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Empty Nest Syndrome May 31, 2009

Posted by Lindy in Uncategorized.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

First, an update on the number of babies. We had a most pleasant surprise about 3 days ago to discover there were two babies, not one.

Mama left the nest today for long periods of time. When she finally returned she perched on a branch about 5 feet from her babies no doubt trying to encourage them to leave the nest. Dad was there also but instead of trying to help with the babies he was trying to mate. Poor Mom – she had her claws  full trying  to homeschool  her children and deal with an amorous mate all at the same time. The babies spent the hot desert afternoon fluttering their wings wildly strengthing them for their first flight. Do baby birds fear that first solo flight?

Sunday morning, May 31, 2009

Baby Doves, May 2009

Baby Doves, May 2009

The babies are not in the nest. My heart is in my throat as I search the entire yard inside the fenced in area. I am worried that our dogs might have gotten them but there is no sign of the babies anywhere. No feathers floating about and no signs of struggle. Suddenly the parents appear, flying about in an agitated state. The babies have to be nearby, but where? I continue my search for a good 10 minutes. Finally I notice the parents on the ground on the outside of the fence. We have our own small Mesquite bosque (forest) in this area, perhaps the babies are in one of the trees? I crouch down low to the ground so I can see the parents and then I begin to carefully scan the trees. There they are – huge sigh of relief and big smile. They are safely perched together on a low branch of a Mesquite on the “safe” side of the fence well away from our dogs. Mom and Dad are standing watch nearby. Did the parents know they had to get their babies away from the dogs? Were they well aware of the danger? Of course, the  babies are not totally safe anywhere. As long as they are young and just learning to fly they are at their most vulnerable. Somehow I am able to accept that they might not survive the hostile desert environment. I find it far more difficult to accept the idea that they might not survive the equally hostile human/pet environment.

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Sonoran Desert Notes May 27, 2009

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There are two critters here in the desert that are not known to be particularly intelligent. One is the Round-tailed ground squirrel known around here as “those dumb suicidal gophers”.  These little guys are adorable and fun to watch. They dig ankle-breaking holes all over the desert floor – not so adorable. They also seem to be suicidal. We often see them sitting up on their little hinies next to the road – waiting! As a car goes past they run right under the tires. SPLAT! Is this a game? Do they need some excitement in their boring little desert lives while waiting for a snake to come along and slowly eat them so they play Russian Roulette instead with moving vehicles? Definitely a much faster form of death.

Round-tailed ground squirrel

Round-tailed ground squirrel

Yesterday as I was driving home one was sitting straight up on the center line. I knew what he was up to so I slowed down to a crawl – probably should have floored the gas pedal instead – and moved over as far as I could toward the shoulder. SPLAT! Under the left rear tire he went. Flattened like a pancake. I yelled at him. This is the 2nd time one of these critters has done this to me; makes me feel like a murderess.

The other not-so-intelligent critter is the Mourning dove. These are truly beautiful birds; soft gray with long slender necks and gentle pretty faces. They haven’t a clue how to build a decent nest nor do they know to build in a safe place. They may also possess suicidal tendencies as they sit in the road and do not move until they are nearly under the front bumper of an oncoming vehicle. Then they fly away almost never getting caught by that nasty monster.

Mourning doves: Mama and baby

Mourning doves: Mama and baby

This picture is the Mama and her baby in the Mesquite tree in our backyard. Mama had two eggs originally but she built her nest too small and one egg fell out. Another SPLAT! One egg survived and the baby has hatched but has not flown yet. They sit together – scrunched tightly onto a badly built nest that is too small for both of them. The nest is in a bad place – about 5 feet from the tops of our dogs’ heads. In fact, had it not been for the dogs staring intently at something in the tree I might not have known the birds were there. I am now keeping a close eye on this developing situation. I can’t keep the dogs out of their yard and I am worried that when that baby starts to fly he could become a snack. 

Mourning doves are so-called because of the mournful, cooing sound they make. They are not songbirds and they are most definitely not raucous but they can be rather incessant about their cooing. This mama does not make a sound and I have not seen her leave the nest since baby hatched. The ground beneath the nest is piling up with birdy doo 😀

Perhaps Mama built the nest too small on purpose? Perhaps she knew something we humans do not know? Perhaps “survival of the fittest” was at play in the Mesquite tree – and maybe out on the highway as well? Perhaps these animals are not as dumb as they appear to us humans to be? Perhaps I am the one with much to learn?!!!!!

