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Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Hogweed 1

Hogweed in Northern Michigan

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”

– Henry David Thoreau

 

Oh how we rejoice in the beauty of nature!  And summertime in rural Virginia couldn’t be more invitingly lush and green.

Then my brother called from California to warn us about an invasive weed recently found in Virginia.

Beware HOGWEED!

It grows exceedingly tall and some might say, “pretty”,  but you don’t want to cut Hog Weed for indoor  arrangements.  Even if you just brush against as you pass by, your skin may suddenly become sunlight sensitive to the point of third degree burns!

And if you get some of the sap in your eyes, you could literally go permanently blind.

Read about Hogweed  here!  It is in a number of states now and Virginia is the latest.

Now if Hogweed wasn’t enough (and forgeddabout Stink Bug infestations) but have you ever heard of SLIME MOLD?

Slime Mold

Slime Mold – Nickname “Dog Vomit.” Ewwwwww!

This weekend I looked around the mulched beds in our front yard and saw a giant spread of a horrifyingly ugly mold.

It was a sickly white globby thing!

I expected it to ooze out bigger and bigger and to eventually smother every living thing in its path.  Yes, you would definitely see SLIME MOLD in a very scary horror movie.

I was terrified.  I didn’t want to touch it.  I didn’t want to move it.  “Well, maybe I will water it,” I thought.  A hard spray to the monolithic gooey mass created a copper colored cloud of deadly dust.

  • Am I inhaling this?
  • Will I die of an alien fungus and who would know?

My fearless friend Amy was here but even she was intimidated by the ugly slime.  She agreed to turn a pot over on it so we wouldn’t have to see it.  I had nightmares that night though.

  • What if it seeped out the sides of the upside-down pot?
  • What if it could figure out how to get inside the house?
  • There was a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage but the hole was now “up” and was I feeding The THING with oxygen and enabling it to grow?
  • Would it crawl out the drainage hole?

Thank Goodness for “Hey Google!”

Turns out that SLIME MOLD (affectionately nicknamed “DOG VOMIT”due to the similarity in appearance) is not dangerous to humans or pets or even plants if it doesn’t smother them with love.

Slime Mold is only horrifyingly ugly, which demonstrates that sometimes Mother Nature is indeed, benevolent and even compassionate.

Watering will cause Slime Mold to float around in the air (in that big copper cloud I unleashed) and spread (the result of my watering efforts).

And so my friends, my own personal ugly Slime Mold took up new residence on top of an Impatiens flower in the same bed.

According to my panicked research, the way to remove it (the Slime Thing) is to dig it up with a shovel, put it in a plastic bag (like you would dog doo) and discard the whole thing in the trash.

Bill grinned and bore it and just pitched the one celled organism into the woods where it will surely find some new decaying vegetation on which to build a life.  We are not killers after all.

Such are the gifts of nature to be found in the Virginia countryside!

I did see a mama turkey and her six young-uns running for the woods yesterday.  Maybe they heard about the Slime Mold Invasion.

So, what’s new in your neck-o-the-woods?

 

 

 

 

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Smashed Bird Feeder Courtesy of Bruno the Bear

We lived to tell the tale of Bruno the Bear.

Last night, if you may recall, I was cowering in the back room watching Bill try to defend our home from a very BIG bear!

Really.

I estimate Bruno was over 300 pounds!

I considered that our lives were in danger but in some ways the scene at the living room bay windows was hilarious.

Bruno was pacing back and forth and looking in at Bill.

Bill was growling very loudly and swearing at the bear.  He (Bill) was also waving his arms around and snarling and making monster faces. 

My HERO!

We had the lights on at the deck so I was able to see Bruno’s reaction.

He looked a bit irked.

I should have snapped a picture but was afraid it would irk him more.  It wouldn’t take much for him to lean on a window and enter the house!

Finally Bruno decided to leave (but momentarily forgot the way he had arrived).

I think the HUGE BIG BEAR stayed visiting us for about an hour.  Maybe it was less but it felt like an hour.

Actually, it felt like a few several hours and I got dressed while Bill was playing his monster roll (just in case we had to flee and stay at a motel for a few days).

Then it got quiet and stayed quiet, and we gave up and went to bed.   Bruno must have gone on to other things.

Let us hope it will remain quiet again tonight.

Bruno also left his mark by attacking a towel rack on our deck (now hanging askew).
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Do you suppose Bruno hates horses?  Why knock things awry like that anyway?

And a neighbor reported that he tore down a birdhouse with baby chicks in it but they are still alive!

Well, our trip to Washington, DC was fraught with tension due to the monstrous traffic.  But then we returned to the peace and quiet of the Virginia countryside only to find a monster in our midst.

I have to admit Bruno was kind of cute though.  Those little round bear ears and inquisitive face.

I hope, however, that he doesn’t mistake me for Goldilocks!

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As I write this, there is a great big Virginia black bear lounging on my deck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is 10 PM and we are at the end of a mild thunder storm.  I was sitting in the living room watching a weather program about surviving hurricanes when I heard sounds from the deck (right outside the window).

I turned on the outside light and there he is – Bruno!

He is, as I write this, ignoring the storm, but busily scratching himself and looking very content.

Bill went to check things out and said our bird feeder is now gone.  It was full of sunflower seeds.

That’s it for bird feeders!  If we survive, I will remove all feeders forever after!

Bill is spying on the bear now.  I wish I could take a picture but maybe the flash would agitate Bruno.

I am cowering in the back room wondering if we will survive the night.

To be continued.

 

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Camping

The problem with blogging is people begin to know all your weaknesses and character flaws.

Most cyberspace friends already know this country girl’slady’s flaws:

  • A devout shopper,
  • a worrier,
  • guilt ridden
  • a planner,
  • and a neat freak.

My hope is that all in all, you all (y’all in Virginia-ese) find these combined traits to be endearing.

But did you know that the BigFoot whiner was once an outdoorsy camping enthusiast?

Here are some FAQS you may have missed:

  • Once, at 3 AM, I threw an air mattress across the pup tent at my devoted spouse.

Why?

Because I kept sliding off and onto the cold lumpy ground.

  • And another time, I ran with a coat around my ankles to get back to the tent.

Why?

Because it was deer hunting season and it occurred to me that a beige suede coat whilst relieving oneself in the woods would conjure up images of a white-tailed deer!

  • And how about the time I had to wear a black patch over my eye to a party.  And it wasn’t Halloween and it wasn’t a costume to make me look like a Pirate either.

Why?

Because a giant gnat bit me near the eye and it swelled up to a frightening countenance.

  • And then there was the time we were six minutes into the Appalachian Trail.  Bravely carrying a 30 pound back pack I was moaning and lagging in line behind husband, our 8 year old son, and Tinker, the dog.  That’s when I sat down in the middle of the trail and cried.  

Why?

Because Y’All,

I hate camping!

More FAQs?

  • How about the tent that blew away?
  • Or having to sit under a tarp until a deluge of rain lets up?
  • Or trying to sleep listening to something or things crashing through the forest?
  • And wondering if we will be attacked by wolves or bears or angry deer.
  • Or being “Nose Cold” (and I don’t mean a head cold).  I mean a nose that’s almost frozen along with toes.

And now you have another character flaw to add to the list!

And Thank you Andrew for inspiring this post!

 

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The Barn Across the Hill

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Foggy Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia

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Great white flakes kept falling,

but our lights stayed on

and the roads remained clear.

It must be winter come calling

with her snowy advisory

for a merry time of year.

 

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