My children love animals and bugs. For a while this summer my daughter was collecting grasshoppers and leaving them in jars all around the house. We had enough of them outside that I wasn't too worried about extinction--except of what was left of my garden. Our current insect pet is a praying mantis. She is large, brown, and has laid two egg sacs in the terrarium my son put her in. He brought home a whole pack of crickets from school the same day we found her so upkeep as been easy. Except for the day we found this:

We found this baby squirrel last Wednesday on the front sidewalk of a friend's house. It had fallen out of the nest. I thought it was dead but my son took a closer look. And then we had to scoop it up and bring it home with us. The praying mantis got dumped out of her cushy home and stuck in the butterfly keeper. Baby squirrel got a soft bed of cotton batting and a heat lamp until I could take it to WildCare the next morning. I now have had to tell a boss that I was going to be late to work because I needed to drop off a baby squirrel. WildCare put it in it's nursery, fed it, and it was still alive later that day. We will go back there on November 2 for the open house. Praying mantis made her way back into the terrarium and laid that second egg sac and ate the rest of the crickets.

Our turtles are all gone. I now believe the baby turtle was eaten by the raccoon that prowls around our yard. I'm not sure what happened to the larger turtle. I think it was a bit big for a raccoon, but I haven't seen this raccoon. My family trapped it on my back porch (the enclosed one our cat stays in) while I was in New Orleans, but it struck again last night. If we get to trap it again to release it a bit farther away, I will get a picture. 

We still have our cat. She is probably traumatized from the raccoon, but she was a bit skittish anyway.

On Monday, I went by our community ministry storage unit to get a box of blankets and take a look at what is left in there. I opened the garage door and was surprised by this:

Thankfully the storage facility owner drove by on his little golf cart and got to smash a spider for me. And all the egg sacs.

And now to balance out the complete black widow terror ick, here is a pic of a quilt I am working on filled with happy critters like butterflies and cartoony cute gray foxes.

And even better, this new fabric below called Chirp Chirp by Momo. It is a very happy country scene, full of sheep birds and chickens.
You can't see the mosquitoes snakes and scorpions that would also be there, so just pretend that this is the countryside in heaven where you could actually be out there without tick spray, long sleeves, and steel toed boots.