Sunday, November 11, 2018

HANGING ON




Winter has arrived early and unexpectedly. Just a week ago it was balmy and mild. Impudent wasps were making a nest right by my front door (and chasing me inside every time I tried to step out).

The annual (and dreaded) influx of Asian beetles began with alarming rapidity. Every year at this time they descend like the plagues of Egypt - climbing the sides of the house, seeping through windows, getting into everything - from my hair and clothes to food on the dinner table. It took me twenty minutes to sweep them off the front porch - - and in less than five minutes they were back.

I took this photo last year, to show how they congregated on my bedroom window sill. They were just as bad this year.
Fortunately they die quickly and the influx only lasts a few days.


On Friday it was cold and rainy and the temperature dropped steadily all day. I had to make the dreaded (and long) trek to my mailbox to leave some letters for the mail carrier to pick up.

Since it was pouring, there was no way I could walk. I had to take the car. Things went reasonably well until I was returning and trying to get back up the hill to my house. I got stuck in the mud (this isn't the first time).

I tried to remember the rules pertaining to the situation.

Don't panic and don't accelerate.

I panicked.
I pushed the accelerator to the floorboard while the wheels screeched and spun and I sunk deeper into mud.

I had to walk back to the house (in deep mire and torrential rain) and get sheets of cardboard from the garage. I placed them under the tires of the car (for traction) and switched to the lowest gear ( never keep it in "drive" when you're stuck in mud). 

Finally I was free, but the car and I were covered in mud. And I was completely drenched.
I washed my clothes....but there's no possibility of drying them since the motor on my clothes dryer blew out.

My boots are still caked with mud and too wet to wear.

Yesterday (Saturday) was sunny but cold - a daytime "high" of only 34 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, for those of you in Guam).

The leaves are still hanging onto the trees so I wandered out to take some final photos of the foliage. A brisk and invigorating day.




Random scenes from the back yard.




 My two cats Bosco (left) and Scratch, hurrying up the porch steps to get back into the house. I let them out for a few minutes yesterday morning but they didn't like the cold.

My cat Scruffy died only two weeks ago and I'm still extremely upset over it. I miss her so much.

Tonight as I write this it's about 23 degrees. Cold and silent here in the woods. A few stray coyotes are howling in the far distance.

Much like the last November leaves, I'm still hanging on......

22 comments:

  1. I think tonight in the coldest night we have had so far. 49 tonight. Asian Beetles? Are they like Lady Bugs? Hole Moly do you get invaded. I get this time of year Lady Bugs but not anything like that. I get them only in one window, usually in the bedroom on the western side. It's sunny there all day. I only get maybe 4 or 5, between the windows. But by end of fall them is a mass grave of them that I must vacuum out. Puzzles me how they get in there. I did read they like the sun and the heat of the window, and are in search of water. I hate that you live there...it sounds like daily struggles.

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    1. It got down to 23 last night and felt even colder (due to the dampness). Asian beetles are very similar to Lady Bugs. The annual invasion is intense but thankfully it doesn't last long. The sudden cold weather must have killed them this time.
      Every day here is a struggle in one way or another. It doesn't get any easier, but I'm used to it...

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  2. Autumn leaves belie the real weather, don't they?
    So sorry to read about the loss of your cat. I dread that time coming, hopefully a few years away.

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    1. The colored leaves are lasting longer than usual this season, but I think the sudden cold will do them in.

      My eldest cat Scratch is 13, but Scruffy was only 4 years old. She had a history of respiratory problems and the vet couldn't save her.

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  3. Wow. I wonder if those Asian beetles are kin to the Lady Bug invasions down here? Until my DIL showed pictures of them EVERYWHERE (walls, ceilings, etc.) I ignorantly thought, "What's the big deal?"

    You know, I can't get enough of these photos. Intoxicating!

    I'd be surprised if you weren't (still) upset about Scruffy. It's been 5-1/2 years and I still hurt about Caraleigh. If you don't mind a short story? (Truth) My DIL's sister lost her beloved cat earlier this year and vowed, "Unless, God were to drop one in my lap, never again!" (Insert sarcasm font.) Not 48 hours later, she and her daughter were out hiking ….. and darn if a tiny kitten fell from a tree branch onto the trail before them.

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    1. I posted that photo because those pesky beetles have to be seen to be believed. They are extremely similar to Lady Bugs, but they're brown instead of red and very aggressive.

      I love taking photos of the autumn foliage. Unfortunately my camera batteries died yesterday. I'll have to get more on my next trip to town.By then the leaves will be gone.

