Slug Patrol

I despise creepy, crawly, slimy things that lie about in their own goo which is why I really hate slugs.  Well… that and the fact those greasy little lumps of flesh can consume forty times their weight in food overnight.  This year they’re well on their way to turning our backyard paradise into a wasteland.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

We’ve had so much rain that those slippery suckers have become amazingly audacious; they aren’t even trying to hide anymore.  (See exhibit A.) They ate all my basil, put holes in my hostas, chewed my begonias and have started chowing down on my parsley.

Every morning and evening I go on slug patrol.   I pick the ooey-gooey creatures off the plants, take them across the road and pitch them as far down the hill as I can get them.  As you can imagine, this is time consuming and very annoying.

I’ve tried every non-violent way humanly possible to rid the yard of those pests, but my slugs are extremely talented and have even managed to find their way around copper flashing.  I can’t bring myself to squish them, or use salt or pesticides on them because that just seems cruel.

However, out of sheer desperation, I may soon consider offering them beer if they’re determined to keep up their sluggish tomfoolery.  I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, if I were a slug, that’s the way I’d want to go…drunk as a pirate on my way to Davey Jone’s locker.  Hey, it’s preferable to being eaten by a snake.

Writer’s Word of the Week – Furciferous!

Their answers to the question:  Whose idea was this anyway?

Their answers to the question: Whose idea was this anyway?

It’s ninety degree weather and the last thing I needed to do today was chase Mr. Ninnyhammer (a.k.a. Rupert) and Miss Flibbertigibbet (a.k.a. Winnie) around the hot and very humid neighborhood.

If my dogs weren’t such FURCIFEROUS (rascally, scandalous) little scoundrels I’d let them enjoy their merry romps off leash through the community now and then, but they’re not to be trusted.

I knew they’d escaped when I heard them antagonizing our neighbor’s hens into a frenzied cackling fit.  I jetted outside and followed the hoodlums about demanding that they return home “this instant” while apologizing to numerous neighbors along the way for their shameless doggy shenanigans.

I tried to entice them to come home with hotdogs, but being the culinary connoisseurs that they are, they were too busy helping themselves to a delicious selection from a rank compost pile and strewing their leftover tidbits from one yard to the next.  I finally got my hands on the two nincompoops after they decided to chase a cat into an alley for a little tete-a-tete.

I’m presently lying on the floor panting from heat exhaustion, thinking that I should have let the cat trounce them, while they’re busily slopping water all over the kitchen like it’s their job.

They’re lucky that they are so adorable and that I only have the strength to move my fingers at the moment or I’d banish their hindends to their crates so they could think about their criminal activity.  Besides, incarcerating the little rascals has proven less than effective in the past and I am highly suspicious that they use those timeouts to plan their next great escape anyway.


Steroids Make Me Cray-Cray!

sickI’m usually in good health, but three weeks ago the hubster shared a formidable little microbe that wreaked havoc with my lungs and necessitated a prescription for a tapering dose of steroids.

I know, I know.  Short term steroid therapy speeds recovery from nasty bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia, but ai-yi-yi, how I hate them!

When I take that tiny white pill I make the energizer battery bunny look like a slug. I can’t sit still, I can’t sleep and I can’t stop cleaning things.

Despite my fever and ferocious cough, I mowed the lawn and did five straight hours of non-stop yard work. Then I went inside and washed all the floors in my house. The next day I washed every window in my house and was still up at one-thirty in the morning polishing the outside of the glass panes by streetlight. The next day I washed and detailed my car and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera for the next seven days.

The steroid story never ends happily for me. At the end of the treatment I crash spectacularly, weepy and exhausted.

This morning the hubster found me slouched on the couch, surrounded by crumpled up tissues and crying into the crook of my arm between coughing fits.

I lifted my head, staring at him with my bloodshot eyes. He was spooked instantly.

“Uh-oh,” he whispered, slowly backing out of the room.

“Uh-oh is right buster!” I wailed. “I’m at DEFCON 2.  Run for your life.”

And he did.

Turning the Tables on an Unsuspecting Vacuum Salesman


A very clean rug.

A very clean rug.

Many years ago, the husbster and I were subjected to a three hour long high-pressure sales pitch from two vacuum cleaner representatives and ended up purchasing a fifteen hundred dollar vacuum.  To make a long story short, they wore us down and we made the purchase from sheer exhaustion.

As a result of that debacle,  I  was prepared for the unlucky chap that wandered onto my doorstep this morning hoping to sell me a thirty-five hundred dollar vacuum cleaner.

