MY 7-DWARF’S STRIKE AGAIN!

Short, squatty, dumpy, frumpy, snarky, gimpy, and yuck.  Yep, those little buggers in me are at it again.  First, it was the extreme heat that got them rumbling.  Then came the smoke from the Colorado fires.  Next was the smoke from the California fires.   Roll them all together, and my seven dwarfs strike again!

It’s been hard enough trying to keep the gardens going with the sun trying to bake them to a crisp, but the lack of rain has made it worse.  We are lucky and have our own well (we had it tested when we moved in – great water and a very full stash – yea!), but we still try to collect all the rainwater we can get our hands-on.  This year the tank fills have been few-and-far-between.

If you have been following me, you know I am an old-ish fart that has had too many major surgeries for such a young age.  Getting around now is nothing like getting around in my twenties.  Simple things like oh say, breathing, can be a challenge on a regular hot day.  Throw in smoke clouds so thick they block out the sun to an orange type of glow, and it becomes a battle.

Everything is being “spot” watered now.  I only use the sprinkler once a week in select areas.  The spot (hand) watering takes me about 3-4 times longer than my regular watering system.  The normal system takes me about 4-5 hours.  Currently, I start at about 5:00 a.m. and do not finish until around noon.  It is also hard on our well-pump, and that baby is only six years old.  I can feel her pain!

The final straw was this morning.  Working about my regular watering routine, I reached the greenhouse area.  We still don’t have a roof (thank you Colorado winds from hell, oh, and the tornado of 2018), but the plots are doing great.  This is the one place I actually laid out drip lines, AND THEY WORK!  I turn on the water line to this area, make sure my splitters are watering all my beautiful veggies first, and then proceed to wander the plot rows to see how everyone is doing. (Yes – every ”one” as I talk to them all just like I talk to humans.) 

I watch closely for anybody starting to turn color.  My method is to clear them out a bit so I can keep an eye on them every day.  When they get to just the right color, I nab them for our dinner table.  (If tons are coming in at once, they become canned, dried, or frozen foods)  I had a beauty of a tomato coming in.  Yesterday it was just about ready, but nope, I waited one more day.  I squatted down to pluck my perfect tomato (oh, by the way, it is about the size of a softball), and my fingers were covered in tomato guts-YUCK!!  DAMN MICE!!! 

We have farm cats all over the place, and I have yet to see them catch a single mouse.  The greenhouse is wide open, so they can come and go as they please.  They please to take a dump in there on occasion, but can’t seem to catch a mouse?  So, I wandered back to the house and got a trap.  It is set with peanut butter (favorite mouse food, in case you didn’t know) and sitting right now just under my poor beautiful tomato.  I swear, if I catch that stinking mouse, I will dangle it by the cat’s noses then feed it to the dogs! 

Maybe I need to buy some rubber snakes to set in my tomato bushes?  Then I can scare off the mice and myself when my old-ish age makes me forget that I placed them there.

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TIME TO BRING THEM BACK?

Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin in the 1960s was fun.  It was a ton of work, but I don’t remember thinking of it as work. I do remember the “special” things we did each week and other stuff just once every couple of months.

The weekly fun things were the Friday night trips to the grocery store with my dad, followed by a fun dinner (usually Dairy Queen-yum!).  Between my dad and my younger sister (his favorite by the way), it was always an enjoyable experience.  My sister did everything in her little power to make him laugh.  It was most times, her physically acting out.  Walking down the aisles as a mini-Hunchback dragging one arm and then talking to dad like the old movie icons: “Hey Roy (his name was Ray), can I hab dis?” Holding a chocolate bar in her hands.  He AWAYS gave into her!  I’m pretty sure it was mostly because she could make him laugh after a hard week at work.

The semi-monthly thing I remember was the outdoor movie theater.  Dad would make up a bunch of snacks (popcorn, mini-sandwiches, and cool-aid), so we never needed to buy stuff there.  Mom made sure we had blankets and pillows because we ALWAYS fell asleep before the movie ended. It was just us, our family, enjoying several hours together.  Yes, there are other families in cars around us, but we never knew they were there once the movie started.  We were in a world all our own!

