Friday, January 22, 2010

A Slug and Other Critters

Somewhere skies are blue and the sun is shining. . . but not here. Here in my part of Illinois, the temperatures have warmed up from the frigid cold of a few weeks ago, and the snow is slowly melting away. But in its place an endless gray cloud seems to have descended along with either rain or fog. These non-stop gloomy skies have zapped what little energy I had and have turned me into a couch potato. I understand completely how people with S.A.D. must feel at this time of year, but my problem is not depression so much as a lack of motivation. I have been substitute teaching for several days, which is probably a good thing because otherwise I would have never left the house this past week.

There are many projects in the house I would like to get done before spring, and I have accomplished a little . . . very little. After a few hours of sorting papers and getting rid of some of the clutter in my office, I'm bored. When the post-lunch slump hits, I'm likely to "rest my eyes" for an hour or two on the couch. By late afternoon I'd much rather visit awhile with my friends Oprah and Ellen than get back to work. And then it's time to fix dinner . . .

Even my amaryllis is drooping . . .

Since I've been such a slug, let's see what other members of the household have been up to.

We had an unusual visitor a few nights ago. This opossum came up to the patio doors and peeked in, perhaps looking for a late-night snack. When Sophie spied him, she went crazy, as you might expect, and didn't let up barking until the possum had checked out every inch of the patio and finally disappeared. I wasn't about to let Sophie outside at that point, not knowing what would happen if a possum tangled with a dog. Apparently, this guy has taken up residence here, because last night when I let Sophie out for a final "business trip" before bedtime, I spied him out in the far back yard. Again I worried what would happen when Sophie saw him, but it was sleeting and the driveway was so slippery, I wasn't about to venture from the safety of the garage.

I knew Sophie saw him--her ears perked up, and she soon broke into a full gallop to reach him. Apparently, opossums are much smarter than I've ever given them credit for--this critter was unfazed by Sophie's appearance and meandered past her in his slow gait till he disappeared into the nearby shed. Sophie wasn't expecting this--no game of chase?? Well, that's no fun! After watching him go by and sniffing the strange scent he left behind, she finally returned to the house, disappointed.

The birds are much more fun. Mr. Procrastinator trimmed some limbs and cleaned up brush into a big pile shortly before the cold set in. The sparrows love this brush pile and gather here several times a day. Part of Sophie's early morning routine is to check out the birds and then chase them as soon as they fly off.

On warmer days, Tarzan likes to join in the fun. "See, Sophie, if you want to catch a bird, you have to be able to climb trees like me and sneak up on them quietly."

Please note: No animals--four-legged or two-legged--were harmed during the filming of this post.

I prefer to do my bird-watching from indoors. During the cold spell two weeks ago, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, and woodpeckers could all be seen from the comfort of the living room.

A pair of downy woodpeckers were regular visitors at the suet feeder. (I took about 40 pictures one day, only to discover I should have adjusted the settings on my camera to adapt to the shadows. As bad as this one is, it was the best of the bunch.) Now that much of the snow has left, so have the downys and the juncos. I hope this means that they're finding natural food sources and not that they have left for the winter--I just stocked up on suet cakes!

Toby is disappointed, too, that the front-yard birds have disappeared. Still he sits patiently every day hoping for his afternoon entertainment--in between naps.

Speaking of naps, Tarzan discovered that the bed left behind by Coconut (Youngest Daughter's Pomeranian now residing in Oregon) suits him just fine. He, along with Sasha and Marmalade, have always been primarily outdoor cats, but when the cold weather hit, I let them stay in the garage. That was fine with Marmalade, who was too shy to have her photo taken here, but it wasn't good enough for Tarzan or Sasha.

While Tarzan has taken over the doggy bed, Sasha finds the top of the dryer and the recycle bags are quite comfy. Toby doesn't bother her here--he has grudgingly accepted the fact that these two are now living indoors, though he is still king of the roost--and Sophie can't reach her.

