Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Dad Left Me a Present on His Birthday

Today would have been my dad's 95th birthday. You'd think each year would be easier but, since his passing in 1997, I still miss him as much as the day he died. It was his gentle and forgiving nature that I admired most. He chose to see only good in everyone he met.

I still have many regrets regarding my dad. For example, I regret not taking the time to let him teach me how to play the guitar. I remember my aunt telling me matter of factly, "you have the greatest teacher in the world and you need to take advantage of it". I never did. I was always too busy running through the woods that surrounded our house. But, he seemed to take some satisfaction of my interest in all things living and he never seemed to mind building yet another cage for whatever came out of the woods with me.

When the day came to make the now infamous choice for my Christmas present one year, I took a 20 gallon aquarium over a Hoffner bass guitar. I refer to that day as "my fork in the road". I went down the "nature" road and turned my back on the "learning to play the guitar" road. He never seemed to mind. I think that's why he dropped yet another present in my lap this morning on his birthday. What better way to let me know he's still not upset with the road I chose.

The Campbell Clan in December of 1957

Rescued From the Pool This Morning

Happy Birthday Papa! Thanks for the 'possum!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

It's said that Easter eggs symbolize the renewal of life in spring. Easter came two days early for us this year and the eggs we received definitely fit that description.

Just outside our snake room window is our tortoise pen. It houses a pair of Venezuelan Redfoot tortoises that I bought from an online reptile friend several years ago. Other than local box "turtles" I kept as a kid, I had never kept tortoises but had always been intrigued by their personalities and relatively "easy to care for" husbandry.

After I got home from work Friday, I took time to do my regular rounds about the house. The routine consists of turning on lights, checking various cages and opening the blinds in the snake room. When I looked out into the redfoot pen, I noticed the female in an odd posture, making side to side movements. As I watched through the window, I realized she was digging a nest. I quickly grabbed my camera and headed outside. Sure enough, she had already dug a small hole and I could see the unmistakable shape and color of eggs.

Mama tortoise digging her nest.

A couple of eggs are barely visible.

The proud papa had to come see what I was doing!

Later that evening, I dug up the nest and found 9 perfect eggs.

This is our second clutch of eggs in less than 7 months. The first clutch of 3 eggs (one was punctured and had to be discarded) was laid September 24th of last year. After incubating 150 days, the first baby hatched February 22nd and it's sibling began hatching on April Fool's Day.

Baby number 1 after hatching 2/22/2009.

Baby number 2 still mostly in the egg on April 2nd.

The Easter Bunny was indeed good to us this year. Darlene and I wish you all a Happy Easter!