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We would load ourselves and all of our supplies into the car, and away we went.  First stop was always the long line of anticipation – the drive-thru ticket taker (which NEVER seemed to move fast enough):

movie T ticket

The next phase was for all of us to scream at dad to “pick that spot, no – pick that one over there” to make sure we had the perfect place for all of us to witness the glory of the big screen (oh silly us – the area was designed so that every spot was for ideal viewing.).  Once found, the astounding addition of the speaker was added to the car.  It had to be hung on the partially rolled up window (oh – no electric windows for us back then) in just the right spot.  Several adjustments were made to position and sound for our absolute listening pleasure.

movie T speakers

There was the allure of the mystical Snack-Shack left hanging in the back of all the innocent child minds.  All cars had to pass it on the way in (bonus for the theater to entice the kids – sneaky!), thus urging everyone to run and purchase the necessary munchies and drinks BEFORE the previews started.  Get there fast.  Get there now.  Don’t interrupt the family movie night while the movie is running!

Our parents were brilliant!  They made the most of one of the cheapest, easiest ways to entertain the whole family:

  • We had food.
  • We had drinks.
  • We had blankets and pillows to keep us snug even on the coldest evenings (we NEVER turned on the car and wasted gas just to warm us up).
  • WE WERE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!!

The last statement was the best of all.  We were together as a family, and that was the best thing:

  • No one was calling on the phone (yes youngsters – we had phones that hung on the wall or sat on a stand. Oh, and they did NOT tell us who was calling, because there was no fancy answering machine, so we had to answer the phone.) to interrupt us.
  • No one was stopping over unannounced. (Actually, our family had tons of family get-togethers which include kids playing on the farm while adults talked, played poker, and gossiped.)
  • No one or nothing could stop us from being all together, and having fun as a family should.

So, AMC Theaters (or whichever indoor theaters might happen to read this), here’s a money-maker idea for you:

  1. BRING BACK THE DRIVE-IN’S:
    1. Make everything drive-thru:
      1. Take tickets like they used to right from the cars as they pull in.
      2. Create a drive-thru Snack-Shack. Have the snacks posted just like fast-food restaurants have today. Make them long enough and large enough that the whole family can read the menu on their way to put in the order.  They (through the speaker system, also just like modern fast food) state their order, pull forward to pay, and pick up the goodies.  All from the convenience (and distancing) of their vehicle!
      3. Now here is where you should spend some money: speaker or sound system. The old drive-in sound systems were large and clumsy and sometimes had static.  With our modern technology, you should be able to come up with a much better, lighter system.  Still make it hook into each vehicle for that personal family experience.  Maybe something wireless?
      4. One last update addition: A unique bathroom system. I’m not sure how to do this, but if you can figure out an automatic system that can tell how many people in vs. how many people out.  You could still have several stalls, but the structure would know to unlock the “in” door when someone used the “out” door.  You could hang plastic sheets along the waiting hall so that people would have to stand and wait between the layers.  Perhaps an overhead sterilizing spray would go off as the “out” door would open, and people would move up to next-in-line?

I know you all think I’m on crack or something after reading this idea – well, no, I don’t do drugs.  I just read an article about the fight between AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures because movies need to go out, even when the theaters have to be closed.  I understand and sympathize with both sides of the story, so I came up with this beautiful idea for them all to get along.

Theaters make money.

            Movie-maker companies make money.

                        Safe distancing protocols would still be maintained.

                                    FAMILIES HAVE A FANTASTIC TIME ALL TOGETHER!

I say we start throwing this idea out there and get it done!  BRING BACK THE DRIVE-INS!

Movie T end

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I SWEAR, SOMETHING’S LIVING IN THERE!

We recently lost the last of our chickens.  This is not something new, as farmers we know there will always be predators that attack all parts of a farm.

