Skeeter time, and the living is sucky

Holden and I are both covered in mosquito bites. I catch him sitting there with a puzzled look on his face, scratching the little red bumps on his legs, wondering why on earth such an annoying sensation would be happening and not going away. You got my blood, kid. Sorry.

In addition to the ones on my legs and arms, I’ve got three of them on my back. My back! The small part, where the curve starts. I haven’t rolled around shirtless in any meadows. Hell, I haven’t even really been 100 percent shirtless except in the shower, and if those little twits are getting me in the shower, then they are more dedicated to biting me than I am to not getting bitten. I’ve decided those bites are the result of my audacious decision to sit on the front porch in a slinky, thin shirt for about half an hour the other day. They bit right through that shirt, between the slats of the rocking chair.

I saw this on the Facebooks today and it didn’t make me feel any sort of “woo hoo we’re No. 1″ pride for my city. No, it just made me realize how lucky I am that I haven’t gotten a disease from the biters yet. My ex-boyfriend got freaking encephalitis a few years ago from a mosquito (at least that’s what was thought). So it’s not just a scary internet tale.

Time to stock up on the Skin So Soft, which is the only thing that helps, even though it really doesn’t help that much.

Not even kidding, as I was going to tag this post and hit publish, one came up to my ear, sang a whiny little song, and landed on my arm. I am sitting on my couch. In the house. The windows are open but it feels like an imposition just the same.

Grrrrr.

‘Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower’

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I would never tell the other seasons, but fall is my favorite, favorite, favorite. The way the air wake up your lungs when you breathe it in deep, the way you can layer your clothes and peek out at the world, the way each day changes the landscape around you and you are all too aware of how finite things are.

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I’d never been to Radnor Lake until a couple of days ago, when the boys and I took a hike around the lake and saw the sights. I was amazed. The caretakers’ house, the valve shack, the incredible history behind the whole area. A little treasure I’d never considered before, unfolding before my eyes with every step around the lake.

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Nashville is a beautiful city and I’m grateful for the chance to be here.

Whole photo set is here, if you’d like to see more.

Giant spider invasion

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Apparently if nature throws us a mild-and-rainy summer bone, it means an uptick in the spider population. Which means the outside of our house is constantly draped in spider webs, and I am forever running into them and freaking the hell out.

The other night I got a ride home from work and was be-bopping my way toward the front door up the walkway — which I hardly ever do because usually I come in through the back — when I ran smack into a huge web and made eye contact with its tenant. I screamed and shouted obscenities but mercifully did not actually get entangled in the web or touch the spider.

I try to be cool with these guys because I know they eat mosquitoes — my true and reason-based nature nemesis — but what I can’t hang with is the fact that they are always spinning their damn webs RIGHT WHERE I NEED TO WALK and doing so in a way that makes them DAMN NEAR INVISIBLE TO MY WANDERING HUMAN EYE. For example, all over the dang porch and between my car and the house, just out of the reach of the right angle of light that would illuminate them to me.

Holden has no innate fear of these beasts so when he sees me flip out, he gets pretty amused. Also, he is eventually going to utter one hell of a vulgar sentence one of these days because he has seen me flip out over spiders so much this summer.

Now I must leave you with this:

August’s horrifying lesson

Yesterday I learned that if you don’t have your yard mowed for a month — a month full of plenty of rain and sunshine — your grass will grow tall and proud and dense.

And do you know what loves to live in tall, proud, dense grass? Families of bunnies, that’s what.

So when you finally have someone come cut your tall, proud, dense grass, they might accidentally discover and obliterate a family of bunnies with their lawn mower.

So cut your damn grass every week, you lazy bastards. And tip your lawn guy extra if your negligence causes him to commit bunny manslaughter.

Animal life in the wilds of Antioch, Tenn.

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This is a groundhog, right?

This little guy gets around. I see him in our and the neighbors’ back yards as well as across the street in the horse pasture.

He’s the size of a very large cat or a raccoon. You can’t tell scale from this crop but you can see the fence behind him here. He’s always sifting through the dirt and grass when I see him.

He has a really interesting pattern on his coat, which makes me think he might not be a groundhog, since all the pictures of groundhogs I can find show a relatively uniform, mottled pattern. No real stripe action to speak of.

I also considered he might be a nutria when I first caught a glimpse of him but I’ve ruled that out since his house a groundhoggy face and a fluffy tail. Maybe this groundhog just has the mange or something.

Also, yesterday I heard the cats being unusually spirited in the early afternoon, and discovered that Jack had caught a lizard. It was a big bronze skink (thanks, @saraclark, for the ID). I let him play with it for a while, thinking he might let instinct take over and he’d kill and eat it and remember that he’s a cat and not just a cuddle-seeking/wire-eating tub o’ lard, but he just played with it, letting it get free just long enough to run and snatch it back up in his teeth and bat it around a bit, for 15 minutes until I started feeling bad and rescued the little guy and put it outside in a mud puddle, sans tail. It probably went off and died. Sorry about that, little skinkster. I was trying to let my cat have an authentic cat experience and the world is a very cruel place. Also, this house is a skink-free zone. Tell your friends.

The cat caught and is in process of torturing a lizard