We have some new animals to add to our menagerie in the backyard. The other day I happened to see two strange creatures slinking between our house and Amy’s, the next door neighbor. They were medium sized, gray with pointy ears and bushy tails.

When I described them later to The Man of the House he guessed that they were gray foxes. So, I looked online and sure enough they were described to a tee. They are native to the area and the most surprising thing about them is that they can climb trees!

The least surprising is that they like to eat small mammals such as mice, voles, birds, insects and plants. They like corn, apples, nuts and berries. I am amazed we don’t see them on our back deck since there is an abundance of corn kernels there.

We also have been visited by a small rat. That does not thrill me in the least. The Man of the House thinks he’s cute and has a coat with a "nice color." Mr. Rat is not at all afraid of the squirrels and likes to eat the bird feed that is on the deck.

We told Amy about it. Apparently he had made his home in her car port under a cover for some furniture. It was discovered that he had been taking our bird feed over and storing it in his new home. She made him feel most unwelcome by destroying his nest so we hope he will move elsewhere.

I have been doing a lot of volunteering this week. One day was at the Second Chance Thrift Store. It was the second day after their re-opening with their new fall clothes. They shut down the last week of August after a big clearance sale of summer clothing – as if their prices weren’t rock bottom already. Then they get rid of all summer items, clean the place really well and restock for the fall and winter fashions.

I was told that the day they reopened the shoppers were in line at 8 a.m. in anticipation of the 10 a.m. opening and were stretched all the way around the block. The day I worked it was non-stop with a long line of customers waiting to check out.

One of the big hold-ups is that our credit card machine is as slow as molasses. The other is the people who want to look at things in the jewelry case. They always ask to see the items that are on the lowest shelves, and the most difficult to reach. It’s like doing the limbo to get the item. Then nine times out of 10 that’s not what they want to purchase after you show them.

In the meantime, while I am showing them multiple pieces of jewelry, and they are trying to decide what they want, the stuff on the counter — that I am supposed to be bagging for other people — is piling up.

I spent another two mornings at our church working in the print shop. We had an order for 5,000 booklets that are to be distributed on college campuses next week. We had to collate the pages, put on the covers and run them through the stapling machine.

There were eight of us working as fast as we could. The first day we had a stoppage due to a crew in the parking lot that was digging a trench. They managed to hit the main power line because the electric company marked the wrong location in which to dig. We spent a couple hours working by the light coming in the window. It reminded me of the Amish.

When we are operating the stapling machine it takes some coordination to hand the booklet, open in the middle, to the person who puts in on the machine. All I could think of was the old Lucille Ball show in which she and Ethel were working in the chocolate factory and couldn’t keep up with the pace.