Virginia Cheeseman - Latest News Blog
I regularly post to my news blog on a Friday. Check back every week to see what's happening at VirginiaCheeseman.co.uk
It's been a while but I'm back. Operation over and slowly on the mend. Lots of new animals are coming in throughout the next few weeks. I had scorpions, spiders and giant millipedes come in yesterday, I will be sorting them out and getting them listed on the website today and lots of captive bred tarantulas are due next week. I may have been down but certainly not out. My two weeks off were spent catching up on paperwork and generally getting things in order in the bug room as well as convalescing. Everything is looking pretty good now and the bugs and beasties are thriving. I certainly have plenty of captive bred (by me!) millipedes and they are selling well. As always, I have a large number of cockroaches but I have noticed a drop in their sales recently. I have no idea why? At one time, I thought about getting lots more species in (I really like cockroaches, most people go ‘Yuk’ however they are related to the praying mantis and most are really cute if you look at them closely) but I'm glad I didn't now. It is so difficult to predict what will sell next, it seems to go around in circles. Times are hard for many small businesses at the moment and with two operations in six months, I have struggled at times to continue but I love the bugs and ‘most’ of my customers have been great and really supportive. I greatly appreciate every order that comes in and the help that people have given me recently with improving my website. Things like pointing out mistakes, submitting product reviews and making suggestions about care notes etc.
Everything is 'Springing' to life. My male snakes have gone into mating mode as I call it. They are constantly bashing around in their tank both day and night. I have two female and two male Corn snakes but since letting them breed and not being able to even give the babies away, they are kept well apart in separate vivariums. I went into the woods across from where we live yesterday to collect bramble and found that the shoots are growing into pretty, bright green leaves. I have seen it mentioned many times that the new leaves are poisonous to stick insects but I don't recall ever having problems myself. I always try to give my stick insects a mix of old and new leaves but the old leaves are often so dry that the stick insects make a beeline for the new fresh ones. I have plenty of frogspawn appearing in my pond so I'm happy.
Competitions abound, I have drawn the ‘monthly review’ winner and Teddi helped draw the ‘monthly mistakes’ winner. There were only 6 reviews this month (4 from the same person) but I do appreciate each and every one of them! The winner was Curtis and again this month the winner was fairly picked out of the hat and it just happened that he wrote a single review. The other winner was Hani (only 2 entries received L). Both will be sent their postage code in an email, this will entitle them to free postage on their next order. I too have won a competition today, a £100 Tesco gift card! It is actually the second I have won in this super Tesco competition (buy a pack of Plenty kitchen roll and enter the code online). With all my animals, I get through a great deal of kitchen roll, I use it for cleaning, drying cages, lining cages and packing bugs. I have though bought enough packs to keep me going for several months now.
Spring is in the air at last, only 24 days to go but who's counting J. My garden is full of snowdrops, crocuses and primroses (the weeds are also appearing unfortunately). The bugs are doing well, some will breed all year round but many seem to wait for the spring. I assume it is the longer, brighter, days that triggers them off as the bug room is hot all year round.
It’s all celebrations and presents this year and I’m certainly not complaining. Last Sunday was our Ruby wedding anniversary and instead of counting myself lucky if I get a card, my hubby bought me a beautiful pair of white gold earrings with diamonds and rubies. We went to Richmond park for lunch with our son and daughter in-law and came home to our daughter cooking dinner for us. A wonderful day and very restful, I even found time for my yoga class in the morning.
Another successful week with lots of orders placed and several new reviews received. I’m always full of ‘good ideas’ (as I see it) but some ideas work and some don’t. The monthly review competition has worked better than I could ever have hoped for, so I am now running a new monthly competition. I added the details to the slip of paper that I send out with each order, explaining how to enter but it looked too messy so I have given up on that, I am mentioning it here and I will put it on my Facebook page when I get a chance. Basically, I would like you to let me know if you find any mistakes on the website such as spellings, wrong dates, updated tarantula names (they seem to constantly change). It is very difficult to proof read your own work and there is an awful lot of information on my website.
What can I say? I knew it was going to be busy but this week has been crazy. I'm not complaining, it's great to have so many orders and enquiries. I have fed and watered all the new animals that I got last weekend but I am some way off having them labelled, housed up properly and added to my stock list. Most are now listed on my website but I do have a couple of tarantulas that I don't yet have a common name for. I might ask my Facebook friends but as yet I haven't found the time! Honestly I haven't stopped, I have been waking up early and going straight into my office (that’s after making a cup of tea and having a wee - too much information?).
A nice tidy bug room! I'm having an open afternoon tomorrow so I have spent quite a bit of time tidying and cleaning this week. I'd love to say the bug room is sparkling clean but it just isn't possible with so many cages squashed into one room. I spend so much time looking after tarantula spiders but also plenty of time trying to irradiate British spiders from my bug room. They not only make a mess but they also eat my stock when they get the chance! I have so many bugs that feed on leaves, both fresh leaves and leaf litter, I think most of the spiders come in on leaves. It isn't practical to check all the leaves plus the fact that there are already so many enjoying the warmth and ready supply of food, I can only work to cut down on their numbers. It is especially upsetting when I find a big fat spider in with something like my Jungle Nymph stick insects. It always amazes me that a small spider can kill an animal many times its own size. I suppose that is the purpose of venom!
A busy week, I was determined to catch up on everything and I have worked continually to that aim. I have made a real impact on my paperwork and cleaned a lot of the large plastic boxes out. I am gradually switching over from the big plastic boxes that I have used for years to the smaller Wilko plastic boxes that are actually sold as CD boxes. They are long and slender and fit perfectly on my shelving in the bug room. They also come with a purple lid which is a bonus for a purple freak like me. The large boxes are just so heavy and cumbersome when full of soil, damps leaves and of course the millipedes, cockroaches, beetles and all manner of creepy crawlies that require a dense substrate.