Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Woodpecker's Scold

Yesterday, I heard a ladderbacked woodpecker actually make a noise, other than drumming. The woodpecker was making noise like a rusty gate. He was scolding a squirrel that kept getting in his way on a tree. Apparently the squirrel was on his favorite spot and wasn't going to move. The woodpecker threatened with his beak and the squirrel moved.

“Woodpeckers are good signs. They are symbols of wealth, good luck, happiness, and healing. If you hear or see a Woodpecker pecking on a tree near your house, thank him for the message and gift.” Copyright: “Spirits of the Earth”, Bobby Lake-Thom.

from "Animal Teacher's Woodpecker Family:
Woodpecker Family’s Wisdom Includes:
Protecting the Trees
Thunder and Lightning
Power of Discrimination
Being Intense But Relaxed
Being Intense but Graceful
Waging War and Sudden Attack
Attention to Detail

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Buzzards in the Sky

Saw several turkey vultures circling the sky over the Ocaquan River. They were massive birds floating on the warm currents. I kept wondering why these beautiful birds (on the wing) got such a bad rap. I guess what I was watching was a group of vultures playing.

Circling vultures do not necessarily indicate the presence of a carcass. Circling vultures may be gaining altitude for long flights, searching for food, or playing.

A group of vultures is called a "Venue". Vultures circling in the air are a "Kettle".

+ Vulture poop is actually a sanitizer! Their uric acid is so strong (because of the nature of their diets) that it kills bacteria.

From the Turkey Vulture Society

“Turkey vulture can assist you in developing your own sense of smell that you can use effectively in all areas of your life. It will help you to decide whether or not something doesn’t quite smell right in your life.” Copyright: “Animal-Speak”, Ted Andrews.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Charles Darwin's pet tortoise turned 175

Charles Darwin's pet tortoise turned 175 yesterday. That is a long
time even in "turtle years". Harriet came scampering out of her
tortoise shell in 1830. That was the same year that Joseph Smith
published "The Book of Mormon", and the same year as Emily Dickenson
was born and the year that Edwin Beard Budding invented the lawn
mower, which being a vegetarian might have been of more interest to

Harriet was only 5 years old when Charles Darwin saw how cute she
was and he put her in his cabin aboard the HMS Beagle. When they
got to Australia Darwin was probably afraid that their sailing ship
might get becalmed in the "horse latitudes" or in the Saragossa Sea
and then little Harriet would surely end up in the stew pot; so
Darwin left little Harriet in Australia; where she has been ever
since munching the veggies and lettuce that her keepers gave her.

She was 18 when the German Rune master Guido von List was born.

She was 29 when the world's first oil well was drilled.

She was 35 when the American Civil War ended.

She was 49 when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

Harriet was 78 years old the last time the Chicago Cubs won the
World Series, (though it may of course be impossible for any
creature to live long enough to see the Cubs win another World

Harriet was 81 when Ronald Reagan was born.

She was 139 when men first landed on the Moon, and yesterday Charles
Darwin's pet tortoise Harriet turned 175 years old.

Copyright: Edward A. Anderson II


Turtle's Teachings:

"Since Turtle carries its home on its back, it has also been recognized as having the ability to 'manage' in difficult circumstances. Turtle has good hearing and can sense movement in the water through the membranes in the skin. Turtle even has a sense of smell and pretty good eyesight, reminding us not to judge any of our relations by outward appearances." Copyright: Unknown.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Squirrels Going Nuts in the Fall

It's fall and it's hot in D.C. We have had 70 degree weather for the past month. This meant more animals out and about getting ready for winter. The squirrels behind my building have been very busy burying their nuts. It is fun to watch them squirrel about.

Squirrel's Advice to People:
“Squirrel reminds us to stay dedicated to our goals. If we persevere, we will succeed.” Copyright: “The Animal-Wise Tarot”, Ted Andrews.