  • Prairie dogs making leg-breaking holes in animal pastures.
  • Gophers-from-hell eating the roots of our asparagus.
  • Snakes popping up when you least expect them (luckily, I only had a Rattler once -knock on wood!).
  • Skunks hiding in the cat barn to sleep with a warm, furry, bundle of cats and eat their food (yes, one of them crawled out from the cat bed box on a frigid winter day and scared the snot out of me. I calmly said: “Good Morning.” Then backed out of the barn rather fast.).
  • An opossum choosing to hang out in our barn to avoid bad storms (the little sucker hung around for over a week, and popped up in a variety of places.).

oppossum

I want to find out what monster is living in my chicken barn, but a big part of me is also afraid.  Just my luck, it will lunge at me when I discover it (eeek!!). My sister was so nice and brought up the option that it might be a badger – great?!?  Yes, we do have those out here, but we have not seen any on our property since we first bought the farm (2000).  We initially had one living on the side of the hill by the pond.  We left it alone, and it left us alone.  Roughly four years later, it disappeared.  We have not noticed any living signs on our property since (would like it to stay that way – mean critters!).

badger

During cold winter times, we purchase the critter foods and put them immediately into containers.  Then the empty bags are piled up until spring and then put into the trash.  We usually put bags into bags and simply leave them until the weather is warmer for dragging the empties to our trash.  Things have been so strange this year, that the bags have piled up.  My fear is my monster is hiding in that pile.

I have left the barn door open the last several nights (since the loss of our last chicken) in hopes that whatever got stuck in the barn has now made its way out.  Today is the day of discovery.  My task, since the winds-from-hell have subsided, is to get in there and pull everything out.  We stored large dog kennels, that we used for various reasons, in there.  I have peeked into those already and no monsters.  I do want to drag them out so I can get back in the corner behind them.   Wish me luck that all meanies are gone!

Here’s to spring cleaning – eeek!

spring cleaning

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SERIOUSLY? Don’t say you don’t have time!

If you have been following me at all, you know that I usually try to find the humor in everything.  I even share stories of my screw-ups (especially the really bad ones) because they often make me laugh at myself, so why not share.

The pandemic is all everything everywhere is talking about – ok, it’s big, it’s terrible, and it’s scary – we got it.  I have been checking for ways to best kill time during this yuckiness (yep – I created a new word, shame on me!).

I then realized it was:

Prepping our farm and garden equipment for start-up time again, otherwise known as spring.

spring prep 1  spring prep 2

(YES – this is what the big mower bed is – eeek – and YES – we do have a tiller this big -double eeek!)

They all got the end of season shut down method late last fall, so now its start-up time.  I ran everything that used gas out of it, so they all need refilling.  Oil check and fills, spark plugs, tires, etc.  All the usual routine stuff.  The thing I forgot about was my beautiful car (idiot me!).

Once again, my email buds at familyhandyman.com popped in to remind me of this:

13 Things You Should Never Do To Your Car

Rick Muscoplat

I am not a complete idiot when it comes to my vehicles.  I grew up around motorheads (thank you, Cousin Clay!) that ignited my love of cars.  But I have to say that #6 is a newbie for me.

handyman

If you don’t know squat about your vehicle, this is a great article to memorize, save, and do.  If you do know some stuff but may not know it all, check it out.  You have the time now; just do it!

My riding lawn mower has become my second-best friend next to my Subaru.  I used to have to mow everything (talking about more than five acres here) by push mower – ouch!  It is still best for getting up close around things, but for the majority, it is my rider, hands down!

When I am in my “mowing zen”:

  1. I have my cell phone on my favorite music.
  2. Earbuds (FYI this is the only time I wear buds – HATE THEM – would rather have headphones, but can’t listen as well when the mower is running) hooked to phone and in my ears.
  3. Noise-blocker headset over the buds on my ears.
  4. Sweatband on my forehead, so nothing gets into my eyes.
  5. Sunglasses (also note tons of sunscreen because I burn easy).
  6. Bug head mesh netting over the top of all of that (completely covers my face, head & neck against the monsters that arise when mowing – and my nemesis the Wasp!).
  7. Then my gardening hat (wide brim) on top of that. It has a drawcord so I can keep everything in place while mowing.

