Yes, there is a story here -- but I'm not telling ;)

Hope everyone is feeling fine as frog hair this last day of 2006. We are celebrating Treebeard's birthday today -- 53 trips around the sun. Happy Birthday Treebeard!


A Sucker, Pure and Simple

From a conversation back in August:

Flamebrain: Ma, I have a friend who needs a place for his cats to stay for a couple of weeks. Any way you could watch them? If he has to board them at a kennel it's gonna cost him a bundle.

Ma: You're sure he'll be able to get them in a couple of weeks, right? I have no interest in adopting two cats. We're trying to cut down on the number of pets we have around here.

Flamebrain: Yeah, he can get them in a couple of weeks. He'll be moving in with his girlfriend and they allow pets in her apartment complex. He'll provide all the food and litter.

Ma: Well, I guess it will be okay. Afterall, it's only a couple of weeks...

By the middle of December I had reached my limit. The male cat was spraying everywhere and the little female was getting neurotic from being kept upstairs. So, the cats were going back. Sorry if the owner had broken up with the girlfriend, sorry if it was gonna cost him money to board his cats, sorry if I expect grown men to be responsible pet owners. I couldn't stand having the cats living in near isolation upstairs, but there was no way I was letting that male come downstairs and spray everything (even though he was such a sweetie and absolutely beautiful and loved the way I scratched his neck for him...)

I called Flamebrain and told him to tell his friend that if he didn't get his cats they were going to the pound ASAP (HA! Like that would happen - but the friend has never met me and didn't know that.) The friend said he could take the male cat back, but he was going to have to take the female, whom he called Little Girl, to the pound.

Meet Sticky Wicket - the newest member of the family

Wiki, posing for her picture. Isn't she the sweetest thing?

All together now -- SUCKER!!!


Thursday Things

A motley assortment of a few of the things that caught my attention at work today. It was an exceptionally beautiful day and I felt fortunate to be able to spend a majority of my time outside.

Swamp treasures of the prehistoric kind. Okay, so I found the shells on Tuesday...but they were still sitting on my desk today.

Lycoperdon pyriforme, Wolf-fart Puffball. Why wolf-fart? I don't have an answer for that :) You'd have to ask a mycologist.

This limb is just outside my office window. What makes it significant you might wonder. Nothing, I just like it. Some days it is full of birds stopping for a rest, other days it might find itself host to a gray squirrel munching on a pilfered fungus.

Bad light and too far away...but I don't care. Cedar waxwings are too pretty to ignore. A bunch of them swooped in and started eating honeysuckle fruits. The downside of that is that they will distribute the seeds far and wide.

Wonder what worked so hard to make this lovely cavity? I'll have to keep an eye on it this spring and see if anyone new moves in. I wish I had a way to look inside -- perhaps one of my bat mirrors can be adapted to fit in the hole...but that is a project for another day.


Along The Trail Today

I had an opportunity to walk a couple of miles this afternoon -- I was trying to catch a couple of hunting dogs...but that's another story. Anyway, while I was out I saw a few things I wanted to share.


...from that.

Now wait a minute...I thought this was supposed to be a blog about swamp things. What's a seashell doing in a swamp? Isn't it another 60 miles to the coast?

Not-so-little-bitty kitty feet...bobcat tracks next to a boot track. I saw tons of bobcat sign on the trail. In addition to numerous tracks, I found a couple of places where the cat had marked territory with some tidy scat piles and scratchings. (The tracks were probably made early this morning, we had rain last night.)


Another Road Trip

Greetings from away! No pictures today, Treebeard and I are on a whirlwind tour of family: Raleigh yesterday, Charlotte today and tomorrow, lastly Wilmington on Tuesday morning and home Tuesday evening. Back to work on Wednesday. (After reading that I think I may need another cup of coffee...)

See you back at the swamp - TTFN!


Tale of a Tiny Turtle & Other Swamp Stuff

(I have decided that it's just too hard to update two blogs -- I have trouble just keeping this one up to date. So, from now on I plan to post images from the work swamp here on SwampThings and let SwampStuff go by the wayside.)

There has been some land clearing going on at the work swamp in preparation for the construction of a visitor center. The felling of trees and the clearing of underbrush is not something I enjoy seeing - I feel the loss of each tree and fret over the destruction of critter habitat, but I know that the visitor center will be of benefit once it is constructed. You could say that the guys doing the clearing feel my pain and have been really sweet about it. Yesterday they were doing some grading and uncovered a turtle hatchling. One of the guys gathered it up and brought it to me. I appreciated that.

Isn't he beautiful...

Check out the "egg tooth" on the upper jaw.

An unexpected visitor...as I was coming out of the swamp yesterday, I felt a little tickle on my cheek. I reached up and found that I had a hitch-hiker. This is an agrarian sac spider (Cheiracanthium inclusum). According to some sources, this spider's bite is somewhat painful - similar to the sting of a bee or wasp. Since it did not offer to bite me, I can't confirm that. It does have some pretty impressive chelicerae though. (Sorry, FC!)

Mornings have been foggy the past few days, giving the canal an air of mystery. Tundra swans passed overhead this morning, their mournful calls adding to the ambience.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?


Work Swamp Tidbits

Typical black bear calling card, a nice pile of scat in the middle of the path. This one is full of smilax seeds and some other seeds I haven't IDed yet. The bears will be active as long as there is food available.

This is bittersweet...but which one? It could be American bittersweet or it could be Oriental bittersweet. It's driving me crazy!! I don't want to have to wait until spring to figure this one out.

Just when you think it is safe to go in the woods... Black-legged Tick, Ixodes scapularis


Cold morning.

Morning pond.

Morning mist - the water is still warmer than the air.


Another Slime Mold

Treebeard and I think we have this IDed, but we aren't sure so I'm not posting a scientific name. We'll just enjoy the fact that it is yet another manifestation of slime mold and leave it at that.

Here's some more of the same stuff. Looks kind of like fish roe...

Woodland caviar, anyone?