The U.S. Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) has Reddy Squirrel to offer advice on preventing your home from being burned in a forest fire. Reddy says... Plan for fire by creating defensible space within 100 feet of your home and by building with fire resistant materials.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Gorillas All Around Me

Last Sunday, I watched a program on gorillas on PBS. They were telling how gorillas learn and pass on their teachings to the next generation. Zoos today try to have rainforests for their gorillas live in. The gorillas forage for their food, while their little ones play.

Since Sunday, I have encountered gorillas in many forms. First on a Simpsons TV show using King Kong as a character. Then, I was reading about Michael Jackson wanting to film a new version. Today, I received a calendar with Koko, the gorilla.

Koko learned sign language and can communicate with people. He understands who he is and who everyone else is.

So, since I encountered gorillas in four different ways, they have a message for me.

From Animal Teachers:
Gorilla teaches peaceful living. Remaining calm, He goes about his affairs. Even when a strange Gorilla shows up, He will not attack. However, Gorilla will state his position forcefully. Learn strength and gentleness from Him.

Gorilla’s Advice Also Includes:

“When Gorilla appears, it is a reminder that our own strengthens – our inner strength and nobility – are about to be recognized. Gorilla reminds us of the mobility of proper living for one’s family and community.” – Copyright: “The Animal-Wise Tarot”, Ted Andrews.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blue Jays are Back and Noisy as ever

Recently, I have been unable to sit up for long periods. So I have placed bread out on my balcony for the birds. For amusement, I watch them as they steal the bread or fight among themselves. A wren will come and fly off. Sparrows will mob the table for bread.

Recently, the blue jays have returned. They come, one at a time, grab a piece of bread and fly off. Then another one comes. They keep watching each other and squawk, when one of them is taking too long to eat. Once I saw two of them circling the table where the bread was. It reminded me of one of those duels that you read about.

I have enjoyed these noisy crafty birds. What I have discovered is how they are both thoughtful and obnoxious at the same time. For me, they seem to live double lives - the noisy squawker and the quiet parent. I have had a close relationship with them every since one dive bombed me since she thought I was too close to her baby jay.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Lost mole in the afternoon

I was next to the dumpster talking to my neighbor, when this little furry animal waddled by. It was a confused mole looking for dirt to tunnel in. He was on a road searching with his nose where his tunnels were. The local lawn service had dug holes in the ground, disrupting him.

The mole was a common mole, soft fur and a needle nose. His feed were big flat digging machines. He sort of waddled and twisted away. I picked him up and moved him to the grass.

Then I spent the afternoon making sure he found his way home. He did and I went home.

I marveled at the wonder of this little animal, soft to the touch, sniffing his way in the grass. Occasionally eating a tiny insect to keep his strength up. He seemed like a fairy from some other place who came for a visit.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Illinois)
Few people have ever seen a mole. That's because this strange animal
lives its entire life underground and is rarely dragged out into the light
of day. Sometimes we see those long, meandering ridges that it pushes
up in lawns and gardens but most of us have no idea what the creature
looks like.

The animal literally "swims" through the soil in its search for food. The
hands are brought forward alongside the snout, then thrust outward and
backward in a breast stroke, pushing the soil aside and pulling the
animal forward.

This industrious, hard-working animal has an enormous appetite. It has been reported to eat the equivalent of its own weight in food in a day,
but one-third of its weight is more probably an average amount. The
bulk of the diet consists of earthworms, white grubs, cutworms,
wireworms, and other insects.

Some of the folk lore meanings of moles are, "Depth, sensory perception, touch, earth wisdom, cheer, healing with roots, spiritual healing, self reliance, luck, Retrieval."

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Monster Spiders in the Daytime

I wrote on the spider web at my building. While taking my laundry from my condo to the nearby laundry mat, I encountered a monster spider web. This web extended from one tree to the building eave and wall. Smack in the middle of this web, was the largest, baddest cobweb spider that most people would see in their nightmares. This spider was busy spinning more webs to catch all of the flies in the area.

I can only admire the industry of this spider. She was going from tree branch to building side, spinning her cobweb. Bigger and bigger it became. I could only see the web of life in her activity. Now I understand why people consider Spider the weaver of life.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Spiders in the Moonlight

I am back! I have not left my loyal readers.

