Dog days of water

When I was a boy, I had the greatest dog a boy could have — B.D. His initials stood for “Big Dog,” which is probably why you shouldn’t let a 9 year old name a dog. B.D. was fiercely loyal and protective of me. I couldn’t even play pick-up football with my buddies in the neighborhood if B.D. was with us, as he saw any attempt to tackle me as a declaration of war, something my childhood friend Jason can attest to, probably with a still-evident scar on his head.
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Eel before me

Few things in life bring you joy like a headless eel.

Well, I guess I should clarify. If you are my son, few things in life bring you joy like a headless eel.

Readers of my column have gotten to know Parker and his many nature exploits. He loves nothing more than spending time outdoors, catching critters and observing nature. When I was his age, I was much like him. With one small difference.
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Snakes alive! (And also a toad)

Like most of you, my idea of a perfect day includes finding a snake that regurgitates a toad.

I see you are all nodding in agreement, so I’ll share the details.

Our day began recently out at our family land. The start of spring is one of our favorite times out there, as that is when nature wakes up from winter, and many of the critters begin making appearances.
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Armadillo 1, Parker 0

It was your typical father-son conversation.

MY SON: Dad, I’m stuck.

ME: Can you reach the armadillo?

MY SON: Not quite.

It all started the other night at my parents’ house as we were sitting on the back deck enjoying the evening. Behind my parents’ house are some woods that admittedly may not seem large now, but seemed huge when we moved there when I was four. They are at least big enough for me to have gotten lost in them as a child, a fact that my family still finds funny to this day.
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“Snake vs. Birds: Live” – our own nature show

It was a typical request from a grandfather to a grandson: “Go put the rat snake on the bird feeder.”

What? That’s not your usual Thursday evening entertainment?

It all started when I got a text message from a friend. It was a picture of a large snake on the top of a fence with the text: “Yikes! What is it?” I considered responding, “Relax — it’s a fence. They’re common.”

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There’s a mouse (mice?) in the house

It’s a text message I’m sure you’ve gotten a thousand times:

“So we found a mouse and it bit Parker, but we’ve got it covered.”

This particular message came from my daughter, who was home along with her brother when the bite happened. They had called me, but I was in a meeting and missed the call. They then called my sister, who called my mom, who handled triage remotely.
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Blessed is the meat nap

I’m sure you’re like me, and you recently had a meat nap interrupted by a mouse.

Lest you think I am just stringing together random words, let me explain.

I was asked to judge a barbecue contest. And I think we can all agree the single greatest question anyone can be asked is, “Would you like to come eat a whole bunch of barbecue?”
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