Thursday, September 09, 2004

Mailboxes and animals

Not in a mailbox but out my kitchen window June, 2006

Maybe, if I'm real quiet, they won't bother me.
Picture by Linda

Mailbox Visitor May, 2006

Last year I had this same visitor--you can read about it here.

Looks like he has quite a house. You might say it is first class!

Have a good weekend.

Another Mailbox Squatter June 20, 2005

This was one of those mailboxes that open from both sides. The other (back) side was left open so I guess this little guy thought he was hiding in the back--that is until I opened the front.

This is a Gray Tree Frog. They are numerous in this part of the state. From the site map, it appears we are on the western edge of their habitat.

Chip, our neighbor, was hiking at the marsh and took this picture of the same species.

He wrote the following about the picture:

Gray tree frog - Hyla versicolor, large numbers of these frogs began emerging from temporary pools at the marsh on Saturday the 18th of June. When they first emerge, the frogs have remnants of the tails they used for swimming as tadpoles. The young frogs are green only becoming grayish after they move away from the lush green vegetation surrounding the pond. At the peak of the emergence is was common to find 10 or more frogs on a plant.

These little guys are quite active. We have several on the outside of our windows at night. With the lights on the windows are covered with bugs which, as Dan says, gives the tree frog an "all you can eat buffet."

Bold or Daring Jumping Spider June 24, 2005

I asked around the post office yesterday and there was agreement among the three other rural carriers that this black spider was the most common resident in and on mailboxes. No one knew its name, including me. I was determined to identify it without Chip's help, but alas, I gave up & emailed the picture.

As it turns out, this is an interesting little creature named Bold or Daring Jumping Spider. The University of Kentucky Entomology site has excellent pictures of all species of jumping spiders. Bold jumping spiders are very common and easy to recognize. They are the largest of the jumping spider group. Their unique quick "herky-jerky" way of moving along with their multiple eyes enables them to pounce on their prey with amazing accuracy. Most are black with red or while markings and hairy.

The information indicated these spiders like man-made structures--including mailboxes. Perhaps its because these places attract other spiders or bugs for them to eat. They are often on the outside of the lid and will drop or probably more specifically jump into the truck when the lid is opened. It was after this exact event recently that I panicked and grabbed the spider. He did bite and it hurt--not for long. They are not normally aggressive as I have found them inside my vehicle just walking around checking things out.

Wheel Bug, member of the Assassin Bug Family June 20, 2005

A mailbox is a private container. The sanctity of the mail is assured every individual because of this Federal law. However, no one has informed the many creatures who find their way inside these boxes that they could go to jail or worse yet, squished, for being caught there.

As for me, I tend to ignore these little inhabitants. I figure if they leave me alone, then I will leave them alone. I was going to write a little about some of the freeloaders. But, after emailing Chip & following his information & links, there is one that deserves more space.

The picture posted above is a immature Wheel Bug, which, by the way, is a True Bug as opposed to a Lady Bug or June bug which are beetles. The mouthparts of a typical bug are made for biting, the true bug has a tube that pierces and sucks out juices.

The following is an account of how the Wheel Bug kills it's prey as written by Rob Curtis of the Hilton Pond Center

The Wheel Bug has some of the best-developed mouthparts of any True Bug. Its formidable beak arises at the anterior end of its long tubular head and unfolds forward. When it encounters a prey item--usually some adult insect or caterpillar--it typically lunges forward in its own slow way, grabs onto the prey with its front legs, and buries its hypodermic beak into some soft body part of the hapless prey. The Wheel Bug then injects enzyme-laden saliva--which immobilizes the prey within 30 seconds and turns its parts into porridge--after which the predatory bug sucks out all the victim's bodily fluids. This activity, of course, kills the prey item, which is why the Wheel Bug is classified in the Reduviidae--the Assassin Bug Family.

Note the eye which is called a "bulbous compound eye" and it also has a simple eye. There are two long jointed antennae which it uses to smell. When disturbed it produces an odor from scent sacs in its anus. These little bugs know what is going on in their world and those of us around them know they are there.

I learned two very important points about the Wheel Bug in my brief and not too thorough research. First, don't let them stick their beak in my hand and suck out my fluids because some say it hurts ten times more than a hornet sting. Secondly, don't kill them because these assassin bugs will eat agricultural pests such as grasshoppers larger than themselves. I will flick them off the lids & absolutely not let them fall down into the truck.

