Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Summer of Critters

    We have seen surprisingly few chipmunks this summer.  Surprising because we have several dry stacked rock wall on the property, and they make their dens/nest/home in these walls.  I think the cat next door has something to do with it. It is a very large and quite tenacious hunter.  I think the Basilisk has something to do with it, too.
     Basilisk?   a few weeks ago my daughter and youngest son called me to the garage to see the snake.  My expectation was another of the many slender, mild mannered garter snakes which also haunt the walls and gardens.  This was something else.  Slipping into the garage and trying to hide among the bicycle tires and rakes, was a very substantial snake.  At first I could not see the head, which made me quite cautious.  I am no herpetologist, so I could easily mistake a copperhead for a milk snake. My eldest son grabbed a stick for me, and I was able to coax this creature towards the garage entrance and driveway.  This animal was having none of it, however, and disappeared into a hole in the wall located behind the fire extinguisher.  I called it Nagini, and my daughter quickly pointed out that the basilisk was the snake in the walls at Hogwarts.  Silly me!
      I forgot to grab a camera, being more concerned at removing the snake from the garage (a detached garage, I am relieved to say).  However, earlier in the season we had the chance to watch and follow a large snapping turtle who traversed the side of our yard to get home.  We think, from the mud pattern on her shell, that she was laying her eggs. (If it was a boy - maybe it was staying cool?)  For this visitor, we did run to get the camera - plenty of time for that as she was slow and the side yard long and hilly. The turtle even got a name, "Snappy."

    Did I mention the garter snake who decided to come into the house?  This was a week or so after the Basilisk adventure.  It crawled in the back door where there is a gap at the bottom (have to fix that!) and curled around the point of an umbrella and under the shade of the rag towel that hangs by the door to dry off the dog if she's muddy.  This little guy just wanted a cool spot on one of the nasty hot days we'd been having, and it was easily convinced that staying inside with us would be much more trouble than it was worth!
     Add to this the new cat, the animals from the fair, and my daughter's foray into pet sitting and this has been quite an animal summer.    

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More advice for my daughter

  • Do not forget that everyone has their story. Take time to listen to others, even when you are bursting to talk
  • Smile at everyone, even someone who may not be your favorite person
  • Always call if you are going to be late
  • Never cancel a date at the last minute - unless it is a true emergency: this includes, death (yours or others), having a tire blow out, your car dying on the way  - you get the picture
  • Manners count - make sure yours are good ones
  • Include all the kids in the game - even those you don't know - you might make a new friend
  • Brush your teeth AND your tongue.  No one likes halitosis
  • Exercise is worth it
  • Grow things - vegetables, flowers, herbs on a window sill - green and growing things are good for the soul
  • Friends will come and go in this life, but your brothers are your brothers forever, and they love you
  • A piece of chocolate won't kill you, just don't over do it
  • You are never too old to kiss your parents goodnight
  • Go lightly on criticism and heavy on the praise
  • Take time to be quiet sometimes - your private thoughts are worth having
  • There is nothing you cannot tell Daddy or me, always feel free to talk