Stick on the right there has suffered a double knee capping but is doing well. Other sticks are in fine health. Bout of stick plague seems to have passed. New ivy and brambles arrived today and not too soon!
On a more serious note the following private message was intercepted on the back of a leaf but we are still trying to ascertain its precise origin, it was annotated in inky footprints by a ladybird from freezing cold outer tank. It was seen flying off earlier today when we attempted a conversation in 7 dots (their language). We suspect there is a stick in our midst who has developed a taste for stick knees! And this is of some concern:
"What's got you stumpy? Oh a bit of kneecapping never did anyone any harm.
I couldn't help it anyway you were lying across my mandibbly bits! What did you expect would happen?
They needed pruning and they're 99% ivy anyway.
I do know everything - I may seem tactless insensitive and inexperienced but I've heard it all in my inter-kneecap-interviews-and-research-of-utmost-discretion (discretion is upheld at all times except on wednesdays, saturdays and anytime after 11am in the kitchen). And I've read the blog.
It wasn't my responsibility to make you feel welcome and safe here, it was orders from the boss. We're very close you know.
Oh you thought I was in charge? Well yes, I am.
No, I know some of you call it anti knee capping, but that's just a tank wide code for nibbling a bit myself while cunningly diverting attention away onto others who have probably lost their eyesight and can't tell the difference between a leaf and a knee. It's got better recently but I just -
they are so awfully tempting.
It is my real job.in the real world, not this pesky tanks for small sticks. I am a stick in service of grater things - like potato peelers, :scoff: and it makes sense when you realise that Anty is my title! I am Anty. I actually work for a wider network of superior sticks, called Anty Knee Cappings Incorporated. Didn't you know?
I'm so innocently savvily skilled at it that I'm in charge of recruits. Now that you do know you should be careful of your elbows. I have my eyes on them and won't hesitate to sway on over and SCRONCH."
It is most troubling but we will either perform a mass evacuation or continue to monitor with a view to countering these attacks. Will update you soon.
Is grumpy, and very very very small. It lives in Anemone, FOR NOW. It has a plan you see. If it eats enough plankton, then eventually... YES EVENTUALLY… but that is top secret. For now Glenda is looking rather fine, very LIKE a crab though actually not a crab AT ALL. Either way, speckled and well armed. She has teeny tiny hands and also GREAT BIG hands, which she can choose to use as she pleases, if the plankton are getting a bit dull, then the clown fish next door is gonna get it. SNIP in the neck, and down her tiny mandibbly bits. Anemone looks the other way, a tiny bit embarrassed, but Glenda fans the water quite well and keeps him oxygenated. What's a polyp supposed to do when no clown fish are around? Now they're stuck together for the time being, at least, that is until EVENTUALLY... THE PLAN.
Once again dear twigs we nearly starved to death. Stick 14 nearly bent double so empty was she, but thankfully no one has lost any legs and we still at last FULL count number 73 beautiful sticks in total. We have learned to count by they way, by lining ourselves up and moving one at a time into bunches of FOUR and then one of us lies across all the others and we call that a foot. Four feet make 20 etc. Its much easier counting in feet. ANYWAY I digress.
We nearly starved again, it was awful. 14 looked like an upsidedown "V' and we thought her tail was paralysed but she was just making a display of herself as usual. All that was left were stalks stalks legs sticks and stalks. And it was quite crowded since nearly all of us have shed our third skin which means we are truly beautiful and long and green young adult ladies… EXCEPT... FOR ONE.
Anyway as per the routine the Super Ape collected us all up very quickly this time, deftly I might say, and moved MOST people into a very similar glass house to the one we were in, with new, delicious, tasty, fresh food and shelter. We all knew what was what and just got on with repositioning ourselves until that evening's assembly on the rope weave ceiling. Until we heard Bertha wailing. Yes, at first very quiet, not even a sway, and then simpering, and then, wailing. She'd been separated from stick 57 her favourite hanger outer and well, we soon realised that quite a few of us were MISSING.
The super ape has separated us! Some of us are in a different tank now, and I hear they have far more room and but far less to eat so it's swings and roundabouts really.
SO about this unusual person. Well, lets call them stick 73. Stick 73 is, wait for it... BROWN. With speckles, positively bark like! We think she might be A MALE>
No one dare hang off of stick 73, we are all watching closely to see what happens next.