Wildlife in the backyard . . . May 25, 2009

Posted by Lindy in Critter Kids, Uncategorized.
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Bullsnake in backyard

Bullsnake in backyard

Bullsnake or gopher snake: Pituophis catenifer sayi

We have a resident bullsnake. My husband named him Sammy II. When we first moved here nearly 14 years ago we had a resident bull snake whom we named Sammy. This is not a picture of Sammy (I didn’t have my camera with me) but this guy looks like Sammy and appears to be about the same size – 4′ – 5′ long.  Bullsnakes are the good guys – they are not venomous although they will bite. They have been known to become pets for those who have a penchant for this kind of pet. Bullsnakes like to act like rattlesnakes when they feel threatened – they coil, strike out, and make a hissing sound very much like the sound a rattlesnake makes.

I was out by the back of our fence changing the water in the critters’ water pan. This is an old large pan requiring both hands to pick up when full of water. I had picked it up, turned around to dump the old water on a Rosemary when suddenly something rose up directly in front of me. I screamed and nearly dropped the heavy pan right on top of poor Sammy’s head. He had been napping in the shade and was coiled right at my feet – I had not seen him. I’m sure I startled him as much as he startled me. However, he must have decided I wasn’t a threat because he simple crawled past me and out the back gate probably looking for a safer place to take a nap.

We like having Sammy around as he eats rodents and with no rodents the likelyhood of rattlers coming around is lessened.

I found this picture at:   www.elaphe.it/pituophis.htm

Roadrunner: a Cuckoo Bird May 17, 2009

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Roadrunner perched in the Orphan

Roadrunner perched in the Orphan

I was standing by my kitchen sink fixing a glass of iced tea on this warm Sunday afternoon when a Roadrunner hopped into view in the fenced-in portion of our backyard. This fellow probably came for a drink of water but first decided to check out the Mesquite tree which shades most of this fenced in area.

We live in the Sonoran Desert on a 5 acre piece of land. We have views that stretch out on 2 sides of our property and go on for miles. We fenced in a small portion off the back of our house and installed a doggy door when we first moved here nearly 14 years ago. This small area has since grown into a miniature oasis with mature plants,  two Mesquite trees (one named The Orphan – but that’s another story) which provide shade for most of this area, flagstone in part of the area, benches, gardens, and water in various places for our dogs as well as for visiting wildlife. Before going to the water this guy decided to check out the view from the Mesquite and that’s when I was able to get a picture of him.  Roadrunners are fun-to-watch members of the ground cuckoo family.  They are quick enough to catch and eat rattlesnakes which make them beneficial to have around. However, I have never actually seen them eat rattlers. They do catch and eat many of the Collared lizards we have around our house.  They make a coo coo coo sound which becomes extremely loud when they have just caught their prey. Although these birds are able fly they are called ground cuckoos because they are a rather heavy bird in relation to their wing size and spend most of their time on the ground. The fellow in this picture flew into the base of the tree and then climbed to get to his perch on a branch about 18 inches over my head.  When he decided it was safe (I had gone back into the house) he climbed down to get his drink.  I watched him from our kitchen window and as he drank he was continuously on the lookout for danger, alternately raising and flattening the black crest atop his head. When the crest was flat it looked very much like a slightly off-kilter toupee.  He must have had other business to attend to because as soon as he had finished his drink he strutted off through the back gate and was gone.

Fog in the Sonoran Desert January 24, 2009

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Today, Saturday, January 24, 2009, we awoke to an anomaly in the otherwise sunny and dry Sonoran Desert – FOG!  I took my dogs walking in it. Adjectives such as ethereal, ephemeral, and ghostly came to mind. This is something that happens infrequently – say once or twice a year – here in the desert. When it happens everyone gets out “in it”. Everyone talks about it as in,  “Did you see the fog Saturday morning?” “Wasn’t it beautiful?”  Since I am working on learning how to take better pictures I went back for my camera. Two dogs on two separate leashes and having only two hands proved to be a bit of a challenge while trying to also hold my tiny camera and take pictures that weren’t wobbly. Here are two that turned out – well, not too badly:

Fog in Aguila 01/24/09

Fog in Aguila 01/24/09

Fog in Eagle Roost 01/24/09

Fog in Eagle Roost 01/24/09

The mountains in the near distance in both of these (above) pictures are not visible through the fog.