Going outside in the early morning, I see the full moon. Right above the lamp on the outside of my condo building is a spider and her web. The lamp attracts moths and she captures them. There were a number of moths in her slivery web, and she was busy eating them. In moonlight, it seemed a scene from an alien world.

From Animal Teachers: Cob Web Spiders:
Cobweb Spider webs are uncommon in several ways. One part of the web is woven more closely than the rest. Members of the Cobweb Spider Sub-family cover this part with an extra layer of silk to add to the web’s stability. This is the part They stand on to attack the unfortunate Insect.

The weaving of the Cobweb Spider Sub-Family is a form of Feng Shui. They see space, and decide where to build their webs. Under people’s furniture or in corners or high on walls, These Spiders understand the constructive use of space.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My blogging frequency

I know that blogging is done daily, even hourly. However, I have a disability that sometimes makes me unable to sit for long periods. During these times, I cut back on computer work such as blogging.

But fear not, I will not stop blogging about animals, my favorite topic. :)

"Avast Ye maties"

Talk Like A Pirate Day is today!

From From The Talk Like A Pirate Website:
Why do we need an International Talk Like a Pirate Day?

Make no mistake. We do. But it's a little hard to articulate why, especially when you've made the mistake of referring to your wife as a scurvy bilge rat and tried to order her back into the galley.

Talking like a pirate is fun. It's really that simple.

It gives your conversation a swagger, an elán, denied to landlocked lubbers. The best explanation came from a guy at a Cleveland radio station who interviewed us on the 2002 Talk Like a Pirate Day. He told us we were going to be buried by people asking for interviews because it was a "whimsical alternative" to all the serious things that were making the news so depressing.

In other words, silliness is the holiday's best selling point.

In honor of the day, here is a writing about parrots, a pirate's favorite animal:

Parrots are popular among people for their friendliness and sociability. We enjoy their company and they enjoy ours. In return for their friendship with us, Parrots need people to protect Them. Parrots teach interdependency by their relations with us and with each other.

Important Parrot Family’ Teaching: Beauty

“The parrot says, “I am truly beautiful.” This is apparent not only from its visual appeal, but also from its obvious social activity and interaction with birds of its own and other species. Parrot says, “Hey, I am also beautiful within.” Copyright: “Wisdom of Australian Animals”, Ann Fitzgerald-Williams.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Manatees star on "The Simpsons"

Last night, I watched "The Simpsons" and was surprised by the Manatee stars. It is nice that a popular TV show featured a little known animal. They also emphasized how endangered they were.

It is hard to believe that sailors once mistook Manatee and her cousin Dugong for mermaids. These sole remaining members of the Sirenia family are more like small blimps than beautiful women. Also called Sea Cows, Manatee and Dugong are the only Sea Mammals that eat solely vegetation.

One of the most endangered of Sea Mammals, Manatee keeps vital waterways such as the Amazon River basin free of vegetation by consuming large amounts of food. Exploited for years for her meat and hide, Manatee is now a protected species.

Manatee is friendly and slow moving. When She meets other Manatees, She bonds with Them by mouthing. Manatee will play “follow the leader” and bodysurf with other Manatees. But what she enjoys the most is exploring her world.
Read more at ANIMAL Teachers: Manatee

However, "The Simpsons" confuse Manatee with Dugong. The difference between Manatee and Dugong is that Dugong has tusks, which Manatee does not. Dugong’s flippers also lack the rudimentary nails that Manatee has. Manatee has a round, wide tail, while Dugong has a fluted tail like Whale’s. Also, Manatee prefers living in fresh water; Dugong prefers seawater.

You can adopt a manatee at
Save the Manatee Club.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Humpback Whales and Communicating

With the discussions on how there was a breakdown in communications, we could learn from Humpback Whales.

A favorite of whale watchers, Humpback Whale is the most acrobatic of all Baleen Whales. A favorite activity of his is pec-waving, in which He twirls his body back and forth, waving his flippers. One of the most prodigious breachers, Humpback Whale leaps hundreds of times out of the water. Most noticeable of his actions is pec-slapping, where He slaps his long flippers against the water with a resounding crack that can be heard considerable distances. If a whale-watching boat disturbs him, Humpback Whale will lobtail to show his annoyance.

