Fetch the (hair)ball!

Letting a Yorkshire terrier use your backyard as a hunting territory is not necessarily a bad idea. Although it might turn into one if the above mentioned yard is the Bristly foxtail's favorite place in the whole wide world.

The Bristly foxtail is a weed that grows faster than Asia's GDP. If that wouldn't be bothersome enough, its flower has that annoying nature of sticking into clothes and fur. Apparently my dog refuses to get disturbed by any of this. You can imagine the horror I felt when the other day Raspberry presented her new looks to me.

Advice corner: What to do with a dog that turned into something you are positive if E.T. had it he could probably phone home?

You are in need of three sharp items: scissors, sight and reflexes. It also won't hurt if you build up a little patience. And by little I mean a vast amount: almost as much as you need to suffer through a summer day without internet, cell phone, other people, any sort of food and liquids. If you reach a level where even Buddha would be jealous of the result, you can be sure that no blood will be shed on either side.

Did I mention that the two hours of life-and-death hairdressing were rather adventurous?

Have you ever had a life threatening encounter with a Bristly foxtail, a dog or both? This is the perfect place to let it all out.

A stick-y situation

Many people had heard about stick insects. A few of them even seen one. Thanks to a couple of friends, starting today, I live with seven.

As long as I don't have to touch them, I don't have anything against non-mammal animals. Stick insects are on the top of my list, since all they do is pretend to be tiny branches. Turns out, they sometimes take breaks from motionless stand and engage in other activities. Which brings us to the story how did I became the proud owner of Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy. My seven little dwarfs came from a friend, whose insect staff proliferated. As a two birds, one stone solution, she brought a few to our housewarming party, eight of them, to be exact.

The love of my life was very excited about our new pets and decided to make the perfect terrarium for them. Long story short, it looked good. We put the whole thing to its temporary place: the kitchen table. With a job well done, we went to sleep. It wasn't till the next morning that we found out the terrarium's sole issue: low survival rate.

We are lucky people. Our kitchen baths in sunlight all morning thanks to the windows and terrace door. Since we are in the middle of summer season it doesn't only mean light, but hot, hot, hot. Let's just say the stick insects don't appreciate the latter. Their up close encounter with the Greenhouse Effect turned to a near-death experience for the most of them. We have one nameless soldier, who died permanently.

When I discovered the poor little fellows neither of them looked too promising. But thanks to my fast thinking and fanning the remaining seven survived.

Advice corner: What to do with overheated stick insects?

The most effective way to save them is to take the terrarium to a dark and preferably cool room. Open the glass box, spray a little water on them and fan and fan till your hands fall off. After a short period of time they should start moving again. If not, well, we all know what that means.

Bottom line: keeping stick insects as pets is rather adventurous.

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