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Hamumu Journal
Nature Notes03:08 AM -- Fri June 9, 2006

#1 - A roadrunner in our yard. You know, except for a week or two ago when I saw one on the road, that's the first time I've seen a roadrunner (outside of cartoons) since I was about 12 (when I saw exactly one as well, and never before or since). They are just really rare. I guess they're not all that interesting, just lanky birds, but it's exciting to see them just because you don't!

#2 - Very cool. A California King Snake hung around wandering right in front of our house for about an hour (I was a bit concerned for his health). I saw this a week ago or something, but the camera is all set up to put its pictures on the Mac, and the Mac user is so busy with school that she never even turns it on, so getting the pictures is a pain. I give up - I'm just gonna tell you, and I'll show pictures if I ever get the chance. It's black & white striped, very distinct, like a zebra. A two foot long, pencil-thick, zebra. Very small snake. I read about them, and not only are they not poisonous, they actually eat rattlesnakes! I'm glad he's around. Too bad he's half the size of the rattlesnake I saw last year.

#3 - The extremely rare California Leaping Canine. We had to install chickenwire over the top of our dog kennel, and we only let our dogs into the yard when they are on leashes now (which is horrible for everyone). Why? Because they can jump a six foot fence from standing. We've discovered they don't even need corners to do it from, or any special gear like we thought (the corner of our yard they used to jump had some crossbeams we thought they needed). They just whoosh right over the whole thing. So not even the kennel was containing them. It's a mess. We're working on getting electrical wire for the fencing, which will be a huge pain, since plants grow all around our yard right at the fence. We're also trying to get them halfway trained, which is an uphill battle.

#4 - We have a lovely garden (it's controlled nature, it counts) that is struggling to survive the intense heat and sandy soil. The strawberries are all defeated already, but the corn is coming up well, the cantaloupes, squash, and watermelons are going crazy with flowers and the beginnings of fruit, and the tomatoes and cucumbers are doing quite well. There are assorted seeds we also planted, like an herb section, which are doing little, but something. Actually, the cucumbers and corn were seeds too, they're doing amazing. Our fruit trees are doing nicely too, except the almond. There's a lesson for you: if you buy bare root trees, do like they tell you: do not water them until they are clearly leafing out!! We pretty clearly killed the almond, and the mulberry is mostly dead. It's growing some lovely leaves right at the base by the ground, but everything further up is just a dead stick - all 6 feet or so of it. The other trees all have done very nicely, except for some massive holes chewed into their leaves by an apparent plague of locusts.

That's nature for you. She gives and she takes away.
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