Thursday, November 26, 2009

Blog Entry: November


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all enjoying a lovely holiday.

We had a relaxing day with the B family:
(Baby M was getting really tired at this point!)

What critter encounters to report? After the squirrels stole our tiny pumpkins last year, I decided to get a larger specimen as my sole outdoor decoration. Once more the squirrels destroyed my hopes and dreams:




It took me a few days to realize these "crumbs" on the floor were really wood chips left by a rodent invader:


DSCN5600 (Yuck; never take macro photos of your dirty floorboards!)

He worked alone:

The above photo might not be in the true spirit of the Critter Corner. I felt badly after killing the mouse, but he did poop in my house and chew my floorboards.

Recent thoughts:

Lately I have been contemplating changes in my life. I don't fully recall my daily life while I was in college, or the year afterward which I spent in my hometown substitute teaching and waitressing. Things become clearer when I remember moving to MN for grad school, watching my friends move to the opposite sides of the country and finally meeting Robert. Now I consider how my shopping sprees have moved from the mall to the thrift store (mostly), and how our Friday nights consist of pizza and a NetFlix viewing. We see our friends a lot less often now.

It seems my life is more centered around my husband, dog and house now. Does this mean we should have a child?! Hmmm.

My other thought is less weighty in nature: Salon Guilt. Do you have a long standing relationship with your stylist? I did for a while but for the last year I've been going to the Aveda Institute for discounted services performed by students. While I feel confident about what I want for my hair, I dislike the conflict that arises every time they ask about my product usage. I prefer Suave shampoo, Nexxus Humectress conditioner and LA Looks hair gel.


No offense to all of y'all Aveda product users, but that stuff does NOT work for my dry, bleached, naturally curly hair. I don't like the fragrance and my hair felt and looked like straw yesterday two hours after I left the Institute. I just dislike hearing that my cheap products are hurting my hair. Finally I realized I could just lie to the stylist and tell them I use Aveda so and so shampoo/conditioner and hair gel. My choices were confirmed today when I washed using my makeshift system and my hair looks and feels great; soft and shiny, with a defined curl.

To summarize, I guess I feel guilty about not buying the suggested products stylists recommend. Also I hate how you go to one salon and the stylist sniffs, "Did they put you under the dryer at your old salon?", or, "They used a razor to cut YOUR hair?" There's a lot of disapproval at salons.

Hugs and winter critters!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Dear Critter Readers, specifically The Carrot Queen, how are you?

I'm sorry to abandon you for the last two months. What happened was school and six-day work weeks and several 10 day plus work marathons. Then I needed to spend quality time with R and Bobo, eat, do laundry, rehearse, etc.

What has happened since August 10th? Sister KB and I did a triathlon!

Next came my birthday and a big surprise! R, AM, KB and RM arranged to purchase and secretly deliver a new piano for me! Here nephew B and I play a duet:

I went thrifting 1000 times and bought cool stuff (next post). One $1.99 garment seemed perfect for our little niece, M:

The piano necessitated a living room rearrangement (provided by the peeps listed above). I enhanced it by finding a cool tv stand and coffee table at Aldi. I am obsessed with that store. And the furniture doesn't seem half bad!

R and his Pa have been busy remodeling the upstairs bathroom, one Saturday at a time. So far it's gone from:

Last weekend R, Bobo and I visited my sister AG and her hubby TG's cabin in Northeast WI. It was great to see the fall colors, my Mom, A's dog Ninja and most of all, A's baby bump!

I have nicknamed the baby "Beavis".

We tried to attract wildlife by leaving an offering:
I believe Stella ate it.

We did see some chipmunks though, and eagles.


That's the report. I may have saw a fox running into the alley across the street, but maybe it was a dog. Today I planted 70 of the 400 bulbs I bought. Went a bit overboard on bulbs!

Hugs and warm coats,

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beetle-Bugs of Summer


Hope things are going smoovely for you!

This post is being written on a beautiful, hot Monday that finds me paralyzed with indecision about how to spend such a day. Buy new running shoes? No. Exercise? Not right now. Clean? Maybe. AND the library is closed and I'm out of books!

Yesterday GH and I went to Izzy's Ice Cream to get some cones. I tried the Mexican Chocolate as my Izzy scoop and the Salted Caramel as my main ice cream. It was AMAZING and probably I should not go back there today for more.

