All posts for the month October, 2008

It’s been an interesting late summer and fall in terms of critters around the house. Along with some old favorites, there were a number of unusual ones that showed themselves, probably due to this years odd weather.

(As always, click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a common butterfly around here but I’ve always loved their bright colors.

This is a Maple Spanworm Moth. They were very plentiful for a few days and loved to congregate on the siding of our house.

This Angular-winged Katydid was very comfortable posing on the arm of one of our deck chairs.

One cool and damp morning Jan spotted and photographed this salamander in the leaf litter and stones along our fence. I hadn’t seen one of these around here before and was surprised it was so out in the open.

A Preying Mantis (actually a Chinese Mantid) showed itself to Jan who took this nice picture. He hung around for a couple of days and now has vanished.

“If the same amount of energy that was spent studying the female bosom went into the space program, we would now be operating hot dog stands on the moon.” — D.W.B.

I have no idea who D. W. B. is but I believe he/she is right about this one.

On our final day in Tucson we went to the Pima Air & Space Museum. This is a wonderful place to visit if you are an aviation fan. There are hundreds of aircraft on display plus you can take an optional trip to the famous 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG)Boneyard

SR-71 BlackbirdOne of the first aircraft we saw was the impressive SR-71A Blackbird. It’s hard to imagine anything that can fly at 2200+ MPH but, standing next to it, you have to know this plane is Fast!

Fighter RowNext we went outside to see the exhibits there before it got too hot. Here is a picture of the area where fighter aircraft are on display. There were also areas for bombers, transports, tankers, seaplanes and other sorts of aircraft.

B-52Here is a B-52 Stratofortress Bomber first introduced in 1955 and still in active service today. Without actually being there, it is hard to imagine how big one of these is.

Not all of the aircraft are from the US military. Here is a North Korean Mig-15 (built in Poland) used extensively by the enemy in the Korean war.

JFK's Airforce 1Here is the incarnation of Air Force One that was used by president Kennedy, a VC-118A Liftmaster (Douglas DC-6). This was the only plane where visitors were allowed to tour the interior.

As it got hotter outside, we went back into the hangars where some beautifully restored WW-II era aircraft were on display. Among them a B-29 and this B24 Liberator.

Also inside was one of the strangest looking aircraft I had ever seen. It’s the Bumble Bee, the worlds smallest piloted aircraft. It has a wingspan of 5′ 6″ and and overall length of 8′ 10″.

We really enjoyed our visit here and would even consider going back again in the future as there were many displays that we didn’t have time to see nor were we able to take the optional trip to the “Boneyard.”

Tucson – Part 2

On our second day in Tucson, Jan, Steev, and I went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum . It is a 21 acre museum and zoo housing 300 species of animals and 1200 kinds of plants. Here are a few of the things we saw there.

Desert HawkI’m sorry that I don’t remember the species of this bird. It was interesting to be able to see it close up.

Gila MonsterHere is a Gila Monster resting in the shade. It was behind glass as I would not otherwise have gotten this close.

OtterThis otter was Steev’s favorite and seemed very playful and active. It was also possible to watch him swimming from below the water level. Here he was watching Steev take his picture from above.

I had never seen a Coati before. This one was quite hard to spot at first but once I figured out where he was I was able to get a good picture.

DragonfliesThere were many different kinds of dragonflies on different plants and around the water. Most of them didn’t pose but this pair had their tiny minds ocupied with other business.

Butterfly GardenI’ve seen butterfly gardens in many different places but this was the first I had seen that was not in an enclosed building. Apparently they are able to select the proper plants that attract the adult butterflies and also provide food for the larva. In this picture there are at least three butterflies easily visible but there were probably a dozen more that were better concealed.

This was a great place to visit, easier than the previous day’s hike and had water available all around. They even had a nice little restaurant and two gift shops. If you are ever in Tucson, it’s worth a visit.

Root Canal

Today I had what was possibly the longest dental procedure in my life! Two and a half hours in the chair. The pain was not too bad except for holding my mouth open for that long. Novacaine hasn’t worn off yet and I don’t know how it will feel when it does. At least the bad part is over. What remains is the expensive part (crown).

Tucson – Part 1

Last week Jan and I flew to Arizona to visit my son, Steev and his fiancee in Tucson. While we were there we did a lot of things so I will be posting about it in several parts.

Steev and GretaOn our first full day we went to hike in Sabino and Bear canyons In the Santa Catalina mountains which were conveniently located N.E. of Tucson. We got there fairly early but it was already getting hot by the time we were on the trail. Here is Steev and Greta as we started out.

The terrain is fairly rugged, dominated by cactus and other desert flora. Since it was just after the annual monsoon, the plants were quite green and many were in bloom.

There was also quite a bit of wildlife around, mostly birds and lizards such as this little guy who posed very patiently for us.

SaguaroHere is a shot of the ubiquitous Saguaro Cactus. Some of them are huge – I’d guess 30 feet tall or more.

Sabino CreekNot all of the canyon is sand and cactus. We came across this idyllic spot along Sabino Creek.

Next part – Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum