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Posts Tagged ‘critters’

P1060881Did you ever see one of those commercials where they put a car through the changing, violent weather test to see how the finish holds up? You are looking at the human version of that car.

Lake George

Do you see Mickey Mouse in the clouds, too?

Sunday at Silver Glenn, a beautiful spring on the St. Johns River, broiled in 93 degree heat (more in direct sun where we were), but the water was cool as a glass of iced tea. That is where my son’s and a friend’s family and I spent most of the day.

The clouds were billowing and beautiful all day. Since I am surrounded by trees, and see only a pinch of sky to the southeast, the view was a real treat. “They do look like thunderheads,” I told my son, but he assured me there was a zero percent chance of rain for the day. You know what’s coming, don’t you? Traveling back down the river to our ramp, the clouds darkened more and more until BAM! We began to be pelted in the face with raindrops like buckshot. The temperature seemed to drop thirty degrees in minutes and the towels drawn around to protect our bodies had to be rung out every five minutes.

“At least there is no lightn—-“I said just as the sky began to rumble. Time to pull over, but not too close to the trees. After a time, we slowly moved our way along, with the rain still coming down in bullets. Minutes before we turned into the dock, the sun came out. At least we wouldn’t have to pull out the boat in the storm.

Oh yeah, we're screwed.

Oh yeah, we're screwed.

In His defense, I must note, we saw three rainbows as we inched out of the treacherous monsoon. Noah may have fallen for that apology, but we weren’t quite ready. And no, I didn’t get pictures of them. I had stashed my camera in a dry spot seconds before the deluge.

My granddaughter “H-2” shouted over the din as we made our way in the storm, “What does ENDURE mean?” It was on her school spelling list and it suddenly occurred to her she needed to know now. Did we have examples she would not forget! The best was: It is persevering thorough difficulties, such as getting back to harbor in this storm. Somehow I don’t think she will ever forget the meaning of “endure.”

The REAL Florida

The REAL Florida

POSTSCRIPT: First trip on the St. Johns that we have seen not one alligator. Also there were few birds, save a few anhingas and cormorants, unless you count the flock of turkey vultures making themselves at home in the park. Our excellent Otter Spotter, H-2’s cousin spied one of those for us and a couple of turtles. I believe the wildlife decided they will come out when October REALLY gets here.

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”Chrysalis

 

Note: Click pictures to enlarge.

A short walk outside my front door caught these wonders. The Monarch caterpillars are larger than ever since we got a broad leaf milkweed. They obviously still love the old kind because they stripped it first, but seem to get fatter than usual before finally tucking their necks (do they have necks?) and forming a chubby “J” right beneath the leaf they have been eating on. Seems that was as far as they could waddle. The next morning we have a bright green crysalis, and in another day the gold crown and buttons at the bottom begin to shine in the sun. I’ll try to catch the coming out party in about seven to ten days. If Hurricane Hanna comes this way, we’ll snap that leaf off and bring it inside. We did that once before and woke to a butterfly in the office.

The other shots are just flowers still decorating the yard and the surface of our glassy pond, teeming with life. Though it goes dry at times, rain brings fish and other aquatic life back into this area and restocks the pond for us over and over.

Before our house was built, the  neighborhood kids called the property Frog Bog. We’ve tried to keep it friendly to the frogs and any critters who like to take up residence. It’s easy to make your property welcoming for them. Check out my link to Backyard Wildlife Habitat and get started.

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So much hope, so little realized yesterday. Going door to door for our Neighborhood Watch group, I encountered wildlife without my camera, a major sin. As I stood waiting at the door, bushes began to rustle and shake. That was no lizard, but what? Suddenly an armadillo came waddling toward me. That is not what you expect in a suburban neighborhood, even one as wooded as ours. In a bit of a shock at seeing my first live armadillo outside Texas, I ran next door for my camera, for this house was right next door. But he was out of sight when I returned.

 

I walked around the neighbor’s house with the camera, hoping they would not mistake me for a stalker. And then: WHO WHO—WHO WHOOOOOO came a hollow sound from one of the live oaks down by our pond. I am easily distracted and the armadillo was obviously hiding. I followed the repeated bird call. It did sound like he was calling me. When I approached the tree the WHO WHO stopped. I waited and waited. Nothing. Was it a ploy, cooked up by the armadillo and owl to distract me? I’ll never know, but if it was, it worked. I have no pictures to post, just a futile search.

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These little golden Cuban tree frogs have taken up residence on our broadleaf milkweed plant. In a rain shower they moved to use the petals as an umbrella, but otherwise have posed for my camera for two days. I think I am supposed to put them in a plastic bag and freeze them. It is the humane way to kill them, I’m told. There is a reason for this. As this species has taken over in Florida, they are eradicating our native green tree frogs–which were also very beautiful. What to do, what to do.

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