When He finally arrives at his tropical breeding grounds; Humpback Whale sings one of his famous songs to attract Female Humpback Whales. (These songs have two to nine separate themes in a specific order.) Besides spooking whalers, his haunting sounds have been sent into space on the Voyager probes. Also, in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”, two Humpback Whales sang their songs to stop aliens from destroying the Earth.

Unlike other Baleen Whales, Humpback Whale hunts in groups. He engages in an unusual form of cooperative hunting called “bubble netting”. (Several Whales produce a continuous spiral of exhaled air making a single, large bubble net.) First, a Humpback Whale will tail slap to startle the Fish. Then each Whale slowly rises below a school of prey, expelling a circle of bubbles. These bubbles form a “net” similar to fishing net. The Fish panic and converge in a small group. Then Humpback Whale swims through the group with his mouth open wide, gulping down Fish.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina and Marine Mammals

Most people think in terms of helping pets but there are other animals who need help as well. As New Orleans pumps out its water, this water will end up in the ocean. Since this water is toxic, little is known as to what will happen to the marine animals.

FROM The Marine Mammal Center

Hurricane Katrina

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina continues to be realized in Louisiana, Mississippi and surrounding areas. In addition to the human loss and grief, property damage and economic loss to the region, many animals have been impacted as well. In Gulfport, Mississippi, before the storm hit, dolphins from a nearby aquarium were rescued and transported to higher ground and later into a hotel pool filled with saltwater. In other areas, reports have been made of people keeping sea lions wet by throwing buckets of brown water on them.

If an agency asks for The Marine Mammal Center's assistance, we will do our best to help where resources allow. There are organizations currently working to help other groups within the hurricane zone take care of marine mammals, as well as pets that have either been injured or displaced due to the disaster. Both the Humane Society of America and the AVMA (Am Vet Medical Association) have disaster teams deployed to the hurricane area. The AVMA teams consist of veterinarians, techs, etc. Both groups are accepting donations. Here are some links you may find useful to learn more about animal rescue efforts or to see how you can help:

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Queen Bees and Fall

Bumble Bee Drawing copyrighted by Mary Ann Sterling

I watched a queen bumble bee flit from flower to flower. She was getting ready for her winter hibernation. Unlike honey bees, bumble bees do not have hives they live in year round. Watching her was a lesson in calmness.

Bees are credited with foreknowledge of events and lore of the ancients. A Scottish saying is "Go ask the wild bees for what the Druids know". One thing we need to understand is how to ask bees or any animal. First there is respect for them. Then, we can ask.

Animal Teachers: Bumble Bee:
Besides size, another way that you can tell how Bumble Bee is different from Honey Bee is that Bumble Bee's nest is a mess. Bumble Bees have fewer members in their colonies than Honey Bee. Also, They do not store large amounts of honey. Unlike Honey Bees, Bumble Bees rarely sting unless their nest is threatened.

Enjoy watching these fairly placid Bees as They go about their business of pollinating the flowers. Learn from Them to mind your own business. Just do not be messy in your affairs.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and the animals

AP Photo/John Bazemore of Jonathan Harvey rescuing his dog "Cuddles"

I know most people are worried about the people of Katrina and where they will be homed. However, their pets are also in trouble too. The (Animal) Humane Society of the U.S. has mounted a rescue effort for the pets. Contact your local Humane Society as to the specifics.

During catastrophes, animals need rescue as well. Pets cannot forage for themselves and depend on their owners. Also, the owners do appreciate someone caring for their animals as well. For most people, their pet is a member of their family. It is hard for them to leave the pet behind but in many cases they have to.

So remember the pet animals and contact the Humane Society in your area.

The Humane Society
Some people were forced to leave their pets behind. Others were never able to evacuate at all. Now, in Katrina’s aftermath, The HSUS's Disaster Animal Response Teams are primed to help the pets and other animals left behind in the region’s most devastated areas.

