the moss looks lush after all the winter drab…

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E wanted to know why I was on my knees taking a picture at the base of the tree. I said, “E, look at all this GREEN!”

The dogs are loving the sunshine.

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Now, if I could just get Ridley to stop barking at the new neighbor’s dog and cat. He spends hours just sitting and waiting for a peek at them.

The fresh air makes everyone tired.

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I’m a bad blogger. Bad. Bad. Bad. I’ve been neglecting my blog…but for good reasons. I’ve been bogged down with loads of crap as of late; some good, some bad…or rather, disappointing, disheartening and disturbing (you know, all the “d” words). All of which I will divulge in future posts. I also have a confession to make. I’ve been cheating on my blog. Yes, it’s true. I’ve been spending  much of my time over at Facebook. So, yeah. I’m a bad blogger. But, now that I’ve confessed I’m going to work on getting back into the groove.

I’m currently working on some posts and hope to be back in full force early in the new year. For now I’d like to leave you with some photos I took yesterday. We had high winds – some gusts reached 75 mph, and your’s truly risked life and limb to capture these shots. It was a gray, gloomy day but as soon as the sun peaked out I knew I had to grab my camera and head down to the lake. And when I got there. I was shocked. It was so very exciting, I felt like a National Geographic photographer, minus the fierce, wild animals. Foolishly, I forgot it was winter, neglected to wear a hat and gloves and nearly lost all my fingers to frostbite. I’m actually surprise that my little camera didn’t fly out of my hands with the wind as wicked as it was. Honestly, it was so crazy outside yesterday my adrenaline was pumping as I clicked away to get these photos:

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Wild and crazy, no? See ya’ll in a bit!

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The weather around here has been cuh-ray-zee lately. One moment the sun is shining, the next the sky opens up and dumps buckets on us. I don’t remember EVER noticing such amazing cloud formations in all my years. I keep wondering if I’ve just been too absorbed in my life to look up at the sky. Naw. Methinks there is some strange atmospheric phenomena taking place this summer causing such wondrous cloud formations. My enthrallment with the sky has forced me to snap nearly 200 pictures in the last week and I wanted to share some of them.

Crazy Clouds

Crazy Clouds

Seagulls just before the storm

Clouds/Seagulls

Sun Rays

Sun Rays

Storm coming from the east across the lake

Storm coming from the east across the lake

Magnificent

Magnificent

Clouds over the pier

Clouds over the pier

I narrowed it down to a few of my favorites seeing as most of you wouldn’t want to sit through scads of cloud photos. Or would you? I’m sure I’ll have more to come as I am just so enamoured and amazed with the sky as of late.

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I’m sitting on my deck innocently trying to catch up on my blog reading when all of a sudden I feel something on my foot. I writhe a bit and let out my typical I-can’t-get-this-off-of-my-body-soon-enough squeal as I swat whatever creature has decided to land on me away. But…oh no…this thing doesn’t move. BECAUSE it’s a huge frickin’ insect that has apparently attached itself to my foot with its sticky clawed legs. Ugh. Most of you are not aware that I am plagued by Insectus Giganticus Syndrome. I blogged about it last year here.

Now, I can handle bugs – most bugs, that is. I’ve lived in apartments above bars/restaurants before and was accustomed to having cockroaches crawl about my body whilst drunkenly passed out on my futon…and was also accustomed to watching said insects scurry in swarms down my drain when I turned on the kitchen light. No big deal.

Here’s the problem. I live in New York…not Florida, not Arizona…not in a state that is commonly known for LARGE, mutant insects. If a bug is larger than my thumb then there’s a problem. It should be living in another state. Not here.

So, when I go to swat this insect off of my foot and feel its sticky, squishy body, I, of course, investigate. To my shock and horror it is some horrific, prehistoric looking thing. It plays dead as I remove it from my foot.

It’s just nasty, nasty…would you want that mofo clinging to your foot? I think not.

The dogs hear me freaking out so they come to investigate.

Ridley starts salivating immediately (you can see little specks of dog spit on the deck) because he loves bugs and thinks he’s about to have a meal.

I love this photo – he thinks if he looks at it out of the corner of his eye the bug won’t notice him.

The dogs LOVE bugs. Ridley has been known to play with cicadas for hours and hours…just watching them flutter and hiss and spin. Ick. Gus, he likes the big, nasty scarab beetles that somehow find their way into my house. He got one last week and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why he was foaming at the mouth. My daughter yelled, “Oh no, he has rabies”. Um, no. Eventually, I found the culprit. Another fine black scarab specimen.

The first such scarab that we found in the house was captured, put in a jar and fondly named “Midnight”. My daughter insisted we keep him/her. I, of course, refused. We set it free in the back yard as she cried, “Goodbye, Midnight, I’ll miss you.” Goodbye is right. And don’t come back.

A few months later I stumbled upon an Oleander Hawk Moth. Now, the moth was not as bad. It was quite interesting and I even let the thing crawl around on my hand for a photo op.

THAT was a BIG frickin’ insect. Just look at the wing span!

And then there were the cicada killer wasps. *Gulp* I seriously thought that I had stepped into “Land of the Lost” when I walked into my kitchen one evening to find a wasp the size of a small bird swooping around the ceiling. My first instinct was to run like hell. But I was in my own home, where would I go?

Nope, that’s not my hand holding the nasty wasps…are you kidding? I will only go so far for the sake of a photo op…and holding giant wasps would be going too far for this damsel.

Now, I will say that I don’t really like to kill bees of any sort but the first time I encountered the cicada killer wasp I was so panicked that I grabbed a broom and a can of bug spray and shot the sucker out of the sky then beat it with a broom. I was literally shaking…and trying to figure out why my house had been selected for this mutant insect experiment conspiracy.

That was not the only cicada killer wasp incident. I still get them every so often. But at least now I know what they are so I stifle the scream and just deal with them.

The bug this evening was not that big compared to what I’ve witnessed in the past. It was just…nasty looking, plus it was crawling on my leg and it had no business doing that. Eeeewwww.

I let the pooches play with it – only because I wanted to get some interesting photos to share with you so you, too, can be creeped out. You’re welcome.

It didn’t flutter, didn’t hiss, didn’t flop about. It just played dead so they lost interest and I took a stick and swatted it into the yard. Ick. No more big bugs, please. I’d be very happy if I didn’t see another insectus giganticus this year.

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This is the view I woke up to this morning

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No need for words…

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