LUNA MOTH

I woke up this morning to find this beauty resting on my windowsill.

According to the National Audubon Society, even though they are fairly common over their geographic range, they are a rare find due to the fact that their lifespan is only about a week and they are nocturnal creatures. I am lucky to see one almost every year since my house is situated right in the middle of it’s favored habitat, the deciduous forest. They generally emerge from their egg in the morning and find a place to rest and hang through the day to allow its wings to inflate with its blood before flying off at night to seek a mate.  I guess this one felt my window was a perfect resting place.

An interesting fact is that because they only live for about 7 days, their only function is to procreate.  Therefore, they have no mouth or digestive organs.

I had to leave around 9am, but he was still here when I got home a little after 2pm.  (I say “he” because the male has fuller antennae and I don’t think they could get much bigger than this.)  Tippy did investigate, but she didn’t bother it.

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It almost looks like he is saying, “Help me!  Let me in!”

I cropped the picture so you can get a closer look at his underside. If you compare the antennae from this morning, you can tell that he filled out a lot during the day.

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From the other side

He’s an odd looking, fluffy creature that you want to hug and run away from all at once.  If you took away the wings, it would make a perfect urban legend monster.  Or maybe a mutant zombie Olaf?  What do you think it looks like?

 

 

 

TIPPY MADE ME DO IT

It was cold here today.  I’m sure not by some standards, but to me, it was cold.  Yesterday it got up to 50°F (10°C).  This morning it was 30°F (-1°C) and has gone down all day, with the wind blowing.  Big drops in temperatures in such a short time just makes it feel colder.

I got home from church, and my other Sunday activities, at about 2pm.  I was planning on spending the rest of the day inside, letting Tippy go out and run around on her own. But, she had other ideas.

She went out and stayed for about 10 minutes and wanted back in. After our afternoon nap, she wanted out again.  I let her, but she wanted back in shortly thereafter.  Then, she just sat and looked out the window, whining. I knew she was begging for me to go with her on a walk back in the hills.  (She could go by herself, but she doesn’t.  I guess she enjoys the company.)  I was bound and determined that I was NOT going to go out and walk a mile in those temperatures, so I told her if she went, she’d have to go by herself.  It was just too cold for me.

However, I had to go out later to turn the heat on in an outbuilding – something I had forgotten to do when I got home.  Tippy got so excited.  Jumping and running around like crazy.  She just knew her begging had worked I was going to go on our walk.  Since I’ve been working a lot lately and didn’t get to take her for a walk yesterday due to rain, I let her guilt me into it.  I came in, put on my long johns, wrapped up better, and off we went.  The temperature was 25°F, but the wind chill made it feel like 17°F (-4°C/-8°C).  And, I really do hate the wind when it’s cold.  I think it feels even colder than what the official “wind chill feel like” temperature is. It’s a good thing I love her so much!

After the fact, I’m glad we went. I really enjoyed watching her running and sniffing to her heart’s content.

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Thanks for bringing me back here, mom!
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Nose to the ground.

In a semi-unrelated matter, when I went to my neighbor’s house earlier, I saw these amazing ice formations on their porch.  Thought you might enjoy seeing them.

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Ice formations.

 

FIRST REAL SNOW OF THE SEASON

This morning we woke up to the first real snow of the season.  Since my driveway was slushy slick and the snow was still falling, I opted to stay at home today.  Tippy and I had a nice, relaxing morning.  She snoozed while I played on the computer and watched TV.

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Snoozing on her bed – sort of.

She isn’t supposed to get in this chair, but I had noticed the last week or so that she had been. I decided to just go ahead and cover it up and “allow” her to use it.  It hasn’t been sat in as much as the couch and love seat, so the cushion is a lot firmer.  I think that is why she likes it.

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This armrest is comfy.
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This chair is a lot more comfortable than the loveseat.

This afternoon, we decided to go for a walk. This was a wet snow that laid on everything, making a beautiful, peaceful, winter wonderland.

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This is my stab at taking an “artistic” picture.  The brown grass sticking up through the snow is pretty cool looking.

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Tippy and I are wishing you a safe, fun, and adventurous week ahead.

GREAT DAY FOR A WALK

Last week was a cold one, with lots of rain. One day it didn’t get above 32°F (0°C).  Today it was sunny with a high of 70°F (21°C).  Tippy and I enjoyed this unusually warm fall afternoon by taking a nice walk back in my neighbor’s fields.

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Gorgeous December Day

I’ve been working a lot lately, leaving before the sun comes up and getting home after dark.  I am fortunate that my mom and dad take Tippy for walks during the day, allowing her to run off some energy.  They don’t go as far as we did today, so I think she enjoyed the extra distance and different smells to explore.

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Having fun exploring.
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I think I smell a squirrel.

After our walk, we sat outside for a few minutes.  I was going to read, but Tippy had other ideas.

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My lapdog.

She did eventually get down so I got a little bit of reading in before we had to come inside.

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Thanks for the walk mom. It was great!