Disaster Relief Fund To send your gift by U.S. Mail, please make your check payable to HSUS Disaster Relief Fund and mail it to HSUS, Dept. DRFHBM, 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037. Thank you!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Chorus of the summer night

Sit outside on your porch and listen to the nightly chorus of birds, frogs, and insects. It is a pleasant sound that most people miss, since they are inside watching television. In Washington D.C. area, it is hot and humid. However, sweating out the night is worth it since you can heard the cicadas buzzing, the frogs going jug-a-rum, and an owl hooting. Watching the fireflies makes the whole experience better than any tv program.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Birds on the Porch

I have been putting out chunks of stale bread on my balcony. I have been visited by flocks of sparrows and wrens. Cardinals come early in the morning, while ravens during the day. The sparrows will fight with each other about who has the biggest piece of bread. They drop the bread and the ravens will scoop it up.

From my ANIMAL Teachers' site: Birds:
Birds fascinate people. Many people set out feeders to attract Birds to their Gardens. Others travel distances to spot a particular bird. People watch Birds fly, perch in trees, and sing to each other. What is it about Birds that draw people to them? People tell you they love Birds for the joy they bring.

Birds teach living in the moment. A flash of brightly colored feathers, then They are gone. The sight of a Condor soaring in the sky makes people pause and watch. Crows amuse people by their antics. A lonely call of the Loon fills people with longing. Constantly in motion, Birds teach people to live in the moment.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Michigan J. Frog

Michigan J. Frog was the corporate logo of WB Network. However, WB has decided to eliminate him since he doesn't draw older people to their shows. However, I thought he was a lot better than any other corporate logo. WB replaced him with a silly flag: Comedy for All.

Frogs have many teachings that WB have missed. Here are a few:

Frogs demonstrate the principle of tolerance. Frogs come in all shapes and sizes. There are the tiny Spring Peepers, ugly Horned Toads, vigorous Bullfrogs, and green Barking Tree Frogs. The old song goes, “All God’s Children sing in the choir. Some sing low, others sing higher.” Listen to Frog songs, and you will here the low jug-a-rum of the Bullfrog, the rasping natter-natter of the Natterjack Toad, and the high peeps of the Spring Peepers. Together in unison, They provide a melody pleasing to the ear.
--ANIMAL Teachers: Frog Family

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Cardinals on the balcony

I have been putting out bread on my condo balcony. I had a rare sight of cardinals eating the bread. I always thought they just ate sunflower seeds. However, now I have a surprise - they eat bread too.

The cardinal is a beautiful red bird. At least the male. The female is more of a duller brown. I find their color to be cheery. Their call is cheer-cheer-cheer. So it fits.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Few Bugs In the Laundry Mat

What I am finding is that my local laundry mat is a haven for bugs. All sorts of bugs like to fly in between the screens and rest on the machines. We have moths, leaf hoppers, and spiders. I never knew that an urban laundry mat could be an adventure in nature.

I have no problem with the bugs but some of my fellow laundry types do. One woman just hates the big bugs and shoos them away. Most of the bugs just sit there and do nothing. However, I guess people just dislike them for being so alien looking.

Inchneumon Wasp

The recent movie, "War of the Worlds" featured Martians that looked like Inchneumon wasps. I guess it was the perfect way of getting people to be afraid of them.

More information can be found at Everything About Wasps and Insects

From ANIMAL Teachers: Crawling Ones:

The Crawling Ones are usually small, creepy, and crawly. Moreover, They give many people "the creeps." Go beyond the “ick factor” and learn what Crawling Ones have to say. They are opportunists, and one of the most diversified life forms.

As long as people have been on Earth, Insects have been a part of their lives. Insects provide food or live off people; protect or ravage crops. One fourth of all living animals are Insects. They are found in every place on Earth, adapting to all sorts of environments.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Meaning of Turtles

Why should anyone care about turtles, let alone sea turtles?

