My version of Halloween is pretend-scary. I trot out the plastic spiders and the rubber rats, then I fill in liberally with pumpkins.
Yesterday, life was having none of that.
It finally cooled down by ten degrees spurring us into decorating action. My son set up his inflatables while I rearranged the deck furniture. I took my baskets of succulents from the hooks, gave them a quick tap, then set them in the kitchen sink for a cool drink. I put them out back this time of year to make room for decorating.
Giant cat inflatable and the great white hunter
I saw a quick movement emerging from the stems and a spider *jumped* out of the plant. Spiders climb and swing in my experience, but this one jumped. It went from the plant into the sink, then half way out of the sink it jumped again. Yikes. I quickly gathered my wits and grabbed my spider catcher, keeping an eye on the jumper at all times. With the spider safely ensconced, I walked quickly to the back of the garden and released it on the rock wall. The bungee spider jumped one more time, turned in my direction and looked right at me with… blue eyes!!! That really creeped me out.
Addendum: I’ve since learned that my bungee spider is none other than Phidippus audax. Based on the orange legs, my little visitor is a juvenile. His eyes aren’t blue, but his chelicerae are. Feel free to use that word in a sentence over the next few days. According to Wiki:
Phidippus audax is a common jumping spider of North America. It is commonly referred to as the daring jumping spider, or bold jumping spider. The average size of adults ranges from roughly 13–20 millimetres (0.51–0.79 in) in length. They are typically black with a pattern of spots and striped on their abdomen and legs. Often these spots are orange-tinted in juveniles, turning white as the spider matures. The spider belongs to the genus Phidippus, a group of jumping spiders easily identified both by their relatively large size and their iridescent chelicerae. In the case of P. audax, these chelicerae are a bright, metallic green or blue.
Lizards are us
Mighty Mouse, our friendly neighborhood cat, brings us lizards. It’s happened so often in the past few months, that my boys simply call out ‘lizard!’ and I’m spurred into action. Protocol is as follows:
- Confine the cat in a bedroom while someone else keeps an eye on the lizard.
- Assess the size of the lizard, and find an appropriate plastic container, preferably with a view.
- Grab a piece of cardboard and tiptoe behind the frightened and temporarily paralyzed little critter.
- Pounce! I can’t stress this step enough. Otherwise the lizard goes skittering all over the place and my only option is to gradually coax a terrified and sometimes hissing lizard towards an open door.
- Relocate the lizard in the back of the garden and hope he finds his way to safety.
Tiny lizard catching sun on the rock wall
Rat a Shoe-y
7:30 each morning is a flurry. Boys grabbing backpacks and lunches, putting on shoes and heading out the door for the carpool. It was the same this morning, but for one exception. My son put on his first shoe without a problem. When he stepped into his second shoe he could feel something at the end. He picked it up, looked inside and found himself gazing at a live rat. Startled of course, he screamed and tossed the shoe into the air and off scurried the rat.
Unfortunately only part of the lizard protocol works when you’re trying to capture a rat: cats confined to the bedroom. The rest is by the seat of your pants.
Unable to stay for further investigation, I left the rat patrol to my husband and quickly fled with the boys.
There are two up-sides to this story. My son is fine. No bites or scratches to his tender toes. Further, I had a proud-mama moment when, once recovered, he worried that he hurt the rat. Mike rearranged the furniture in the most interesting fashion, and in the end, the tiny rat fled through the back door.
The last text from Mike:
The cats did a once over of the living room and declared it boring, which I take as rat-free. I left it in disarray. Sorry. Just push everything back.
Rat-free living room
Throughout October, I’m keeping track of the candy I **don’t** eat. They say it takes thirty days to make or break a habit, but I must say that eight days in I’m feeling great. Yesterday I discovered Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce, via Pauline. M and E are doing their own 30 day challenge and are encouraging others to join in. You can follow along at Getting Fierce Goal-fest! There’s nothing like putting your commitment up on the internet, is there?
Under-the-sea Costume Update:
Since I don’t have the luxury of a crafting room, our living room doubles as my sewing space. This morning I set up my sewing machine, the ironing board, my ‘selfie’ and all my supplies so I’m ready to drape and sew.
Pumpkins on Parade:
Special thanks to Pauline for The Contented Crafter for the fourth suggestion this month. Pauline says:
I very much like your Baker Pumpkin – good on Boomdee for making that pick! – and I would like to suggest a gardening pumpkin in honour of the hard work and the hours you put in to your actual garden and your blog garden 🙂
Garden Pumpkin Key: Hydrangea hair nestled in my new Flower Arranger. An elaborate collar, also made from hydrangeas, with an Alyssum necklace. Eyebrows crafted from Acer leaves and the lips pouting away between Acer seed pods. The nose leaf comes from one of the Abutilon. Bluebell eyes, punctuated with black flower seeds. Fluttering lashes come from a fern. That cute little spade: a treasure from my recent trip to Victoria. It’s actually a key chain. I’m incorporating it into my costume as well. The gardener looks pensive, but she really does have fun playing in the dirt.
You can read more about pumpkin-dress up month at, NEWS FLASH! Halloween Takes Over Gardening Blog.
If you have any suggestions for ‘pumpkin costume of the day’ please let me know. I’ll see what I can do.