Creature Feature, Late Summer Edition

Plus, a proper introduction.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve had a decent post, but let me tell you. It has been CRAZYINSANE around here. Emily had a birthday party over the weekend (more on that later) and started school today, and Neve starts kindergarten tomorrow (more on that later as well!)

But first things first. I like to keep y’all updated on my creature situation, since I like to spend a lot of time complaining about it. In fact whenever we are up north during the summer months I also like to remark frequently to anyone who’ll listen about the novelty of the lack of insidious spider webs and bug litter everywhere. Here it is a staple of the landscape. In New England it is, for the most part, wonderfully absent. BUt I digress. I am here to give you a sampling of the last few months worth of creatures from around the home. There’s been a dreadful lack of frogs and toads this year, I am afraid, but some other beasts of interest anyway.

Firstly I bring you Mr. Skink.

These little buggers are everywhere this year, and they are fast. And quite elusive. Took me forever to catch one on camera. We have one or eight that live under the siding around the garage door, and another family near the heat pumps. They’re pretty cool looking, they have neat bright blue tails (not so evident in this picture) and I hear they eat bugs like termites. Yay! GO skinks!

Then of course we have Mr. BigScarySpider. This is the one that was living in the air compressor shed out back and tried to pay me a visit while I was on the back deck grilling dinner. This is after he’s been shot with Brake Parts Cleaner (the best stuff for bugs, really. It kills almost immediately and completely evaporates so there is no residue. Plus since I live with a weekend mechanic there’s always tons on hand) and he’s been stepped on for good measure, but still you can see he’s an impressive size. I’d say about 4.5″ in diameter at least.

Speaking of creepy crawlies and Brake Parts Cleaner…….Paul used some on an attempted house guest one night. You see, he was sitting at his computer working into the wee hours when he heard someone rapping at the back door insistently as if to say Dude! Let me in! My ride broke down and I need to use your phone!!! When he went to the door he decided that this unlucky soul needed a good shot with the automotive miracle spray:

Dude – he fills up the entire bottom of a full sized Vitamin Water bottle. Word on the street is he was a dung beetle. Paul said he thought this guy was scarier than any spider due to the many tiny barbs on his many legs. But no….to me a beetle is just an ugly bug, no matter how big. A spider is still horror creature numero uno.

Of course all summer with the gardening I’ve had to deal with the random arachnids, stink bugs and caterpillars that took up residence in my vegetables, as well as the many bees that like the flowers, and most especially my sunflower, which is really starting to look impressive, and is probably about 8 feet tall now.

See that bee hanging out there? I got pretty close but he didn’t seem to mind. Whatever kind they are they’ve pretty much left me alone as long as I’ve left them alone.

We haven’t had a great number of birds this year, which I have found rather disappointing. I don’t know why – maybe I need to change up the food a bit. I do see a downy woodpecker or two fairly regularly though.

And once I bought the kind of suet that has meal worms in it, just to see what we’d get. And here’s the answer:

We had a lot of noisy blue jay action. And that suet was gone in no time at all. By and large however it seems that the moths outnumber the birds we’ve had hanging around. And many a morning we’ve had a luna moth or two stuck to the screens. Like this one in Emily’s hand:

Man those things are fat!!! But Emily loves them, and all other things furry as well. Which brings us now to our introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to Vicki the hamster (named after my mother, who bought the little furball for Emily).

She is totally sweet, uber soft, and always Cute Overload worthy.  And for Emily it has been a total love fest.

For the record, I’ve been referring to the hamster as “Squeakers McHamm-hamm” because since Vicki is my mother’s name there is just something really wrong about saying, “Hey, take Vicki – she just pooped in my hand”