Yep, I let him in; right after I pulled an old broken vacuum destined for the dump from the closet and positioned it in the front hallway.  The salesman entered with an Oh-boy-this-house-is-going-to-be-filthy glint of excitement in his eyes when he heard my dogs barking.

“Settle down Cujo,” I called to the dog barking madly.

“I love dogs,” said the salesman.  “Is his name really Cujo?”

“It’s his nickname, but it’s well deserved so whatever you do, steer clear of the kitchen,” I warned, fibbing my brains out.

The salesman wasn’t about to let anything as trivial as an unfriendly dog deflate his spirits.  He was a nonstop blabbermouth and barraged me questions.  Was I the homeowner?  Did I handle the finances?  Do I do the cleaning?  How many rugs did I have in the house? Was that the only vacuum that I owned?

He was disappointed to find that there were only two small area rugs in the downstairs portion of the house.  Undaunted, he proceeded with his sales pitch.  He wanted me to clean a portion of one of my rugs with my old vacuum and then he was going to re-vacuum the area with his super-duper cleaning machine.

“Sorry, Cujo chewed on the electrical cord.  It’s not working,” I replied.

“This wire can be fixed with some electrical tape which I just so happen to have with me,” he said, after examining the cord.  He pulled out some black tape and jury-rigged my vacuum.

“Now you can go ahead and vacuum,” he said, pushing the machine in my direction.

“I’m afraid that’s not possible.  My back is acting up again and it’s strictly against my doctor’s orders,” I lied again, hoping that God would not strike me dead from dishonesty.

“Then I’ll vacuum the area we talked about earlier with your vacuum and go over it with mine.”

“Thank you, but unless you’re prepared to do the whole rug, I’d really rather you didn’t.”

He happily obliged and showed me the dirt he’d collected in a special filter after he vacuumed my carpet for the second time.

“That rug is filthy,” I said, looking horrified.  “I’m getting rid of it.”

“Oh don’t do that.  This vacuum cleaner is also a rug shampooer.  You don’t need to throw your rug away.   All you need is the home cleaning system that this vacuum has to offer for the bargain price of only thirty-five hundred dollars.”

“So let me get this straight,” I said, biting my lower lip and trying not to laugh.  “I can buy a thirty-five hundred dollar vacuum cleaner instead of throwing this rug away and replacing it with another one hundred dollar area rug.  I’m not a math genius, but it doesn’t sound logical to me.”

“Well, I can call my manager to see if we can get that price lowered for you.  We could also give you a trade in on your beat-old old vacuum cleaner.  Perhaps I can even get the price down another thousand dollars for you if my manager is feeling particularly benevolent today.”

“Thank you, but that’s not going to be necessary because you won’t be making a sale here today.  I’m managing a tight budget and the last thing I need is another payment on a high interest finance plan, which I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to set up for me, so that I can buy something that I don’t really need.  It’s not going to happen.  This isn’t my first rodeo.”

“But YOU DO need a good vacuum, and in fact, you’re desperate for one,” he argued.  “If I could pull this much stuff out of your carpet, just think of what is floating around in the air.  How can you put a price tag on your family’s health?”

”You needn’t concern yourself.  It’s time to pack up your things and go, but thank you for fixing my old vacuum and cleaning my rug,” I said, trying not to look as smug as I sounded.

He glowered at me as it finally dawned on him that he’d been had.  He slammed his vacuum cleaner back in the box which sent “Cujo” back into another frenzied barking jag. “Fine, but it’s your loss lady!” he growled, exiting the house.

“Not today,” I said, closing the front door behind him.

Okay, so maybe I lost forty minutes out of my morning, but I got the old vacuum fixed and someone other than myself thoroughly vacuumed my rug, not once, but twice and it was all free.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?  Did you yield or hold firm against the high-pressure sales pitches?

Puerperal – Writer’s Vocabulary Word of the Week | Robin Update

The oldest baby bird already left the nest but I caught the two remaining robins working up the courage to leave their home.

The oldest baby bird already left the nest but I caught the two remaining robins working up the courage to leave their home.

I apologize for not posting about the baby robins in a more timely manner. The little darlings left the nest two weeks ago.

Momma Robin is currently up to her wingtips in a new puerperal insanity and is bringing more straw and dried grasses back to pad the old nest for the new clutch of eggs she intends to lay.

The empty nest!

The empty nest!

It’s time for your handy-dandy writer’s vocabulary word of the day: PUERPERAL.  It is an adjective pertaining to a woman in childbirth or used to describe something pertaining to or connected with childbirth.

Heh, heh, heh!  Good luck trying to work that word into conversation outside of the medical field.  It’s not that easy!

