Invasion of the critters aided and abetted by the rescue kitten

Yes, you read correctly. This sweet, innocent looking little kitten, a scrawny bit of body on legs when we found her in an empty lot in December,



is responsible for the influx of critters which occurs each night just before we are about to go to bed.

She drags in bugs of various sorts, most of which we have never seen before. They are alive and squirming. One of us has to capture the cat while the other, with broom and dustpan, encourages the critter to come along for a ride to the garden where, hopefully, the cat will not find it again. At least not until tomorrow.

Then there are the geckos and lizards, some of which are at least half the kitten’s length. Holding these critters captive with a paw firmly planted on their tails, we once again are forced into rescue mode. “I really wish they didn’t move quite so fast,” I mutter as I wield the broom.

And let us not forget the frogs. Tiny babies a week ago, the evidence of their growth is obvious as the latest contributions of dear rescue cat are now an inch long. Soon they’ll be the size of the palm of your hand and we’d be really really happy not to have them inside.

For more about frogs in the house in rainy season Mexico.







What’s that I hear? Adventures in Tombouctou


“I hear something. Turn on the light.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“I’m telling you, there’s something in our room.”

“It’s your imagination. You watch too much TV.”

They’re in Tombouctou. They’ve toured the town, seen the mosque and market, and the water hole which looks like an inverted cone with maybe a pail or two of water way down there. How do the people survive? Yes, the Niger River is just a few kilometers to the south, but still….

“I still hear something. Turn on the light.”

“If you want the light on, you turn it on.”

“The switch is on the wall by you.”

With a heavy sigh, she crawls out of bed and reaches for the switch. “Oh, my God! Look!”

The room is crawling with insects. Big and small they swarm over the walls. Some are feeding on others. There’s no mosquito netting to build a fortress, to tuck securely around the mattress. Hell, a mosquito net wouldn’t do anyway.

They scramble wildly for clothes, shoes, and blankets and escape to the relief of the cool night air. They settle in arm chairs on the hotel terrace with the added security of the staff sleeping on the ground nearby. Wrapped in the blankets, they hear the howling of the Harmattan winds, unaware of the sand dunes building over them.

Burrowing out from under those dunes in the morning, they discover that ears, eyes, nose—every body crevice, and pore plugged with grains of sand. Little dunes of sand form in the bottom of the shower stall for days after.

But, hey, they can say they’ve been to Tombouctou.

Taking Over the World


Who’s taking over the world? These little critters, that’s who. At first glance, they look like a smudge of dirt on your kitchen counter, table, or patio. Closer examination proves that the smudge is a cluster of tiny ants.

Leave a drop of juice in the sink or a crumb on the counter and within seconds they swarm to attack. Leave an empty and carefully washed cookie tin out and find it full of ants the next morning. Wipe the counter clean, turn around and they’re back.

Open the package of candy to fill the Christmas stockings and find that the ants have invaded. Good thing the chocolates are individually wrapped. But what if the ants got in? Better test one. Ant free, but now it’s open, the chocolate has to be eaten. Mm, good. Maybe more should be tested. Two, three, four, five are all ant free. Okay to fill the stockings now.

There’s no identifying the ants’  point of entry and no chance of eliminating them. Fumigating the property line prevents entry of cockroaches, scorpions, tarantulas, and an assortment of other critters, but the ants are still here. Watch as they scurry across the driveway, run in circles on the road, slide gleefully down the wall.

Out on the patio they swarm a larger insect and herd it in the direction they want it to go, presumably to their dining hall.

As the song says, “The ants go marching …”