Speaking of Sophie, someone once asked how the cats got along with Sophie. She still likes to indulge in a game of chase with them at times and gets very jealous if Toby crawls onto my lap, much like a young sibling. But otherwise, they tolerate her. Toby has been known to box Sophie's ears if she gets too rambunctious . . .

. . . but Tarzan is the master of dog manipulation. "I have as much right to this bed as you, Dog, so don't expect me to move."

It's hard to argue with that . . . besides, Tarzan's purring is quite hypnotic.

Hmmm, that bed does look inviting . . . maybe I'll just "rest my eyes" for a few minutes again . . .


  1. I think about these winter hours and what I could be doing. It doesn't get accomplished needless to say. I think winter has its hypnotic hold on us. I loved seeing your critters all piled up inside. The possom shot makes the possom look almost cute. That pink nose. Luna scared a possom in our garden one night. It fell over and played dead. She lost interest in it. Have a nice nap.

  2. I had great plans to get at my photos and organize them during the cold and now rainy weather...HA! The healing way too slow hand took care of that! Possums are strange other worldly looking critters...Now your critters are wonderful looking! gail

  3. Rose, 'endless gray cloud' is exactly what we have been having and by the looks of the forecast it's not going away anytime soon. :( As for the napping, I think we are storing up our energy for the upcoming gardening season. Well, it sounds plausible...:)

    That possom is certainly brave and probably hungry. Do you keep cat food outside? But great catch with the camera! All of your critter photos are.

  4. Rose, the animals are beautiful and the photos and your words made me smile. Just think: a month ago we saw the shortest day, so spring is not far away. ;)

    Our weather has been sporadic as far as rain, gray, sun, wind, rain... more like spring. I'm a bit concerned about weeks of 50 degrees for fear we (the plants) may soon get hit again with another freeze. Get that list of things done, before springtime. ;)

    Have a great weekend!

  5. It's a bit depressing here too. It's hard to get motivated. I'm still thinking about looking for the nails to hang the calendars that I got last week. Those cats have the right idea. :)

  6. HI Rose...such a cute finale.....perfectly matching in colour.

    The possom is such a beautiful animal....I am glad there was no confrontation between 'it' and Sophie. Nella is the same with hedgehogs. She justs sniffs them and passes by. I am so glad because I really love hedgehogs...I also do not want Nella ending up with prickles in her nose......

    The weather here is very is also foggy and hangs around for most of the day. In fact it is very drear.....
    I have managed to motivate myself.....I am clearing damage done to trees etc, caused by the heavy snowfalls. I hear we could get some more snow next week.....get me out of here someone please!!!

    Roll on spring......

  7. Those Opossum can be mean!! I would worry about letting my herd out if there was one in the yard.
    Marmalade is really a pretty kitty!
    I love Tarzan and Sophie snuggled together. cute.

  8. Ha! I'm with you on the resting my eyes for a bit after lunch. If not I can't stay awake past 9 pm at night. Love my naps! Your critters are all so cute and comfy. Except the possum. My dogs tangled with one and boy do those things growl. Hopefully it will move on if the dogs bother it enough.

  9. Looks like Tarzan uses the dog as a foot warmer.

    That possum is so ugly it's cute:) Funny pink nose and toes.

  10. You have so many creatures around! Love that pink nose. Cats are all darlings, but the dark one (Sasha?) - OMG! what a look!

  11. I enjoyed this post, Rose! I had a possum last year that hung out on my patio. They are the ugliest creatures! I did read that their hiss is worse than their bite and they are not prone to get rabies.

    The gray gloomy days of winter leave me pretty sluggish too. I go into hibernaton mode!