This may sound like overkill, but the gnats get into my ears, been stung by a Yellow Jacket on my face (2017-not a pretty sight!), and swallowed a few of God-knows-what because I like to sing as I mow.

rachel norm            Rachel wasp sting

(BEFORE………………AFTER – eeeek!!!!  Oh, and hurt like hell, but took out the wrinkles!)

I hope you will take a moment to send a little love to your vehicle.  It deserves it!

love your car

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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SHORT, SWEET, AND SIMPLE STUFF.

I have been watching the news WAY too much lately.  Our weather is at the point where I can step away from all the ugly, and look to the future.  No, this is not a Syfy article.  I am talking about simple things starting with gardening.

info overload(FYI click here:  How to Avoid Information Overload, it will take you to another friendly post. My favorite is #7.)

We always start some seeds inside – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers – things that will provide an abundance of food but may take a bit longer to produce it. I have come to trust my email newsletters, YouTube videos, and even some gardening supply websites for information like this one:

So, You Want to Start a Garden?

8 tips for planning and planting your first garden

By Kevin Espiritu

We haven’t purchased anything from them in a few years (no need, we have enough), but I am thrilled that I was smart enough to sign up for their awesome newsletter.  More and more posts, blogs, and email newsletters are turning to gardening as a way to destress from all of today’s scary stuff.  I am going to try to find the special ones that are designed for “first-timers,” people that are kind of new to gardening, and those that would just like to revisit a simpler time as a refresher.

simple gardener

I learned something from an IT Tech decades ago (yes, I am ancient and proud of it – stone-age computers were vicious monsters from hell, but I did learn not to be afraid of them.):

“There is nothing you can do, that I/we can’t fix.”

Silly man! It was my task at that job (middle of the night after everyone else went home; it was my unique task: 1. I knew so much about computers; 2. I was not afraid of them.) to purposely try to shut it all down.  It was a brand new computer system at a school for financial planning, and I got very good at my job.  Well, my words of encouragement to you are the same, “there is nothing you can do that we can’t fix.”

nothing you can do

Here are five of the ways I have been handling all the scare:

  • Pulling weeds: This is actually one of my most favorite ways to handle life whenever it is out of my control.  I rip them suckers out of the ground for about an hour and I feel great (pain)!  Physically and mentally exhausted to the point of merely just sitting back and enjoying my work.  It is very rewarding (pleasure), at the end of the day,  to see what I had accomplished.

  • Disconnect: This one is very hard for me.  I have forced myself to try to do two things better in this regard: 1) Share fun, funny, or inspirations stuff in the morning.  2) Only share ideas that are relevant to all of us helping each other or protecting ourselves better.  I have to be honest that the second one is much harder for me to maintain as there is just too much B.S. coming from our elected officials.  I try to stick to traceable facts.

disconnect 1

  • Read: I love to read, but most of my reads are how-to books (and ebooks).  Perhaps this is turning out to be a great thing.  I read up on how to do something and I just want to dive right into creating it.  Unfortunately, I do not always have the supplies that I need for the project, so I just bookmark (or lots of sticky notes) it for later and go on to the next.

bookworm

  • Craft: This is my most favorite thing to do.  I have several crafts I am into and find it not only distracting, but very relaxing, and once again it is great to see the end product of my hard work at the end of the day.

crazy crafter

  • Exercise: I am in no way an exercise nut. It’s just not in me.  We bought a stationary bike after my first knee surgery to make sure I keep them (both have had complete replacements) flexible and robust.  It turns out this was an excellent idea for all year around exercising.  The bike faces a large picture window where I can watch birds eat at a feeder, trees blowing in the wind, or a good thunderstorm.  It also faces toward the TV, so I can watch a movie or cartoons (my favorite) while I am peddling away.  I am very “mental” my head never stops thinking, so even regular exercising (like suntanning – could never to that either – just lay there?) never works for me.  I get to cheat at this step by taking lovely walks.  We have a small farm with lots of gardens and a greenhouse.  Just trolling around all of that really adds up the steps without having to think anything about it.  I have a great step-tracker on my phone, and as long as I keep it in my pocket, it will add it all up for me – no brainer!  (I use Pedometer Step Counter-free version – for my Android phone, however, there are tons of freebies to download to your own phone.  It only tracks my steps.)

stationary bike

I have been researching things that, my hope is, will make my life less complicated or stressful.  One last share for you is WorkFlowy.com. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!  It is free and so easy to use.  The best part is I create, add, delete my to-do list from anywhere at any time.  I built the original on the website (did I mention it is FREE), and then review, add, or remove as I accomplish my tasks.  No more carrying around (or abusing trees) pads of paper and losing pens. It’s all done technologically.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you to deal with all the scary stuff, even for just a little while.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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Cutting the Cord is Fun and Funny.