. . . and then the fog burned off, the sun came out, we were back home after a 4 mile walk and our girls decided a nap in the sun was in order. . .

A nap in the sun following a walk in the fog. 01/24/09

A nap in the sun following a walk in the fog. 01/24/09

That’s Daisy on the left. Daisy is our resident couch potato. Molly is taking lessons on proper napping techniques from Daisy.  It appears Molly is a good student. Plants in background are showing signs of recent cold weather damage but they will survive. Sage in red pot and Lemon Balm in green pot. If it isn’t in a big pot Molly digs it up. The two tiny pots just visible between the big ones are baby Rosemary’s which I started from the mother plant. They are being protected from the elements until they are a bit bigger.

Time to get back to the laundry.

Onward and Upward – Lindy

Once a Week Intention :) WHOOPS! January 24, 2009

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I originally wrote this post on 01/19/09. However, due to problems with the pictures I did not post until tody, 01/24/09. I apologize – especially to Sherrie – for the really bad picture of the framed linocuts. However, I decided that if I wait until I really learn how to properly use my camera and tale perfect pictures I may as well give up right now. I am working on learning more about picture taking and hopefully we will all be seeing better results in the future.
. . . and now to last week’s post 😀
My thanks to Scribhneoir who wrote, “Good luck with your once a week intention!”  I read that today and thought, “What intention?” WHOOPS! I had set a New Year’s goal to blog once a week. My last posting was on 01/11/09 -eight days ago – I already blew it! So here I am today, one day late and posting.

I ordered two linocuts of turtles from Sherrie York of Brush and Barren in Salida, CO (one of my very favorite places). I was able to finally frame them this weekend. I took a number of shots and the one that turned out the clearest is the one with the flash in the pic. You can see the thin black frame I chose for the pic – I didn’t want a large frame to detract from the turtles.

Turtle Linocuts by Sherrie York, Salida, CO

Turtle Linocuts by Sherrie York, Salida, CO

 

Single Turtle - at top of frame

Single Turtle - at top of frame

Two Turtles on Log - bottom linocut

Two Turtles on Log - bottom linocut

 Read Sherrie’s blog at “Brush and Barren“. You can connect to her website directly from her blog.  Sherrie’s service is excellent and very friendly and her art work is, in my opinion, beautiful. I really love my turtles :-D.

Onward and Upward –

Lindy

Catch-Up January 11, 2009

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I’m going to try and play catch-up here with a little bit about a lot of things. My goal for 2009 BTW – to blog at least once a week. Here’s hoping I can do it.

First, I want to thank all of you who have visited, read and responded to “Molly’s Puppies”. The latest word we have from BARC is that all the adoptive parents are saying the same thing about our babies, “sweet, adorable, funny, cute, enthusiastic, curious, intelligent, socially well-mannered, playful”. I am, of course,  thrilled to hear this. We did not set out with the idea in mind to make them “socially acceptable”. However, who can resist picking up, holding, cuddling, and playing with puppies? Certainly not us. 😀

-D

Molly resting with her Dad 😀

This pic. was taken after Molly ate the couch. She actually only ripped into the middle cushion. The couch shall remain with us and remain covered with sheets until Molly has decided she no longer has to literally eat us out of house and home. At that time we may get another couch – but this one is still soooooo very comfy.  Molly is all healed as you can see in this pic. and is obviously in 7th heaven. I think her Dad was about to fall asleep with her when I snapped the shot – he looks a tad surprised (no, he’s not angry:).

