Thursday, September 22, 2016



    Photo by Jon

The first day of autumn - my favorite time of year has officially begun. I'm delighted. Even though it's hot. Hotter than a jalapeno burrito in Hades (I just made that up).

It's 90 degrees today (that's Fahrenheit, for those of you in the Belgian Congo). This is the kind of hot autumn weather I thought I escaped when I left California. And Texas. It has followed me here to the wilds of Tennessee.

But relief is in sight! Cooler weather is predicted by next week. And in another month or so I'll be bitching about the cold.


Actually, these are perfectly glorious days. The shadows are longer. Dusk comes soon - especially in the secluded huddle of these looming forests and cozy hills. Nature is surging with frantic activity. There's a surplus of birds, squirrels, 'possums, deer, and other critters. And insects.

Bees, wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders. Every kind of spider you could imagine, and many you wouldn't want to imagine. I stepped outside this morning to savor the first day of fall and was immediately snared in a gigantic spider web. It wasn't merely big - it had H.G.Wells proportions. 

I was forced to go inside - wash my face, arms, and chest (I had ventured outside shirtless). Then I shampooed my mustache. No lie. 

When I summoned enough courage to venture out again, I brought my El Cheapo camera to capture the day for posterity. Here's a much smaller web that glistened with dampness in the morning light.

 And here's my cat Bosco surveying the situation (the web is north of his head)

 My back yard is on the edge of a forest and it takes awhile for the morning sun to emerge from the trees.

And as the sun was emerging, the now-half Harvest Moon was lingering in the west. This looks very similar to a daytime moon photo I took a few weeks ago.

My car can be seen in the lower right corner of this photo (below).
I have no doubt the excitement is overwhelming you.
I'll give you time to catch your breath.

If you want real excitement, you should have been here the other night. I had thrown a few dirty clothes into the washing machine over a week ago and forgot about them. 

Late one night I suddenly remembered them. I lifted the lid of the washer to peek inside. The clothes were there BUT - out of the corner of my eye - one of the socks moved! Slightly.
Or was it merely my imagination? 

I slammed the lid shut...and didn't really want to look again.  I'd never seen clothes moving by themselves in a washer before. Hell, they couldn't be that dirty....
I armed myself with a flashlight and lifted the lid again. I poked the sock. It moved again!

I quickly removed all the clothes in the washer except the sock. Then...I cautiously lifted the sock...
and there was a tiny mouse!!

Holy Shee-it! How the hell did it get in there??  
I didn't really want to know, but I surmised that it got in through the agitator mechanism.

"Agitator" - not a student protester, but rather the intricate part of a washing machine of which I know nothing about.

In a rare and merciful act of kindness, I took the mouse outside far from the house and tossed him near the cow field.

There were mouse droppings on the clothes that were in the washer. I threw them all in the trash: two socks, a pair of underwear, an old flannel shirt.
Then I thoroughly scrubbed the interior of the washing machine with bleach and other disinfectants.

Lesson learned? I'll never leave dirty clothes in a washer again. Not unless I wash them.

And where the hell are my three cats when I need them?
Probably sleeping.
Here's my eldest cat Scratch this afternoon:

 My critter worries aren't over. I still hear animals scampering over my roof every night. And it sure ain't Santa with his reindeer.


  1. love the prism colors in the pix. and you got me snorting with this post.

    1. I do my best to keep people snorting....

  2. Well, I have calmly and tranquil like accepted autumn now. The sleeping at night has been heavenly.....its all open air still at the casa, and nice and cool in the mornings, with the days still warm. The fox and deer and been very active at night, but with the fitting season, the deer are completely beside themselves. Can you imagine if you had run the washer!!!!! You Jon must be a mouse whisper or something.........

    1. It's a perfect time of year. I sleep with the windows open, too. And every night I hear the owls, coyotes, and wild dogs.

      As for mice - I know how to tame the wild beasts.....

