Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Creature Feature

22 Comments

As we get ready for an extended holiday weekend, I thought it’d be kinda fun to show a few pics of things you might see if you happened to stop by. Note one thing: I’m a lousy photographer (unlike my daughter, who has an artist’s eye), so I apologize ahead of time for crappy pictures.

First, I braved the mosquitos last night (no wind, humid, perfect for those little flying vamps) to take a pic of the garden. It isn’t the best picture, but damn, as soon as I stopped moving, it was like the dinner bell rang.

garden

Everything seems to be doing well, especially after the rain we got the other day. It’s supposed to rain today, and I’ve got a funeral to attend, so the weeds will have time to reclaim their footing.

And though I didn’t get a picture of the vandals eyeing my garden, I found one. I figured since this is a creature post, I should include them. Oh, and the flying hypodermics, just because.

cottontailmosquito
Man, those buggers are relentless (It doesn’t matter which; they’re both curse-inducing annoyances.).

Those who’ve been following since the spring know we got some chicks. We’ve moved them into the big pen now, but they haven’t started laying eggs yet, and probably won’t until this fall. I gave them some watermelon scraps last night, and they seemed to enjoy the treat. (also, they don’t stop moving long enough to take a good picture πŸ™‚ )

chicks

Last week I promised the story about our nightly visitor. Since it’s summer, and we have no central air conditioning, we have a window unit in one of the windows in the living room. This leaves a gap between the lower sash and the upper sash where bugs can congregate, lured by the light in the room. Well, we have a visitor that’s figured out the best place to get an easy meal.

frog2_cr

Yep, a little tree frog. Actually, we saw two of them hanging out one night, but usually there’s only the one. You can get an idea of how big it is by the size of the the window lock. I’m sure it’d fit on a half-dollar coin, no problem, with room to spare. It usually sticks on the window like a gecko, so we just see its white belly, and creeps around to wherever the biggest bugs are, typically moths. One night, there was a moth almost as big as the frog, and I watched the frog catch and eat it. So cool!

Of course, as I was heading in last night to escape the mosquitos, one of our dogs had to getΒ  in on the action. Here’s Dakota, sitting still barely long enough to get her picture taken:

dakota She’s a mutt, part border collie and part Australian shepherd, I think. Or something like that. She’s pretty in a homely kind of way, and is quite content to ignore the rabbits. If the chickens get loose, however, all bets are off. They’re fair game to her, and she’s learned somehow to stash her treasure out in the weeds in the back acreage for later, when no one’s looking.

We found a chicken carcass out there a couple years ago while searching for missing birds. Those chickens flew just far enough to clear the fence around the pen. Dumb chickens.

And I can’t have a creature feature without Zoey. Here she is, chillin’ in one of her favorite spots outside (probably because the concrete stays cool).

zoey3

Independence Day is on Tuesday this year, so a lot of people have Monday off (I do). Four-day weekend! Woo hoo! I need to get butt in chair and write this weekend, betweenΒ  pulling weeds, of course.

For those in the US, enjoy the holiday weekend, and stay safe. Take advantage of the extra time off to draft a short story or new chapter. For everyone else, same goes.

Happy Fourth of July!

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Author: Julie Holmes, author

Pen name: J. M. Goebel A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I've been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". Currently I have two polished novels ready for the world and a number of others waiting their turn. I write adult mystery with extrasensory elements, mystery with a touch of romance, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy. In real life, I am a technical writer with a family of two teens, a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, six chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our "au natural" hobby farm, and Ma Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

22 thoughts on “Creature Feature

  1. Avery Happy and relaxed 4th if July to you too. Thanks for your fun post, I have greatly enjoyed your whole menagerie.😊 .
    Miriam

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  2. Creature feature! You knew I’d zone in on that title, right πŸ™‚

    This was a very cool post. I loved seeing all the pics and hearing the news about the various critters. Of course we could all do without those pesky mosquitoes. I saw a meme somewhere recently that something like “I wish Noah would have swatted the two mosquitoes on the Ark.”

    Ground hogs have been chomping on the few tomato plants we put in, so are pitiful harvest is not looking good.

    I took Monday and Wednesday off so I have a nice long stretch and really hope to knock out some writing. *fingers crossed*
    Have a happy Fourth! πŸ™‚

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    • Glad you liked this one, Mae! Speaking of ground hogs, when I was in the garden the other day, I watched a rabbit scoot around the garden (outside the fence) and into cover beside the barn. It wasn’t five minutes later I saw the ass-end of a smallish creature, bigger than a rabbit with a stubby tail, disappear down the same path the rabbit had taken. The rabbit immediately vacated the premises. Though I didn’t see the front, I suspect it was a small groundhog. Sigh. They can be worse than rabbits!

      Yep, Noah shoulda swatted those mosquitoes, but then what would the dragonflies eat? πŸ˜€ Hubby and I were watching the frog creep into the mass of flying bugs to zero in on the tiny moths, and he wondered out loud (as I was thinking the exact same question): Do mosquitoes attack frogs? Since most of the bugs were mosquitoes, I suspect not πŸ™‚

      Enjoy your extended weekend! I’m going to try to dig in as well. Good luck and have a great Fourth!

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      • I’m late in replying thanks to computer woes the last several days. The Fourth was nice (hope yours was too). I haven’t seen the groundhogs (there are more than one) around recently, but I know they’re hunkered down somewhere in my neighbor’s yard (I think under the shed). We usually see a lot of rabbits but there have only been a handful this year.

