Post last updated: September 2nd, 2019

Sometimes our clean dirt is not so clean. I mix purchased potting/garden soil and purchased peat to make new, clean potting soil that is ready to use. In other words, it all came out of a bag. No worms. My container of choice is a recycle bin the City no longer wants us to use. Of course, it has no lid but I never gave that a thought because it was in my greenhouse.

My failure to think about a lid resulted in an incident in the greenhouse. I was attempting a quickie potting of a Torenia plant I found growing behind the greenhouse. My garden gloves were in the house but I had a small, metal trowel for spooning some of that clean dirt into a ceramic planter. It was going too slow. I tossed the trowel aside and reached in for handfuls at a time. This was great for a few handfuls. Then, as I reached deeper to pull up a new handful, I felt something round and more solid than potting soil. I screamed when a blue striped skink flew out of my hands. I screamed some more when it started clawing the slick side of the bin. More unintelligible sounds filled the air as I wrestled with the heavy blue bin trying to tip it so the skink could get out. Finally, the skink was on the floor of the greenhouse looking at me. That’s when I heard “Aack!”, “Aack!”  I’m really not sure which one of us was making that noise. Me, or the skink, as he realized my bare hands had been on him.

Photo by James DeMer/Pixabay

Needless to say, I wasted no time in ordering myself a big, honking trowel. No way was I ever again reaching into a pile of dirt, even clean dirt, with my bare hands.  Despite my best efforts with a ruler, this photo simply does not convey the sheer size of this thing. My entire hand will fit inside the silver trowel.


Fiskars Big Grip trowel
Big, honking trowel


    1. Poobah — I didn’t say he bit me but he nearly did kill me. I almost had a heart attack when he went flying out of my hand. If my neighbor wasn’t so deaf, he probably would have come over to see what all the screaming was about. Since I still have my hearing, I knew he was out in his yard. I never heard so much screaming and I was the one doing it. I was pretty close to having an out-of-body experience because I was in the moment of horror but also kind of watching/listening to what was going on.

  1. Sorry to hear that skink scared the daylights out of you! It is really a remarkably beautiful creature, although I’m sure that was hard to appreciate, at the time. 😊

  2. OMG only you this would happen to. Didn’t your screaming bring Bubba running or someone call the police? 😂😂

  3. Oh, sorry this skink scared you. I’ve never seen it before and fortunately these lizards don’t live here. But it’s a pretty color, isn’t it? I think the skink got in the dirt when it was prepared.

    1. Nadezda – You don’t have any skinks/lizards because it is too cold where you live. They prefer the steamy tropics. Yes, I agree. The skink is pretty but I think he got in the dirt later.

  4. But they’re so cute!
    You’d let the cat touch you. Why not the skink, or a cute jumping spider… Or a caterpillar…
    Might need to post my house spider…. She caught a cockroach last week!

    1. Now THAT is a very useful house spider. You live on a rural route and all kinds of critters invite themselves into the house. A few days ago, I reached for the paper towels and found a wasp sitting on the top knob. I walked that paper towel holder to the front door and gave it a shake. To me, most of those critters are not cute and cuddly like a cat. The skink and ANYTHING that looks like a worm will make me hurt myself trying to get away from it. My friend, Cee, the butterfly lady, probably picks up monarch caterpillars. She’s got something I don’t have. Guts.

Say something, will you? Your comment will appear after it is approved.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.