Saturday, July 23, 2011

Critters in the Redwoods

I'm far behind in my blog updates; my only excuse is "too busy having fun with my sister" in the Redwoods of Eureka CA.

Before arriving here, I had arranged to meet my sister Sharon and her daughter, Jessica and my niece, Claire in Portland, OR.  

Note the graphic painted on the street.  The Pacific Northwest folks are very expressive, hyped up on coffee and must stay busy.

Sharon accompanied me on a Road Trip down the Coast of Oregon to Eureka.  

We had a blast.  Stopped at a seaside casino in Lincoln City and Sharon WON!  

This photo was taken on a glorious and rare sunny coastal day.  It was a perfect day for a drive on the coast.

We stopped at one of my Passport membership campgrounds and, despite my GPS, map software, a Google map aerial previsit of the area together with my experience and 6th sense about getting around--I could not find the campground and had to phone twice and finally asked the campground owner to come out and watch for me!  

Later, I found out why I kept missing it; the ground-level sign was almost completely obscured by grass and weeds!

This is where I am parked at my sister's home.  The driveway.  The forest behind me (locally called the Gully) is where the deer, bear and other varmits hang out.
One morning shortly after I arrived, the dogs went ballistic and attacked the windows!  A bear wandered into the yard looking for food, passed within 15' of the windows, ambled up the driveway and stopped traffic in the road before proceeding through neighboring yards.  This is a common occurence and no one even bothers to call Animal Control. 

Immediately upon sighting the bear, Sharon began calling the neighbors and a nearby friend to "get their dogs in".  Minutes later, the entire neighborhood sounded like a kennel in an uproar with dogs barking their heads off as the bear wandered through.  The bear apparently knows when "Trash Pickup Day"is!

Speaking of varmits, I caught one!  Sharon awoke one morning to find a piece of fuzz on the floor that hadn't been there the night before.  Hmmmm....puzzling...maybe a wind current blew it in?  Later that day, I picked up an apple to eat from the counter basket had already been bitten into!  I showed it to Sharon and we looked closely at it.  The indentations were clearly not human teeth marks--they were way too small and numerous.  

The only answer was--MOUSE!  So, we set about frantically pulling out appliances from the wall to search for entry points and filling them with that foamy stuff that you spray on and it expands.  Then, we pulled everything out of the pantry, found "evidence" of mice and proceeded to pitch everything not hermetically sealed.  

Third phase, slather peanut butter on mouse traps and place under house.  

The mouse traps worked and 3 days later, I entered the house for coffee and saw a motionless, gray furry mound.  Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be either a large dying mouse or a small dying rat with peanut butter on its whiskers.  We got one of the vacuum containers and I was able to corral it inside.  We pushed the vacuum top and eventually it died of oxygen starvation.

You decide--rat or mouse?

Another critter that loves the moist soil and debris of the Redwoods is everywhere and famous--the Banana Slug--a disgusting, mucous-coated, gelantinous creature with no role in life but to leave sticky booger tracks wherever it goes.

It is a souvenir in Chocolate Shops.

It is a teeshirt decal and is the school mascot for University of Santa Cruz.  This particular one is really gross because the trail left by the slub is in 3-D:  glossy with a smooth, cool texture.

Here is what one really looks like in nature; this one is sliming its way across the grill cover.

And, not to be overlooked-- the most fearsome critters of all---the Creeping Couch Canines!  

These creatures plot and is Cassie and Suki talking in code about their next victim.

Like the slow-moving slug, Suki pretends to snooze harmlessly at your feet, while inching toward an unsuspecting Norm and planning a horrific attack on his vitals!  Norm is obviously frozen with terror.

Cassie has really enjoyed her time here; she has rebonded with her species, being alone in the company of 3 other dogs for much of the days I was away.  She actually found her place in the heirarchy and was content with being "Beta Bitch".  The Alpha dog is Bella, a pug with an attitude.  Here they are together, miraculously peaceful in each other's company!

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