Those of you that do not know, “Cutting the Cord” is the term for getting rid of expensive cable T.V.  We did this a little over two years ago now and love every minute of it.

We spend our days mainly doing farm work, gardening, and crafting (for my sister is it baking more than crafting – that is where her O.C.D. stems), so when it comes to watching T.V., we don’t need a ton of junk we don’t watch.  The cost for all that junk just kept going up and up every year, and we said enough!

I decided to bring up this little post today because I happen to be watching one of my favorite movies:

OUTBREAK:     Outbreak

The next one I am watching is:

BIRD BOX:      Bird Box

Instead of cable (and it’s huge bill), we have freebies – Pluto and Tubi – and we decided to buy into Netflix (only $12.99 per month, we can live with that).  We bought into Amazon Prime ages ago for good shipping and deals (we do love to shop online), and as of last year, we have some great things to watch on there too.  We missed our British channels/shows, so we do spend $5.99 per month extra through Prime to watch what they call “Britbox.” This has all kinds of different T.V. series and movies you could normally (sometimes) catch on PBS or specials.  This last month we added Boomerang (also through Prime) for an extra $7.47 per month.  Now we are actually paying to watch what we want to watch without all the extra B.S. that we never watch.

The interesting thing I am trying to get to here is that the freebie channels load what they choose.  I am sure there is some method to their madness, but I have no clue what that may be.  I did find it funny that, with all the hype about the Coronavirus going around, Pluto chooses to feature the movie Outbreak.

I know that the Coronavirus is serious, but when is any type of flu not serious?  Every year we seem to go through some kind of major something – cold – flu – airborne something.  Maybe, it is because I am older and have been through a lot in my life, but I don’t panic on any of this anymore.  Every year we take the same precautions:

  • Get shots if available (my sister does, I do not because I had always gotten sicker when I did)
  • Wash hands constantly. This is just a standard procedure for us anymore.
  • We can’t afford to travel abroad, so then we just watch out for friends/family that do.
  • Knowledge is power – this is my biggie! The more we know about anything, the better prepared we are to handle it.

We don’t consider ourselves preppers, but we like to be prepared.  I don’t believe that you should ignore the required shots that our ancestors lived and died to develop for our protection and the protection of our young (hello California – mumps??  That had died out when I was a kid in the 1960s.).

Meales 1    Measles 2 (Measles)

Bird flu, swine flu, Asian Flu – hell, why not just call it “flu” because they are all the same basic stuff.  Yes, we need to know and understand where they originate so we can work to fight them, but they will always be a part of human life.  The grand delusions created in things like Star-Trek are wonderful, but so not in our cards (at least not for centuries yet.).

star trek shots

There will always be something, always be those to help fight it, sometimes a cure will be found, sometimes not.  I choose not to hide under a rock, and I choose to live my life as fully as possible.  I will continue to:

  • Garden
  • Craft
  • Knit and Crochet
  • Read
  • Write
  • Play
  • Sing
  • Paint and Draw
  • Above all, Live and Laugh.

I know that some people will watch Outbreak or Birdbox and freak out.  That is sad because they are just movies.  I think we would be closer to The Day After Tomorrow if anything were to change.  Once again, that is just my opinion.

So, in the meantime, I will continue to do the things that I enjoy.  I will continue to help those that I can.  I will continue to laugh, as often and as much, as possible.  Maybe it is just because I Partied like it’s 1999 – in 1999.  (Wow, what that a great New Year’s Eve party!)

party 1999 1   party 1999 2

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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I COME FROM A FAMILY OF BULLHEADS.