  12. Oh my word Rose what a family of fur babies you have!! I'd be in heaven with such a brood! I enjoyed reading this post warmed my heart to see all that happens in your garden space..I had an opossum come to my back door nightly..I think they are rather sweet..such sad faces as they look through the window...they have soulful eyes.
    I truly understand your SADD..I suffered for years! Then we began going to AZ for the winters that's the cure.If you can't get away..time for
    "flower power therapy" get into your nearest garden store and buy an armload of flowering plants and make yourself a Spring garden! Place the collection in the kitchen or any room that you spend a lot of time in..fill the house with flowers..the stores are selling tulips now!!!! :)
    I suggested that to several of my friends and somehow it did help chase away the blues.
    BTW. this year I will NOT be heading for AZ because I cannot get travel medical coverage because of my pre-exixsting condition. I will surely be doig the "flowr power therapy myself"!
    love and lots of bright light to you aNNa xoxo

  13. Your pets are adorable! I also had lots of plans for non-gardening activities to catch up on over the winter and have accomplished, well, nothing!

  14. An excellent post and full of wonderful photos. I love them all, especially the cat in the tree.

    Nuts in May

  15. Sounds like it's not just me wishing for spring, or even some warmer temps! Your post was refreshing and the animals are great. Thanks for a winter cheer-up!

  16. I don't miss the opossums. One year I had several, including one that decided my garden was a good place to die. Midwinter is a great time for napping, even though, in the middle of summer, we tell ourselves that we'll reorganize the closet or some other tedious task in January, when we can't be out in the garden. Funny how we never quite get around to it.

  17. Oh, Rose, don't be glum. Would it help to know how you cheer others up?? I've never seen an opossum. (I don't think I like them!) I thoroughly enjoyed your pics and your post. Spring is coming... Take some rest while you can!

  18. I love your menagerie, Rose, even the slug! LOL There is a lot of activity around there, what with musical beds and all. Seeing them sleeping together brought a wide smile. And I miss Coconut too, glad her bed is being put to good use. Our cats are spending 99.9% of the time sleeping. And I am just thinking of weird stuff.

  19. Fantastic post and beautiful shots !! I loved the first shot especially !!

  20. Lisa, I always thought possums were ugly, but this little guy does look kind of cute, doesn't he? That's funny that the possum Luna met decided to play dead:)

    Gail, Glad I'm not the only one not accomplishing much, but I don't have a healing hand as an excuse. Hope your hand is doing better.

    Beckie, I wondered if the possum had been here before and was looking for the cat food I usually put outside. Since the cats have been wintering inside, I don't do this anymore. Hoping for some sunshine one of these days!

    Di, I just need a little sunshine to get me going! I may be bustling about in March trying to get all these things done before garden work begins.

    Sweet Bay, Maybe you should wait to put up those calendars until you can turn the pages to March:) I've been taking far too many catnaps.

    Cheryl, Sophie and Tarzan are about the same color; they are so funny together. I don't really like opossums, but this one actually looked kind of cute. I would like some sunshine, too!

    Janet, I always thought possums were mean, too, so I worried when Sophie got close to it. This one apparently had no fear of dogs.

    Tina, I used to call these my "power naps" to get me re-charged for a full evening. But nowadays they have become a necessity:)

    Marnie, Granddaughter once said that Sophie made a nice pillow:) Apparently, Tarzan thinks so, too.

  21. Tatyana, I don't know what I'd do without my menagerie:)

    Robin, I wondered about the rabies; glad to know they are harmless. I think I'm in hibernation mode, too!

    Anna, Thanks so much for stopping by! I've had a cat--or two or three--ever since I was a little girl. Nothing like a cat purring in your ear to lift your spirits. Sorry to hear you won't be going to AZ this year; filling your house with flowers sounds like a great idea!

    Rose, I'm feeling better now realizing I'm not the only one with the winter blahs.

    Maggie, Tarzan usually doesn't climb trees, but I think he was showing off for Sophie. And I was just lucky enough to have my camera with me!

    CE, By this time of year I'm always longing for spring, but the endless days without sunshine have made my longing even worse. Thanks for visiting!

    MMD, A dead possum in the garden doesn't sound very appealing:) Funny how a little sunshine can energize me; on gray days I'd much rather vegetate:)

    Kate, Thanks for cheering me up! Cleaning is not my favorite thing to do, so gray skies just give me another excuse to procrastinate:)

    Frances, Musical beds is right. Coconut used to sleep in our bed, which was fine, but now it's Sophie who is so much bigger. It's no wonder I wake up with stiff legs each morning:) I've been thinking of weird stuff, too, lately:)

    Rajasthan, Thanks, and thanks for visiting!