My favorite Irish pooch, Coco sent us a doggy “Hi” from Ballinamore, Ireland. Coco was also a rescue and Liz believes her to be about a year old now. Liz has gone through similar chewing incidents – goes with the territory that comes with adopting a young or frightened dog.  We just accept it and move on. One thing about Molly – she knows the minute she sees the look on our faces when we discover a new chew that is not approved of – she is devastated. She gives us the most sorrowful, big-brown-eyed look one can possibly imagine. Our hearts melt.  If you would like to see Coco in action as well as some great pics of Ireland click on the link to Liz.

Knitting: My MIL is 86 and instead of needing anything they are planning to get rid of much of what they have accumulated and move into an assisted living apartment. So for Christmas I knit her a small satchet stuffed with fresh-dried lavender that she can stick in with her undies or linens.

Lavender scented satchet

Lavender scented satchet

My thanks to Melissa owner of and knitter extraordinaire at Inish Knits, Cedar MI for this pattern. I also purchased the yarn from her; an absolutely delightful-to-knit-with Debbie Bliss Primo, a blend of bamboo and wool.  I have ordered more of this yarn in many different colors from Melissa and plan on making more of these little sachets for gifts in the future. Melissa blogs at The Land of Wool and Honey.

Wolf Moon: I went outside last night at sunset to see this moon.  It was so beautiful – made me think I should write a poem but I’m not a poet.

Wolf Moon over Sonoran Desert 01/10/09

Wolf Moon over Sonoran Desert 01/10/09

Used the telescopic lense on Exilim

Used the telescopic lense on Exilim

just another angle. . .

just another angle. . .

 All three pictures were taken looking east and slightly to the north from our carport.

As the rabbit says, “That’s all for now folks.”

Namaste and the best of the new the year to all of you,  Lindy

Molly’s Story September 6, 2008

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Molly - August 2008

Molly - August 2008

 

 

 

 

At approximately 5:00 p.m. on the afternoon of Thursday, August 14, 2008 the phone rang and I answered it. Doug, my husband was calling to tell me he was on the Salome Rd and had just found a dog. The Salome Rd. is a basically deserted 9 mile stretch of paved 2-lane ribbon in the desert with nothing at all on it – no houses, no easily available water with very little vegetation due to severe overgrazing. In fact, this area of desert has been so overgrazed there are no longer even any cattle out there. We use this road to get from the freeway to the road we need to get to our house. There is a canal that crosses the Salome Rd about 1/2 way along this stretch. The canal, heavily fenced presumably to stop people from jumping in, delivers water to the Phoenix metro area 50 miles to the east from the nearly depleted Colorado River 100 miles to the west.

 The dog: she appeared to have been abandoned, the temperature was 105 degrees and she was trying desperately to find some shade to protect herself. Doug told me she looked like a Beagle and that she was pregnant and probably very hungry as her ribs showed through her skin; she had no collar. What he did not immediately see were the burns on her body which were covered by fur; she was covered in ticks. I told him to bring her home if he could catch her. He said she was already lying on the front seat of the car.  When Doug pulled into the carport 45 minutes later I immediately opened the passenger side door and looked into the loneliest little face and widest brown eyes I had ever seen on a dog. I immediately, with no previous thought, called her Molly and it stuck. Doug said she had been asleep the entire trip home. She was friendly, obviously relieved to have been rescued, and thoroughly exhausted. We brought her in, fed her, and gave her all the water she wanted. She slept in our dog carrier that night. Our dog, Daisy, and our 2 cats were curious but for the most left her alone. Friday was difficult because I had to teach and Doug had to go to work so we made her as comfortable as possible in our shaded backyard. We have a doggy door from our house into the backyard which was left open for Daisy to use. Molly was not happy at being left all day and was very happy when we returned home. Friday evening we gave the extremely dirty Molly a bath which she seemed to truly enjoy. She learned to use the doggy door that same evening by watching Daisy and not once in the 3 weeks she has been with us has she messed in the house. Saturday morning we had an appointment to take Daisy to our vet because she had developed an eye infection Thursday morning  and we took Molly along as well. Nicki, the vet technician who had named Daisy when we had rescued her (another story entirely), scanned Molly for a microchip and found none. Our vet gave her a quick check up and a rabies shot telling us that the rabies shot is a “dead” vaccine and would not hurt the puppies but that all other vaccines would have to wait until the pups were born and no longer nursing. We took Molly home with us, told her she had a new home and we would take care of her. We gave her a bright red collar which looks great next to her jet black fur. Doug put the rabies tag on her collar and ordered an ID tag for her just like the one Daisy wears thus proclaiming Molly to belong to us. She now proudly wears both tags.