Friend in approach to mailbox April 9, 2005

This little friend was in the approach to a mailbox today. I had to back up and drive around. He was still trying to warm up, I guess. Posted by Hello

Yikes! Mouse in the Mailbox Sept 9, 2004
What a beautiful fall day--it feels like fall is in the air. Each grove of trees had locusts singing and the animals, especially squirrels, are busy hauling nuts around.

I have had a mouse in a mail box for about six months. The customer & I talked and we decided she was not hurting anything. But, every once in a while, she surprises me. Today I placed the mail in the box and turned around to get a package from the back. When I looked back in the box she was just sitting there on top of the mail looking at me. I jumped, she jumped and we continued to sit and stare at each other. She scurried away when I put the package in. I think I have a friend.

Several customers met me at the box to talk about the weather. It is always a good topic on nice days. The mail was back to normal so I was on time.

I just received good news--I will see Aaron & Adam tomorrow night. They will spend the night & head for the KSU game Saturday. Watch for a picture Sunday.

Headed out the door to mow grass. Later

Thursday Morning

Wake up! Wake up! Wherever you are.

Belle & I had a good nights sleep. Either she didn't bark or I was too tired to hear her. In her defense the coyote puppies are feeling their oats lately. There is one distinctive call that sounds like a baby screaming. It puts chills down my back. Belle & Skye are just being our protectors from those pesky coyotes. Let's hope they don't actually have a run in with one.

Two days of heavy mail--you gotta love those catalogs though-- revenue coming & going. I did get a nice big sack of apples from a customer yesterday. Warm apple pie--yum yum


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wednesday morning

The coffee is good this morning. It has its work cut out as I was up three times last night. Belle has started barking at night. With the nice cool weather, we have the windows open & it sounded like she was standing by my bed & barking in my ear. She and I have come to an understanding, I hope.

Hoping for a good day on the route so we can continue our house painting project this evening. It seems when the seasons change, my customers like to check in at their mailbox. I'll have to meet, greet, hand the mail and scoot out!


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tuesday Evening

Dan has Water Board so I have Skye and our house guest Belle right here under my feet. When Dan is home, they hang around him because they know, overall, their best chance for a treat is with him.

Today was what those of us in the mail delivery business call heavy mail. Oh well, it's done! It is gratifying in that respect. I think my customers are already starting their Christmas shopping--sure am delivering packages. I should start right now and do my Christmas shopping on Ebay. That would be fun.

What a wonderful day to spend outside. I thought this afternoon this must be how the weather is in California. I kicked the dogs out the door a while ago & it feels like October out there. Many evenings like this and we will be seeing color soon. Someone told me that it is the length of days that makes the trees start to turn. That person named "someone" sure is smart.

The realtors visited Marc & Kim today--the first step in getting their house in Garden City on the market. I hope it all goes fast for them.


Monday, September 06, 2004


This morning we met Shipmans on Clinton Lake at 9:00. Wow, what a beautiful boat--can you believe it has a portapotty. We cruised--then, you guessed it, glass & no other boats-- I had to try skiing. I didn't make it up on one ski. Probably could have if I would have kept after it longer. I went ahead & skied on two but that felt weird. No one else got out there. The water was warm surprisingly enough with all the rain.

From Clinton we went to Lawrence to grocery shop & ate at Jason's Deli. I really like that place. I had my usual veggi wrap. Dan had a portabella mushroom sandwich that looked delicious. Everytime we eat something with mushrooms we have to comment how much Doug would hate it!

After we got home we painted most of the front of the house--Dan power rolled & I followed with a brush trimming. Completely changing colors--we really like it. I will post a picture when it is complete.

Got to get to bed--heavy mail tomorrow--long day.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Adam, Aaron & Trent Posted by Hello

Linda's Backroads

Linda's Backroads

Sunday Morning 9-4-04

What a day yesterday! We left around 9:00 and didn't get home until 11:00pm. We were able to see Kim & Marc's new house in Salina--which will be done around mid October. They are looking forward to a home which needs no remodel work done. We were excited to find that there is a back way to get there without going through the traffic & construction in Salina. They took us to eat at a local Italian restaurant in downtown Salina--delicious. From there we traveled back to Manhattan for the KSU/Western Kentucky game. It started at 6:00 pm so we had serious sun in our face for the first half. The person behind us did not buy season tickets this year so we have new "neighbors." At least we won't hear the coach, quarterback, entire team as a matter of fact, bad mouthed & called stupid and compared to his grandmother! KSU won--the paper will say they struggled--I say Snyder is keeping the team playing basic football--nothing fancy--until everyone gets used to the new quarterback.

We have a "To Do List" this morning that won't get done for a year, so we better get started!