Family · Uncategorized

Blue Skinks

Well hello to this fine Friday!

It finds me at my desk, but SHOCKER – my floor heater isn’t on! Today is a sunny day and rather unseasonably warm for mid-November. I’ll take it after the unseasonably cold last few weeks. I was almost a meteorologist, so I understand weather… but question the term “unseasonably.” And the meteorology story is saved for another day.

Back to my title – Blue Skinks. This is a bit deceiving because blue skinks are native only to an Australian island, but the truth is we have a lot of  Great Plains Skinks around our house (outside). The juveniles have blue tails. These tails also come off if you try to grab one. My kids love this!

I grew up catching skinks in the Blue Hills north of my family’s farm. Harmless creatures. As kids, we took two home and they lived in the old cellar for years – Skink and Skank. Yes, I lived a colorful childhood…

great plains skink juvenileWe’ve seen them scuttling around in the summer, sunning themselves on rocks or our sidewalk. They feed on arthropods – insects and spiders. Anything that knocks down the spider population is fine by me.

great plains skink

A few weeks ago, we took on a family-based project (read: husband driving the heavy equipment, kids and I picking up and hauling stuff around by hand and with a wheel barrow). We ripped the old, concrete steps off our house. After 50+ years of salt, the concrete was literally crumbling. You could stick your hand inside the cinder block base — although I wouldn’t based on the number of snake skins we found. The rails had been removed almost 10 years ago because they were unsafe. It was TIME.

As reluctant as I am to start another any house project, this one was necessary. Our widower neighbor to the south, Ron, needs railings to get up the three steps to our house. He comes over for holidays and just the general invite. Other neighbors need railings too. We are a welcoming house for tea, cookies, dinner or the non-food related visit.

house projectYesterday, a crew came by to start the rebuild. If you didn’t know, stamped and stained concrete is a more budget friendly option than building a deck (wood or composite).

The crew started by repairing the termite damage under the door. We are crossing our fingers that this is truly the last termite damage those beastly little *insert expletive-laced rant* creatures did. All of that happened three generations before we acquired the family-built house. We’ve repaired and replaced all sorts of things like subfloor, joists, and sheet rock. Those little buggers will eat the paper off the sheetrock!!!

They began to excavate to pour footings and found two things: a hidden underground electrical conduit and a big ball of hibernating skinks.

Skinks – super cool! The crew said that was a first! They relocated them to my flower bed to the south. Good thing it was “unseasonably” warm yesterday! The skinks had scattered by the time I got home from work. Local forecasts show a few more days of warmer weather before a possible snow. I’m hoping they will all find a new place to ball up and hibernate!

Electrical conduit – not so cool… Add an electrician to the mix so we could have electricity by the evening. We also learned that we will need to replace said conduit due to age and the breakdown of the old insulation.

Man, I love house projects (insert a smidge of snark)…. Honestly, I’ve appreciated the endgame of all 12 years of house projects, but even HGTV’s Nicole Curtis needs a break every now and then, doesn’t she???

Enjoy the weekend & Happy Thanksgiving wishes to all this next week!