A very pregnant Molly resting peacefully in our cool house.

A very pregnant Molly resting peacefully in our cool house.

 

 

 

 

  As for the pregnancy, Molly was huge but we did not know how close she might be to giving birth. Fortunately Doug was off on Monday and she began birthing at 8:00 a.m. and by 2:00 p.m. had delivered 9 puppies – all of them as black as she is. Molly is black with a brown muzzle and brown paws. It has been two weeks since the puppies’ births and they are still in their nesting box under a little used desk in our office. There are seven pups – she lost two of them within the first 48 hours. The remaining pups appear to be healthy and happy and very well fed as they all have developed round little bellies. Molly is a good mother for such a young dog – probably not quite a year old.

 

Ayla checking out our newcomer.

Ayla checking out our newcomer.

 

 

Ayla, our youngest cat is most curious and cautious about our new addtion.

 The above picture was taken on Molly’s first night with us – the only night she spent sleeping in the carrier. We did this not only because we had no idea how this stranger-to-us little dog would react to our household while we were asleep but we also had no idea how our dog, Daisy, and our two cats would react to Molly.

I do want to add here that we used PetFinder, FidoFinder and PetSmart to report a Beagle mix of her description as being found but no one has ever responded to the notices. Doug and I had also gone back and driven the length of the Salome Rd. and adjacent areas looking for signs for a lost dog but found nothing. When we said that Molly had a forever home our vet officially declared her as belonging to us.

Molly and her seven puppies.

Molly and her seven puppies.

 Molly, 7 wriggling puppies. Some of her burned areas showing.

 As mentioned earlier, Molly was covered with ticks which took nearly 2 days to remove before finally getting all of them. During the removal we felt some rough spots on her back but thought they were places where the ticks had bitten her. On Wednesday morning, 2 days after the puppies’ births Doug decided to really investigate and found what he thought might be mange or some other parasite on her skin. It was difficult to see these spots because they were covered with fur. He was able to take her into the vet that same morning. What was discovered was even more horrifying. As the vet shaved the hair off around these spots it was discovered that Molly had been burned. Two of the spots were quite deep. The vet shaved around all of the burned areas, and provided us with a treatment regime for the burns which included a mild oral antibiotic twice a day so as not to harm the pups plus a topical antibiotic ointment which we applied directly to the burned areas as often as possible. Molly kept licking the ointment off but we didn’t put a collar on her because she would have been unable to care for her puppies properly with that thing around her neck not to mention that she could not get out the doggy door wearing that contraption. Some of these burns are quite deep and all of them are still healing as of this writing. Molly was also given calcium tablets to put in her food twice a day to help with her milk for the puppies.

 As much as both Doug and I love dogs Beagles are a breed we knew next to nothing about. We are learning! Molly is extremely curious and into everything. She is a bit pushy but not in an obnoxious way – she simply knows what she wants or she is trying to learn about her new family and is not shy about getting her way. She is bright, learns quickly, and fortunately continues to get along with everyone in the household. The cats are beginning to trust that she will not chase them nor try to harm them in any way and Daisy, being the tolerant dog she is, has accepted Molly into her world. 

Daisy and Molly
Daisy and Molly

Daisy and Molly – August 2008

 What to do with seven pups? The world is full of unwanted kittens and puppies. Thank goodness for rescue organizations. Doug picked up a business card in our vet’s office from an organization called BARC (Beagles of Arizona Rescue Club). We have been in contact with them and they agree that Molly is most definitely a Beagle mix and they will take the pups when they are 8 weeks old. They maintain foster homes and a very stringent adoption policy which requires all adopted dogs to be spayed or neutered plus have all their shots. Molly will be spayed and will be given the rest of her shots as soon as the pups are gone.

Today is Labor Day, September 1, 2008. The puppies are 2 weeks old today. They are fat and sassy and beyond adorable although their eyes are still not open. They have begun trying to walk on all fours rather than dragging themselves around on their fat little bellies. Pictures are difficult as they never stop wriggling except when they are asleep and when they are asleep they are usually in one big pile.