      The story of your DIL and the new kitten falling from "heaven" is priceless! Fact is stranger than fiction.
      There is no way that I can describe how upset I am over Scruffy. I keep blaming myself for not recognizing the signs of how ill she was. And I (perhaps unfairly) blame the vet for not being there to see her on the day that I wanted to bring her in.

      Having three cats in a small place was somewhat of a challenge but I couldn't exist without them. I'm actually considering adopting a new cat sometime after the holidays (I don't want to do anything too quickly).
      Bosco and Scruffy were inseparable and he really misses her.

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  4. Hi Jon, came your way via John's blog Going Gently, and wanted to say hello, since we are both transplants to the great state of Tennessee.
    We are having those same Asian beetles invading our home right now, they bite too !
    Swines.
    I'm so sorry to read that your beautiful cat Scruffy has passed, I know the pain first-hand of losing a pet, especially a young one.
    More cold on the way, but you do seem to have some gorgeous Fall colors, up there on your mountain.
    Thank you for sharing.
    ~Jo

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    1. Hi, Jo - thanks for stopping by. I had no idea that the Asian beetles bite - but that makes me dislike them even more. Their invasion only lasted a few days (thankfully) - I think the cold weather helped kill them.

      I was raised in Southern California, where I lived for thirty years. I also lived in the Missouri Ozarks and Texas (I hated Texas with a passion). At this point in my life, Tennessee is a perfect place for me to be. Despite all the inconveniences, I love being in a rural, peaceful area. I also have a few relatives here, which is nice.

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  5. I think I'd resign myself to trudging through the mud to get to the mailbox since the getting the car stuck has happened before and then takes waaaay more time and energy and more than your boots get full of mud. That sucks. I lived where we had a long muddy driveway and couldn't see our neighbors once. Many a time I trudged along outside of the actual driveway through weeds or snowbanks to keep from slipping in the mud and ending up on my ass--LOL! One of the cons of country living--but there were so many pros. ;) Hang in there! Give those two furbabies a cuddle from me.

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    1. Yes, it's better to walk to the mailbox than risk taking the car. This time I thought the mud problem wouldn't be bad but it turned out to be worse than the previous time. It would be wonderful if I could have the "driveway" paved or at least lined with gravel - but it's an impossibility way out here (especially financially).

      I really miss Scruffy and it upsets me too much to think about it - but fortunately Scratch and Bosco keep me busy and provide ample entertainment.
      I'm thinking of possibly adopting another cat sometime next year, but it's best not to do anything without careful consideration.

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  6. Hi! I wandered over to you from another blog that I read. I've enjoyed reading your blogs. I don't blog personally but I love reading them! I live in Tennessee, but I'm not a transplant- I was born here.. I live just north of Memphis- in Covington. I LOVE Tennessee and I don't think I could live anywhere else! Blessings to you!

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    1. Hi, Louise! Tennessee is a great state with a lot of down-to-earth genuinely good people. I have no regrets about being here. Living in a rural area isn't always easy, but I love the peace and privacy. I live in Fentress County - only a few miles from the Kentucky border.
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  7. Always enjoy seeing your photos of where you live Jon, especially of your cats. You do live in a beautiful part of the country.

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    1. It's such a beautiful time of year, Ron, and I always like taking photos - especially when I don't have to go any farther than my back yard.
      I miss my cat Scruffy so much and I get extremely upset whenever I think about her, but I'm glad that I still have two sweet felines to keep me company......
      ....and another wonderful kitty kat which is now on my kitchen wall thanks to you (*Big Smile*).

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  8. Hang on, Jon. Hold on. You're not alone.

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  9. I've been hanging on my entire life, Geo - I'm tired but sure as heck don't want to let go yet. It's always reassuring to know I'm not alone.

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  10. Horrible beetle infestation....some somet kind of creepy about plagues. I am not surprised that you are still mourning,that is nothing to beat yourself up about.

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    1. The worst part about the beetles is trying to clean them up after they die. It's difficult to get all of them, especially when they're wedged in places like windowsills.

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  11. I’m just hanging on too. Blah.

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    1. I'll add a Great Big "BLAH" to that. Hanging on isn't easy.

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  12. Winter.. what we think of Winter is upon us here in the deep deep South.. I reallly like the photos of the leaves

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    1. This is my favorite time of year for taking photos. Winter seems to have arrived early here in TN - it's been unseasonably cold (unfortunately)

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