Category Archives: Crazy Critters

Herbie & the Decibel Debacle

Monday, June 18th, 2018

Above: Herbie helping me sort music.
First we need to talk about piles. Most of us have one, if not our own, it’s our loved ones. My husband’s pile is around his chair. I could probably write a whole blog about men and their chairs, but that’s another story. Over the last 29 years I have tried many things to make the pile less irritating. Our first few years of marriage the pile was literally around his his chair, on the floor. I’m sure there is a grand organizing method, but it was still an annoying pile on the floor. Over the years I tried baskets, bitching, and cleaning. Nowadays he has a tray, that I gave him, with his pile on it so I can hide it when we have company. The tray sits on the ottoman by his chair. On this day the ottoman was covered. The tray on the right full of mail in organized piles, a stack of magazines and catalogs on the left, and in the middle a bunch of loose papers with the remotes sitting on top.

Herbie helping me read the news.

When our son moved out and started paying his own bills we actually had money left at the end of the month. Instead of raiding our savings a couple days before pay day, (if there was something to raid), we had money left over from the last paycheck we could add to savings. This is an “Empty Nester” perk. That and the fact that electronics have become more affordable, we have a very cool smart TV with a nice surround sound system, DVD player, and cable box attached. That is four remotes. We have them programmed down to two that we use on a typical day.

My husband and I had both been sick with the Jackson Hole crud. We were both on the mend but the cough still lingered. I had ordered a new tray for my music stand from Amazon.com. It got great reviews, so I was surprised when it showed up with no instructions and didn’t seem to work as advertised. I brought it over to my husband, who was sitting in his chair, to look at and see if he could figure out how to tighten up the mechanism. Of course Herbie, our big furry Maine Coon mix cat, had to be in the middle of it to help. He jumped onto the ottoman.



This all happened in just a few seconds but may as well been in slow motion. I’m standing next to my husband who is sitting in his chair, both of us looking at the new tray discussing how it’s supposed to work. I noticed the volume of the surround sound system was going up, slowly at first but increasing in speed. I turned and looked at Herbie, who was sitting on the ottoman, and I saw the end of the remote to the surround sound sticking out from underneath his big furry bum. I went to reach for it but the sound started increasing rapidly, and with every decibel Herbie’s eyes got bigger and his ears went back further. Then when the level of sound was so loud I was afraid we would blow the speakers… Herbie took off like a bat out of hell! Except he had been sitting on top of my husbands pile. His legs were moving but he wasn’t going anywhere. POOF! All those papers went flying! The remotes, went flying! Magazines, went flying! When he finally reached the bottom of the pile and could dig his claws into the soft fabric of the ottoman his body caught up with his legs and he vanished in a cloud of papers.

Herbie Helping me with my boot bag.

You know how it is when you’re sick with a lung bug and you start to laugh… then cough because of the laugh? I thought we were both going to die. OMG! I could barely get to the surround sound box to turn the volume down, the remote had flowed somewhere that was not immediately known. Once the volume was back at a normal level, I leaned over to catch my breath, looked over at my husband who was turning red and coughing and laughing at the same time too. I stopped coughing, caught my breath, wiped the tears from my face, and went looking for Herbie. He was fine, probably more upset by the indignity of humans laughing at him.

 

Herbie was OK, the speakers were OK, we figured out how the music stand tray worked, and the cough is gone. All is well at Herbie house.

 
 
 


Herbie vs. Cousin It

Monday, January 1st, 2018

I had to keep Cousin it locked away in a closet for Halloween until he made an appearance with the Jackson Hole Community Band at their annual Concert for the Kids.

Where’s Cousin It?

Pintrest is a fun place to find new ideas. While surfing one day I found easy instructions for making a Cousin It Halloween prop. All you need is:

  • A tomato cage
  • Plastic Wrap (I added this to keep skirt in place)
  • 2 or 3 Hula Skirts
  • A wire tie
  • Hat
  • Child’s sunglasses
 

Instructions:

  1. Tun the tomato cage upside down and bend down the stakes.
  2. Wrap the cage in plastic wrap.
  3. Wrap the hula skirts around the cage. If the cage is taller than the skirt is long start low and use wire ties to hold in place.
    • Use enough skirts to cover with a full head of ‘hair’. They are only a buck, don’t be stingy.
  4. Use wire tie to secure ends to top.
  5. Place hat on top.
  6. Place glasses appropriately, it can be stuck through the plastic wrap or taped to it.
 



That’s It! Well, almost….
 
Keep the cuz out of your cat’s reach. I proudly put my new decoration on the kitchen table and went to get my camera, I came back to a hula mess on the kitchen floor. Herbie could not resist for a minute, he had cousin it on the floor in pieces and was still torturing his prey.

Herbie killed Cousin It!

Hanging from a ceiling hook did the trick.

 


 


Lil’ Bastard

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

I used to think raccoons were cute… Until the little bastard moved into my backyard.

In Fall 2012 we lost our 14 y/o lab. When she was alive we did not have stray animals, wildlife, or people in wander into our back yard. Last summer, at O’Dark-thirty, a neighborhood cat was at our back screen growling and hissing at Tigger, who was growing and hissing back. That was just the beginning. Tigger is our 15 year old cat, since he came to our home as a kitten he has been an indoor and fenced in backyard only cat. One evening last June, around dusk, he ran in the house so fast he bumped the screen, he hopped up on the sofa, his tail fluffed up like a raccoon, looked around the room with wide eyes, ran over to me, stuck one paw in my lap, and softly said one “meow” like it was a question. That is strange behavior, even for Tigger. I got up and looked into the back yard and didn’t see anything. I closed the door for the evening,remembering the time a magpie chased him up a tree, I thought it was probably a big scary bird.  In hindsight I think one single soft meow must be cat for “WTF”.

Every summer I decorate my back deck with potted flowers and other decorations so it is a nice relaxing place to have an after work cocktail and inviting for friends. I usually have a bird feeder for Tigger’s entertainment, this year I added a larger one, which the birds were eating quickly. I’d wake up in the morning ant the feeder would be half empty with feed scattered everywhere. A few nights after Tigger’s odd behavior my husband said the birds were making a lot of noise eating the seed at 2am. 2am??? Still, I didn’t connect the dots.

A week or so later we had a big lightning storm blowing in, about 11pm I turned on the back deck light to see if it was raining yet, I saw something under our patio table moving, it turned its head to me and the unmistakable face of a raccoon was looking back at me! Holy cow! Raccoons?! This is a first for my part of town. Cute little bugger in a destructive sort of way. Thinking about it, we have an empty dog house, a bowl of water, bird feeders, and potted vegetables in our back yard. Everything a homeless raccoon family needs to set up house.



The next day I went directly to the Game and Fish to borrow a trap. They only had one size  but it looked plenty big for a raccoon. It was heavy with a seemingly foolproof trap door with solid walls. Several people visiting the office at the time had opinions on bait, cat food, leftovers, and marshmallows were all recommended. That night I set the trap, bated it with cat food and bird seed hoping to catch a raccoon, not a neighborhood cat. The next morning I looked out the back door, like a child looking to see if the Easter Bunny came, but the trap was untouched. This went on for a couple weeks, he didn’t even come back for the seed from the feeders. I think I must have scared him (or her). Our neighbor said their dogs killed a small one and they have seen the big one. Another neighbor said they trapped one also. By now I had switched the bait to PB&Js and marshmallows, and just when I start thinking the raccoons were are all gone I woke to see a closed door on the trap. YAY! I went outside to proudly look at my catch only to see an empty trap with no bait.

I named it ‘Lil Bastard’ …

Apparently I was NOT a Wyoming Mountain Man Trapper in my previous life. The trap I borrowed from game and fish was too small (failed to trap lil bastard) so I dropped $80 on a coon-trap from the local ranch store (should have purchased on Amazon.Com). This one was a large cage with a trap door. I put it in the grass and baited it with a PB&J. The next morning the trap had not been snapped but the PB&J was gone. Lil Bastard reached through the bars and pulled it out that way, my bird feeders were also emptied. The next night I used marshmallows and made sure they were in the middle of the cage, in the morning the bait was gone and the trap still didn’t snap. I have only succeeded in keeping Lil Bastard well fed with PB&Js, marshmallows, humming bird food, and bird seed. I even provided Lil Bastard with a drink of water. Lil Bastard probably walks away from my yard, tummy full, sayin’ “Suc-kaaa!!!”

I looked at the failed trap and decided that putting the trap in the grass was the reason the trap was not snapping. It looked tike the weight of the animal was pressing the trap into the ground and blocking the mechanism that releases the trap door. So that night I put the trap on the sidewalk leading to my back deck, which happened to be under our bedroom window and the guestroom window where my mom and her dogs were sleeping. Just after 4 am the trap snapped and we had one very pissed off raccoon, what a racket! Lil Bastard woke the entire family trying to escape from his cage. After a while it was clear he wasn’t going to give up on escaping so my husband went outside to move the cage to the other side of the house. I looked out the window and watched him pick up the cage, Lil Bastard lunged and growled at him, feisty little bugger.

The next morning I went to examine the fruits of my hard work. I felt a little bad for Lil Bastard, he looked frightened and tired from fighting the cage. That morning my husband took him for a ride to the forest, near a creek and away from people, and let him go. I caught Lil’ Bastard’s cousin several weeks later. Since then we have not seen any more evidence of raccoons. Hopefully that will be the last of them.