No, I am not talking about the fish (although they are one of my favs when they are in-season).  I am talking about being stubborn.  Stubborn to the point of sinking your heels into the dirt, and not giving up till hell freezes over.

bullhead fish

We finally had a couple of days of true February weather – but not enough.  This has brought out my bullhead side.  I am determined to have good gardens this year (not great, just good, and I will be happy) no matter what life throws at us.

I have given myself three main goals for this year:

  1. Continue to take my online learning classes and write more (and better, I hope).
  2. Get the gardens all back in order again.
  3. BE HAPPY.

I have a passion for a lot of things, crafting, writing, gardening, to name a few, but do not feel as if I am a professional at any one thing.  I hope that by the end of this year, I will feel like a pro at least one of my passions.

OCD crafting

The gardens have been a mess since the year of the fire (2014).  When the fire happened, I also had a severe infection in my left-hand index finger (from a cut on the job), which became Mersa.  In the course of taking care of the finger, my Surgeon discovered I have severe osteoarthritis (why is it never just “1” thing with me?).  The gardens got neglected because of all that mess, and my depression (yep that has been severe since the fire also) just took over and made me feel defeated before I even began on all our gardens.  Well, baby, my bullhead is back and in full force!

The last of my three is be happy, which has seemed to elude me.  I have moments of happiness, it’s just not been an on-going feeling of joy until now.  Not sure what has changed (except my new moon according to my Astrological sign), but I am feeling more empowered.  This is a great thing for me because it has been sorely missed over that last five years.

So, gardens beware!  I am on my bullheadedness (is this a word?) and plan on using it – grr!

HAPPY GARDENING!

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FYI:  One of the Bloggers I follow is called Better Hens & Gardens, and they have been kind enough to post an easy-to-understand article about the difference between seed types (Heirloom vs. GMO vs. GE, etc.), and I found it a great read to share – she here it is if you would like clear-cut information:

GARDEN SEEDS – GE, GMO, HEIRLOOM – WHAT’S IT MEAN?

I hope that if you are planning a garden this year for feeding your family, you will take a moment and read their helpful information.

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Where Have All My Birds Gone?

We received a really great bird feeder from my sister and her husband just before she passed away in 2018.  The ends sat empty until last Christmas.  I began placing hardened, spoiled, or just unwanted bread pieces in those ends.  My feathered friends went crazy over the bread bits.  It seems they love that even more than birdseed (which is in the center of the feeder).

our-bird-feeder-w-bread.jpg

I find great enjoyment in watching them messing around with the feeders.  Fighting over who gets what first.  Scrambling to catch the snippets that fall to the ground.  I have even noticed them watching me, watching them.  One little beauty even tried to come to me through the kitchen window one day (darted at me as if to come and visit several times before realizing there was glass between us.

I never cared for birds in cages (even at the zoo), they just do not seem happy in there to me.  But I do love watching them in the wild.  On an average day here on the plains of Colorado, I can view a variety of birds doing all kinds of things:

  • Hawks catching snakes and prairie dogs
  • Owls catching rabbits, and
  • All my little buddies in the front yard looking for food, water, or just playing around.

The only time I remember not seeing any birds is when it is a bad storm.  It makes sense as they would be seeking shelter just as we do.  However, today is a day with NO BIRDS and it is freaking me out.

ABSOLUTELY NO BIRDS – NO SONGS – NO SOUNDS – NOTHING?

This has never happened before.  Usually, they are in our front yard, back yard, near the barns looking for left-over scraps from the chickens, or down in the hollow making tons of noise.  Every day I spot at least one hawk circling around or at least testing their wings in the blowing winds.  Today is very quiet and calm outside and personally, I find it very unsettling.

My birds let me know how things are doing on an “earthly” level.  They and animals can sense changes in our environment, unlike we oblivious humans.  I would love to have their sense of changes in the earth, sky, seas, or any earthly shifts.  Since we humans do not have this amazing sense, I watch the critters constantly to try to judge what’s going on around me.  A day with no birds is scary, to say the least.  Today (date of posting this 1/9/20) is actually day-2 of no birds and it is starting to really creep me out!

