The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We have a lot of these.  They are usually about 4 inches long.  They love to get into the garage for some reason.   They are a slow moving insect known for eating decaying plant material and on rare occasion a small insect.  Their defense mechanism is to roll in a ball, hiding their underbelly and legs and/or to emit a caustic irritant to ants and other prey.  Each "section" is called a "segment" and has two legs.  Millipedes are known to have from 11 to over 100 segments depending on the age or type of Millipede species.  The genitals are always on the third segment behind the head.  Unfortunately we have stepped on a few and found that they have a dark red/black colored blood that stains whatever it lands on. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

American Crow

Crows are considered to be among the world's most intelligent animals. Recent research has found some crow species are capable not only of tool use but of tool construction as well.   These tools include 'knives' cut from stiff leaves and stiff stalks of grass.  Another skill involves dropping tough nuts into a street and waiting for a car to crush them open.  Crows in Israel have learned to use bread crumbs for bait-fishing!  

The American Crow has been affected by the west-nile disease, upon catching it they will die within 3 weeks. Though humans cannot generally tell individual crows apart, crows have been shown to have the ability to visually recognize individual humans, and to transmit information about "bad" humans by squawking.

American Crows are monogamous cooperative breeding birds. Mated pairs form large families of up to 15 individuals from several breeding seasons that remain together for many years. Offspring from a previous nesting season will usually remain with the family to assist in rearing new nestlings.   Crows engage in mid-air jousting, or air-"chicken" to establish their pecking order. American Crows do not reach breeding age for at least two years.  Most do not leave the nest to breed for four to five years.

The nesting season starts early, with some birds incubating eggs by early April. American Crows build bulky stick nests, nearly always in trees but sometimes also in large bushes and, very rarely, on the ground. Three to six eggs are laid and incubated for 18 days.

While I'm not a huge fan of the crow due to the noise they make and the harrassment they give the Red Tail Hawks (their natural enemy) I do respect their intelligence. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

spider with a person face

Take a close look on the face of this spider.  It looks like a chubby faced baby! 
He caught a bee and had it wrapped up like a mummy in seconds.   

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Neighbor,

Are you the person who has beautified the neighborhood sign?  You've added the iron (which is a striking addition), cleared the weeds, and have planted a good size peppertree behind each stone post.   Our sign had been neglected for years, but now it's something befitting to our area.  Beautiful work. 

I saw you(?) watering the trees with 5 lb buckets of water and I wish I had stopped to say thank you.  Next time I will.  As a proud resident of Gavilan Hills I extend a sincere thank you.  My family and I greatly appreciate it.

Now, can you just tell us who you are?

Mrs Wiley E Coyote

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

what's been in the garage

We keep glue paper down in the corners of the garage to catch whatever manages to get inside.  As you can see, we caught a small king snake this weekend.