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All Creatures Great and Small

>> Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's been another Saturday for doing stuff around the house and garden.  No grand adventures to report, but plenty of creatures have livened up the day.

We started off the morning with a new friend hopping through the lawn:

Just look at that little frowny face!  And that little bowlegged squat!  How can anyone be in a bad mood while looking at a dense, hoppy, frowny, bumpy little toad?

I don't know how long he'll last, as anything that moves is a target for the cats, both my own and the local strays.  My Tucker took a long hard look at the fellow, and then pointedly ignored him, but I suspect he'd stoop so low as to chase a toad if he was in a frolicksome mood.

We plunked this guy (or gal) into the garden near the toad abode anyway, in hopes that s/he'll stay and snack on garden pests.

After going to the Regional Market for fresh eggs and meat, we stopped at a local garden store on our way home.  While looking for a red day lily variety that doesn't get too tall for the front of our house, we nearly stepped on this fine lady:

A nesting killdeer.  Isn't she magnificent?  I really was that close to her, too.  I do have the camera zoomed in all the way for this shot, but didn't crop it.  I was only a few feet from her.  She occasionally fluttered her wings as if we made her nervous, but she never did the broken wing walk that killdeer are famous for.  I have never been so close to a killdeer before, and had never noticed the amazing red ring around their eyes.  She was sitting on 4 beautiful speckled eggs.

The owners of the place had put a few plant pots around her so no one would accidentally step on her eggs, but they confessed that they are worried a cat will get the babies.  Given the oddly unprotected way killdeer build nests on the ground, I bet there are a whole lot of things that readily snack on the young.  How do any ever avoid death by cat, raccoon, blue jay, or any of the many other critters that would happily eat eggs or young?  Amazing that there are any killdeer at all.

The owners said they were vastly relived with her choice of nest location this year, as it's nestled in the gravel behind one of the greenhouses.  Apparently in years past they've had killdeer nest smack in the middle of the gravel driveway where the delivery trucks come in, and have had to put orange cones all around the spot so they wouldn't get driven over.

We had the chance to rescue a damsel in distress from one of the greenhouses, too.  This poor Red Admiral (actually I have no idea if it's male or female - how does one tell?) was frantically beating its wings against the sides of the greenhouse in a desperate bid to escape.  I gently corralled it out the front door, where it promptly landed on a nearby lilac and began to sip nectar.

Then, after dropping off plants at home we took the hounds for a play date.  The place we went to is a house we drive past every day on our commute, and have felt sorry for the poor house because it looked abandoned.  It turns out the owner is now trying to get it ready for sale and is selling the antiques that the house is chock full of.  When we stopped there on Friday to look at an old Morris chair she had out front, we met the owner's lovely Basset hound puppy, Lily.  Ain't she cute?

She's still all floppy in that deliciously uncoordinated puppy way.

Now, I'm no big fan of the Basset hound breed, and have vowed never to get any hound breed again after the nightmare that mine have proved to be with regard to house breaking and general willful, disobedient, irritating stubbornness.  I'm going back to good old SPCA-special, Heintz 57 mutts after these two.  But my hounds do love other Basset hounds, and there's something indescribably appealing about all the wrinkles and droops when you get a bunch of Basset hounds together.

Lily and my Lucy took to each other like a house afire.  There was lots of rollicking and wrestling and chewing and rolling about.  The experience gave me some hope that if, heaven forbid, something were to happen to Simon, we might be able to get Lucy to find a reason to keep living if we got her a puppy.  I just hope any puppy will do, and I won't have to get her another Basset hound...


Woodswoman Extraordinaire May 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM  
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