I checked the weather channel and know that we have a storm coming in, but it is not even supposed to start until about 11:00 p.m. tonight – so where are they and why?

I guess I am just going to have to wing it (pun intended – sorry) and try to watch for other local signs of what’s up.  Please let me know (if you have a moment) where you live and how your birds are doing.  This really has me spooked.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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ALL RIGHT, What Are You Trying To Tell Me?

Apparently, I am going to have to have a talk with my house critters AGAIN!  I don’t know if it is because I am a farm girl, because I love critters, or because I instinctively watch nature, but something is trying to tell me something.

This time every year we get critters in the house:

  • Ladybugs
  • Spiders
  • Mice
  • An occasional snake (yep – actually the cat brought it in, but it was just a baby snake – eek!)

We know the routine of the mice (have not found their entry point yet – grr!), and traps work perfectly according to the barn cats (they get the snapped goodies).

cat w mouse

Ladybugs only come in every few years, and they usually bunch in the corner of the ceiling.  The weird part is they disappear after about a month, and not a single body is found anywhere in the house??  By the time they disappear, it is very cold and/or snowy outside, so I am sure they do not go back out – so where is their “panic” room? The issue this year is my spiders.

Now I really thought my spiders and I had a pretty good understanding:

“Stay on the ceiling, up out of reach, and you live.  Get down to my feet, and you die.”

Simple, easy to understand, a beneficial agreement that has been adhered to for almost a decade now.  At least that was until about October of this year.  I have been killing (just by stepping on) at least five spiders per week since about the first of October.  WHAT THE HECK??  They are in our home year-round but understand that their place is on the ceiling and up in the skylight.  Why are they all down at my feet?  Do they all have a death wish now?

Most of the above pics are small spiders.  The Garden (Orb – the one with the yellow stripe legs) spider is bigger and usually hangs out in the barn or greenhouse, basically an outside critter just like the Crab spider (the one with the pointy back that looks like a shell).  The other three, along with the Daddy Long Legs are found in our home.

I started this post in early October.  It is now the 20th of November, and I have still been finding at least 3-5 per week down at my level for a death sentence.  This one I almost stepped on BARE FOOTED this morning heading to the bathroom:

wind spider 11-20-19 (the front mandibles are barely visible but look for the darker brown tips to see how long they are)

I can’t stand these guys!  They are not native to Colorado and do not like the cold (it will die in the cold or, as I found, in too much water).  They are called Wind Scorpion Spiders, and we have been told that they most likely came in on military gear coming back from a very dry desert climate.  THEY DO NOT BITE HUMANS, which was the first thing we had looked into.  Never-the-less I just can’t stand looking at them.  This one is normal size – about the size of a half-dollar (that’s with leg and mandible reach).  I even prefer the garden spider to this thing, maybe because it does not look like a spider to me. (Got to tell you I am creeping myself out right now – yuck!!)

I have seen a Wolf spider too up-close and personal for my liking, so I know about them.  Black Widows were in the pine bushes in my home in Denver, so I know what they look like and where to watch for them.  I was bitten by a Brown Recluse, so I am extremely wary of them.  But none of those freak me out like the Wind Scorpion – not sure exactly why?

The simple fact is that too many spiders have shown up not just in the house, but specifically downstairs (my turf) and at my stomping level.  This is not the norm and not in our agreement!  I am pretty sure they are all trying to tell me something about the environment, but my spider-eeze is not working very well this year.

So, for now, I will continue my daily discussions with the general household insect staff about the house rules and how to avoid death.  I hope that they will all just settle down in the fact that I do not have their natural instincts regarding the ecosystem, I cannot speak their language, and I will have to deal with whatever good Ole Mom Nature decides to throw at us.  Wish me luck!

nice mom nature         grumpy me

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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EVER HEARD THE PHRASE “BUG UP YOUR BUTT?”

Living in any kind of space that promotes bugs is just asking for this, but I never EVER before thought it was a real thing.

