Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Fast forward to the evening of July 16th. Darlene and I attend the Summer Social at the zoo. We enjoy a wonderful Cajun supper and casually chat with friends. As the event begins to wind down and folks begin to leave, we spot Carol, one of our favorite people in the world. Carol is a local artist, a noted naturalist and absolutely one of the nicest ladies I've ever met. We all chat about this and that before the conversation turns to the heavy rain event earlier in the month. At some point during the conversation, Carol nonchalantly says, "we'll have another heavy rain soon, the purple sage is blooming". I absorb the information but never follow through with any questions about how this weather proverb originated. However, during the next few days, everywhere I look, purple sage is blooming, including the one I have in a pot in our back yard.
Fast forward to July 20th. Darlene and I are in Hope to celebrate her mom's birthday. I'm gathering oak limbs to use in my eyelash viper cages when Darlene walks out and hands me my cell phone. The voice on the other end is Rob, our intern from work. He tells me about "Dolly" a storm that has quickly formed in the northwest Caribbean and is forecast to make landfall near the mouth of the Rio Grande River around Wednesday. We gather our belongings and around noon, begin the drive back to Brownsville.
Fast forward to Wednesday, July 23rd. Dolly, now a Category 2 hurricane, makes landfall just north of Brownsville. Her slow forward motion of 7 mph is our worst nightmare. Over 7 inches of rain falls in Brownsville (officially 7.02) while other parts of the county receive up to 18 inches. Most of the mid and lower Valley easily receive over 8 inches of rainfall. Even today, some areas are still under water.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
The male showing off his adult colors this past Sunday evening.
Recently, I've posted the female's photos on two different venomous snake forums so people around the world can see her special color. So far, no one has seen this color in an adult lateralis. Just how rare is she? That's the question I hope to soon answer.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Stapelia gigantea, also known as the Zulu Giant, Carrion flower, Hairy starfish flower, Star cactus and Starfish cactus.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Announcer: Men from lesser states might know their state's capital, but you? You know your state's bird, tree and even reptile.
Horrific singer: Love that horny toad!
OK, this is where I sort of got lost because I began going down the state's check list in my mind. State bird. Mockingbird. Check. State tree. Pecan. Check. State reptile. Horned LIZARD! Check.
The Texas horned lizard is the earliest reptile I remember seeing or catching as a child growing up in Bedford. They were always a welcome site in dad's garden and were quite abundant in the school yard of the Old Bedford School.
Even while living in Midland in the early 80's, it was not uncommon to find them in the alleys behind our house and on most farm roads going south out of the Midland/Odessa region. My daughter, Angela, will attest to this because I frequently made her jump out of the car to see if she could catch them. She was barely 5 years old at the time!
Because of habitat loss, the novelty pet trade and the spread of the imported fire ant, the Texas horned lizard's numbers have steadily declined over the years. They are now considered a threatened species across their range in Texas.
Since living in deep south Texas, I generally see one or two a year, mainly on the roads in Brooks, Jim Hogg, Starr and Zapata counties. It's still a treat to see one stand up as the car approaches, then dart across the road to safety. I still send my sightings to the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.
The names "horned frog","horned toad" and "horny toad" (re: Love that horny toad!) come from the round body and blunt nose which actually give it a toad or frog-like appearance. But this is no toad and it's sure not a frog! The most recent one I found was near Escobas, the most God-forsaken patch of earth I think I've ever seen. Survivorman couldn't survive in Escobas, much less a frog! We're talking Hell on Earth folks! But the hot, sandy habitat along with an abundance of harvester ant mounds (their preferred food), makes it an ideal location for the "horned toad".
Texas horned lizard photographed last year near Escobas.
By the way, I looked up "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy" on the Internet. I'll pick it up from the Horrific Singer:
Love that horny toad!
Announcer: You display your pride with your Lone Star tattoo, "Native Texan" bumper sticker, and contempt for any state that doesn't start with "Tex" and end with "as".
Horrific Singer: That spells Texas!
Announcer: Sure, there are 49 other states in the Union, but they are smaller, wussier, and the people talk funny.
Horrific Singer: Yankee wussies!
Announcer: So crack open a nice cold Bud Light, oh lover of the Lone Star state. Because all that flag waving must have made you thirsty!
Horrific Singer: Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy!
OK, guilty as charged.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Don't let this cute face claim you as another victim!
It started with one dog, a boxer she named "Rambo". Of course, one dog wasn't enough and now there are three. Along with Rambo, she "owns" a Dalmation named "Cookie" and a Beagle named "Cartman".
Darlene: Cookie has already won 1st place in the beginner level obedience trails.
Me: Blank stare while hoping someone will pass me a can of gasoline and a match.
If that's not bad enough, now there's a "several times a day" e-mail thread that's passed between Darlene, our GOOD FRIEND who started all of this and now, another good friend who folded to the temptation of owning a "dog". Of course, I endure the misery because I'm ALWAYS cc'd on the e-mails. Example:
1st Friend: Daisy (Golden Retriever) will be participating in the Championship disc toss today. Wish her luck. Maximus will be in the championship agility trial. Wish him luck. Crazy (Siberian Husky) still insists on not lying down. Maybe she really is crazy. Jim, why are you resisting? :)
2nd Friend: Mitzy's update:2 championships for obedience and disc, beginner of course. she's learning tricks quickly too, but the training "mic" doesn't come up sometimes when I want to teach her what she just did, frustrated with that.- got my first stick (umm, yea?)
Darlene's response is TOO LONG to post here but she congratulates both friends on their "dogs' " accomplishments and gives any "doggie" updates that have happened in the FEW minutes since the last e-mail.
Me: Delete, delete, delete.
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy Darlene is having fun and corresponding more with our friends but this is one of those interactive games where one actually talks to the "dog". OK, now she's got me doing it...talks to the GAME! Our African grey is already mimicking Rambo's bark. It's only a matter of time until he mimics Darlene, saying "sit", "roll-over", "spin", "paw" and my new favorite, "hiney".
Can someone pass me a match?!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Each deli cup is labled, identifying the birth mother and date of birth.
A 2oz. "portion cup" is used for a water bowl and to help maintain humidity. Paper towel pieces are used for substrate. Here, a 5 month old baby eyelash viper perches on the edge of the portion cup.
Now each of you should be able to create your own lovely viper bouquet. Granted, you'll need a very tolerant and understanding mate like Darlene, who doesn't mind venomous snakes in the kitchen. Oh, just one more thing, inscribed wine glasses are optional.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
This odd looking fellow came from a "Pink" male crossed with a Christmas tree female. I like him for the bloodlines alone but the light pastel pinks and greens along with the dominate mid-dorsal stripe lead me to believe this guy will be a knockout as an adult. Born here October 21st.
Another oddity produced from a Christmas tree male bred to a Heterozygous tiger female. The pattern is nearly perfect and, although dark, from my experience will turn multi-colored with yellow and green bands by 3-years of age. Born here October 6th.
I keep coming back to this one as my probable favorite. This is another baby produced from a Christmas tree to Christmas tree pairing, born here October 9th. The almost perfect bands will turn gold to lemon yellow within a couple of years.
So do you see my dilemma? With just under 70 baby eyelash to pick from, how do I choose? Let me see, eeny, meenie, miny, moe...
Monday, January 14, 2008
In my experience, female Texas Tan tarantulas have always been relatively calm and have never offered to bite while being handled. Males, on the other hand, nearly always display aggressive behavior and have even jumped on my shoes as I've tried to move them on their way. This little lady was a pleasure to work with as I positioned her for these photos.