Recovering from summer

Just six days after a blanket of snow, Maryland basked in 72-degree temperatures. Everyone in the area crawled out from under their rocks, hurled off their ski jackets and ran around madly screaming “summa-time! summa-time!”

I know it’s only March, but it was a two-day taste of seasons to come.

I borrowed a friend’s seasoned hunt horse, and went fox hunting for a few hours on Saturday… and now have the sore muscles and aching joints to prove it. It was a great time, but man, I feel like I’m a 100 yrs old. And have been run over by a truck. Dragging myself out of bed this morning, I groaned as I leaned into my jeans. And abandoned all hope of wearing socks. Those toes are just too far away to reach.

So with my (normally) immature brain and my elderly body, I cannot put a cohesive thought to blog. Instead, I offer a few farm photos from Sunday when we began spring cleaning and unleashed the kids on the world after months of indoor dwelling. Back to normal blogging tomorrow. Promise.

On Sunday, first order of business: mow through the Huck’s goldy locks. Huck grows a winter coat like a woolly mammoth, which is a grooming nightmare and a sweaty mess when it’s warmer outside. So instead of letting him shed out naturally, I decided a buzz cut was in order.

Fortunately, he doesn’t seem to mind being poked, prodded and nicked. In fact, he enjoys the attention.

An hour and 50 minutes later, I had sheared off enough hair to fill a garbage bag. Secretly I hoped to find a svelte draft horse beneath all that hair.

No dice. He’s still a fat guinea pig. Though I must say, this is not a flattering camera angle. Come-on Martin, go easy on the butt shots.

While Huck was at the beauty shop, the kids were plotting an attempt to hijack Chitty.

Next up, the dog, who also wore a winter’s worth of mud, muck, and canine grunge, peppered with a few irresistible rolls in deer carcasses along the way. Last year, Martin built an outdoor shower on the side of our house. Initially, he planned to install just the plumbing… and shower under the magnolia tree. Yes, we live in a rural community, but we do share a driveway for Pete’s sake. You can’t shower naked in a tree. So we added this shower stall, much to Maisie’s dismay.

Maisie was stoic, all the while thinking happy thoughts about well-heeled sheep….

About this time, Hadley the Barbarian thought that it would be wise to bathe the cat as well. As much as I would love to de-stenchify that cat, I nixed the idea. Drippy, you can thank me later by not defiling our mudroom.

By end of day, most farm beasts had been ridden, run or otherwise exercised, and scrubbed clean. Hope they enjoyed it. Winter returns next weekend.

Spring cleaning

‘Name That Bug!’ contest is over before it began


Some houses are infested by ladybugs or crickets. Or potato bugs or silverfish. We get stinkbugs.

When these prehistoric-looking creatures with angular armored shells appeared in our bathroom, I didn’t know what the hell they were. And I thought I’d offer a gift certificate to the wannabe insectologist reading this blog who could ID this little beauty.

But leave it to The Google to come through. A few clicks and I ran across a blog with a photo similar to mine of the “brown marmorated stinkbug.”

Apparently their stink is no match for Maisie’s breath or Drippy’s butt, the latter of which has apparently scorched our olfactory senses for life. I swear, I’ll be standing out in the neighboring hay field and think that I smell Drippy. (see previous posts on Drippy as needed)

Back to our lil’ stinkbugs. These guys have been keeping us company during the long winter months, creeping cautiously along the soap dish, resting passively on the dresser by my comb and brush. They never do anything alarming, like fly up in your face (though they can fly) or skitter away. And when they’ve had enough, you find them up-ended on their armor-plated backs on the floor. And you just scoop them up.

Otherwise the kid eats them.

I found a blogger in Md. who discusses brown marmorated stinkbugs, and confirms that they are harmless and their odor is not especially offensive. But he also goes on to say, “There is something oddly satisfying about having live bugs in the house during the winter. It’s akin to the satisfaction I get from pets and house plants.”

Whoa buddy, rein it in a bit. I’m not ready to slap a collar and leash around my stinkbug and take it for a stroll.

But I will agree, they’re the least offensive indoor-dwelling bug that I’ve had the pleasure to know. I can remember living in South Carolina, the land of the palmetto bug, which is a really nice way of saying: gigantic, mutant cockroach that couldn’t be louder walking on your walls if it was wearing tap shoes. These things dwelled indoors and out, and were terrifying, and surprisingly resistant to attacks on their life. They weren’t in the dying business and they were so big, you’d be scared to squash them in your house.

And while you’d been standing there, shoe in one hand, magazine in the other thinking, “if I squish one more of these on the wall, this room is going to look like a crime scene…”

…just as you had mustered the guts to strike, convincing yourself that you’d kill this one with just one blow, that palmetto bug would attack you. Because palmetto bugs, unlike run-of-the-mill roaches, have wings and they’re attracted to light, such as white tee-shirts. And in my personal experience, hair. Ug, it gives me the creeps thinking thinking about it.

So given the choice, I welcome the stinkbugs as our new little residents.

Though Cayden isn’t as appreciative. He’s the closest one to a pacifist in this family, but the other day, he had the urge to crush one in the hallway with a satisfying: “Hi-Ya! I kilt him!”

Well thanks kid, you just crushed one of my new little friends. Fortunately, we’ve got spares in the bedroom, bathroom, closet….