5. There were sure to be foxes in the woods…

It was a slow week at Apple Hill as far as actual work goes.

I’m still sanding (but I’m on the LAST cabinet!) and Michael was spinning his wheels this weekend too–he needed a specific measurement from our stove in Pittsburgh that we are moving to the kitchen at Apple Hill. Gotta have a gas stove and the one here is electric, so we are switching them. But the stove was there, and we were here.

And Sunday was Father’s Day–there’s no working then! So the work goes in fits and starts just like life. We both have to keep remembering to enjoy the moment and not worry about a timeline, plans, our agendas. It’s easier said than done. So far, when one of us gets in a funk about it, the other one can do the reminding. And when that doesn’t work, Jesus Calling always does the trick. I have to quote Sarah Young here: “Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously. Relax and know that I am ‘God with you’…Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places. Your laughter rises to heaven and blends with angelic melodies of praise. Do not miss the Joy of My Presence by carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders…” This week I read it out loud to Michael because we both needed to hear it.

So this week, we have a CONTEST: The first one to post where the title of this blog comes from (There were sure to be foxes in the woods or turtles in the water…) gets a… gets ahhhh…. gets uhmmmm…..

a free all-expenses paid vacation to Apple Hill Cottage????

No, I don’t think everyone would like that, especially after reading the rest of this post! I think I have to add a Caution here: This post is about critters and it’s not for the faint of heart, the bug-a-phobe, or the die-hard city slicker. I’ll start off with the cute little furry critters and then it will go downhill from there, so the reader will be able to tell when to stop reading…

Cats and Kittens

He is the friendliest, most mellow kitty we’ve ever met. This picture was taken about 5 minutes after we were first introduced.

Our kitty got a name this weekend courtesy of granddaughter Olivia (Joce, Pedro and the kids celebrated Father’s Day with us with grilled hamburgers and a day of fun in the country.) We haven’t committed to the name yet, but we both kind of like it. As Michael says, we have to do some research on it. She suggested Phineas, and I added a T, so we’ve got Phineas T. Her Phineas is from the kids tv show Phineas and Ferb. I added the T for Phineas T. Fogg, an adventurer who goes Around the World in 80 Days. It’s a Jules Verne classic, which I now have to admit to never reading. (Ouch!) Of course, it could also be for Phineas T. Barnum, but he was a known swindler… We have already spent quite a bit of money on Phineas T., this part-time cat (well, he’s really a full-time cat–he’s only ours part-time) but I think we’ve both felt that naming him was a big commitment. A name signifies ownership for sure, instead of just feeding him and enjoying him when he shows up (or when we show up…)

We’ve got a big dinner bell on the porch that we ring when we get here, so he knows we’re home and he can come and get it. Michael suggested an electronic kitty feeder???? Footnote: Amazon says I can get Around the World in 80 Days and read it for free on the Kindle; but the reviewers all call the main character Phileas Fogg. This is most disturbing–I was sure it was Phineas–and this is why Michael said we had to research it…

Foxes in the Woods

These long nights in June are so wonderful, although on at least one occasion I have bemoaned the fact that I was so tired, I couldn’t even sit on the porch and enjoy them. On Saturday evening though, we ate late and were still sitting at the table at twilight enjoying the fireflies and the birdsongs, when a small red fox came out of the wood’s edge and sauntered along the tree line right in front of us. I mean 20 feet away! We didn’t get a picture of him; I quietly opened the door and grabbed the binoculars, but our phones weren’t handy. We are really hoping he returns, and I’ve been trying to keep my phone within easy reach.


Oh, the devastation!

Yep, we have ’em. They make terrible pesty divots in our otherwise perfectly manicured lawn. Michael has purchased Mole-Away sticks, but then the moles just move away a short distance and another part of the yard is dug up!