We hope you had a wonderful day, whatever the weather in your neck of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

SQUATTER FAMILY – IT HAPPENED

Last night, I went out on the porch, planning only to count the skunks and not take any pictures.  But, the squatters came out a little earlier than they had before, so I managed to get a couple of decent photos.  I didn’t get one of all of them because they spotted me and ran for safety.  At least you can see that the mother is almost pure white on the back.

This morning, I let Tippy outside around 8:15.  I heard her pounce on the walkway and bark.  I went to the window and saw her retreating around the corner.  About the same time the odor hit me.  I knew it had happened.  She had gotten sprayed!

I went out to make sure she was okay and found foamy slobbers in the garage floor and her licking her lips like you do when you have tasted something awful and are trying to get the taste out of your mouth.  Other than that, she seemed okay.  I got her a doggie cookie, thinking that might help. It didn’t hurt.

She was lucky that there was only a small slit between the boards.  She seemed to only get a glancing blow, and mostly on the right side of her face and ear. I got her shampoo, a rag, and a tub of water and went back out.  She usually balks at all attempts at a bath, but will tolerate it once I start.  Today, she came right to me. She must have understood that I was trying to make the smell go away.  The groomer who formulated this natural cedar shampoo said that it works great on skunk oil, to just be sure and put the shampoo on the affected area before wetting it so that it can contact the oil directly. I followed her directions and used the rag to give her head a good scrubbing and rinsing.  It seemed to work pretty good.

Since she had been foaming at the mouth, I did call her vet and talk to them.  They said to just keep an eye on her and as long as she was eating and didn’t throw up, she would be okay.  As you can see, she was fine.

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I’m okay, mom.

We took the trash off later in the morning, so she could enjoy a ride in the truck.  I did have an ulterior motive, however.  I wanted to get away from the constant odor that permeates the garage to see if I had gotten it all off of Tippy.  When she turned her head toward me, I would get a mild whiff.  So, when we got back from our ride, I gave her a good bath all over.  She was due one anyway.  She wasn’t as fond of that, but survived.  While she was damp, I put some baking soda on her ears and the side of her face.  I’m not sure which thing worked, but I don’t smell anything on her tonight.

I hate to do it, but until the squatter family is evicted, I am going to have to keep Tippy on leash when she is outside.  Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the babies follow mom and we can trap them.

SQUATTER FAMILY, TAKE 2

The saga continues.  The morning after I discovered the squatters were skunks, I called the Nuisance Wildlife Control man and told him what I had seen.  He said if the babies aren’t old enough to follow mom out to forage in the night that they will not come out and get in the traps. What does that mean?  We have to wait until they are bigger.  So, for now, we are stuck with a family that is refusing to follow the eviction notice Tippy and I have given them.

Since there was nothing in the traps, I sprung them so that we wouldn’t catch one of them and then be in a real pickle.

This week, Tippy and I have been trying to see if  we can tell how many skunks are actually living there so we will be sure we have them all once we can trap them.

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On the lookout for the emergence of the squatters.

One night I saw not one, but two adults.  I googled skunks and found out that the males have nothing to do with raising the young, but sometimes females will share a den.  So, I probably have not one, but two squatter families!  I tried to get a picture through the window, using a flash.  This was NOT the best idea I have ever had.

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Well, that didn’t work out as planned.

I did find out that it scares the adults, who came running back under the porch to protect their young.  They did emerge again, about 5 minutes later.  I tried to get a picture without the flash, but it didn’t turn out too well either.  If you look hard enough between the rails in the middle, you can see a white fuzzy spot that is the tail of a skunk.

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One of the skunks

Another night, I decided to be adventurous, and actually went out onto the porch to watch them come out, try to count them, and get a picture.  I saw only one adult, almost pure white, and six little ones.  Mom took them just into the edge of the woods and then back to the porch.  She left and went a different way, walking right past where I was standing.  (The porch at that point is about 5 feet off of the ground, so I wasn’t at her level.)  The babies ventured out into the edge of the woods again, and then ran back to the safety of the porch.  It was pretty cute, I have to admit.  The only picture I got was of the mom…but, as you can see, it isn’t very good either, even with editing.  Phone cameras are not the best for this scenario.  The skunk is about a quarter of the way down on the right hand side.

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That really is a white skunk, not just a blob.

In the meantime, Tippy is being very vigilant about keeping an eye, or nose, on them.

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She has also found out that she can get part of the way under the walkway.  She gets under there and barks.  I know she can’t see them from there, but I’ll bet the smell is a lot stronger, since that is where they come and go.  I know in my head that she is probably less likely to get sprayed from there than when she is barking right over the den opening, but, for some reason, it makes me more nervous.  If I find out she is there, I make her come out.

Then, I usually make her come in the house to take a break.  I don’t think she likes that, but she makes the best of a bad situation.

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If I HAVE to be inside, I might as well relax like a lady.

I plan to continue to try to count how many members of the squatter family (families) there are and hopefully get some better pictures.  Stay tuned. Fingers and paws crossed that no one gets sprayed.