Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How do they do that?

Ever wonder how a cat can just become a body with a head and no legs?

Well, if Mouse could talk, he would say that all you have to do is tuck your elbows and knees up against your body so that they disappear inside your skin folds. then as you sit down completely cover your feet and hands with the rest of your skin and fur...

Fred will demonstrate. As you can see - he is sitting in this position on the netting covering the patio.

Every cat has a 'style' of sitting. Fred likes to leave one paw out. Now that you have taken a look, Fred wants you to practice.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Time changes all...

Originally uploaded by tardigrade
About an hour after finding this little tiger thrashing in the up ended wet sand, his color started to change. His elytra darkened. He still was not very strong and his legs were like noodles when he tried to walk. Eventually, he turned green... but he was not able to survive the day. That made me sad.

I am not sure why he died. Insects are very sensitive to the quality of food they eat. IF as larvae, they do not get all of the protein they need, as they develop into adults they will be smaller then their parents. If they do not get the special nutrients they need but plenty of calories, they may emerge as adults without legs or other malformations. You can see this very clearly if you buy commercially bread meal worms. They will develop non-survivable abnormalities because of the poor nutritional diet they are given in the factories.... And now, think of how those meal worms may effect the pets they are supposed to feed!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cicindela sexguttta

Originally uploaded by tardigrade
My dear friend goes back to Ohio where she was born and raised and where her parents live, at least once a year. She helped me many times at Mugu catch tiger beetles. Then one year she and her mother were walking along the beach of Lake Erie on a path she had taken since she was a tiny person, and she spotted something familiar - TIGER BEETLES!

Quick! catch them! She told her mother. "WHAT?"
her mother exclaimed wondering whether there was some horrible animal coming after them. "Tigers!" yelled my friend. "What do you mean, TIGERS? I don't see any tigers!" her mother yelled back. "Down there on the ground next to the water!" "Those beetles????" as one jump past her. 'Woooooosh!' "How are we gonna catch these bugs??? They are too fast!" her mother said. "Like this!" and my friend jumped on a mating pair.

She showed the struggling beetles to her mother by carefully holding them in her fingers.

"Aren't they beautiful!" she said. "Yes, But now what are you going to do?" her mother asked. "Catch more for Terry!"

So, my friend and her mother caught about 18 tigers and then my friend brought them back for me - alive, well most of them. I put them in an aquaria and fed them flies, big and small, spiders and earwigs. Then I had an ant attack and many of the tigers died. Finally the last of the Ohio tigers passed, but they left a number os suspicious holes in the sand - larvae.

I raised fruit flies in my kitchen... this is not really recommended.... by letting a banana get over ripe near the tank. Then I put the spoonful of red wine in a spoon next to the larvae, but not too close.

Anyway, after over a year, and more ant attacks, I thought all I had was one larvae left. I didn't see the hole anymore.... and I was worried. I decided to dump the sand and see if there were any wiggling... and instead I found something white with black legs.. and it was alive!

I put it in the sun and the outer coating of the tiger started to harden so it could walk.

Isn't it pretty?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bubbles, giant massive bubbles...

I saw this YouTube and I think it needs to go viral....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You work real hard and then, ppllltttzzzz!!!

I enjoyed doing this mural for a friend. She and her husband bought a place in Santa Paula, California and with their own two hands and backs they created a wonderful little coffee shop. Ros asked me to create a painting that would capture the feeling of the surrounding mountains, and orchards. We thought a California Impressionist painting would be fun...one that might have been a label on some long ago box of freshly picked oranges.....

The Santa Paula Coffee Company still lives but Ros and her husband have sold the business. I wish them well. I don't know if the new owners have the painting, because I told Ros if she and husband want to start another one - "...just take the painting with you and I will put on another name....."

So thennnn......

Another time, and another super long day... no, a week of counting snails and other anal retentive type things. The mudflat had been inundated with water and it had been standing for weeks. The algal growth was ferocious and the mold was spectacular. I have to tell you I did not have to boost the saturation very much in this shot. These algae, cyanobacteria, diatoms, and fungus are really really cool!!!

Our fearless leader was a good sport and I posed her in this shot. The sky was created in a program called 'Bryce' generally used for 3D movies (simple ones) and single images, too. We thought of doing wedding shots in the mud... but that didn't turn out. Maybe one day I will..... this image is still hanging in the UCLA wetlands office.

Long time, no see...

I have not visited in a long time. I felt too guilty to visit. You, Blog, were just there waiting so patiently, I, feeling so guilty, I just let you sit and wait. But I am back.

Well, I have been looking after my mom, my cat, my chicken, and my tortoises. Sometimes, it just gets to be too much. I take my mom to her appointments - mostly to the dentist and the doctor and then to the pharmacy. Then, I inject fluids just under my cat's skin because his kidneys are letting too much fluid out. We sit in a chair while the fluids drip under his loose skin between his shoulder blades. It doesn't bother him too much and he gets to be rubbed and petted. Then, I force feed my chicken because she is old and thin.... I don't do that often because I find that when I offer her food on a chicken sized table she can see to eat. Yes, I have a mostly blind chicken. The tortoises just need looking after because they wander about wondering.... Very much like Alzheimer Reptiles. Oh, I forgot. I have a mostly blind finch that feels his way to his water dish and seed dish through a maze of his poop piles. OH! You think I am kidding? When I take them down he has a hard time finding his way around... until the piles "re-grow" at the floor, deposited from his perches.... If not for my mother I could call my household a geriatric zoo....

For myself - I have been writing, painting, taking pictures and going to meetings. While I was off-loading files from one computer to the next, I found some old goofy images. While working at Mugu counting endless patches of plants and snails, I would explode and do silly things. Most people, I suppose do, but maybe not...

Here is the first one in 2002, summer.... Oh!!! it was a super long day. I was tired inside and out of having to measure the height of, literally, acres of plants that only grew just below my knees.... and then... I thought, 'That stuff looks so nice and fluffy.... and soft .... and..." and in about two minutes I gave one friend my camera and then I threw myself into the Salicornia and making a mud angel.... "SHOOT ME NOW!!!" I cried! I am a bad influence because an undergraduate working with us had to do the same. Shame shame...