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my life in a cabinet of curiosities

frog-on-buddha-1I OFTEN FEEL LIKE I LIVE IN A CABINET of curiosities; you know, those Renaissance-era rooms full of oddities (a vintage image follows), many of them nature-inspired, that in time evolved into an actual piece of furniture filled with the most fascinating mix of stuff? That’s my life here these days. Curious.

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OK, so maybe it isn’t exactly like the vintage image from Wikipedia. But there’s a female wasp with a “tail” several inches long drilling holes into trees to lay eggs; puffed-up frogboys fighting each afternoon at 2, rain or shine, as you saw last week; snakes galore posing on every surface; a cat who collects weasel tails and sticks his tongue out at me when I object (and oh, the endless rain…). So this week I offer up a slideshow of Margaret’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

Happy holiday weekend to all, and may your summer, and all your days, be filled with curiosities, too.

(Click the first thumbnail to start the show, then toggle form slide to slide by using the arrows alongside each caption. Enjoy!)

  1. Margaret says:

    Welcome, Deborah, and namaste in return. Funny, isn’t it, how much is going on when we are usually too busy to look, or see? See you soon, and thanks.

  2. Charlotte Cantrell says:

    Look at the serene look on Buddas face. Perchance “frogboy” has told him a secret. Or just a comical quip!

  3. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    Margaret, I have no problem with the moody self portrait, the pictures of the frogs, Buddah, hearts, houseplant, and bowl of fruit. Even the mounted tails are fine. BUT having snakes by the house is YUCKY!!!!!!!! I am glad I live in the BURBS, not way out in the woods. I would rather put up with voles, moles, mice, chipmunks and squirrels, than things that SLITHER around. Both of my Grandmothers had country homes, and NEITHER would let snakes live CLOSE to the house. To me, a dry stacked stone wall, in the country, says SNAKE BAIT!

  4. Margaret says:

    @Charlotte: I just cannot imagine what would motivate the frog to climb all the way up there. Curiosity? A scent? The slugs stuck to Buddha’s face? Fascinating.

    @Fred: I know, I am bothered by them, too…but…

    Snakes (and frogs), both of whom are very susceptible to ecological hazards of many kinds, are the sign of a healthy ecosystem and a long food chain that’s somehow miraculously intact…so I am happy they are here. Means that I am doing something right by not using chemicals and by providing habitat.

    That said, I do irrationally fear the snakes as mentioned, but I am working on it. In a year like this, the fact that they eat slugs (among other things) is a blessing.

    The fact that I have so many frogs and toads, and that I make water available, means I will have snakes, walls or not. Snakes (none of whom eat plants, interestingly…all snakes are carnivores) love to live where there is good food, including insects, worms, frogs, smaller snakes, salamanders, small mammals, etc. Sounds like my garden!

    When I lived in NYC not long ago, in the Bronx, I had snakes, too (though no walls). They weren’t as liable to show themselves as here, where it is quieter, but they were there (I would regularly find skins and sometimes see adults).

    Just one big long food chain, and I am fascinated at how it all works, slightly scary and sometimes gruesome as it is.

  5. Trish says:

    Beautiful! there is so much to “see” in the garden if one looks, like you have shown us with your beautiful pictures.
    Thank you!

  6. Mischelle says:

    Hey! I have those wasps, too! I wasn’t quite sure what they were until you mentioned the behavior that I have witnessed for the past two summers. It’s especially cool to watch the newly emerging offspring sunning themselves prior to their maiden flights. I often wondered whether they were beneficial insects or bad boys to be destroyed, but now I see they are pretty much benign. Thanks for the treasure trove of information you always provide.

  7. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    Margaret…Three snake stories…My Grandmother, who lived by the canal had a climbing rose, that grew up onto a trellis. She was at it’s base one day weeding it. For some reason, while on her hands and knees, she looked up, and saw that a snake was UP on a branch (cane), OVER her head. That freaked her out, and that rose was trimmed back REALLY far… Story two..My Mother lives in the center of a city, and had a neighbor that only cut the grass in front of his house. The back yard was a JUNGLE of weed, and volunteer trees. Young boys from the neighborhood would find snakes, and bring them home, and their Mothers would tell them to get rid of them. The kids would throw them into my Mother’s neighbors yard. In that wood land setting they would have a place to live. I was outside one day, helping her replant the iris plants, As I was digging up the iris plants, I must have disturbed a bunch of young snakes, they started slithering out from, (around the iris ryzones), all along the foundation of her house…. That was it for them! Luckily for US, the man’s daughters own the house now, and have bulldozed the back yard, where there now is a PERFECT lawn, and NO snakes live any more. Story three… I know this SOCIALITE lady up in Saratoga, that has a house in Kentucky. She was at her Old Kentucky Home, one day, outdoors, looking at the house. The house had large vines that grew up on in. She happened to notice a movement, up by the second floor of the house in the vines. It was a snake. She stood there, and saw that the snake went into an air conditioner, in one of the second floor bed rooms. She went into the house, ran upstairs, turned on the air conditiones, and that was it for the snake. The next day work men came , and took ALL of the vines off of the house.

  8. chigal says:

    Nice show! We have kestrels here, and fortunately haven’t witnessed any calamities. Some exciting midair pigeon attacks when they’re on the nest, though. The female is fearless.

    Maybe Jack’s trying to demonstrate his usefulness around the house. I had a black and white cat who had to subdue anything that seemed out of place or, failing that, draw my attention to it. I don’t think “curious” really does them justice — they’re vigilant.

  9. Bobster says:

    I remember being about seven and finding a garter snake out by the black raspberries in my grandmother’s garden. She clearly didn’t have a fondness, but was determined that they had a place in the garden and that it be respected. I miss that garden, I miss her and finding a snake in my garden takes me right back to that moment so many years ago.

  10. Margaret Rothauge says:

    Loved your shots Marg~but I don’t want the snakes getting your frogs :>(!! I know, its part of it but doesn’t mean I must like it, ha! Going to see what you and your Sis have been up to now, later! Maggie2day :)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Margaret Rothauge. Nice to see you here. I know, but the food chain is the foundation of all life, so I have to try not to object to whom eats what here. Hard to watch, but I am getting more philosophical as I age. See you soon again.

  11. Lisa @celebrate CREATIVITY says:

    What a fun mosaic of photos. The frog caught my attention and I’m glad I clicked to see more. I’m always on the lookout for photographic inspiration so this was a nice browse.

    Enjoy the day.

  12. Just puttering around your website looking for winter aconite and cats. I had to comment b/c my sister and I used to swear that our childhood dog’s feet smelled like popcorn and my mom said we were crazy. I must show her this!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Sarahsuemagoo. They do smell like popcorn (dogs’ even more than cats’ paws I think). They do! Hilarious, right? Nice to “meet” you and do stop in again soon.

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