Still tick-free after 4 days...
As far as we know.
Let's see, I was almost caught up here before setting up the photography sales site, which I think was a good idea but immediately had a server problem as soon as I got everything posted. heh. It's pretty slick now tho, except I have tons more stuff I want to put up there and diddle with.
Visit often and buy lots.
Then there was the screen top for the Turtlearium:
Because a dog named Happy, q.v.,
Who, me? Innocent, yet randy.
...had developed a nasty habit (or compulsion, really) to want to pick the little turtle up in his mouth and carry her around, and then spit her out in the dirt and paw at her to get her going again. After accomplishing this while my back was turned with her in the Turtlearium, he got yelled at and bopped on the nose, but there was some primal curiosity there that he just couldn't overcome. He would go out to pee, prance around, then have a
surreptitious quick sniff around the turtlebox for her even if she wasn't out there, while taking guilty looks over his shoulder to see if he was being watched. Hey, you're not bad if nobody sees, right?
So I decided the answer was a large-mesh wire screen stapled onto a ramshackle frame built out of furring strips. She got to spend her first camp-out overnight last night in a little storm, and seemed pretty content with the new setup. There seemed to be some reduction in aquatic snacks in the "pond" as well, which is what I was hoping would happen after she got used to the "real" world and off the canned shrimp treats a bit.
Also, there was the getting ready for the Sunset photo hike tonight, and the thinking about the big 5-day nature workshop up in Ely (MN) next week. Should be great: visiting the underground mine, learnin' about Cuba, eatin' pizza, scratch that, ...learning about MN history, forestry, stream gauging, macroinvertibrate sampling, the wolf center, and a canoe trip in the BWCA!
In addition I finally got the images off of the laptop at Springbrook that I took last week when I got to help out with the John & Pamela's Dragonfly program, a.k.a. "Digital Dragonflies in an Analog World."
The coolest part was getting to shoot with Siah's Canon setup (I know Nikon friends... yes, I touched it and everything.) It wasn't so much the camera but the stack of lenses, tubes and multipliers. Enough optics to make the Hubble envious. I don't know the Canon system very well, but I think it was a 500mm zoom (?) lens with a #2 extension tube and a 1.4x multiplier. All I know is, clamp it on a tripod and it's quite a chunk of metal to carry around in 90 degree humidity. I had never shot with a lens whose barrel was so heavy you had to put the focus lock on before tipping the camera forward or the weight of the lens would start to telescope itself slowly out as you turned rings and pushed buttons and levelled things and cursed at dragonflies for not holding still twenty feet away. It's good to try new things tho. Even when all the buttons on the camera are in a completely different place than you're used to. It's like Helen Keller's parents rearranging the furniture or something. Just when you get used to it one way, BAM! It's not there when you need it, and what's worse, it's someplace else.
Lot's of dragonflies and damselflies were to be found, tho nothing that didn't belong here. I like these 4-spot skimmers, they always look so jovial. (I know, anthropomorphizing again. What can I say, I'm only human.)
I know they're blood-thirsty killers, predators throughout all of their morphic stages, so the fact that it looks like they have a perpetual smile on their face is actually kind of creepy. (Woops, did it again)
I learned something cool at the program, it's that recent research has shown that dragonflies will actually tip their bodies up so that their point of their smallest surface area faces the sun to reduce heat-absorption if they are too hot.
Something I was wondering about was when the etymology of the word "dragonfly" came about. "Dragon" had to come first, I figured. That comes from Greek they think, as in "dracon". Tho from Middle English it's something like "derk", which means "dark." Ironically enough, they mentioned some stuff about it in this book about the History of the English Language I was just listening to. There are a bunch of regional words for dragonfly, the Dictionary of American Regional English lists nearly 80 of them! Darner, darning needle, devil's darning needle, ear sewer, mosquito fly, mosquito hawk, needle, skeeter hawk, snake doctor, snake feeder, and spindle being a few. The greatest variety of terms is to be found in the South, where the most widespread term is "snake doctor" (a name based on a folk belief that dragonflies take care of snakes). The Midland equivalent is "snake feeder." Speakers from the Lower South and the Mississippi Valley are more likely to refer to the same insect as a mosquito fly, mosquito hawk, or, in the South Atlantic states, a skeeter hawk.
The imagery outside the South often alludes to the insect's shape rather than its behavior or diet. Speakers in the West, Upper North, and New England call it a darner, darning needle, or, less commonly, a devil's darning needle, and those in the Upper North also refer to it just as a needle; those in Coastal New Jersey, a spindle; and those in the San Francisco Bay area, an ear sewer, that is, a creature that sews up your ears.
In many other languages "dragonfly" comes up as something similar to "libellule", which is also the name of a common genus of dragonflies, but nothing like "dragon" in other languages, which is usually pretty close to "drache", "drago" or the like. It goes back a long way too, into Teutonic, Greek, etc.
Seems like people always had a word for a weird, threatening, dangerous-looking thing they didn't understand. Something to do with anthropomorphizing, I guess.