Saturday, July 15, 2023

A caterpillar that looks like a stick

I have important business to discuss, but in case you find caterpillar sticks much more intriguing I will leave it to the end of today's Hug. Which begins with this startling piece of information: Once or twice a day Pete and I walk a specific 5K route. This sounds boring even to me, but hear me out. I mean it's not like I'd concoct some elaborate story about our daily walks just because I did zero knitting this week. Or even darning, though I did happen to pick up this beautiful hat I knit many winters ago...

and remembered why it's a bad idea to leave wool-based things out and exposed all year long.

MOTHS. And to think they're so pretty as adults, and fascinating as caterpillars. 

Which brings us back to our 5K walk, which is not remotely dull, in part because the houses and parkettes we pass are all gorgeous. Their gardens evolve through the growing season and because decorating is a competitive sport around here, when the gardens are done, the Thanksgiving and Hallowe'en decor is just getting going. Then there's Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, and countless birthdays and baby arrivals. It is a nonstop show. 

Also, because much of the route is hugged by a ravine, we see a lot of animal life, and not just a myriad of dog breeds out with their humans and engaging with their canine neighbours. 

Last night's walk took the prize. I spotted a few twigs on one square of sidewalk and as I watched, one of them bent double and moved forward. Pete didn't believe me because when he looked, it was just a stick. 

To prove he point he picked up a different stick and touched it. Which proved my point, because it immediately went double again. Go me! 

This is not actually the stick pictured above,
which really was a stick, but they looked exactly the same,
and I did not photograph the caterpillar while it was still,
so I am taking creative license.

Isn't it lucky the stick he picked up wasn't also a caterpillar.

For a while now we've kept count of specific animals we spot as we go. Coyotes and foxes turn up very seldom and we've seen zero of them this year. Skunks are also, thankfully, a rarity. Last time I was about five feet from one when I saw it and dragged Pete onto the (thankfully deserted) road so we wouldn't get sprayed. We've had a groundhog in our back yard twice to nibble our hosta leaves, and spotted another heading to somebody's vegetable patch last night.

Next to birds and squirrels, raccoons used to be the top sighting because they are just everywhere around here - crossing the street at dusk, their humped backs making a dark spot against the streetlights, or maybe up in a tree, rustling. The other night we saw a car brake early for a stop sign, and stay stopped while a mother raccoon ushered her two small raccoon babies across the road. She looked for all the world like the crossing guard who works the same corner during the school year. Less cute are the raccoons swarming garbage cans the night before collection day. We steer well clear of them then. As opposed to just 'clear'. 

Lately it's all bunnies all the time, including an upswing in baby bunnies which are super fast on their tiny legs. Even three years ago we might see one in a month; now it's four or five per walk. I am grateful not to be trying to grow my own carrots.

The most fun moment happened the night we stopped to watch two fair-sized rabbits in a kind of standoff. One rushed the other, who went vertical, then landed a fair distance behind its competition and bolted off. If extreme leapfrog was an Olympic event, that bunny would win.

However! there is one animal we like the most and see only on our evening walk. A very pretty, quite young cat who lazes on her front steps until she sees us coming. Then she leisurely strolls to the sidewalk and circles our legs till we give her the attention she clearly deserves. Classic cat move, amiright?

Last night was different though. After the caterpillar stick, we saw a big bunny in the middle of our feline friend's yard, and the cat herself on the fence, supervising. 


The tree hogs all the attention, I know,
but the cat is top left, and the bunny
is front lower centre.

We stuck around long enough for her to weigh her options (stalk bunny, or visit with humans) and eventually she deigned to get up from her very comfortable position.

watchful bunny

As soon as she hit the ground, she made a run for the rabbit, who couldn't have been less concerned. That cat may be fast but she's nowhere near fast enough. I don't know what elaborate dance move she was pulling here to make the bunny think she was much more interested in something else. The bunny didn't care.


Eventually, as usual, our cat friend made her way to us and we had a very nice chat with her. She's so, so soft. Even softer than I would imagine any of the bunnies would be, if we ever had the chance to touch one. 

And while I'm on this subject: no, I haven't seen any developments around the nest one of our squirrels made in the tree opposite my desk. We may not get squirrel babies after all (imagine a sadface here.)

Okay! time for the important business matter. 

Back when I started writing Hugs, it was perfectly legal for me to offer a notification service every time I posted something new. Anybody who wanted to could subscribe, and get an e-mail noting that there was something fresh to read here. Later the law quite sensibly changed to allow this ONLY if the person offering the service provided a mailing address that anybody with computer access could see. That idea wasn't popular around my house, go figure, so people had to just wander in from time to time to see if I'd been by, which during our lengthy house renovation was rare.

Now that I'm posting every Saturday even if all I have to tell you is 'LOOKIT! A moving stick!!', the notification service is less useful. I mean, just come by at some point on a Saturday night and you'll see a Hug waiting for you.

However, I have finally organized a business mailing address I can use in establishing a notification service *and* a quarterly newsletter, in which I could write about... well, anything I suppose. Things I would not post on a blog out in the interwebs, or specific fiction-writing news that many (most?) Hugs readers might care about less than they do insects.

So: my question to you is, would you be interested in such a service, or indeed newsletter? Interested enough to post a comment, or to e-mail me via the e-mail link on the sidebar? (It has not escaped me that our little community here is much more comfortable with the e-mail option, and I am always glad to connect.) 

I'm trying to focus my energy on the most valuable stuff on my to-do list, so the feedback would be a help.

That's it for me today - I have a bunch of writing progress to make this afternoon and it's just rainy enough to make that appealing. Hope your weekend is going along beautifully, and I'll see you next Saturday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in the email.