        With your dragonflies and frogs I think the mosquitoes are in trouble in your area πŸ™‚

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  3. Have an amazing holiday weekend and I loved seeing your pictures! Thank you for braving the mosquitos and sharing πŸ™‚

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  4. Love the tour of the garden and the critters, Julie – nature’s wonderland. We don’t have many mosquitos out here, and I don’t miss those, but the rest seem part of the story – even Peter Rabbit. Enjoy the long weekend, Happy 4th, and get lots of productive writing done. πŸ™‚

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    • That’s one thing I love about living in the country like we do, the variety of wildlife. I saw a catbird the other day for the first time. One day a quail was perched on the roof of one of our garages and making its quail noises. Every spring we get a pair or two of wood ducks who check out our grove (we are nowhere near any bodies of water or sloughs or drainage ditches) before they move on. I could do without the occasional skunk or raccoon, though, since the dogs still haven’t figured out to leave them alone.

      Have a wonderful holiday weekend, Diana!

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  5. I loved the photo of your garden and landscape. So lovely.

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  6. Since I’m no photographer, the pictures look great to me. πŸ™‚ little hypodermics–good one! And dinner bell ringing–excellent. Are you a writer, by chance? So it was a frog! Never would’ve guessed that. Seeing it eat a moth would be neat indeed. Thank you for the darling Zoey picture. My girls oohed and aaahed along with me. My goodness, the chicks grow up so fast. I’m guess your dog learned that chickens are much easier and more worth the trouble than rabbits.

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    • LOL! Some days I’m more creative than others πŸ™‚ I suspect the chickens are somewhat easier to catch–it’s no fun playing tag when you’re “it” and can’t ever tag anyone else cuz you can’t catch them πŸ™‚ I forgot to add chipmunks in my post; was out in the garden last night, and a chipmunk was digging around without a care in the world (not in my garden, though). Hope you’re having a great holiday weekend!

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      • My due date was yesterday, so I’ve just been spending each day in suspense, wondering when this little bugger is going to make his appearance and also hoping that I can still go to the 4th of July party I was invited to. I’ve no doubt had more relaxing weekends.

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      • I was wondering when you were due; I figured it was soon. Only a couple more days until the 4th, but if he decides to be an Independence Day baby, maybe they’ll let you have a burger and potato salad in the hospital! Good luck (I know, you’ve done this three times already; should be a piece of cake–hey, maybe they’ll let you have cake and ice cream, too!) πŸ˜€

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      • Ha! I guess we’ll see! I wonder if I’ll be able to see fireworks from my room. That would be pretty memorable.

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      • So here’s the latest, because I know you live for my updates. πŸ˜‰ Agent from R & R said still not starting in the right place. This time she DID tell me where she thought it should start. That’s a big help. And a couple other suggestions. Resubmit in 6 mos. In your experience, do agents give you a few cracks at it? This is my second attempt. I wonder how long she’ll let me keep trying. And, seriously, 6 mos! It won’t take me that long. I hope she doesn’t really make me wait that long to resubmit.

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      • That’s great! She’s offered you additional feedback, and is still willing to look at the ms in 6 mos. I think it means she is definitely interested, and who knows, maybe she’s testing you, to see if you’ll work with her. Or maybe she sees an opportunity down the road (in 6 mos), but the ms doesn’t work for her quite yet, or she can’t work it into her schedule for 6 mos. And yes, 6 months, because then it’s less likely you’ll rush the revisions. Has she suggested in any of her communications to speak with her on the phone? Just wondering.

        I never thought an agent would give an R&R more than one shot unless they’re really interested in the ms. So the fact she’s suggesting you resubmit again sounds very promising (no happy dance quite yet, though). And I wouldn’t submit the revision until the 6 months is up. In the meantime, do your revisions, then (as my agent suggested to me before I signed w/ her) have a few beta readers go through it and get some good feedback from them. Give yourself enough time to do any add’l revisions from the beta reader feedback before you send the revised ms to the agent.

        Crossing my fingers for you!

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      • Thanks for your advice. No offers for phone calls… yet. πŸ™‚ I did do beta readers prior to this. Will send a few key peeps these changes.
        Spent the night in the hospital with mild but steady close contractions. Dr. came in the morning, said I’m only 1 cm still, and sent me home. It was really rather embarrassing and a ridiculous loss of sleep for no reason for the husband and me. Gah!

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  7. Julie, I love this Creature Feature post! Such a delight to see your various visitors…I don’t envy you the mosquitoes but the chickens are terrific, Zoey in a lovely dreamy state and wow, that’s something with the frog catching the moth! A whole new world! The garden looks like it’s coming along great and the weeds seem to be down…or have you been hard at work! I hope you’re having a lovely extended weekend (but sad to hear about the funeral). Wishing you joy, peace and happy writing moments! πŸ˜€β€οΈπŸŽˆ

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    • Thank you, Annika! I’m glad you enjoyed the Creature Feature. It’s one of the cool things about living outside the town limits: all the wildlife we get to see. Well, except the ones that threaten the garden πŸ˜‰ I love watching the frog; he hasn’t been coming around every night lately, but he still shows up. The garden is doing well. I did some more weeding the past couple days–damn things just don’t know when to quit πŸ™‚ The zucchini is almost ready for the first picking; there’s something about the very first meals with zucchini (before we get tired of it!) Hope you had a good weekend, and enjoy your week!

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