Whew! Hello all, sorry to be breezing in a bit late this week. I’ve had a very interesting and busy last couple of days. I’m so psyched up to tell you all about it! Ohmigod!

Put on your cheerleading pom-poms, kids—I’m feeling perky!

Okay, thing the first: progress on Steggy.

Steggy’s going just fine. I’ve now finished both the front and back body pieces, both back legs, the “head gusset” and started on front leg numero uno. As I’m looking at my ever increasing pile of dino pieces, I think I might start seaming as I go along. That probably will reduce the risk of me burying the whole thing in the backyard at the end (…dino? What dino?).

Anyway, that’s what it looks like right now—a pile of dino pieces. I hope to get some very exciting pictures of these pieces later in the week, so everybody can gaze upon them and think, “Yup. That’s a pile of dino pieces.”

Thing the second: garden!

Garden! Garden! Garden! Garden! Garden! Hooray!

You may have noticed in the tagline ^up there^ that it says, “yarn and sticks, flowers and dirt…” blah blah blah science stuff. So here’s the flowers and dirt contribution.

So we’re going to look at a few before and after shots (click to see larger pictures in flickr).

Come in!

garden gate

Here’s an overview of before:

big honking mess

Yikes!

After:

tomato bed done

Squash and okra bed before:

strawberry and squash bed before

and after:

okra and squash bed done

Beans! After (I forgot to take a before shot, but trust me it looked horrendous):

Kentucky wonder beans bed done

Perennial bed before:

perennial bed before

and after:

perennial bed done

Holy crap! It doesn’t really come through in the pictures, but my garden now looks A LOT better. I didn’t do much with it last year, because I thought I was going to be gone for the summer (I ended up not being gone, but by the time I found out it was too late to put anything in). So I neglected my poor garden, and the valley got pissed off decided to take it back. I put a lot of hours into reclaiming it, and I’m damn proud of it now. Of course, I realized as I was outside for so many hours over the weekend (I think it ended up being about 14 hours of work, all told) that I’m going to have to rip the whole thing out and redo my raised beds in the fall. Hey, I’m okay with that. I like redecorating. I’m thinking stone raised beds. Opinions?

Thing the third: the great animal kingdom.

I live in the woods. I mean really, in the woods. Here’s the view from our front porch: looking south (sorry for crappy picture—it was kinda dark),

porch view south

and looking north.

porch view north

Those woods on either side? State forest. My house lies between two of them—our property borders one state forest on one side, and I could throw a rock and hit another state forest on the other. So, it’s woodsy. As such, there are a lot of critters about, both furry and non-furry. Hell, the blub came home one day last summer to find a big honkin’ rattlesnake below our deck, but that’s another story. Anyway, having these animals around is something I’ve grown accustomed to, but this kinda takes the cake.

So first, a little background. Our cats come and go through a cat flap in the front of the house. Their food is kept about 15 feet from said door, which we keep filled for them to eat whenever they want to. Now, for the past 2 or 3 days, I’ve been coming downstairs in the morning to find all four cats mewing pitifully around empty food bowls. This is really weird because a) the bowls normally get filled right before we go to bed and b) there’s no way that they would eat that much in one night. So, I’ve been wondering what’s going on here. I got my answer Saturday night, about 11 pm.

As soon as I turned off the light upstairs, I heard several noises in quick succession: the “click” of the cat door, the clanging of the stainless steel food bowls, the growling of several cats, then a loud and angry hiss. “What the hell’s going on down there?” I yelled in my best white-trash mom voice, and turned on the light. I got out of bed and peered over the edge of the loft to see what was going on.

There was a raccoon standing in front of the cat door.

Did ya get that? There was a friggin raccoon IN MY HOUSE!

I shouted “Hey!” and it nipped neatly outside, like it did this all the time. By then, the blub had actually roused from his slumber, and he went groggily downstairs to check on the cats and look around. We decided to turn on a light downstairs (so the raccoon wouldn’t come back, cuz they’re nocturnal and don’t like lights—it made sense at the time, I swear), then the blub came back up and we waited.

Approximately three seconds is all it took for the raccoon to put his head back through the cat door. It looked me in the eye. I loudly clapped my hands. It pulled its head out, then poked it through again about a second later. It stared at me for a long moment, as if to see if I would actually come downstairs. Then I got really pissed and starting yelling and jumping up and down. I think I even threw something at it. It skedaddled outside again, where it hung out on the porch. It wouldn’t even go away when we went out there.

Brazen little fucker.

So, we brought all the cats inside and barred the cat door. We couldn’t think of anything else to do, really. After we went to bed again, I could hear the stupid thing banging and slamming and trying to get the door open. The next day Nels got a live trap and set it. The following morning: trap tripped, food gone, no raccoon. It was that way last night, too. The cats are going nuts, being kept in the house overnight. I barely got any sleep last night, because Oscar kept running up and down the ladder and jumping on my head, then on the floor again, then back on my head. Arrugh. Something needs to be done. But what? There, I have no idea. Anyone else?

Oy, sorry this post was so long. If you made it to the end, you deserve some kind of special reward.

…anybody want a pet raccoon?

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