Thursday, August 23, 2012

What A Trooper!

This summer a wayward turtle paid us a visit. The male red-eared slider parked himself on our driveway, apparently taking a wrong turn while in search of a water source. He had Trooper scrawled on his shell in permanent marker so we posted signs addressed to Trooper's owner. Sadly, no takers. In the meantime, Trooper made himself at home in our small pond. He dined on mosquito fish and water lillies, but wasn't a social turtle at all!

While I enjoyed the almost 3-month stint as Trooper's foster Mom, the time came to place him up for adoption. He needed a much bigger pond with fellow sliders and lots more water lillies than we could provide. On Tuesday we drove him to Prehistoric Pets in Fountain Valley, a drop-off point for the Orange County Chapter of the California Turtle and Tortoise Club. Lynda is in charge of Adoptions for the Club and she greeted us with a big smile and open arms for Trooper.

FYI, Prehistoric Pets is an interesting place to visit if you're interested in, well....Prehistoric Pets!
And if you're a turtle fan, check out the California Turtle and Tortoise Club website. They welcome donations and memberships.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Walk Like An Egyptian....

The Egyptian Goose is really a Shelduck (a cross between
a goose and a duck). They were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians who considered them sacred. While found mainly along the Nile River Valley, they made it to England in the 1700s and the feral variety lives here in the US.

A small group of them were regulars at the local regional park many years ago. They prefer land so usually kept to themselves, away from the water's edge and other waterfowl. I considered them 'likably arrogant' and was saddened when they moved on.....

Southern California is experiencing a warm and pleasant winter this year, making it difficult to stay indoors. A hilly hike at the regional park beckoned, so I just had to respond. To my pleasant surprise, one of my little Egyptian feathered-friends had returned to her stomping grounds. She greeted me....more cordially than normal. I 'chatted' a bit, then apologized that I carried no goose grub.

I think she understood....... :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Re-Visit

I'm a spider fan and was surprised by a favorite today. The Phidippus audax or Daring Jumping Spider is a harmless, fuzzy, black & white cutie. Prompted by the season and my little friend, I decided to re-post Halloween 2008.

Happy Halloweeeeeeen!!!

Halloween! All Hallow's Eve! Dia De Los Muertos! The day of candy corn, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, ghouls, goblins, fun, and generally SCARY STUFF!

How about spiders? They are very active in the Fall. Big garden spiders spin and spin, creating huge symmetrical webs to trap their prey. Daylight finds them in hiding; evening begins the hunt. And watch out for Black Widows too! They seek dark places, spinning rather desultory webs as their signature death trap.

And how scary is a pumpkin? The inside can be pretty darn to a little one, namely mine. When my son and niece were young we carved some pumpkins for Halloween. Each child was to clean-out his/her own pumpkin before the artistic process would begin. My niece dug in happily; my son protested. Thinking he just wanted to skip to the fun part I encouraged him to persist. Not until I heard him say "Mom, I see little white flies in my pumpkin" and "I'm dizzy" did I realize what was happening. My rough and tumble boy was seeing stars! Blood and guts never phased him, but the mushy innards of a pumpkin were definitely his kryptonite!

Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lavender's Blue Dilly, Dilly...

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so....
(Burl Ives/Disney version)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lend Me Your Ear!

Had Van Gogh suffered a change of heart, and wanted to reattach his ear, he probably would have needed a few leeches. Medicinal leeches, that is! Besides removing excess blood from the wound, leech saliva contains both an anticoagulant and an anesthetic. The anticoagulant prevents clotting so the ear receives blood flow and survives; the anesthetic numbs the pain so you'll never know what bit you!

In 2004 the FDA approved the use of leeches as a medical device. Today a tribe of the creatures passed through our hospital's pharmacy on their way to save, not an ear this time, but a life.

Of course we were all thankful for our camera phones... ;)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pitch the Tents!

Winter was long in the High Sierra this year. Well into late spring, high country lakes are frozen and trails are snowbound. The passes (Sonora, Ebbetts, Monitor) were finally cleared of snow just before Memorial Day. The first week in June, Tioga Pass was still closed.

Life above 9,000 feet is on hold for now, but life below the snow line is thriving. Lupines and snow plants are in bloom; lizards adorn warm rocks; rattlesnakes slither sneakily; and tent caterpillars live communally on bitter bush. Little silk tents are everywhere. Branches of kite spools house worms feasting on tasty spring growth....
moths to come:)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dinnertime at the Stenbergs

Just look at those hummingbirds! Ralph and Dayle's sugar solution must be really high octane to attract so many hummers to one feeder. Ralph is one of my dad's favorite golfing buddies and a fellow hummingbird fan so when he shared this photo of Dinnertime, I asked permission to post it. The Stenbergs are originally from Frazee, MN. Located in a beautiful area near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Frazee is famous for turkeys rather than hummingbirds. The town celebrates Turkey Days every year in July and is home to the world's largest turkey too!