7/25/11 – Monday

So, you remember the whole thing where I found a Brown Recluse in the house a few weeks ago and Fred ran around in circles clutching his pearls and spraying every surface of the house with spider-killing spray in hopes that he’d kill the 30,000 Brown Recluses in the house before they could find him … Continue reading “7/25/11 – Monday”

So, you remember the whole thing where I found a Brown Recluse in the house a few weeks ago and Fred ran around in circles clutching his pearls and spraying every surface of the house with spider-killing spray in hopes that he’d kill the 30,000 Brown Recluses in the house before they could find him and take a big juicy bite out of his butt?

Well, the other thing we did was to buy a bunch of glue traps online. When they arrived, Fred set about 20 of them up in various spots through the house. He put them in closets and under furniture.

At this point, three weeks later, we have caught no spiders at all. We did catch one Tom Cullen, but since his bites aren’t poisonous we removed him from the trap (or rather, the trap from him) and let him live.

Fred was telling his father about our Brown Recluse travails, and his father said that they’d used glue traps and never caught a single Brown Recluse with them. (The glue traps supposedly have some sort of attractant in the glue that will, uh, attract spiders to them.)

Fred has told me many times that his father and stepmother had a big problem with Brown Recluses in their house – in Fred’s teenage bedroom, as a matter of fact. So when his father told him they’d never caught a single Brown Recluse with the glue traps, Fred was confused.

“But wait,” he said to his father. “I remember coming over and using the bathroom off that bedroom and seeing traps that had a TON of Brown Recluses on them!”

As it turned out, the Brown Recluses that Fred saw stuck to the glue traps? They hadn’t wandered there of their own volition. Fred’s father told him that what he’d do was wait until after dark, when no one had been in the room for a while. Then he’d go in and turn the light on, and I’m imagining a herd of Brown Recluses, frozen in surprise as light floods the room.

But you’re wondering, I’m sure, how oh how did the Brown Recluses make it onto the glue traps? Did they think they were seeking refuge on the glue traps? Were they running to the glue traps to hide until such a time that the big human would turn the light off and leave the room so they could wander at will in the dark with no one to watch and judge them?

No. What would happen, after Fred’s father went into the room and surprised the colony of Brown Recluses, is that he would use a ruler to HERD the Brown Recluses onto the glue traps. Where they would get stuck and die while (in my imagination) Fred’s father stood over them and laughed evilly.

He would herd the Brown Recluses onto the glue traps.

I’m sorry, perhaps you didn’t hear me. Let us run through the sequence of events: he’d walk into a dark room and turn on the light. And there would be a thousand Brown Recluses, all frozen like “Shit! Y’all don’t move! If we don’t move, he can’t see us!” Then, where you or I might be all ::stompity::stomp::stomp::stomp:: with our shoe-covered feet (one shouldn’t stomp Brown Recluses unless one is wearing shoes, I imagine. A little tip from me to you. You can also squoosh a Brown Recluse with a litter scoop. If you were wondering. Or so I’ve heard. Not that I’ve had any experience with such a thing.), Fred’s father would pick up a ruler and patiently herd the spiders, one by one, to their last moments of life atop the glue trap.

I like to imagine that one of the Brown Recluses managed to make it look like he was firmly stuck to the glue trap but only had ONE leg stuck there, and that these days wherever the Brown Recluses (they’re reclusive spiders, those Brown Recluses, they’re not Brown Sociables) hole up, there are young spiders yelling “Oh god, Grampa’s talking about how he escaped the Evil Glue Trap Herder by leaving a leg behind AGAIN. RUN!”

(I do not intend to take up Brown Recluse herding, for the record, not least because I’ve only ever found the one BR in the house. If things change and I decide to start training for the annual Brown Recluse Herding Championship, I’ll let you know.)

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In my little raised garden, at the beginning of the summer, I put some feed bags down on the ground so that I could put the pots where I’d planted various herbs on top of the feed bags and wouldn’t have to worry about cutting the grass growing around the pots (since there wouldn’t be any grass growing, I mean). Over the weekend, I decided to pull them up, because the bags were getting shredded and had holes in them, and grass and weeds were growing up through the holes anyway. It looked like shit, and was bugging me, so I decided to put down fresh bags, move the potted herbs over near the raised beds, and call it good enough.

When I pulled up one of the feed bags, I caught sight of a small bit of red, and I knew immediately what I’d found. There, with a body the size of the tip of my pinky, was a big fat dead Black Widow. I poked it with a stick ’til it was good and squished (I wanted to be sure it was dead) and then I pushed it into the ground and covered it with a bit of dirt.

(I bet a Black Widow tree will totally sprout in the next few days. I don’t know what the fruit on a Black Widow tree would look like, but I imagine it’s some evil-looking shit.)

I don’t ever work in the garden or pick veggies unless I’m wearing gardening gloves to protect my hands, so even if it had been alive, and even if it had gotten on me, I would have been okay.

But still – ::shudder:: It’s funny, because I’m scared more by Black Widows than by Brown Recluses, even though Brown Recluse bites can do more damage. Black Widows are just EVIL looking (also, they’re more aggressive than Brown Recluses. The Brown Recluse hangs out in the corner at a party saying “I’ll just be over here, don’t look at me pls, thx.” whereas the Black Widow’s all “I SAW YOU LOOKING AT ME I WILL FUCK YOU UP!”)

You can do your own Google search on this topic, but I will tell you that there are people out there who keep Black Widows as PETS, and the thought just makes me shudder. Gah.

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First, the good news: Fergus Simon was adopted on Saturday!

And then the OTHER good news: MAGGIE WAS, TOO!!!!