  3. Pretty pictures and funny mouse story.

    1. I've never heard of a mouse in a washing machine before. I was really horrified.

  4. The web was positively holographic and florescent! The cats do what they do best: not worry over the little things. You do what you do best and walk into spider webs. We all serve a purpose. If I ever figure out mine is not as a professional victim with massive abilities to become so depressed I can leap under buildings, I might find a niche for myself.

    1. If mice and spider webs were my only problems I'd be happy and content. You and I seem to attract disasters like a lightning rod. I know the feeling of leaping under buildings......

  5. When mice come marching in ... I'm thinking it may have gotten in from under your washing machine where there's usually an opening. Maybe. I'm glad to see a shift in seasons. Autumn is a pleasant time of year. Those flowers ( or weeds ) are quite pretty.

    1. It definitely got in under the washer - and somehow managed to squeeze through the bottom of the agitator. Fortunately it was small - - and even more fortunately, I didn't turn the machine on and wash the clothes!

      The only nice thing about weeds is that they can be colorful.

  6. I'm much more freaked out by the walking into a spider web than finding a mouse. Glad you let the mouse go. If mice didn't chew up everything and leave droppings all over the place I wouldn't mind them as roommates. But I prefer them to outside for those very reasons. I may ove rodents, but outside--not inside. Lovely pictures of your land. I am so happy that fall is here! Our cooler nothern weather should be heading your way soon. :)

    1. Spiders scare me more than anything - - but scorpions scare me more than spiders. They were everywhere when I lived in Texas.

      The mice around here are actually cute - - but I don't appreciate them invading my house.

  7. Those pictures of the spider webs are gorgeous. Very artistic. (What did I expect? DUH)

    The little mouse in your washer wasn't nearly as bad as what I was thinking. At first, I thought you'd run the washer with those clothes in it and had forgotten about them for more than a week. I mean YUK!!! Can you imagine the smell... and some bigger-than-life creeping mold...?

    1. I had no idea that mice could get into a washer, but I suppose they can get anywhere. I won't be leaving any more unwashed clothes around - that's for sure.

      I love that first photo of the spider web. They look so intricately artistic - - as long as you don't walk into one!

  8. Jon, I'm loving your new header!!!
    Cool picture, too, with Bosco checking out the back yard.

    Soooo glad you rescued the little mouse. I'd have freaked, as well, but you have to admit they're cuter than the dickens. :) Here, I was afraid you were going to discover a snake. That would be a deal-breaker; I'd have had to burn down the house.

    PS - Actually, a jalapeno burrito sounds pretty good right about now!

  9. Thanks for mentioning the header. I keep changing it because I'm never satisfied. I like this one, too - it captures the essence of misty autumn.

    When I lived in San Angelo, TX there was a snake in my kitchen!That was a harrowing experience....
    BTW, I don't like jalapenos.

  10. Jon,
    Your photos are beautiful! I'm glad you now live in part of the country where you can appreciate the change of seasons. Actually you're have a more noticeable change of seasons that I do here in southern coastal Delaware.
    Hey, it's a good thing you didn't wash you clothes with that mouse in them! I can just imagine you taking your clothes out with a dead, downed mouse. You were lucky you caught him in time. He was lucky you didn't feed him to one of your cats.
    You always have interesting posts Jon. Another good one!

    1. Ron, it really is fortunate that I didn't wash the mouse - I would have been extremely upset. I had no idea they could get in a washing machine!

      There is something extremely satisfying about living in a place where there is a change of seasons - - although we both know (from bitter experience) how dangerous the winter can be.

  11. One of my early childhood memories is of my mother chasing a mouse in a drawer trying to flatten it with a paint scraper, her her death wish for mice left an impression on me.

    1. A paint scraper? Women can be vicious in desperate situations. I had an aunt (now deceased) who once poured boiling water on a rat (I'm not kidding...).

  12. Wonderful photos, Jon! I'm sure the mouse appreciated your kindness. I'm waiting for snakes and mice to get smarter about their explorations into houses --it's almost as if they don't give things enough thought.


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