This is Sully. How he came to be in this motel bathroom
is revealed on my blog.
This is Sluggo, the six-inch-long baby skunk I found in my woodshed. He'd tried to eat a banana slug, which get all goopy when you touch them. He'd gotten slug slime in his nose, tried to wipe it off. His nose was completely plugged with dirt, leaves and pine needles. When I spotted him he was staggering around, gasping for air and making pitiful distress calls. Thankfully, he was so exhausted I was able to corner him, grab him by the scruff of the neck, hold his tail down with the heal of my hand, and pick his nose clean for him. I can't say he was particularly grateful. When I let him go, he pounded his little feet threateningly, but didn't bother to point the potent end at me. For the next couple of days I saw him returning to his home under my front deck, each time with a nice fresh banana slug. He'd obviously learned the delicate art slug consumption. I'd like to think it was gratitude that led him to dig up and consumed an entire nest of yellow jackets, but I doubt it. In this picture, he's covered in Forget-me-Not seeds.
I was adopted. This is my mother and my first dog, Butch. They lived in Detroit when they adopted me, but we moved to Florida when I was two. They didn't know that dogs get heartworms from mosquitoes. Butch died of them when I was five. We were playing in the yard when Momma called us. He followed me up the porch stairs and dropped dead. It is still a vivid memory.
This is my birth mother and my uncle Charlie. I met Charlie in 1994, and my birth mother in 1996. I have a half sister, Lynn, and five nephews. All the characters in Hurt Go Happy are named after members of this family. That way I'm connected to my characters before I write the first word.
This is my friend, Ronnie James, executive director of Woodlands Wildlife. These three baby owls came in from an illegal logging site about 20 miles from Fort Bragg. Their tree and surrounding acreage was literally obliterated and they were found cold and hungry on the ground 48 hours later. At the time, she wasn't sure if they were baby Pygmy Owls which reach a height of 4-5 inches, or Screech Owls which will be about 6-7 inches. She was leaning toward Pygmy because these tend to be rather boisterous and aggressive, while Screechies tend to be quiet and relaxed. They weighed in at 3 ounces and were raised on minced whole mouse topped with sauce of chicken organs and vitamins. "I reversed their schedule so they eat every 3-4 hours a during the day, and I sleep at night."
This is Hopi. (Pronounced Hoppy) She's about 33 years old, and we've been housemates for 32 of those years. She's a Yellow-naped Amazon parrot, the Honduran sub-species, but she was born in Miami and hand-raised. You never want to buy an imported bird. Imported birds are captured and either transported illegally across our borders, or brought in legally, but kept for two weeks at a quarantine station where they are given antibiotics to prevent the spread of diseases. What often happens is that these wild, and difficult to tame birds, develop resistant strains of diseases because the antibiotics weren't given long enough.
Those same FP&L workers also found this 18 foot alligator in another culvert. A reminder there is an entire world of things we don't know about right beneath our feet.
Uncovered by Florida Power and Light in a culvert at the Orlando airport. For me this raises all sorts of questions. Why? Was it winter? Snakes are 'cold-bloodied' (Poikilothermic extotherms is the correct term.) It means they can't regular their internal temperatures and their internal temperatures are subject to external conditions.