(They didn’t go to the same home. But I think they’ll be just fine!)

The fact that Maggie was adopted just makes me SO happy. At this time of year there are so many kittens that the adults often get overlooked, and I was concerned that that would happen with Maggie. I’m so glad that it didn’t, and that she’s gone to a good home where she will be loved and pampered. Yay!!!

So we’ve still got Ciara with us, of course, and the Spice Girls. They’ll all be going to Petsmart when there’s room, but it will likely be a little while yet. I hate that they’ll be going, but this is really my favorite time with fosters: they’re all past their shots and surgeries, they’re happy and healthy and are having no issues, so all we have to do is enjoy them! It’s a rough job, but I think we’ll manage.

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Those of you who don’t remember – or who haven’t been reading long enough to have read about it – I did write about what was going on with Corbie back in March, but I’ll cut and paste what I wrote then, so you don’t have to go back and read it:

So I haven’t told you exactly what’s going on with Corbie – don’t worry, it’s not bad! It’s just that he’s a thin cat, and in the past couple of months, we’ve noticed that from the waist up (not that cats have waists, but you know what I mean) he looks perfectly fine. But from the waist back, he looks like he’s starving to death. Which he’s NOT, let me tell you, boyfriend can eat when he wants to.

He also has this kind of knock-kneed thing going on that’s hard to explain – he walks fine, but his back two legs kind of go one in front of the other. I originally mistakenly told Fred that Corbie was bowlegged, which triggered a memory, and I thought “What if he has cerebellar hypoplasia?”, but I went and read about it, and watched some videos, but that’s not it. He also can’t really jump – he can get up on the couch if he wants to, but that’s by pulling himself up by his claws rather than jumping. Though he can jump from one surface to another – he jumps from the table next to my recliner, to the back of my recliner – if they’re roughly the same height, but he just can’t jump UP.
This is not something that was going on when he was little – we would have noticed it. It’s something that has come on gradually as he’s grown. I took him to the vet. She looked him over, took some blood, and then took an x-ray.

Structurally, he’s okay. He’s got a perfect skeleton (and have you seen x-rays of cats? Aren’t they just the neatest things?). The vet called and told me that his blood looked okay, but he had an elevated level of… something (my notes on the topic are hiding in my desk somewhere and I don’t want to go looking for them) and long story short, we should try giving him Taurine and L-Carnitine to build up the muscles in his back end.

Then, of course, I went off and had surgery. About a week and a half later, I remembered about the Taurine and L-Carnitine and I went online and looked around to see what I could find for supplements. There are these treats that have the right amounts of Taurine and L-Carnitine in them, but we’d have to give four treats, twice a day, to Corbie and that seemed like an awful lot to get him to eat, especially considering that we didn’t know if he was going to like the taste. So we ordered L-Carnitine in powder form and Taurine in capsules, with the intention of sprinkling them atop a scoop of Gerber chicken baby food and letting Corbie eat it.

Well, the problem was that to make sure Corbie was the only one ingesting it, Fred had to take him into the guest bedroom. Being locked in the guest bedroom freaked Corbie out, and he wouldn’t touch the stuff. We dithered about what to do for a few days, and then finally Fred just tried mixing the powder with water and shooting it in the back of Corbie’s mouth.

Corbie’s not crazy about it, but he handles it just fine. So he’s been on Taurine and L-Carnitine for about a week, morning and evening. Fred doesn’t think there’s any difference in Corbie, and he’s probably right, but to ME (you know, the woman who stalks Corbie relentlessly), he looks a bit bigger. A bit more muscular.

We’ll keep going with the supplements and see how it goes. It’d be nice if this took care of the issue – though I need to check with the vet and see if this will be a lifelong thing or if we can discontinue the supplements after a while. Whatever the issue is, I can tell you that it hasn’t slowed Corbie down at all. He runs from one end of the house to the other just fine, he plays, he snuggles, he’s a happy boy.

He might have a skinny back end, but he’s perfect to me!

That’s what I was referring to in Friday’s entry – these days, we aren’t giving him the Taurine and L-Carnitine because it didn’t seem to make a difference, and it was getting to be a struggle (he was starting to run every time he saw Fred) and the stress to Corbie wasn’t worth it. He hasn’t improved, but he hasn’t gotten worse either, and whatever the issue is, it’s not interfering with his quality of life.

So that’s what that was about. 🙂

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Want your own “I love cats, it’s people who annoy me” gear? Go get that stuff here. Everything’s marked up by $2, which will go to Challenger’s House. (I’ll put a link in the sidebar at some point.)

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Don’t you just love Ciara’s dramatic eyeliner?

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Giving me the crazy eyes.

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“You keep on pettin’ ’til I say stop, lady.”

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Coriander on the cat tree.

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Clove’s orange patches are really starting to show.

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I have been a horrible slacker regarding snapping pictures of the Crooked Acres Gang (permanent residents), so here’s the very first picture I posted of Spanky on Flickr, from way back in 2005.

He was only (doing the math….) a young and spry eight and a half back then, but if you showed me that picture and told me it was taken yesterday, I’m pretty sure I’d believe you. At almost fifteen, he’s in great shape for an old guy!

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2010: No entry.
2009: Hello from Pennsylvania.
2008: You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
2007: Evan Rachel Wood! You are throwing away your youth and beauty on a talentless freak! You are wasting the pretty! Stop it right now, young lady!
2006: No entry.
2005: Home again, home again.
2004: I am a SUCKAH for the bullshit claims on bottles of lotion.
2003: Momma always said, stupid is as stupid does…
2002: No entry.
2001: Oh joy.
2000: I’m such a wimp that even a confrontation on TV ties my stomach in knots.