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Old 27-12-2005, 02:52 AM posted to
The Ranger
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Default Flora and Fauna of the Burbs

One of the Wonders of the Modern World: Tupperware

While stripping the front yard of the weeds that had supplanted my
previous man-made paradise, I stumbled across several amphibians
and a couple reptiles that had taken up residence because of the
ample food supply. Finding these living treasures always brings
out the little boy in me. It equally jazzes all three
daughter-units who aren't afraid (generally) to touch, poke, and
pick up the living critters.

Me-Worry-Wonder?: The food supply necessary to support the many
varieties of predators makes me nervous -- as only a home owner
knows. But not nervous enough to actively eradicate it.

One of the few things proven capable of holding these types of
treasures is the Tupperware 2-qt. square. As a kid, my mom always
had a couple spares; I'd thoughtfully relieve her of one, poke a
few breather-holes in the top with my pocket knife, and ["Voila!"]
an instant terrarium.

As the daughter-units were pulling down corral duty with a pod of
salamanders, I went in search of the necessary container (from
SWMBO's vast¹ supply). It took a little longer than I thought to
find the one (with its lid) I had in mind, but I did succeed!

Short-sighted Actions: Keeping all the lids in a separate drawer.
This originally seemed like a Good Idea™ but it's lost a lot of
its appeal since implementation.

As I went back outside, carefully poking the necessary holes in
the lid, a movement caught my eye. I stopped and stared into the
undergrowth of my neighbor's tams.

Suburban stupidity carried forward from childhood: Ten year old
tams. A more useless plant there never was. These things have
greater ability to provide instant pain than holly, roses, and
bougainvillea. And every house in the neighborhood uses them for
hedges. These stupid hedges were GUAR-RAhN-TEED! to gobble down
baseballs, superballs, and softballs with equal relish only to urp
them up during excavation of the hedges.

There gliding away into the middle of these bushes was a sinuous
tail! It'd been years since I'd seen similar tails, so I was a
little... uh... exuberant... as I jumped into the middle trying to
catch it. The nice thing about actions-without-thought [avoidable
stupidity] is that divine intervention often happens² because the
individual in question is offering the higher order an
entertainment value.

I thrashed around in the tams and eventually brought up one very
upset garter snake. Hissy was truly annoyed at being caught and
handled; he was also very strong [for a garter snake.] As I waded
back out of the tams, all three daughter-units showed uncommon
good sense and didn't reach for him (I'm guessing the fact that he
was trying to bite me between hisses had something to do with
their caution.) Happily, all three were TOTALLY fascinated by his
whole being; scales, face, colors, and his tongue that he kept
flickering in annoyance. I deposited Hissy safely into a 5-gallon
tank that I was storing in my Catch-All-Clutter-Containment Center
(aka "two-car garage"). Hissy was certainly not enjoying his
status as the neighborhood celebrity but he was still spitting mad
so that was to be expected. As I was removing Hissy from my arm,
the daughter-units placed the five salamanders inside the spacious
confines of the converted Tupperware. The CACCC had enough floor
space to temporarily store all the new family additions so I went
back to clearing my lot of scrub, liquid amber dreck, and a forest
of shin-high dandelions.

Daughter-unit Beta, still jittery from her corralling session, was
only interested in finding more salamanders. I figured this was
the only help I was going to get from her so I let her keep
looking... Until she screeched and bolted behind me.

Having to learn how to differentiate screams: All little girls
squeals; the problem is that there's no difference in pitch (or
tenor) between unbridled delight, abject terror, or intense pain.

D-uB was searching a stack of bricks at the side of my house and
disturbed an alligator lizard (George³). Said alligator lizard was
definitely unimpressed by my intrepid amphibian-hunting apprentice
and hissed at her spitefully. He was quickly caught not know that
humans are the dominant predators in my neck of his patch of
wilderness. While holding him, I went inside to find another
Tupperware; it took a lot less time since I'd already performed
the task earlier.

I tried to explain to SWMBO (since she followed me out with the
lizard and another of her Tupperware into the CACCC) that we had
some new hobbies, that snakes, lizards, and salamanders aren't
bad, and that she needed to lower the volume of her
glass-shattering voice to a reasonable level...

I never did finish the yard work... But I did get (with D-u
Alpha's and D-uB's help) the critters comfortable enough to settle

¹ You'd think that Tupperware were valuable beyond their immediate
uses the way she guards these things!
² This isn't always true because some instances have been known to
start off with, "Hey y'all! Watch this!"
³ George has been caught repeatedly... He's dumb as a brick and
dense as a bowling ball.