Monday, June 4, 2012

My Week In Nature. And Kids.

I was hanging my clothes out on the line and found this:

In one of those quirky fits of charm, one of my daughters had apparently picked a blossom from the pineapple guava tree and hung it on the clothesline.

As if could get any cooler, the next day, closer inspection revealed this:

Perhaps the world's tiniest praying mantis.  If only my cell phone camera had better resolution.

But you'll probably wish I had forgone the cell phone camera altogether when you see what my dog brought me:
Dinner!  AKA, one freshly dispatched pocket gopher.  Pocket still full of grass seeds.  Why are they always so wet when she brings them to me?  I have to admit recoiling a bit from the gift, but then my older daughter chided me, "Mom, you have to remember that in Kona's real family, this would have been like the awesomest thing ever."  Point.  So I made Kona a deal: She gave me the gopher; I gave her a treat.  Good dog.

Thank goodness she was so busy with the gophers that she missed this:
A Western Fence Lizard.  Found by my younger daughter.  In her bedroom.  On the floor.  Under a pair of jeans.  Whereupon it darted under her dresser.  Whereupon we declared Capture.  Fortunately, he was lethargic from hanging out in her cool, dark, and laundry-infested room, so after a few brief chases, he was spent.  I scooped him up and put him outside in the sun where, like a good little ectotherm, he perked right up.

Today, we took a little field trip to the Safari Park.  Afterward, we stopped by the farmstand on the corner, where they have the best Mexican candies--dulces de calabaza, camote, and coco.  Yummers.  I got cash out at the Park just to buy some.

Only they didn't have any candy today.  Instead, they had this:
A baby...crow?  Which had fallen from its nest in the palm tree.  A little boy was carrying it around, until he got tired of it and left it, chirping piteously, on a table.  I tried very hard not to freak out about it.  I had just finished reading - today! - Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself.

Remember, I told myself.  You didn't cause it.  You can't cure it.

But my girls hadn't read that book, and when it came time to leave, Andrea blurted, "Isn't there anything we can do???  That little bird is just going to die!"

Then the world went black, and the next thing I know, I'm driving back to Temecula while my girls coo over the baby crow starling in the backseat, feeding it half-masticated strawberries and chicken tenders and keeping it warm by cuddling it in my now-guano-covered jacket.

Flashforward  a couple of hours, some frantic googling, the resultant bowlful of improvised "corvid hatchling food," and--at long and glorious last--a phone call to a beautiful woman whose house it just so happened was both near mine and a satellite center for Project Wildlife, and the little invasive species baby bird had a new home.