He also tried drowning them out of their holes with the hose. We’ve been watering our precious new fruit trees every day we are here. Michael was walking by a mole hole, carrying the hose, and just thought he’d try it. It didn’t seem to work, BUT he did discover a new technique for getting rid of them with a hose! A few days later he was moving the hose so he could mow the yard. While standing under one of the older apple trees and investigating one of the holes, a mole popped up. Michael had nothing in his hand but the hose, so he bopped that mole with the hose nozzle. Got him! Broke the hose nozzle, but score Michael 1, Mole 0. (Think Whack-a-mole–you can play it here: http://www.addictinggames.com/action-games/whackamole.jsp)

We had lunch the next day with Diane and Jim at the Panera in Washington and as Michael was telling the story we were all laughing so hard we were snorting Iced Tea out our noses. People were staring. You know, readers, we’re supposed to have a good belly laugh at least five times a day. As Joce said the other day, “I’m way behind!”


There’s one in every corner of the porch!

Yep, we have these too. IN ABUNDANCE! They seem to have an affinity for my cabinet-sanding workshop. In fairness to them, they were there first. In fact, they have been able to be there, undisturbed, for probably at least five years or so. But the newcomer wins out here–the wasps have to go.

I know that we are supposed to be green and all that; I know that all insects have a purpose; but I draw the line at a wasp dive bombing me while I’m sanding cabinets. The sander is very loud, so I can’t hear the wasp’s warning whine. I have on my safety glasses and they are steamed up because I’m also wearing a breathing mask, so I can’t see it very well either until it buzzes my head. Nope, the wasps have to go… Luckily, Michael has in his bag of “ungreen” materials–Wasp Killer! (There’s poison ivy killer in that bag, too.) He pointed at the nest, sprayed the foam, and the wasp fell down dead with a thunk in three seconds. Part of the nest fell down too. Score Michael 1, Wasps 0.

Inch long brown worms

Not the greatest shot, but I didn’t want to get too close!

Well, I don’t really know what they are. But they are IN THE HOUSE. In the bathroom; in the basement. We’ve only just started finding them this past weekend. There were three in the bathroom (on the ceiling!) Michael said he found a whole parade of them in the basement going from the hot water heater to the (unused) shower. Michael’s vote was for millipedes, and millipedes do like water/wet/damp, which is where we seem to be finding them. It seems too fuzzy to be a millipede, though. They curl up into a ball when you try to scoop them up or step on them. Inchworms are brown also, as well as green, but these don’t exactly hump up like inchworms do when they are moving. Ugh, they are disgusting.

Bugs too odious to call by name

This is the most horrible to admit. Ron found the first one in April, so we can blame him, at least for the discovery. I don’t think I would have known what they were, if he hadn’t pointed it out and looked disgusted. (Thanks Ron!) Since then, we’ve been very careful about food, and garbage, but taking out the walls of the kitchen seems to have disturbed them. I wouldn’t say we’re infested–we didn’t see any last week, but this week I saw one in the kitchen sink. Neither one of us can actually call them by name–we just call them “those bugs”… No pictures of these either, you’ll be glad to know. We are just hoping that covering holes, tightening up walls, and putting in new floors, ceilings, and cabinets will get rid of them. Otherwise, we’ll just have to send Michael out to buy Roach Killer. (Read Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins–her “other” series–for a great cockroach main character!)

So now, don’t you all want to come and visit? Put your finger on the comment button and tell me where this lovely title came from! And the winner is….

8 thoughts on “5. There were sure to be foxes in the woods…

    • I thought it might be you that got it first! I read it enough times to you both, I think I knew it by heart. He might have spelled it Ouack, because I always pronounced it o-wack. All right–all expenses paid : )
      Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey


  1. My first thought was Watership Down, but then I realized I wouldn’t know a line in a novel by heart. A trip sounds great – especially if you aren’t experiencing a heat index of 105…


    • Hi Diane, I played the wack a mole game. It was OK but I really preferred wacking the real mole instead of playing the game. I felt that I really accomplished something in the real life encounter. Michael


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