“There, done!” I thought, wiping the sweat from my face on my dingy t-shirt.
It was time for a pruning and cleanup in one small corner of the property, next to the plumeria. All that was left to do was put the pruned palm fronds in trash barrels for the garbage man. I can chip up any branches and prunings but the little chipper/shredder just can’t handle palm fronds. (Yes, I’ve found out the hard way, as the frond turns into a ball of fibers, stuck in the shredder. This event is accompanied by squeal of the shredder drive belt and the stench of burning rubber, usually followed by mumbled cursing as I try to get the fiber ball dislodged from the shredder drum.)
The Dachshund was sniffing around(as usual) happily rooting away in the debris pile I had just masterfully created when she let out an ear-splitting, gut wrenching squeal followed by a series of little dog yips…turned tail and came flying out of the pile heading for house.
“Now what did that stupid dog get into… centipede, scorpion…” I wondered as I peeled apart the formerly masterfully created pile. My sympathy level was a bit low for the dog being as she had just finished drinking all my iced coffee that I had set down, apparently at a convenient dachshund level. Getting near the bottom of the pile, on the outside edge I found the culprit…or should I say culprits.
An amorous pair of Two-Striped Walkingsticks (Anisomopha buprestoides) were sorta hiding atop a palm frond. A smaller male was as is common, perched atop the much larger female.These “devil’s darning needles” have the ability to squirt a strong- smelling defensive spray with awesome accuracy. As Twinkles the Dachshund (I didn’t name her, I’d have picked a manly dog name like Spike or Rex) found out, this is a painful irritating substance to mucous membranes (such as Dachshund noses).
I ran upstairs to check on the dog (snuffleing a bit but apparently unharmed), grabbed my camera and a new cup of iced coffee. Back out I went. Putting my coffee down, playing with camera adjustments, I set about making like a nature photographer and started snapping a few pix while muttering “That’s it, work it kids. The camera loves you…HEY… TWINKLES, GET OUT OF MY COFFEE!!!...stupid dog…sigh.”