8.09.2008

it takes a village

ada in her natural habitat

one thing i never took into consideration when i moved from a third floor apartment to a house! with a yard! was all the wildlife. just this property alone seems to be home for a cornucopia of life, not all of it fun.

let's start with the mammals. we all know about the "not strong enough to carry my cat coyotes", but what about the playful fun loving family of raccoons? it is a mom and two babies, and were they not disease carrying, garbage eating vermin, you might think them the cutest things ever. the other night i actually saw one of the cubs roll onto it's back and play with cohen's small red ball in it's claws, much like a sea otter would, tossing it from claw to claw. of course the mother was busy digging up our lawn looking for grub and the other cub was digging in the vegetable garden, but that ball! so cute! to their benefit they have made themselves useful. it turns out that raccoons eat wasps nest, and since we ended up with one of those as well, they are taking care of the problem. i say taking instead of taken, as it seems to be an ongoing process, a quarter of the nest here, a quarter of the nest there. that nest is their big bag of doritos, they don't want to eat them all on one night for fear that the following night they will have a craving. i keep yelling out the front door "eat the whole bag!", i don't think they speak english though. i wonder if they speak cohen's language?

next up is our friendly neighbourhood skunk. he has a cold right now, or a scratchy throat at the very least, as i hear him under my window coughing and sneezing, but hopefully he will be back to his fun loving, hiding under the bush waiting to surprise me self soon. sometimes when i am sitting on the fronch porch reading he will walk right up the walkway and then stop and look me dead in the eye. i like to think he is being friendly, offering me a little company, but i suspect his motives are much more sinister, i mean he is a skunk after all.

then there is the rat. i only saw him once, but now i know he is out there and it worries me. it wasn't a mouse, it was like 7 or possibly 8 mice all crammed together into one large mouse with an exceptionally long and scaly tale. it was running along my back fence, a dash and a hop and it was gone. something tells me this won't be the end of it though.and finally, rounding out the list would be the ever present squirrels that live in the trees out front. cohen and i sit at the kitchen table and watch them in the mornings as we eat, "hello squirrel, nice day huh?" i say, cohen usually just waves. every once in awhile in the afternoons a neighbourhood cat comes around and sits at the bottom of the tree looking up at them, they twitch their tails and make strange squeaky noises, presumably their version of "@#!$ off!". the cats patience astounds me, this can sometimes go on for an hour or more. it must be really hungry. maybe next time i will throw him some treats while he waits.

other than the humans, the other big occupants of the place are the bugs and the spiders, since spiders aren't bugs after all. the list here could be quite extensive, so perhaps we should just keep it to the highlight reel, a best of if you will. first up would be the ants. after we had signed the lease, exchanged keys and envisioned ourselves living here, the owner casually mentioned that he gets ants in the summer, "it is only for a few months, they don't bite or anything". we both nodded and said it was no problem! we were drunk on new house possibility, we could see no bad. the thing is that i don't even mind ants really, i just didn't expect to see so many of them, crawling up the walls, walking away with my bread crumbs, and squished between cohen's finger. they have started to peter off now, and hopefully soon they will be gone, but wow, for awhile there it was much too much. i think if they come back around next year i may have to resort to more preventative measures, like a magnifying glass and the right ray of sun.

after we moved in and started to unpack i noticed some moth balls in the closet. i didn't know what they were at first, having never used them, and paid no attention. it was only after i noticed a hole in ada's shirt, and one rather large moth flew out of the drawer right into my face, that i was able to place the wooden balls. while i don't think we have an epidemic, i do think there is some cause for concern. when i grab the broom one flies out at me, at night they gather around the glow of the light. so many different kinds, fat ones, small ones, ones so big they force you to duck as they swoop by. galena has taken much pleasure in capturing and eating them though, the dust from their wings left on desks and tables, a reminder that she is good for something after all. even though they may make it possible to never buy cat food again, i think i would rather do without. those beady eyes and twitchy movements stress me out, a butterfly they are not.

last on the list would be the spiders, oh so many spiders. so far they are just the small ones, the ones you can squish with the tip of one finger, mostly without the need of a paper towel to wipe up the mess. i say mostly because there are a few rather large and meaty ones in certain parts of the basement, they stare at me as i do the laundry or grab something from the freezer. did i mention i don't like spiders? still, if they were to continue at this pace, i think i would be ok. i can look past the one that was sucking the blood out of the moth in it's web, or the small ones that live in the corner of the bedroom. what i can not look past are these, and i am afraid we are going to get them. i once lived in a basement suite not far from here, and we got them all the time. i would always be on watch, nervous as i moved from room to room, always checking the bed before getting in and the towel before drying (after finding one there as i was drying one morning). they sit in the corners of rooms and skutter across floors, too big to squish without mustering up the bravery of a thousand knights, but much too present to let go. this fall, if things get out of hand, i just might have to put an ad on craigslist, "wanted, one brave soul to be on call for my spider killing/relocating needs. experience not necessary. compensation is $5-$10 a spider, depending on size and location. arachnid sympathizers need not apply". do you think i would have any takers?

6 comments:

cheesefairy said...

I am trying to combat my own fear of spiders by explaining to toddler, "No, they're good, they eat the mosquitoes!" It's not working for me. I don't think he's buying it. Not fond of the skeeters, either, which we have, I suspect, because our gardeners (we're in a strata complex) are a bit fervent about watering and everything is *always* damp.

For moths, you can also put a bar of soap in with a drawer / bag of clothes. Seems to work for mine.

Mathias (and my entourage) said...

Mathias also likes to squish ants between his fingers. He also likes to step on them...it's amazing those little pinchers how they seem to be able to get them!He says "squish bug" and the word bug is low and drawn out, it sounds so funny!

libragal said...

yikes! your post has reminded me exactly why i choose to live in an attic - up high above the majority of creepy creatures!

i don't even want to look at the spider link you've posted for fear of what i might find there...

Klay said...

Get the sticky traps!

t said...

cheesefairy- thanks for the tip about the soap for the moths. i am going to try that right away. i really didn't want to have a house that smelled like mothballs, and was even considering just living with holes in the clothes to avoid it. hopefully soap does the trick

klay- i have thought of the sticky traps, but then they would be there, dead in the sticky stuff, and maybe there would end up being way more than i thought we had and it would creep me out even more, probably not though. i also found this and thought it looked interesting. hopefully i won't need anything!

Klay said...

I like the idea of catch and release but the spiders come inside for a reason so you might be seeing the same spider more than once.
There's always more than you think and that is totally creepy. I'd rather see them on the sticky trap than running across the bed - eek.
Good luck!