Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bike Trail Closure Sunday

Sunday morning I rode north on the San Gabriel River bike trail. There were some interesting sights along the way. Just south of the 60 there was a group of people in robes standing out in waist deep water doing what seemed to be a baptism. About 100 yards farther along there were about 4 LA County Sheriff's cruisers and 6 or more deputies talking to an agitated man on the uphill side of the bike trail. Not that much of a ruckus.

A little while later, on the way back home in the heat, the bike trail had been closed by "do-not-cross” yellow tape. Cyclists were being directed to go back and take a street outside of the normal rive channel. I asked the office standing guard by the tape if it would be long. He said yes, it will be a long time and asked if I knew where the Thienes street gate was. I asked him what had happened that the trail was closed. He said he couldn't say. Chatting with some other cyclists, they said it must be a dead body, otherwise why would it be closes. I thought: maybe. Or, it could be something else too.

This was in the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another Reptilian Surprise

Mom saw this on the screen of the front door yesterday, and Dad took the picture.

From Animals

It seemed quite comfortable on the vertical screen, and stayed for a while.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In keeping with our recent string of nature themed posts... have you ever noticed some bees have yellow growths on their legs?


I assumed it was some sort of mark to indicate a gender, or maybe it was exclusive to some species. But upon searching the Web (which rocks for these kinds of things, according to Cindi) I learned that this is where the worker bee stores his pollen, utilizing specially arranged hairs on his leg.

I am working on specially arranging my leg hairs for easy storage of the food I find in the shopping carts at Target.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Home of the Sparrows?

Seeing that no one seems to have the correct PhD to answer the cookie question, I propose another question: Why do I not know of any schools with the sparrow as the mascot? Do you know of any?

From Birds

Look at this picture I just took of one in the front yard. They are quite ubiquitous (at least in this area), and this photo is proof that they are 'tough' enough to be a mascot. There are gillions of schools using the cardinal, but I don't know that I've ever seen the actual bird.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Big Question

Why are homemade cookies so good?

Signs of Summer?

Well, here are some sure signs of summer...and 80 degree day like today, watermelon, and cycling.

Friday, April 03, 2009

January 1984


Wasn't sure what I'd find on this strip of negatives in an old box in my office. Now we all know. Where were you in January 1984?

Celebrity Uncle/Son/Husband/Brother

Check this out. Click on the link below. You will see a photo of someone you know on the bottom left of the page. No animals were harmed in this production. He will sign autographs.


Slithering Surprise

I moved a rotted railroad tie in the garden today. Underneath were two creatures I thought to be sturdy earthworms, similar in color, size, and body style to some extent. Then I looked closer, since they were odd looking earthworms. In fact, I checked for an itty-bitty rattle on the tail, since they also looked like snakes. No rattles. I noticed bulgy eyes and four legs on each. Hmmm. What are these crazy little inhabitants of dirt and rotting wood? The web rocks when you want to find out something like this. Our two tiny garden creatures are California Slender Salamanders.

The photo and article excerpt below are from the website linked above (click on "Slithering Surprise"):
A small plethodontid salamander which breathes through smooth moist thin skin. 18 -21 costal grooves. Short limbs, a narrow head, long slender body, very long tail, and conspicuous costal and caudal grooves give this species the worm-like appearance typical of most Slender Salamanders. 4 toes on front and hind feet, also typical of Slender Salamanders. (Other California salamanders have 5 toes on the hind feet.) Variable in color. Generally black or dark above, with red, brown, yellow, or tan coloring forming a dorsal stripe, sometimes with a herringbone pattern. Black or dark ventrally, with fine white speckles.
Active on rainy or wet nights when temperatures are moderate, beginning with the first fall rains until the spring or summer dry period. Retreats underground when the soil dries or when air temperature gets below freezing. Lives and lays eggs in moist places on land. When disturbed, may coil up and remain still, then uncoil quickly and spring away, repeatedly bouncing over the ground. Tail is easily broken off, but it can be regenerated. A sit-and-wait predator.