Nothing on earth today is like Turtle. The Turtle’s unique design–their ribs fused to their shell and leg bones tucked inside their body cavity–is a hallmark of the family. Turtles have been on earth since before the dinosaurs.

Turtle teaches tenacity. They have walked on the earth for millions of years. While other species have come and gone in that time, Turtles are still here, alive, well, and going about their lives. From ANIMAL Teachers: Turtle Family

“As about, so below, and within. The gentle sea turtle acknowledges the delicate balance between ocean and earth, and reminds us of the importance of respecting both.” Copyright: “Wisdom of Australian Animals”, Ann Williams-Fitzgerald.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Good/Bad Month for Sea Turtles

(Olive Ridley Nesting from Sea Turtle Restoration Project)

First the bad news, there was a carnage of sea turtle bodies in one of Mexico's protected beaches. The poachers wanted only the eggs for sexual purposes. WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE THAT TIGER WHISKERS, SEA TURTLE EGGS, BEAR GALL BLADDERS, DO NOT HELP! The more we can convince people of the non-health effects of these and other animal parts, the better the animals will survive.

The good news, a Green Turtle made a nest in one of the beaches in Virginia. This is first time north in a long time, that a turtle had laid her eggs this far north. That beach has been protected by the Commonwealth against evil poachers.

I call them evil for the simple fact of greed. Pure simple greed.

How can you help these turtles? Adopt a nest
Adopt a Nest
By adopting a nest of baby turtles, you will be helping protect a species that has existed since before the dinosaurs. Adoption funds support sea turtle conservation work, including:
projects to protect sea turtle nesting beaches
efforts to ensure that sea turtles are not needlessly caught and drowned in industrial fishing lines and nets
international programs to teach local communities about sea turtle conservation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Swallow Family Update

The Swallow Family that lives on the porch of my neighbor is still here. They are still raising their second batch of young. We see them on summer evenings catching insects. I find them to be cheerful and optimistic.

"Prior to the advent of Christianity, the swallow was symbolic of the afterlife and personal resurrection. In Egypt and Babylon, swallow images were associated with funerary practices and represented the hope of a richer life after death...In pictures of the Annunciation and the Nativity, swallows represent the incarnation of Christ...The swallow is also associated with motherhood, good fortune, prudence, prayer, fidelity, unfaithfulness, courage, and danger." From ChristStory: Swallow

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Big Green Bug

While I was doing the laundry at the laundry mat, a big green bug rested on the inside wall. It was a huge insect. Naturely I wanted to know what it was.

Unlike most people, I find bugs to be friendly creatures. Most are and are worthy of our notice. In the Middle Ages, when bugs infested crops in Europe, they had trials. The bugs had an advocate who pleaded their cause. Sometimes, people would decide to build a place for the bugs to feast. Other times, they asked the bugs to leave.

At Bob Patterson's Entomology Hobby Page, there is a color picture of 'my bug' - the leaf hopper. He writes, "Shape, Color and Pattern: You could decorate a small christmas tree with these Leafhoppers of the Family Cicadellidae, not Cicadas, Family Cicadidae. Features making them stand out from Planthoppers: overall body pattern, different wingshape, and spines along the hind tibia (leg), not to mention wing veination." Imagine your tree decorated with beautiful insects.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Lizard is Not A Lizard is Not A Lizard

One of my pet peeves is that people who look for wisdom from animals, think that all lizards are the same. They are reptiles who lie in the sun and bask. Their tails detach and they escape. Not So.

Lizards are found all over the world. They come in many sizes and shapes, which is their secret of success. Lizards range in size from tiny Geckos to huge Komodo Dragons. Chameleons are tree dwellers that can change color. Race Runner Lizard of North American runs fifteen miles an hour. Horned Lizards have short, flat bodies covered with fierce looking spikes.

Lizards display a variety of survival adaptations, from gliding through the air to pattering across water. One well-known survival technique is that They are able to shed their tails when caught by a predator. Tail shedding distracts the predator and allows the Lizard to escape. Tail loss is serious since the tail is used for balance, but most Lizards can regrow their tails within a month.