  22. Oooooooo, so cute, lovely Toby and co :)

    It has been grey, cold and foggy here too, snow has melted but it feels very damp.

    Amazing opossum!


  23. Rose, I've suffered a bit of "apathy" lately (I, too, will credit the weather). I don't think I'll check the forecast until tonight, though. ha.

    Is it Sasha that is terrifically long-haired? You have quite the collection of indoor pets! Have a great weekend. :-)

  24. I loved the photos of your pets, especially with Sophie sneaking in for a nap. It perked up this dreary day! I know what you mean about staying on the couch. I love the photo of the possum because I can see all his/her fingers. So weird looking. At our old house we had a possum family living in our backyard. I thought the babies were so cute. Too bad they get so ugly when they grow up. :-)

  25. That is a good pic of the possom!
    We have had some woodpeckers at our suet feeders as well but I am never quick enough with the camera. Your pets are cute!

  26. O.K. Rose, I kept waiting for the slug pic. LOL! Now I get it.
    This post soooo resonated with me. Starting with the slug. I have SAD too - big time. Our winters are just too darn long, dark, and grey. Oh to be young again and raising a family. I never noticed the weather particularly, unless it was to dress the children warmly, or in raingear.

    You really got a good shot of that possom! We have a raccoon that comes by our patio (well not yet, I think it's around March), and I'm never fast enough to capture it.

    Love your animal menagerie - their antics must keep winter from getting too boring.

    I've begun a massive clean-up of my "stuff" in the computer room. I was going to begin last winter, but never got to it. Now it's bigger than ever! At least it will keep me busy for a while.

  27. Hi Rose, seems to me we could all gain a bit wisdom from our pets enjoying their winter naps guilt free. Life gets so busy, winter is a good time for rest, relaxation, meditation, and enjoying nature's wonders and beauty from the in-side of the windows.

    Sunny winter days energize me and I can get a lot done. I'm not a fan of winter, but in recent years I've come to appreciate the slower pace of winter and celebrate gray days at home as perfect times for comfort foods, napping, reading, deep thought, meditation, catching up on favorite TV programs, and dreaming of spring, all without guilt.

    Especially being so busy planning Spring Fling last winter, I'm appreciating the slower pace of winter and even the gray days even more than ever.

  28. Suburbia, The greyness seems to be everywhere. My menagerie keeps me entertained, at least.

    Shady, Sasha is the dark-haired sort of calico, and yes, she has long hair. I'm a little prejudiced, but I think all my pets are beautiful:)

    Jean, I think Lisa had the right idea--the possums are so ugly they're almost cute:) I've never seen their little pink toes before.

    Wendy, That is too funny, and you made me think that I actually have a photo of a slug I don't think I've used before:) You're right--when my kids were young, I actually enjoyed the winter months with its slower pace after the holidays. I have enough things to do to keep me busy, but getting myself motivated to do them is the hard part.

    Linda, Thanks for all these wonderful ideas. I think I feel guilty if I don't get much accomplished, but resting up and re-charging is worthwhile, too. I'm sure you are appreciating having more free time and not having to worry about Spring Fling--you must have spent hours on that, which we all appreciated!

  29. Hello,

    I apologize for not commenting sooner, but I have been out of town. I have been feeling the same way that you have. I have no motivation to go to the gym and feel accomplished if I make it there once a week. I think it is the January doldrums. I hope they go away in February :-)

  30. It has been cloudy and foggy and cold this past week at my house too. I have been "busy" reading and doing projects. I have organizing to get to before the month gets away.
    My library card is the most ussed card in my wallet!
    Winter is rest time...Spring is only 55 days away!
    Hope the sun shines soon for you.

  31. Rosey, Sorry I skipped over your comment! The possum was easy to photograph, because he didn't move. Birds are another story:)

    Noelle, You would think I'd exercise every day because I have time, but that's another "chore" I keep putting off.