While summer is prime ice cream time, it is also the height of bug activity. Along with pretty butterflies, busy bees, crawling ants and biting mosquitoes, beetles gather under logs and fly around porch lights at night. Let us learn about some of these flying, crawling and plant-eatin' dudes!

The June Beetle.

These black, brown and yellow beetles are around an inch long. They are members of the New World Scarab beetle family, or Phyllophagia (leaf-eater in Greek), which is part of the beetle order Coleoptera.

Side Note: Coleoptera contains the most species of any animal order in the world!


June beetles are "chafers", or leaf eaters, who enjoy eating corn leaves and other crops. While the beetles can be destructive, beetle grubs are especially evil. Living for three to four years underground, beetle larvae eat the roots of grass and cereal crops. They can be especially pesky underground at golf courses.

White Grub.jpg

My cousin Miss Lippy has a very disturbing story about such a grub attacking her as a child.

More intimidating than a June Beetle is the Stag Beetle!

These oversized mandibles were thought to resemble deer antlers, hence the name "stag". While scary-looking to humans, the mandibles assist male beetles in wrestling matches to find mates!

The British stag beetle is the largest insect in England. Their grubs live in rotting wood instead of underground.

Perhaps the most annoying of these insects is an import: The Japanese Beetle, Popillia japonica.

These green and copper beauties like to eat the leaves in your garden! In the US there are few natural insect or bird predators that will eat Japanese Beetles.

Thankfully the adults are only alive for about a month, and can be easily collected in a bucket of soapy water and discarded. If you have leaves which are eaten between the veins, or "skeletonized", Japanese Beetles might be the culprit.


Scientists think these beetles were accidentally imported in a shipment of iris bulbs before 1912. The first Japanese Beetles were found in New Jersey in 1916.

Please keep me posted on any beetle sightings!


Monday, July 13, 2009



I'm realizing the focus of this blog has changed, mostly focusing on my dog and my yard! This might restrict its universal, even world-wide appeal! Also I haven't posted in a while.

But I have seen critters! First, a pair of wild turkeys right before taking the Ford Parkway bridge into St. Paul!


We went camping last weekend at Afton State Park. It was our first time there and our inaugural camping trip with Stella. The hike-in status of the campground made it a little burly, however. Especially as the fresh drinking water was 1.5 miles away in the parking lot. Poor R had to carry a giant water bladder up the hill!


Our campsite (22) was the perfect combination of forest and prairie, sun and shade. Right away a deer came to visit!


Stella also scared up...a wild turkey! It fluttered away, making an angry noise!

Can you see the Bobo-Dog?




It's hard to get Stella to pose in a photo!

The St. Croix River:

Hardcore camping requires a nap:

Apparently this is the smile we have when attempting a self portrait:

Hope you're all enjoying every moment of summer!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June Adventures

Greetings, all!

Man, for being recently unemployed for over a month, I sure have not posted a whole lot! Probably because I've been eating every meal outdoors and trying to relax, read, exercise and have fun with my Bobo-Dog. A summation of these activities is represented by this photograph:

Check out this adirondack chair and table set our across the alley neighbor GAVE US!
(I baked the neighbor a strawberry rhubarb pie to thank her.)

We finally went inside the Prospect Park Water Tower, after living in that neighborhood for over four years. The tower is open once yearly.



GH came to visit:

On the same night that R and I went to Fogo de Chao we saw our first baby bunnies of the year. Yes, two babies! They were right outside my teaching office, where we'd parked.

I'm glad to have tried Fogo de Chao, but honestly, only one of the meats was really delicious to me. It's an expensive place and I'm happy R's colleague was nice enough to treat us.

In non-meat news, R and his Dad destroyed our upstairs bathroom because water was leaking into the basement:
Goodbye, horrifying bathroom carpet!

The poop pipe to nowhere, which overflowed from the sink drain at this point behind the toilet:

Last week Stella and I went on a solo mission to the Minnesota River Valley Wildlife Preserve:

In the summer, Bobo toys with vegetarianism, sampling grass several times a day:

Deer tracks:


It is hard to take good pictures when your dog is really excited and you're holding the leash!

The first goose babies I've seen:

There were many great egrets at the preserve:

Stella and what I believe is a loon in the background:

Now I've returned to the working world, as a waitress! After an eight year hiatus, I think I'm getting the hang of modern serving, that is, with computerized ordering and credit card machines. Come visit me at the new Brasa on Grand Avenue in St. Paul!