Friday, June 7, 2013

The Frog

April 2010
It was almost spring time. The birds were chirping, baby fish were born, baby birds were hatching, and of course flowers were blooming. If you walked outside on a nice night you could
here the tree frogs in the distance singing a song in order to find their mate. Spring is one of my favorite times of year. It always seems such a joyous time. A time for a fresh new start to life. Unfortunately, not every one can have a fresh new start in their life especially when they are the prey.
When I got home from school, I looked out across our garden through the kitchen window. The flowers were dancing in the wind and the sun was shining warmly. I was looking at my fish that were in the pond just below the deck. We have a small pond with a water fall, that leads down; by a stream, to a waste deep pond. The deep pond is mostly where all of the fish are. They don't seem to take a liking to the top pond because they always manage to swim down the stream in order to reach the other pond. I was admiring the water lillies and the lilly pads when all of a sudden something caught my eye. I could see something in the top pond move around, around, and around. I ran outside to see what it was and to my horror found something most dreadful. A snake had a little frog in his mouth and the frog was screaming. Such an awful noise came out of the frogs mouth. So very high pitch, but my instant reaction was to rescue the frog quickly before he was eaten alive. (Most people don't know that all snakes are not poisonous. There are only a few species that inject poison into their prey, so the frog was not dead or paralyzed at all). I grabbed the snake by his neck and put my fore finger and thumb on the edges of his mouth in order to pry his mouth open. I was then able to grab the still screaming frog out of the snakes mouth. 
Of course I had no idea what the snake was, but he was slippery. He began to wrap his tail around my arm and was squeezing. I couldn't believe how this tiny little body was able to produce so much force. I still had hold of the snakes head, but barely. He was slipping fast out of my fingers. I quickly dropped the snake in the water and he suddenly stricked out at me. I quickly stood back, still with the frog in my hand, and felt something warm on my hand. When I looked, of course the frog weed on me and it went all over my hand. I checked the frog over for any puncture wounds and the only damage on the frog was an abrasion on his belly. I took him out the front of my house and released him in our front pond, so he was safe(for now) and protected. The front pond consist of many rocks out lining the bank, making it very difficult for snakes to crawl on the rock. 
To this day, I still believe there is the same frog in our front pond. Every year there is the same colored frog and size sitting on one of the rocks, watching me every time I go outside to feed the fish. I guess when something wees on you, its a form of gratitude.  

A Little Mouse

March 2012
There are certain creatures that can be a pain to some people's belongings.
Some creatures make holes in antique clothes, chew wires in houses, and just aren't liked by humans. One creature in particular is mice. I know mice are dirty rodents, who sometimes spread diseases, but they are just so darn cute. I remember in my childhood when my mummy would read me a Beatrix Potter book, the illustrations of the mice looked so adorable. Those illustrations, to me, match the exact description of little field or house mice people often capture in traps. One thing that I absolutely despise are certain mouse traps. If I ever have to trap a mouse it will be done with a teeter-totter trap, where the door closes when the mouse gets in, but also doesn't get hurt. I'm also not a big fan for snap traps. These are the old fashion traps where the mouse goes and gets the cheese in the middle and his head gets snapped. Even if the trap is quick, it still makes me sympathize with the little animal, but the most unruly trap for mice, snakes, insects ever invented was the sticky trap. Sticky traps should be outlawed. They are harmful to house hold pets and are just flat out cruel. The animal gets stuck on the trap and if he moves he will break a leg or his skin will peel off. The idea of the trap is to only starve the animal to death, which again is inhumane. Yes you are probably thinking that I have never killed anything, you are right unless you are talking about mosquitoes. I'm not a big fan of them. Anyway, all I can say is that I have respect for all creatures great and small. 
The reason for my long tangent at the beginning is to explain my position on trapping situations. One day in March, I went to visit a friend at her college. I was a fairly big college with about only two thousand students. As I was walking through the hallway, I heard a little squeak, but it didn't sound like a cute squeak you hear in cartoons. This squeak sounded as if the animal was in pain. I tried to follow where the sound was coming
from. I turned the corner in the hallway and went into the utility closet. There was a little mouse on the floor. I noticed that he was standing on something black. I picked it up and he was stuck to the paper, but it wasn't just black paper, it was of course a sticky trap. The poor little mouse was attempting to gnaw off his own leg. 
I tried picking him up but it was no good and of course he bit me out of fright. I ran the paper under hot water, and it seemed to help the mouse some. Finally, I was able to pry his body off of the paper. While he was sitting in my hand he bit my thumb, I guess out of generosity. I bandaged up his leg so it wouldn't get infected and I put him outside to scurry away. After he hopped down from my hand, he looked at me as if to say thank you for helping me. 
As he ran away, I saw some other mice come to greet him. That moment really put a smile on my face to see such a loving family. 

