I found this fellow sleeping in the mulch pile: He's a Marbled Salamander and apparently an Eastern U.S. resident - I'd never seen one before, as the much more plentiful Chameleons and Five-lined Skinks are less shy.
|Marbled Salamander 3 1/2 - 5"|
And very recently, on an extremely warm evening, this little guy was clinging to the glass on my storm door. It's a Tree Frog - A "Barking" Tree Frog, I think. These are the guys we refer to as Spring Peepers. Just a bit early, that's all. Sorry for the blur. He was so tiny and it was dark, thus my camera wouldn't focus properly.
|Love his little sucker toes.... 2 - 2 1/4" actual size|
If I hadn't become an artist, I might have been an entomologist or a naturalist by profession. If you've never read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, find a copy. That book made me feel "normal" in my fascination with the small, strange (to human perception) and mysterious creatures who are all around us - and yet often unseen.
My critter household has been both diminished and expanded. I lost both of my old horses Lilly and Bogo, and adopted a rescue gelding whom I call Chester, for obvious reasons if you are of a certain age, and remember Gunsmoke with Marshall Dillon and Chester. Apparently he suffered an untreated broken shoulder - a devastating injury - and I'm surprised he survived. He walks by criss-crossing his front legs, but he is able to trot, canter, and to lie down and get up!
I also lost both of my Pyrenees within a few months of one another - one to gone cancer, and the other to old age. When Colbert Veterinary Rescue had an adult female Great Dane for adoption, I couldn't resist. Now Stella at just over 100 #s is adjusting to life on the farm.
|Stella - don't you just love her ears!!|
|Chester - doing his favorite thing: EATING!!! He's a big boy - but not only had his shoulder gone untreated, he had also been starved. He'll be allowed to put on some weight, but due to his injury I'll need to keep him from gaining too much.|
Hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday and/or Christmas. I'm heading home to Southern Illinois for a week.