    Sherry, I have done a lot of reading this winter, too. Thanks for the reminder that spring is not that far away!

  32. Too funny! Dogs and cats...can't live without them.
    I get the blahs in the winter, the only time I venture out (for me and not my kids) is to food shop. I have so many projects to do too but when I can't stick to one, time to get fresh air!

  33. What a wonderful menagerie...I too am having to push myself during this cold Illinois weather. Somedays it's nice to have my old friends Ellen and Oprah to watch. Be sure to watch Ellen's her birthday and that particular show is always a lot of fun. You could always dance with her if you're bored... :)

  34. A happy household, Rose ... cute possum :) We also have many nighttime visitors ... skunks, raccoons, and many possums often trapped in our window wells.

  35. Well - I always have a lot of winter projects, and when the sun is shining I have energy, but I've given up on the photos. I am getting rid of a lot of paper, and I got a new vacuum with an attachment that will make dusting the books and bookshelves possible. It hasn't been done for years. I probably shouldn't admit that.

  36. Rose, we had a possum visit the back garden last year and Annie was positively beside herself. The possum perched on the fence and didn't budge, even though Annie did her best to let him know how unwelcome he was!

    I hope you and the furry family make it through the rest of winter happily and uneventfully ... here's to an early spring for y'all!

  37. We've had our share of gray here, too. There has been very little new snow in January and what's left is getting that dirty snow look.

    I'm not really a fan of the possum, but the one in your photo looks so darn cute.

    As always, it's fun to read what Sophie and the kitty cats are up to.


  38. The winter months make me so lazy that is it not funny! I think that is why I love spring so much as I find a burst of energy. Your fur babies put such a smile on my face this morning! As I type my Cheetah kitty is sitting on a blanket on the desk while looking out the window at the red birds! We dont want her to get a cold bottom from the wooden desk. hee hee.. Sheba the smart gal is still in bed under the covers. I dont disturb her by making up the bed until she is ready to say hello to the world. That is usually when the heat kicks up quit a bit to take the chill from the air. They are so lucky to be climate controlled!

  39. Yep, I get S.A.D. I even wrote a novel by that title that is looking for a publisher. At least this is the right time of year for it to be circulating.

    Adorable visitor and residents! It’s interesting how domestic animals know about wild things. I'm impressed you managed to capture those moments on film.

  40. I'm not sure if it's just the weather that's at work here, turning us into slugs. This is the time of year I'm more couch potato-ish than usual. Maybe it has something to do with the lull after the holiday hustle and bustle. Your critters have the right idea. Slow down and nap when you can. Is that hydrangea in one of your pics an Annabelle?

  41. Dawn, Thank goodness for Sophie, who forces me to go out for fresh air several times a day!

    Balisha, I just started watching "Ellen" a few months ago, and I love her show! I couldn't watch her birthday show, but I taped it and will watch it as soon as I have time.

    Joey, We often have raccoons and possums at other times of the year as well as skunks, but I'd just as soon not see a skunk around here!

    Pat, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who isn't getting much done. Dusting seems like such a waste of time:)

    Cindy, This is just a typical Illinois winter--by February I'm counting the days till spring, but I always survive:)

    Donna, I'm glad you enjoyed the pet antics. We finally had some sun today!

    Skeeter, When Toby isn't birdwatching, he's usually in my bed, too. I've been known to move him from one corner to the other while I make the bed:)

    Sarah, Some publisher ought to snap up your book with a title like that! Capturing the pets on film is much easier than wildlife, especially the birds.

    W2W, I've always appreciated the lull after the holidays to rest a little. But I think this year I'm worse than usual. The hydrangea is a "Limelight," which can take full sun.

  42. Aw, love the house pet photos, and the deer-down!, and most of all the opossum. A great photo. I had one on my deck years ago and I just think they are cute as buttons. (Oh, wait. I don't actually find buttons cute. Um, cute as kittens! There.)


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