Fair Animals

September 2007
When one goes to the fair, they expect to see rides, cheap food, lots of animals, and sometimes tractor pulls. However, sometimes people do not look close enough at the things that should
not be ignored. One main thing that people, when they go to fairs over look, are the animals well-being. When I was little, every time I would go to the fair, I would win a fish and two days after bringing the little goldfish home, he would die. I would feed him, wipe his bowl out, but everyone of them die. Its not just fish that are treated badly at fairs but also the rabbits and guinea pigs given away as prizes. When I was able to see the ribs of the rabbits, it broke my heart, how can people be so cruel to animals letting them starve? I approached the man in charge of the stall and said, "Are those
your rabbits?" He wouldn't reply to me or even look at me for that matter. I was telling him that if the Animal Rights group found out he was trying to pass off starved animals as prizes, he would either be fined or sent to jail. Suddenly, he started speaking Spanish, as if he couldn't understand me. I told him if I win one time, then I get all of the animals. He just shook his head and to my surprise I won first throw at the rings. All in all I took home a gray rabbit, a white rabbit with black mascara, and three guinea pigs. The rabbits Jenny and Jan were so thin that they were able to fit through the one inch bars on their cages. I fed them dry food, greens, and some hay in order for them to pick back up their strength. Unfortunately, both of the rabbits died in a week. I think they were too far gone when I got them.

The guinea pigs on the other hand were very fascinating creatures. Of course they "oink" and "squeak" every five seconds but they were comical. He had them sexed by one of our local farmers, he confirmed that they were all males. 
When October came, they were the proper size of a guinea pig, not showing any ribs. They had so much energy especially when they went outside. They loved to run around in the grass and hide under some trees. Of course this area was fenced on all five sides, so they couldn't run away and birds were unable to catch them.
It was almost Christmas time. One of the guinea pigs was getting really fat. I thought
maybe the others aren't eating much, so I separated them in order for the other ones to get a little bigger. On Christmas day, I walked downstairs in order to say Merry Christmas to the guinea pigs, but to my surprise the really fat guinea pig had three babies in the night. That was one of the best Christmas miracles I have ever seen.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Luna Moths

June 2011
 Everyone knows that the harder you look for something, the harder it is to find, even if what you are looking for is right in front of you. As I was taking an evening stroll through the woods at sun
down, I was trying to look for tree frogs. I looked amongst the tree branches and the leaves on the ground, when suddenly I saw some leaves rustle upon the ground. I leaned over to look closer when all of a sudden, a tree frog hopped right into the nearby puddle. He made such a splash that my face became very wet. 
I looked at the spot where the frog jumped in and saw three leaves, one on top of the other. I picked up the leaves and found some sort of black eggs underneath. These eggs were no other than luna moth eggs. I started to walk home with the leaves in my hand; luckily I brought them home because else they would have drowned; and gathered some sweetgum tree leaves for the caterpillars to feed on. The leaves would keep for a while in the refrigerator and I also didn't know how long those eggs have been sitting there. 
Anyways, when I got home I stuck some sweetgum leaves in their tank and placed the three leaves on top. I waited and waited and finally on the second day, little baby luna moth caterpillars emerged from the eggs.