Molly fits into our household perfectly and we love her dearly. We are working to train her to the normal everyday commands such as “come”, “sit”, “stay”, and “no”. She is learning very quickly – the only one she has trouble with is “stay”. As time goes by we will add a few more commands. It does help to have a slightly older and already trained dog in the house. Daisy is a wonderful 3 year old and is doing a great job showing Molly how to behave properly.

 Daisy is another rescue story and one that I will publish here in the near future.

 There will be more on Molly and her pups also in the near future. I’m anxious to be able to get some good pictures of the pups and will download them as soon as I do.

 Namaste, Lindy

 

PS –  It is now well past Labor Day (09-06-08) and I have no idea why I am unable to get this post to save properly. I am about to switch to Typepad as my blogging host as this is most frustrating and happens nearly every time I try to write a post of late.

 

Puppies eyes are open and they are trying to walk. More story and pics. ASAP.

 

Return to the bee box July 28, 2008

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It is now mid-afternoon and I went out to look at my bee boxes. Sure enough in bee box 2 were some bees taking an afternoon siesta.

This bee box has residents.

This bee box has residents.

 If you look carefully at the vertical column of holes to your left you will see some green in a few of the holes. These are the holes occupied by the bees – they go in the hole and create a “filling” behind themselves as protection. There was a bee going into the 3rd hole from the top, center column, while I was taking the picture but she can’t be seen. The bees are a dark color and quite small.

Guerrilla Gardening July 28, 2008

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Good morning blog readers 🙂

I just watched a delightful video on YouTube: “Guerrilla Gardening UK Style” You can watch one version here:

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WTlqiwYdQ

However, you can actually see the best one here:

http://www.phoenixpermaculture.org/video/video/show?id=2008067%3AVideo%3A14328

I have often thought about this but have never done anything about it. Sounds like a lot of fun. Lots of people make and “distribute” seed balls. What fun! Guerrilla Gardeners actually go about the land – often in the dark – and plant or replant landscapes that are in serious need of beautification. I do think that if one is doing the work in broad daylight one is less likely to be stopped and questioned as you would look like you were supposed to be there doing the daily gardening routine.  So, I have decided to become “Granny Guerrilla: performing random acts of gardening with weapons of mass beautification” and I too will “distribute” my seed balls and plants like Johnny Appleseed but probably in broad daylight as I am most definitely not a night owl and I am most definitely a coward. 😀

Sunflower in my garden.

Sunflower in my garden.

This one sunflower – out of the 8 that I planted – has grown to be a bit over 6′ tall and is attracting pollinator bees (the kind that do not sting). YEAH!   My husband, Doug, had built bee boxes for these pollinators but then we had to wait until something in the garden flowered for the bees to come around.

Bee box under eave of house.

This is a bee box for pollinator bees. It is placed on the NE corner of the house under the eaves. The bees are here but they cannot be seen in this picture.

Bee box close-up

Bee box close-up

Doug made 2 bee boxes. This is a close-up of the second one placed under the same eave a few feet from the first one. I wanted to make sure we had enough homes for lots of bees and thus two boxes. Doug used some old 4″ X 4″ he had in the bone yard (storage place for all the stuff you don’t want to throw away cuz you know you’ll need it someday:). He drilled the holes by sight and hung them. All in all it took 13 months to get him to begin and about 30 minutes to actually build the boxes from start to hanging finish. :-D.  There are no bees here at the moment I took the picture. After all, it’s the middle of the morning and they are hard at work in the garden. You can learn more about these kinds of bees at:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/Other/note109/note109.html

There are other web sites as well, just go googling and have a good time learning about these wonderful and beneficial insects.

Speaking of flying critters – we had a storm the other night and this beautiful creature took refuge at the top of my screen door under the eave for protection:

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

I’m afraid the picture is a bit fuzzy. I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera afterI took this picture.  S/he was a full grown moth measuring between 4″ and 5″ wing tip to wing tip – maybe a bit bigger – I was guestimating.  S/he left us shortly after the storm was over.

Namaste, Lindy (AKA Granny Guerrilla:)