Decades I have mumbled behind angry people that they have a “bug up their butt” and never thought twice about the phrase before yesterday.

I woke up and started my day as usual:

  • Coffee
  • Check email
  • Listen to news
  • Wash face, wake up, get dressed, and get going on the day.

During all of these starting moments, I comfortably stay in my PJ’s.  Once I have actually started to wake up, my next task is to get ready to greet the world (NEVER IN PJ’s).  So I wander down to my bedroom (yep, it’s on the lower level of the house, and it is below ground level very important to note this.), change out of my wonderfully friendly PJ’s and into my daily gotta-do-chores clothes.  Right now, because it is still very hot here, it is cut off shorts and a grubby tee-shirt.  Perfect for doing farm and garden work comfortably.  Off with the old, on with the new and back upstairs.

I decided that this mornings breakfast was going to be a sausage, egg, and cheese toasted English muffin.  I start with my plastic microwave container, open the fridge and place a small handful of shredded cheese into it.  Then I open the lower freezer and grab a frozen sausage patty and place it on top of the cheese.  Then I grab one egg, break it in a bowl, add a bit of milk and scrambled the snot out of it.  Once good and mutilated I pour that over the sausage/cheese stuff.

  • Cover with guard (because sometimes it will blow)
  • Set timer for 3 minutes
  • Head over to the toaster.

I grabbed my coffee (because we all know you can’t function without it in the morning – this morning being proof that I had not had enough yet.) and went to the bread box.  Opened it, pulled out a single English muffin, cut it in half, and plopped it into the toaster.

Now the fun part:

While listening to some great 70’s music going on in the office (where I check my daily mail), humming a bit, sniffing one of my fav smells of toasting bread,  and waiting for the ding from the microwave; I felt a poke in my left butt cheek.

Now, we have some tall nasty grass seeds out here.  Once the grasses get dried out, the seeds start to fly everywhere.  They also have a bad tendency to dig themselves (pointed end of course) into clothes.  Mostly my socks but I have found them in other places as well.  Most of my gardening is done with me sitting right on the ground (usually on my carpet pad), so it is not unusual for me to get an occasional grass seed stuck in my shorts and poking my butt.  I should have been so lucky this morning.

grass seed stuck in cloth

(you can see the darn things stuck in this cotton rag)

So I casually reach back to try to scratch the seed lose but low-and-behold it was a much large bump, AND IT MOVED??!!!  Immediate removal of shorts and underwear (just in case it was down at that level), followed by a ton of shaking and dancing about.  I should also know that the adrenaline was in DEFCON 9-million now.  I totally forgot about my breakfast and immediately went to hunting the predator in my pants.

jim-carrey-happy-dance

AH HA – A LARGE BLACK BEETLE IT IS!

lg black beetle

(This is a copy of one from the yard – they run in packs you know!)

By the time I turned back to stomp on the monster from my pants (Oh, a possible idea for a new scary movie?), the sucker had disappeared?

I spent the next hour scouring the kitchen floor (main reaction site) to no avail.  The monster got away – JUST GREAT.  I spent the whole rest of the day scratching my entire body afraid of finding some other unwanted critter.  Luckily nothing.

The rest of the day was nice and calm and off to bed as usual.

I woke up about 2 am feeling an urge for a bathroom visit and when I turned on the light, guess what crawled in under my bedroom door to greet me – UGH!!!

I got my slippers on ready to pounce on my attacker, and he disappeared again – GRR.

So, now I have to add another step to my daily routine – completely shake out, turn inside-out, shake again just incase on all clothes I decide to put on.  Next thing you know the sucker will find my bra and bite – jerks!

P.S. Hope this made you giggle as much as I still do, thinking about it all – and my you never think of the phrase “bug up your butt” the same way again.

(Oh, and I almost forgot the other fun thing from yesterday.  This sucker landed on my leg while I was weeding:

  3-in wasp 9-10-19

I caught this pic of it on the tree and thought it was scary/cool, till it landed on me then I cut it in half with my nippers – NOT taking any chances.  Found out is harmless to humans it is:   Pigeon Tremex Horntail and the Giant Ichneumon Wasp)