Oh and half of us nearly died of a heart attack. Never has there been such a noise and vibrations, we were shaking and wobbling as much as we possibly could but nothing we could do could help us blend with this force 10 earthquake. Super Ape has put us ON A SPEAKER. She calls it that but its BARKY LOUD. Then there were flashes. We expected rain, but nothing, just Super Ape saying "that one's weird, it's brown, is it a boy do you think?" NO idea who she was talking to, possibly me; I looked right into its chasm like eye and for a moment I thought we understood each other. Dear Branch, life is weird, but good, especially since we got some more room. Though a shame for poor Bertha. If stick 73 is MALE we are going to call him HORACE. Bertha got her name by accident, but HORACE if he's male is statistically unlikely at best and so almost a twigging miracle.
This black bird is from a photo of an Native American Kachina doll you can buy for yourself here made by Joseph Cruz.
This is Youssouf. Turtle. Tortoise. EChep Peut! if you are Merlin. He likes to dig. Youssouf not Merlin. Merlin likes to pee in Youssouf's box. =( Couldn't express your distain any more clearly if you tried.
I would draw the sticks but I am so distraught with the latest developments that I am not sure I can for a little while. Sticks 2 and 3 went on a nighttime excursion for PINE TREE. The smell was obviously so intoxicating that they made a B line the first chance they could get. Mammal (me) was so gripped watching Ray Donnovan season 3 last three episodes until the wee hours and crawling off to bed bleary eyed, that she forgot to cover them over and LO and BEHOLD. Two sticks gone.
A first day of searching gave no result but day 2 I found a very happy stick just chilling out on the outer skirt of the tree. So that night I (mammal) put some fresh Blackberry leaves under the Pine tree (christmassy in nature) and was hopeful with a prayer that Stick no 3 would also be safely found and returned to the dwindling flock.
But this morning, while merrily inspecting the tree, having noted some mysterious brown dark patches on the sea grass matt, did see what appeared to be a very short green stick.
UGH was my reaction upon picking it up to see it had antannae =(
OH NOO. It was legless and STILL ALIVE. I wailed for a bit and so painful was it to see that I had to go back to bed. Its guts were hanging out and it was in pain, but I couldn't euthenase. I just picked it up in a tissue wandering if they could grow back an abdomen as well as the odd lost leg. And fell into a grief stricken sleep. Merlin and I don't fall out very often but I couldn't congratulate him on this. he has yowled a lot today in between dashing up and down for attention I assume.
No one told me that taking on my brother's sticks would involve so much heart-break and drama. AT LEAST sticks 1 and 2 still have each other. They are social creatures after all.
And we still have 30 or so eggs. Apparently they tend to hatch just as the adults die off at a rate of about 20% success, so here's hoping. I am sure at least one or two of the adults that have died left us due to old age. Anyway. Youssouf is going to out-live us all which is weird. Merlin is lately living a sort of horror show, and sadly the stick paid the price. AT LEAST I CAN KILL SOMETHING I am sure he thought as Youssouf for him is rather hard to fathom. I saw him jump up at the fish today too. It's all gone a bit haywire. Hopefully tomorrow peace will return. We're a sensitive crew in our house.
PS Youssouf is ONE of his names, like Merlin he has two but this one is in honour of his likely Afghan origin. They get picked up as babies and sold as pets =(. He might have been UK reared I don't know as I took him in as he was homeless, Youssouf apparently means "Allah increases in piety, power and influence". I just looked it up in Wikipedia. Its the Arabic version of Joseph. A christmas tale if you will. Just a bit different.
Observations: pose held for approximately 14 hours straight. Swayed convincingly for 30 seconds upon seeing enormous primate like face only inches away from my feet and feelers. Think it was fooled as I'd chosen my position so accurately right down to the middle left leg mid air poise. Looking forward to supper, humm, Ivy again.
I was an innocent fan of this cartoon back in the day, it was definitely the best animation on TV in 1985 anyway and its still pretty easily available to watch (on Amazon, for a fee). This is one of the three Muskateers, the main guy is pretty much like snoopy with a hat on (so yes, awesome).
Although you might have heard of the Three Muskateers, and the Nutcracker you might not know much about the author, Alexandre Dumas (I didn't) and his life makes an interesting story in itself, one that clearly inspired him to write such widely read novels.
You'll note he was of African origin (who isn't) and although of high standing in society, living between 1802-1870 he still had to deal with prejudicial treatment in France, because of his darker skin. His rather neat response to a man who insulted him was as follows:
"My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends."
shut the front door