July 2021 Rewind


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It’s feels like the first of July was in one year and the end of it was in another. What a long month it was! Apparently at the first of the month I was hanging out with a toad friend from the yard. Thank goodness for photos because I had completely forgotten about this happening!

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Before Chris and I left for San Antonio the weekend of the 4th I noticed that the pipevine chrysalis that was on Chris’ man-cave door had eclosed with a very fresh pipevine swallowtail butterfly. I was loading stuff into the car and noticed it was clinging to the chrysalis so I went in to grab my phone and by the time I had returned it had dropped to the ground and was having a hard time with the wet wings. I managed to get it onto my hand and transport it to one of our plumeria pots where it arranged itself to dry its wings. It was gone when we returned a few days later so I assume it was successful in drying its wings and no damage had been done. Thankfully the pipevine caterpillar mayhem has settled down a bit—I think we had two or three broods of caterpillars this spring—and the pipevine plants themselves have been able to recover.

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In San Antonio we visited the botanic garden which was lovely as always….

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and went for a hike at Government Canyon State Natural Area. That was a hot and steamy loop!

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We ate down at the Pearl Brewery area and then took a walk along the riverwalk and apparently the San Antonio river now has an invasive apple snail problem. *facepalm* We saw posted signs about it at first not far from La Gloria, and then we finally noticed egg cases as we made our way back down the other side of the riverwalk. Surprisingly there aren’t a lot of logged sightings on iNaturalist but I made a few to contribute. Houston has some populations and it does seem to be getting worse in the last few years and now it looks like San Antonio is infested. Cool. More information here

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Our little AirBnB on the NE side of San Antonio—despite it being adjacent to some restaurants owned by the same folks, it was really quiet all weekend. Out back was a hot tub and we met a feral cat friend that of course we had to supply with a bit of food for a couple of days.

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Meanwhile, Forest was living his best life with my parent’s and his cousin Grayson! We picked him up on the 8th in Waco where my parent’s met us. We had lunch before departing for our next trip for my birthday (which I wrote up here) to Dripping Springs.

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The lovely Pedernales on a gloomy overcast day.

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Ugh, and then on the 21st we had a very dramatic day. This is Rusty—the “good” cat for the moment. Chris was out of town but heading back from MS and Forest and I were heading out the door to head for daycare and work. I had a doctor’s appointment that morning so we weren’t in a rush but I was also trying to be diligent about time and get out the door when we were supposed to. Well, Mr. Dusty thought he would take the opportunity to slip between our legs and escape out the front door. He tried this once a few months ago but I managed to get him back inside quickly. This time he bolted out the door, turned left and proceeded to freak the eff out.

Meanwhile, I’ve got my bags and crap for the day, holding my keys, Forest has his backpack and is kinda standing there watching this chaos unfold in slow-mo. I throw my keys at the cat to try to stun him into stopping but I miss. I drop my stuff, shut the door so Rusty doesn’t decide to join his brother and then run around the side garden to try to corral Dusty. He starts heading for the compost pile and I can just see him wanting to dart over the fence. I manage to get him back to the banana trees at the garden and I tell Forest to go and get some treats so I can lure Dusty. Dusty is cowering and I think, stupidly, that I can corner him and get him. Nope. Meanwhile, frickin’ Miles the feral saunters over because he’s just had breakfast and wants to say hi (he’s very friendly and I’m pretty certain he was a house cat at one point) but I know Miles is also an asshole and would pick a fight with Dusty.

Dusty runs off to the far end of the garden near some bricks we have piled up from the original garden when we built it and hides there before cowering between the actual brick border of the garden and the chainlink fence. Miles, interested in this chaos, saunters over to us again, and I’m like, I’ve got to get Dusty now before a fight breaks out. I grab Dusty but he is *not having it* and is fighting with all his might. He latches onto the fence and the passiflora vine on the fence and pulls hard enough that I can’t hold onto him and then leaps over the fence!!!!

I don’t see where he goes but we have a gate on that fence and can venture into the neighbor’s yard. It’s wooded on that side and the house and lot are empty because it is for sale (for more than double what its worth!) so I don’t feel bad wandering around the yard. I find the deer that hang out there and look around logs and such. No Dusty. I’m about to break down at this point because it’s been 5-8 minutes of hell, Forest has to go to daycare and my appointment is at 8:15.

I post to Nextdoor immediately with photos of Dusty and a brief description and then I call Chris to let him know what’s going on. Of course he’s in like western Louisiana and cannot help until the afternoon when he will get home. We decide to just take Forest to daycare and I will go to my appointment and then come home after and try to find him.