To read more about lizards and their meanings, go to: Animal Teachers
Animal Teachers: Lizards or Who Zoo

Thursday, August 04, 2005

It's A Boy (Panda)

Living in Washington D.C. means seeing the pandas at the zoo. Ever since the first pandas - Mei Ling and Hsing-Hsing - came, people have been panda crazy. A visit to the National Zoo to the panda palace included seeing the boxes the pandas came in. When the first two pandas died, people were bereft.

Now, we have new panda family and a new panda cub. It is exciting and fun. The new cub turned out to be a boy. (Picture from the National Zoo web site.) Here is the panda cam and zoo site: read all about the new panda that captured our hearts.

Ever since pandas were found in China and brought to the West, people have fallen in love with them. They seem so cuddly and cute. However, pandas are neither. Relatives of the bear family, pandas are large mammals who rely on bamboo for food.

Panda Insights:

"In China they call the Panda "Xiongmao", which means Giant Cat Bear. The Panda was believed to have magical powers that could ward off natural disasters and evil spirits" From World Kids: Endangered Animals Center http:///"

"Pandas live alone except when breeding, indicating a solitary lifestyle. Those with this medicine will be happiest when living by themselves. Relationships can be acquired and maintained but only if a partner respects the need for privacy and sacred space. Although relationship issues are common for those with this totem a panda medicine person will be forced to rely on their intuitive voice for nourishment and guidance. This aids them in developing a deeper understanding of who they truly are. From the perspective of spiritual growth this understanding is a fundamental requirement for the souls evolution." - From Sayahda's Animal Totems: Panada

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Gift of Feathers

While on a walk, I found a crow tail feather. I have a collection of crow, pigeon, and blue jay feathers. I use them to fan sage with when I cleanse my home. Feathers are magical and are a gift from the birds themselves.

Most people prize eagle and hawk feathers since they represent spirituality and bravery. However, in the U.S., it is illegal to possess such feathers without a permit. Also treaties cover migratory birds such as herons and the possession of their feathers. I write this since in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of birds were slaughtered for their feathers. Women's hats, at that time, were decorated with heron and egret feathers.

Back to crow feathers, these like the birds are sooty black. They are used for mourning and for letting go of situations. For followers of the Norse religions, crow and raven feathers have symbolic meaning as well. The two ravens of Odin told him of the happenings in the world. Among the Arapaho of North America, crow feathers were widely used in their Ghost and Crow Dances for making ceremonial items.

I have a personal connection with crows. When I am looking for direction or advice, they drop feathers on my head. Sometimes, they will come and eat my lunch or at least try. When I do listen to them, I have to think quietly of what they are saying to me. Sometimes, I get it and sometimes, I don't. However, the crows seem to understand and try some more. That is the way between people and animals sometimes.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Swallowtail Butterfly In the Flowers

As I was taking my laundry back and forth to the laundry mat, I saw a huge butterfly. It was a large yellow creature that lingered by the flowered bushes. I later looked it up to find out it was a swallowtail butterfly.

People are amazed by butterflies, that seem to be new life and new beauty. But in Europe, butterflies were the sign of the dead person's soul. Some insects scare people, but butterflies are beloved by everyone, it seems.
A picture of the butterfly from the Klamath National Forest in the U.S.A.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Red Koi in The Pond

Next to the main U.S. Department of Interior building is a koi pond. Well not exactly a koi pond, more like a wildlife pond with turtles, dragonflies, ducks, and of course koi. It sits with in view of Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. ( )

I saw the turtles sunning themselves among the boxes of marsh reeds. Walking closer, I saw a school of small red koi with two large black ones. They looked like a drill team swimming in unison around the boxes and turtles. Sometimes, they would encounter a large koi, and change direction. No stragglers or confusion. Just turn about face and swim!

I understand why people enjoy koi ponds. It is peaceful to watch them swim with their tail fins floating in the water. Their colors lend brightness to the murky water.


