Nothing like a mere two hours of physical labor in the early evening desert sun to make me appreciate being a software engineer who works inside with a computer, instead of outside with a shovel.
If you've been a frequent reader of this blog, then you may remember a post from mid-July in which I talked about a freak monsoon hail storm that completely flooded out my pet tortoise's burrow, nearly drowning the poor baby animal. I've since had the burrow blocked off to keep little Koopa out of it until I could modify or reconstruct it to be a little bit safer. In the meantime, I've been bringing the tortoise in the house to sleep during nights with heavy rain to protect the little fella from being left out in the elements and getting sick.
I've been debating with myself about whether or not the existing burrow could be retrofitted to be more safe, but I've finally decided that I want to just reconstruct the whole thing to make sure it will be safer. This week, I broke ground on the new burrow.
I took a trip to the local STAR Nursery this weekend to get some dirt and ground soil, some bricks, work gloves, and other various supplies. I had to ask a friend to take me to the store with his truck so that I could buy a large, 1/2 ton bag of dirt. For liability reasons, the store wouldn't sell the dirt to me when I came with a van. The big bags of dirt require that you have a flatbed truck.
I started by trying to move as much of the rocks out of the way of the planned construction site and then dug up and filled-in the original burrow, reclaiming the bricks and wood board used to construct it. [More]
Last night was a scary night.
Around 10:30 pm, there was a rather sudden downpour of heavy monsoon rain and hail in my area of town. It was coming down hard and fast. When I noticed that the rain had quickly flooded my back yard, I went into a panic.
As some of you may recall, I took in a baby tortoise that I had found crossing the street outside my house last August. I've been keeping him (I don't actually know the gender yet, but I'll use the pronoun "him" for simplicity) as a pet ever since, I dug a burrow for him on the side of the house, and I have named him Koopa. In the past year, Koopa has become quite adept at hiding under bushes in my yard and, surprisingly, at climbing walls.
Koopa the tortoise (summer, 2012).
Well, as I noticed the backyard filling with flood waters (it only took a few minutes), I started to worry about little Koopa and whether or not his burrow was staying dry. We had never had rains like this since I found Koopa, so I had no idea how well the burrow would hold up. In an adreneline-fueled panic, I grabbed a flashlight and a jacket and ran into the backyard. My heart immediately sank when I saw that not only had Koopa's burrow flooded, but that it was already full-to-the rim with water.
I quickly scanned around the area with the flashlight in the hopes that Koopa had escaped the burrow before it filled, but found no trace of him outside. Fearing that Koopa must be trapped inside, I threw off my watch and reached my hand into the burrow. It was like reaching my hand into a clogged toilet, the water was so deep. I found Koopa's body only halfway down the hole, and my heart sunk even deeper as I pulled him out. [More]
Remember a few months ago when I found a baby tortoise just crossing the streets in front of my house?
Well, nobody claimed it (still don't know if it's male or female), so I've decided to keep it and named it "Koopa". I was thinking of "Bowser", but that sounded too masculine, and since I don't know the tortoise's gender yet, I decided to go with the slightly more gender-neutral name. So far, the little fella seems happy and healthy. I've dug a burrow for him in the backyard and everything, and I put up a rubber barrier along the other side of the house to prevent it from going under the gate.
I thought the barrier would be foolproof, but last weekend, I found the tortoise on the other side of the barrier taking a nap... [More]
After a spring and summer plagued by home invasions by crane flies, spiders, and scorpions, it's nice to find an animal at my house that isn't a disgusting creepy-crawly critter.
While I was out getting the mail today, I found this little guy just crossing the street: [More]