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26 hour vacation

I got to visit one of my favorite places in the world yesterday and today.  I tramped around in the mud finding and losing and finding secret places.  I sat on the porch in the morning and watched and listened to the birds (including Indigo Bunting, Scarlet Tanager, and Yellow Warbler, just to mention the […]

The Asteroid Belt

21 hours agoHobbies / Nature : Nature's Blog

As the sun formed, 5 billion years ago, surrounding gas and debris gradually coalesced into the planets, four inner solid planets and four outer gaseous giants; Pluto's status as a planet is a matter of debate (see The Orphaned Planet). Show More Summary

The Melting Dog

Quite the mixed bag lately, from the fun of scamming Scammy straight to bobcat heartbreak. Whiplash: a hallmark of my life and, it seems, this blog. Oh, that was good fun, scamming Scammy. A Keystone Cop surround with blaring sirens and kleig lights would have been even nicer, but at least I wasted Scammy's time. Show More Summary

Season of Discovery

Naturalists and birders look forward to the cooler months of the year when large flocks of migrant cranes and waterfowl stop to rest and feed in their region, when irruptive species move south to join (and compete with) winter residents,...Show More Summary

Don’t Forget: Eating These Clams Can Cause Amnesia

Unlike the flashing blue-ringed octopus or the smelly rubbish bird, the Pacific razor clam isn’t in-your-face poisonous. This narrow-bodied clam quietly dwells along beaches from California to Alaska, diligently filtering algae from the ocean. Show More Summary

About That Baby Bobcat

I think in another epoch, I'd have been sitting around a fire, telling stories. I'd keep all those cavepeople coming back night after night for a nice installment of How I Outsmarted the Cave Bear and Lived to Tell the Tale. I'd earn...Show More Summary

Aphrodisiacs From These Toads Lead to Heart Attacks, Not Sex

I’m no Dan Savage, but I am a toxicologist. And if Dan and I switched jobs for a day, I would give amorous men one piece of advice: Please don’t eat toad toxins to get an erection. Toad poisonings are rare but life-threatening. Men and...Show More Summary

Religion & Individual Rights

When national laws or rulings assert individual rights (access to birth control, abortion, gay rights) that clash with their beliefs, religious leaders claim that there is a "war on faith" in America. Of course, conservative politicians,...Show More Summary

Landing the Shark: Artwork Scam Part Four

Apologies to this beautiful blue predator of the deep for using his image.It's getting real now. I've got "Julia Simpson" on the hook and she's fighting hard. I've stalled Scammy for a week, making him think I'm dumb enough to send both the painting and a huge refund check in the same package, without waiting for his bogus $1835 check to clear. Show More Summary

Our Cottontail Colony

Over the years of writing this blog, I have related the saga of cottontails on our Littleton, Colorado, farm. During the first two decades of owning the property, we did not observe any rabbits on the lawns and pastures; the reason, of course, was that red fox were denning beneath our barn. Show More Summary

Justice & Enlightenment

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry throughout the United States. Decades late in coming, this decision demonstrates that, in time, social justice will prevail and that, over time, humans...Show More Summary

Go Baby Panda, Go!

Summer Fridays can be tough. Sometimes it takes a little pick-me-up to get you through the painfully slow crawl of minutes between clocking in and happy hour. Some weeks, that comes in the form of a historic Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Show More Summary

Ladybirds in the Thistle

The "crop" of bull thistle on our Littleton, Colorado farm is exceptional this year, no doubt fueled by the wet spring. While guide books and websites suggest that this thorny wildflower may grow to 6 feet in height, we have one stand...Show More Summary

Scamming the Scammer Part III

Sorry, blacktip. You're a much better citizen than Scammy.So I'm playing "Julia Simpson," the online scambag, making "her" think I'm about to send off both my painting and a refund check. She's got to be thinking she's hit the jackpot. Show More Summary

Supercell over Denver

Though we enjoyed a warm, sunny day in Metro Denver, a stationary front stretched across northeastern Colorado, adding instability to the atmosphere. As the daytime heating peaked in late afternoon, thunderstorms began to form above the Front Range, drifting eastward across the urban corridor.About 4:30 PM, one of these storms suddenly intensified. Show More Summary

Poisonous Birds Prove That Nature Wants You Dead

Here’s a forensic riddle: Ten people eat an autumn dinner of roasted quail in Turkey. Hours later, four diners start to vomit. They grow weak. Their muscles ache. At the emergency department, they’re diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis—a life-threatening...Show More Summary

Stony Garden

Researchers puzzled over why only the boulder fields in a thin line from northern Bucks County to nearby Montgomery County outside of Pottstown ring with melodious tones. Current thinking is that they ring because of the density of the...Show More Summary

What It’s Like to Nearly Die From the Venom of a Blue-Ringed Octopus

From the blue-ringed octopus’s perspective, your breathless screaming and vomiting aren’t her fault. This little lady—barely the length of a pencil, from tentacle tip to tentacle tip—was just lurking in a nice rock crevice on an Australian beach. Show More Summary

Yellow Goat's Beard

By June, yellow goat's beard (yellow salsify) is blooming on our Littleton, Colorado, farm and will continue to do so for the next month or so. Native to Europe, this tall, showy wildflower was introduced to North America and is now found throughout most of the U.S. Show More Summary

Art Scam Part II: Playing the Shark

When we last left Zick, she was in receipt of a monstrous check of dubious value and origin, in payment for a painting that had yet to be shipped. "Julia Simpson" has made out to me, but for almost twice the amount I was asking. Dear Julia, I have a check here from First Tennessee Bank/ Transnetyx Inc. Show More Summary

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