Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Monsoon Critters - (My "Creature Feature")

So this was our first monsoon season, and we really didn’t know what to expect from that scary "monsoon" term.  But for our east coast friends, basically it was rain and thunderstorms with occasionally wind and dust.  Not too bad, we weathered it fine.  Thankfully, since we are in northern Arizona, we did not get the Haboobs that Phoenix saw.  By the way, a Haboob is a dust storm that looks like a wall coming towards you – think of the movie, The Mummy.  Google Haboob sometime to see some awesome pictures.

Now, as for the critters that came out during the monsoon season – yikes!  We saw some amazing creatures, some we liked, as many we did not, but it was “interesting” to say the least.  So now that the weather has changed back to dry, I thought I’d share with you some of the creature encounters on our property.  (Many of the below photos I sent off to Nature Abounds "Watch the Wild" volunteer program.)  Enjoy!  (Don't forget you can click on the photos to view larger images.)

Horned Lizard/Horned Toad
A Horned Lizard (aka Horned Toad).  He was cute.

Green beetle on the Artichoke flower.

A little baby Horned Lizard/Toad.  Aw!

Okay, I know I've shown you these little lizards before, but this character somehow got into the house.

Meet our nemesis, the grasshopper.  What's wrong with a little grasshopper you ask?  Ha!  They came by the millions and haven't left yet!  They are messy and are everywhere you step outside.  See following photo.
Invasion of the grasshoppers!!

Bull/gopher snake.  I am supposed to want to see these non-venomous snakes because they will make a dinner out of our  problematic  pocket gophers.  So I am trying to practice the mantra, "Bull snake good.  Bull snake good."  Ugh!

Close up of Bull/gopher snake.

We estimate that the Bull/Gopher snake was about 4 foot long.

Dactylotum bicolor/Barber Pole Grasshopper
Ah, now this was an interesting creature -- Dactylotum bicolor (common names include:  Barber Pole Grasshopper, Rainbow Grasshopper, Uncle Sam).  This picture really doesn't give it enough justice.  It was a beautiful red, white and blue.  Hmm, hence the nickname Uncle Sam?

Now you get an indication of the size of the Dactylotum bicolor (Barber Pole Grasshopper).

Okay, now we get to the spider section of our creature feature.  The Tarantula.  I  really didn't care for these guys to say the least.
Another one on another day.  We saw them for about 2-3 weeks and then they were thankfully gone.

And my least favorite creature of all -- the Black Widow.  I don't have a photo of her red hourglass, but here is a picture of her and her egg sack on top of our propane tank  By the way, she and her offspring were promptly exterminated shortly after this photo.  (We didn't especially feel like making any emergency room visits.)

Well, that's all folks!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

"There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I."
--John Steinbeck

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music."
-- George Carlin