My Old Familiar Fiend

I think our weather has been perfect so far this summer, with temps in the low 70s and alternating days of sunshine and gentle rain. However, other areas–in Michigan and other states–are getting cool temps and excessive rain, which is adversely affecting the crops. I didn’t realize how bad until I saw photos such as the one at right on Facebook.

EJ expects that because of the situation with the weather and crops, there might be a scarcity of corn-products in the coming months and/or the price may go sky-high. He wants to get in a year’s supply of chicken feed now while the prices are still low so last Friday EJ and I drove to Blain’s Farm and Fleet, the newest farm store in Traverse City, to pick up the 20 bags of chicken feed we had ordered online the night before. Twenty bags (50 pounds each) is all he thought the Suburban could safely hold. He wants to get another 20 bags or so in a few weeks. This was our first visit to Blain’s. We had expected it to be like TSC, but it was much, much bigger and sold a larger variety of products. We didn’t look around–we just got our bags of feed loaded and left–but we will explore it at a later time.

When we got home, EJ drove the Suburban around to the back and unloaded the bags into the coop. I have spent the last few days scooping the feed into empty kitty litter buckets. The buckets stack nicely and take up less room than the bags. We use litter buckets for just about everything. When I ran out of empty ones, I scrounged around in EJ’s garage for buckets holding various tools, nails, bolts, and other stuff. Whenever I found a Tidy Cats bucket with the lid still on, I emptied the contents into a smaller or lidless litter bucket. I did the same for buckets in the pantry that stored our wild bird seed or old bills and things. I was able to find enough buckets to fill about 45 buckets and store all but one bag of poultry feed. It’s actually a lot of work transferring a thousand pounds of feed into buckets.

As we were driving down our driveway on one of our errands last weekend, we spotted a Brown Thrasher, which was cool. Brown Thrashers are large, slender songbirds. Their song is a complex string of many musical phrases, many of which are copied from other birds’ songs.

We’ve also seen the Mama Deer and her tiny baby a couple times. The baby is so tiny and adorable! I also read on Facebook that a bear had been sighted only about a mile from our house!!!! I’d hate to encounter a bear on my walk to the mailbox, but I sort of wouldn’t mind seeing one if I was safely in the house.

One of the nights last weekend was clear, so EJ and I went out to look at the stars. Specifically, we looked through the binoculars at Jupiter because we heard that it would be possible to see its moons. You know what? It WAS. We DID see the moons of Jupiter. That was cool.

This morning I’ve been doing laundry and taking the washed clothes out to the clothesline to dry. As I was hanging up the clothes, I spied (with my little eye) an odd leaf sticking straight up from the ground. I observed it more closely and saw that it had been deliberately fastened into the side of a critter’s entrance. EJ said the leaf would help divert the rain around the hole. I’m always amazed at the cleverness of creatures.


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I recognized the critter who had built the hole, which is approximately the diameter of a finger, and on my second trip to the clothesline, I spied the resident peeking out of its lair:

June 20, 2019 (11)
Spider peeking out

I first encountered this type of spider in 2017 near our garden gate. It was the largest spider I had ever seen, and I was terrified. However, when I saw that the spider was shy and quickly scrambled into its lair when I walked near, I resisted the temptation to kill it and instead observed it. Here is a video that I took of the spider in back then. I was videoing it through our window.

You can read my blog posts about that spider beginning with this post from August 2017: Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster. Now I feel that as long as it doesn’t enter my house or crawl near me, I’m ok with it.



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