Koi are members of the carp family. More info and pictures can be found at :

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Slow Motion Gets You There Faster

Watched a slug wend its way over a water main. Slowly, slowly, but surely the slug moved forward until it was crawling in the grass. I remember the old Hogie Carmichael song, "Slow Motion Gets You There Faster", and the lesson of the slug.

Sometimes just moving along at slow pace helps you to focus on what direction you want to do. You get there just the same but you get to see the scenery along the way. As for my slug friend, it was doing fine eating insects.

Slugs eat a lot of harmful insects, so don't kill them. They are helping gardeners eventhough many think of the slugs as an enemy. I think it has to do with how a slug looks. Long, slimey, and ickey.


Slugs are of both sexes. There are no hes or shes, justs heshes or its.

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Visit from The Toad

Most people think of toads as ugly little creatures. I think they are wonderful in their warty way. Toads have a certain dignity about them that frogs don't.

My late father-in-law looked like a toad - short, squat, and warty. We called him "The Toad". When he died, we were visited by the biggest, fattest, ugliest toad you ever saw. This huge toad greeted us daily by the front door. I was told that it was my father-in-law looking in on us as a protector.

I saw a small toad today in the grass. A tiny thing hopping towards the pile of rocks, I wished him well. I felt happy that a toad had come to visit.

Toads are magic. They have the mythic toadstone on their head. That is one of the reasons for the stories of the enchanted frog (which is what toad is). Next time you see a toad, think magical thoughts.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Swallow on the Roof

A family of barn swallows come yearly to my condo building to nest. For about 15 years now, they come and build their nest under the porch lights. It isn't spring until they come.

I watch them swoop through the air catching insects. Recently, they fledged two young swallows. The fledgling was on the ground crying to his mother to come feed him. She flew near him trying to get him to fly. He would hop and flutter a bit. Finally, he flew.

I saw one of the fledglings on the porch roof. He was just sitting there preening himself. Looking like he owned the place.

I enjoy the swallows. They seem so cheerful in what they do, and fearless too. They recently decided to start another clutch. So, I conclude that they must also be hopeful too.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No That's Not A UFO

That strange buzzing sound that you hear from the trees is not a UFO but a cicada. The sounds of the periodic cicadas are often heard in sci-fi movies. So if you think that you hear a strange sound, relax, it's only a huge bug.

People forget that insects are teachers too. Cicada's teach about time and living in the present moment. They live underground as larvae, then emerge as adults. For a brief while, they call to the available bugs, "Hey how about some ....?" Then they mate and die shortly afterwards. So take a clue from the cicadas and live for today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Squirrels Eating Candy Bars

The squirrels that live on the U.S. Interior Department grounds are sneaky. One of them decided to steal a nut bar from the corner vendor. He crept up to the wheel of the truck. Then jumped just below where the vendor sat. Suddenly, he jumped with a candy bar in his teeth. He hopped to a safe tree and proceeded to take the wrapper off. Twirling the candy around, he ate his fill. A neat trick.

A day without squirrels is a day without sunshine.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Squirrels in the Noon Day Sun

Still very hot and humid.

There is a family of squirrels that live on the grounds of the U.S. Interior Department (South Building). This building has lots of oak trees for squirrels to nest and play in. There is also a vendor selling nuts and hot dogs at the corner.

I see the squirrels, very early in the morning, dive bombing into trash cans. They pull out sandwich wrappings and half-eaten bagels. Sometimes, they find a nut that someone threw away.

However, come noon in Washington D.C., and nary a squirrel can be seen. I think they must hide in the branches and sleep. I would if I was a squirrel.

Squirrels teach me when to rest and when to work. They know when to stop and sleep in the sun. In a place like D.C., we could learn a lot about relaxing from the squirrels.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Cardinals in the heat

In the Washington D.C. area, we are under an heat advisory. However, everyone I have talked to has seen cardinals. While walking home, I saw a pair - the bright red male and the duller female. I have wondered why everyone is seeing cardinals.

Cardinals are bold, territorial birds. I wonder if they are telling us to mind our homes and gardens. I usually see them in the winter, therefore seeing them in the summer is unusual for me. Perhaps, I need to be bold in what I do.