New Fauna and Fungi of Nogglestead

It has been a couple of weeks (months?) since I’ve heard the coyotes leaving the battlefield in the evenings or returning in the mornings. Have I not heard them because they’re not there, or because I have not been outside nor had the windows and doors open at sunrise and sunset (although I have been in the pool around sunset some nights, but the coyotes come out a little later)?

The appearance of a pair of rabbits might indicate the former.

These little rascals live in the eastern part of our windbreak and spend most of their time in the side yard. One day, though, I surprised them in my garden, and they tried to jump the fence in vain. One darted out the garden entrance, and one squeezed through or under the fence, and the low-tailed it around the pool and to the windbreak. This weekend, as I was mowing the lawn, one of them was near the garden, and he tried to run but was reluctant to cross the driveway pavement. I chased him around a little as I continued my spiraling cutting section, and he eventually overcame his fear of the driveway and bolted around the front of the house and to its burrow.

Without the coyotes around, I guess the next biggest threat to them is hawks and owls and presumably my lawnmower.

Our last garbage company was having trouble meeting its pickup obligations–private like me, but they also have contracts with a couple of the cities and towns around here that provide that “service” to their citizens. So they dumped a large number of the private citizens who contracted with them. They never picked up their wheeled bin, though; I guess because we got it from the company we first signed up with that the later company acquired, I guess that they did not have it on record that it was their bin. So they left it and did not come to get it when we mentioned it when requesting a refund for the two months’ service that we paid for and that they were not going to refund on their own initiative.

Which has left me with an extra bin, and I don’t mind. Sometimes we have overflow, such as nine pallet-sized burlap sacks that our firewood comes; we top off our weekly trash in the bin with our new company by adding these sacks. Once, our new trash company refused to empty our bin because it was too heavy–I swapped all cat litter boxes at once. So I dumped the cat litter and scooped it into bags and put them in the overflow bin and over the course of weeks (for two more weeks, the new company refused to lift the bin when they could see cat litter in it), I optimally weighted the bin and eventually got all the cat litter out. So it’s come in handy for us a couple of times.

And it provides a nice spot for Jake, our new outdoor snake pet, to rest in afternoons.

Jake looks to be a rough earthsnake. You might remember I made snake flashcards for my boys to study in the probably-soon-to-be-previous unpleasantness. I packed those away at some point, so I had to go to the Internet to look for photos to guess.

I found him when I moved the spare bin to run the line trimmer behind it. I’ve moved it a couple of other times to show Jake to the family and just to say “Hi.”

A couple years ago, the electric co-op decided they were done trimming the oak at the end of my driveway and cut it down and ground out the stump. Grass has not encroached on the remaining wood chips much. I saw a normal mushroom there, and as I went to get the mail a week ago, I noticed a touch of color.

A quick Internet search indicates this is a mutinus elegans, which sounds like Elegant Mutiny in Latin. Commonly known as Elegant Stinkhorn, the colloquialism I will use is “Devil’s Dipstick.” I’ve mowed them since then, but they will be back.

Wikipedia says they’ve been reported in Texas, Colorado, and Iowa; consider them reported in Missouri, then.

You might have thought that fauna included new cats at Nogglestead, but no. Cisco does not like cats outside and will go into berserker mode if one sits outside the glass and stares at him. There haven’t been too many of those recently, fortunately. My son and I did have a chunky tabby come and sit on the pool deck and watch us when we were in the pool, but he’s not too friendly–I came out another door to chase him off when he was offending Cisco, and he ran to the edge of my deck and then made aggressive noises at me. So he won’t be sharing an office with me any time soon, and I need to put a broom on the deck to use to chase him off if he really gets aggressive.

At any rate, something different this year at Nogglestead. Maybe I’ll show you soon the new flora at Nogglestead, including lettuce in the garden. Which apparently attracts rabbits.

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