They almost looked like tiny inch worms crawling about. I had raised moths and butterflies before from eggs, but I have never seen a caterpillar eat so much like the luna's did. Everyday I had to collect leaves and feed them straight to the caterpillars. The young tree where I retrieved the branches from started to look really bare, but I had no other source of food for the little guys. 
More and more food was taken from the tree. I was debating whether or not just to give the caterpillars a whole tree. The caterpillars started to get very large and began to rustle in the leaves at the bottom of the tank. I knew it was time for them to make their cocoon. Luna moths would molt some of their skin and wrap themselves in leaves that had fallen to the ground. 
Time passed and I could here the cocoons move and shake in the leaves. Sometimes they would make an awful racket at night, and other times I had to wonder if they were still alive.
Finally, the hatching process began. On the first night only three luna's hatched. At night I took them out and opened the lid. None of the moths would fly. So I picked them up and put them on the umbrella outside in order for them to rev up and fly away. 
The next night many more hatched eager to go forth into the world. I looked at the bottom of the tank and saw one moth stuck in his cocoon. I lifted him up and broke his cocoon off of his body and then he began to dry out his wings. Within an hour he was ready to leave in order to fly with his brothers and sisters.

Our Family of Five

May 2003
On a warm summers night, my family and I were all sitting around the tele watching "A Bug's Life." Then all of a sudden we heard a scratching noise come from the front of the house. I went to the front door thinking it was a opossum or a skunk, but to my eye I saw a momma cat and a kitten. I picked up the little black kitten and he started to purr away. To the corner of my eye I saw two other kittens trying to sneak away behind the bushes. I picked up a gray and white one, and she hissed straight away. Of course I wanted to keep them, but mum said what happens if they are someone Else's cats.
We all ran to Wal-mart and got some dry food to

feed them for awhile until their owner comes. A week passes and no sign of an owner. We opened the door and allowed each one of them to come in the house. They were all timid at first, but eventually made the house their own. The mother, a black and white coat, we called her Gypsy because she has wondered around. The black kitten, I named Kiki, after my favorite VHS tape. The gray and white kitten, we named Miss Hiss and the other black and white kitten we named Tinker. Each one of the cats had a very different personality. Gypsy and Hiss never liked to go outside even if the weather was lovely.
Tinker always was the hunter and Kiki was a blunder puss. I taught him how to play golf and no matter how old he was, he always  loved to drink out of a bottle.
Feeding time for the heard was always an enjoyment. All of the cats would get into a circle and stand on their hind legs when we brought their plates over. All of them would practice their meows as well during
feeding time.
One day a big male cat came to the door. He was also black and white. To me he seemed to resemble the father looking in on his family. My mother was secretly feeding him and one day, when she was bringing the dish of dry food over to him, my dad asked what
she was doing and she quickly put all of the cat food in her mouth.
After that, we allowed the dad to come into the house and be with his family. His became Rex, the male sheep dog off of "Babe." The family was back again. They all spent time together, either hunting, playing, washing, and sleeping.
In 2006, I organized a wedding for the mom and dad. I made all of their dresses and bow ties. I just thought they had three kids and they love each other, its time for them to be married. I had a real Priest help with the sermon and yes both of
the cats had to exchange rings.
One of the most comical times about all of the cats is night time. When we would all go up to bed, so would the five cats. They would fight over who's bed they would sleep on and eventually would get under the covers. Then in the middle of the night, I would be unable to move because I would have every cat covering my body. In the morning when the alarms would go off, they certainly new how to get all of us up by biting each one of us on the nose.
Now in 2013, we are only left with Tinker, Rex, and Stevie (the adopted cat).
Miss Hiss was stolen one day, Kiki was attacked by a dog, and Gypsy had pancreatic cancer and could pull through. Each of my animals owns a piece of my heart and my heart has a place for them too.