When I return about an hour and a half later I start wandering around, shaking the treat box and search the woods. Nothing. Then I meander to a couple of the outbuildings and at a rotting and falling down shed I peer in and find the little jerk cowering in the corner. *phew* I think. I feel better seeing him. So I go to our shed and grab our pet crate, thinking that I will put it at one end of the shed he’s in and open it and I’ll sit nearby and start throwing treat at him until he gets closer. Dusty is the one who is easier to grab and the friendlier of the two (though since this happened, Rusty has opened up a lot more) and I assumed (wrongly) that I will be able to grab him.

Nope. He sees me set it down and I’m about to sit down and hang out with him and he bolts. The door doesn’t shut so it was cracked and the back end of the building is rotting with many openings so it isn’t like I could lock him in there. He runs out the door and around the building. I follow him but it’s evident he has gone under the building at one of the several entrances that it appears racoons or armadillos have dug. Cool.

I call Chris and meanwhile I’m also you know, supposed to be at work. I also had a conference call to listen in at 11 and I was beginning to doubt that was going to happen. Plus, between all of this I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I’d planned to grab something after my appointment but didn’t because I wanted to get home to find Dusty. I ended up setting the live animal trap we had and then went to work to get my laptop, attend the conference call, and grab a second trap we had at the office. The rest of the day was spent working and wandering the neighbor’s yard calling Dusty and checking the traps. Chris finally came home and he did the same thing I had been doing and we could only hope that eventually Dusty would get hungry and come out and walk into the trap. In the meantime we moved put Miles into our shed temporarily with water, food, and litter so he wouldn’t feel compelled to follow us or to explore and chase Dusty off. Miles isn’t one of ‘our’ ferals–he showed up about two years ago with a ratty collar and was super friendly, though also a bit of an asshole at times because he wasn’t fixed. About six months later he disappeared for a few days and when he came back he was ear tipped and had been fixed. I found out our neighbors had taken him in and he has since mellowed a bit. Anyway, he’s kind of a neighborhood cat now but he hangs out in our yard often.

Night fell and no Dusty. Chris got up at 11pm to check the traps and make sure no racoons had been trapped. Nothing. Oh, to make matters worse we had seen two baby racoons in the yard that evening and when I went upstairs after putting Forest to bed I looked out the front door just to make sure Dusty wasn’t sitting outside but I found the baby racoons snooping around instead. I figured we’d be catching baby racoons all night. Also, we were really worried because earlier this summer we finally saw a coyote on one of our game cams. We knew they were around but we finally had proof. Coyote and a scared cat—not a good combo.

Chris woke up again sometime around 4:30-5am and went back out to check. I woke from my dazed sleep when I heard the jingling of the cage being put down and I knew Dusty was in it. Chris was very emotional about it and Dusty was home. Big fat *PHEWWWWWW*. I wasn’t looking forward to spending another day looking for him. We went back to sleep/rest until it was time to get up and to let Dusty get himself together and by the time we came down again he was like, Oh, I’m home, hi there—I’ll take some pets! You could tell Rusty was relieved, too. He had spent the previous afternoon wandering around looking for him and became very clingy. He even slept up next to me that night which was not something he really does.

Needless to say we watch all doors like a hawk when leaving and entering. I’ve even had to go around to the back door a few times to knock on it to get the cats to move back from the front door. I really do not want to repeat this again.

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I went on a local field job with Chris again last week—very hot and muggy. But it was nice to get outside for a few hours.

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And then I closed out the month with a weekend with a few friends. It has been nice to start seeing folks again! Between meeting different people for lunches or attending a outside birthday party a few weeks ago for one friend’s son, just getting to see people has been great. Of course now we’re back to dealing with out of control cases because folks don’t want to get vaccinated, who knows how long this is going to last. Which kinda brings home the point that early July and late July were so drastically different in our approaches. We’d (the adults) stopped masking in most situations but by the end of it we were putting it back on.

And now, onward to August! School starts next week!

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2 thoughts on “July 2021 Rewind

  1. shoreacres says:

    Phew, indeed! I always worried about Dixie Rose getting out, but eventually I got her trained to ignore open doors. In fact, when I went out of the patio, I could leave the door open and she’d just sit there at the door, looking out but never making a move. I still was cautious. Since she’d always been an indoor cat, I was sure she’d freak if she got out, and I might never see her again.

  2. Patrice says:

    OMG that is quite a tale (or tail LOL). Justin’s mom’s cat disappeared for a month once in Denver! It’s really nerve wracking, especially because of the other animals! Glad they have both stayed out of trouble the rest of the month!

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