Special shout-out to my Chinese blog followers!  “Ni zenme yang, wode pengyou?”

Strolling of the Heifers | Extraordinary!

Eowen the heifer.

Eowen the heifer.

When your zip code is E-I-E-I-O, you eventually become accustomed to sharing space with local farms and farm animals.  Fortunately, I spent most of my formative years in an itty-bitty Maine town so I can truly appreciate Vermont and the down-to-earth people who live here.

For the twelfth year in a row I have attended the annual Strolling of the Heifers weekend in Brattleboro, Vermont.  It’s an utterly charming event and if you’ve never attended it, don’t worry, there’s always next year.  Bring the children and the grandchildren; they’ll thank you for it!006


The Strolling of the Heifers began as a parade and day-long tribute to agriculture, but it has evolved into five days of awesome events and it has put eclectic little Brattleboro on the map. Tens of thousands of people now attend this popular yearly festival.

The parade is off any known cuddly cuteness scale.  It’s impossible to be a curmudgeon there because, dang it, it’s fun to watch a hundred heifers slowly moo-ving down Main Street, followed by other barnyard critters, tractors, clowns, floats, bands and dairy fairies.

After the parade, I moseyed down to the eleven-acre slow living expo.  It was a veritable showcase of local talent and entertainment, not to mention entrepreneurs, exhibits, games, and vendors.



In addition, it was very educational.  Today I learned the difference between a mule (offspring of male donkey and female horse) and a hinny (offspring of a male horse and female donkey).  I also learned that alpacas and llamas are types of South American camels.  Really? Who knew?

Brattleboro is home to a trapeze/aerial circus school and it was a treat to watch them all perform. This girl was only fourteen, but already a marvelous little entertainer!  She held her poses long enough so we could all snap pictures between our ooos and ahhhs!031

There was a line a mile long for the Strolling of the Cheeses tent, but I patiently waited for my free cheese samples which were delicious!  Nothing like Vermont cheese!

The tractor exhibit was very popular with the kiddies.  Who doesn’t want to sit in the seat of a tractor at any age?  It’s cool!

010Far and away, my favorite moment of the day came when I found a young girl tucked between two cattle trailers.  Her name was Riley and she confessed that she and her cow Cricket were resting in the shade as they were plum tuckered out.   Can anyone say adorable? 

I miss Maine and the ocean, but I gotta say…I love Vermont and the Strolling of the Heifers!





Fatal Drowning | RIP Fitbit

The pool skimmer and I have had our issues in the past, but this year has been particularly troublesome.  To be fair, I’m the one at fault.  I fully realize that I must replace the skimmer’s cover after I’ve emptied the basket, but for the life of me I can’t seem to remember to do it.

Never turn your back on a pool skimmer.  They are very mischievous.

Never turn your back on a pool skimmer. They are very mischievous.

Two days in a row, while watering the lawn, I have stepped into the pool skimmer, lost my balance and pitched into the water. Now, if I had been wearing proper pool attire and had removed all electronic devices instead of being fully dressed, this might have been a welcome or at least refreshing occurrence, however, it instead had fatal consequences for my loyal fitbit friend.

For those of you who are not familiar with a fitbit, it is an ingenious little device that clips onto your trouser pocket and 
013measures steps taken, distance walked,and calories burned.  It has become an indispensable part of my life because it by prods me, goads me and sometimes shames me into getting off my duff!

My poor fitbit did not succumb to drowning the first day.  No, indeed!  It instinctively held it’s breath while I grabbed the diving board and swung myself out of the pool.  I was overjoyed to find the clever little machine working perfectly and we happily went about our business for the remainder of the evening.

I really can’t tell you why I didn’t learn my lesson the previous afternoon, but obviously I didn’t and the next day when I took the plunge, I landed much further out in the water.  The fitbit was submerged for a lengthy period of time while I swam to the side of the pool.  I immediately tried to resuscitate it, but to no avail.  I even placed it in a bag of rice for several days on the off chance that it might spring back to life because it missed me so much.

Please excuse me while I share a special moment with the dearly departed.

My dearly departed fitbit.  As you can see, he has a lot of water in his little lungs.  Proof of his drowning catastrophe!

My dearly departed fitbit. As you can see, he has a lot of water in his little lungs. Proof of his drowning catastrophe!

My delightful fitbit companion, I am truly and deeply sorry that you had to be the one to suffer because of my problems with the blasted pool skimmer.  I take full and complete responsibility, little buddy.  If it’s of any comfort to you at all, my leather loafers have shrunk half a size and pinch my feet, thus perpetually reminding me of my stupidity. You were such an inspiration to me and I shall greatly miss you!  RIP!