Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mud Bugs

The boys and I spent the morning playing in the creek.  Wading in the cool water, turning over stones, skipping rocks across the surface of the swimming hole, which is still much too cold for swimming.

I love the ferns and mosses at the water's edge.  Even on the hottest summer day, it is cool and inviting down here.  I think our stream must be spring fed, because it is always icy cold.  In fact, some of the older folks around here tell me that they used to bring their watermelons down here in the summertime to cool in our swimming hole.  They would all gather and come down here swimming and then sit on the sand bar and eat fresh, cold watermelon.  I think of that a lot.  And I think further back to when the Creek Indians called this land their home.  I believe this has been a very special place for many generations.  There is a sacredness to it.

Here, my son is hand feeding minnows some bread.  They don't show up well in the photo, but there were about a dozen or so.  He's so patient.  He sat there,  still as a statue, for a very long time. He's my quiet, patient one; and he has my love for animals.

I spied this little guy sitting on the bottom of the creek bed.  He's tiny!  Can you see how large the writing on the sour cream container is compared to him.  He's a mudpuppy!  Ain't he cute?  I think those spiky little appendages on the side of his are his lungs.  He was so sweet!  Of course, we wanted to keep him, but not knowing how to care for him, we sadly let him go.  But not before giving him a name - Lester.  Don't ask me why.  He just looks like a Lester.  Hopefully, since we go down to the creek almost every day in the summer, we will see him again.

We also uncovered several crayfish (we call them crawdaddies around here).  They're easy to find, because they are so neat and tidy.  You can always spot where they have been tidying up around their hole under a rock - it will be swept clean of mud and algae.

They look just like tiny lobsters!  Now, we did end up bringing a couple of these home.  My 8-year-old nearly cried when we had to let Lester go, so I caved on the crawdaddies.

Here is the smaller one peeking out from underneath a cave we made for him in the aquarium.  I Googled crawfish, and it turns out that they are easily kept in freshwater aquariums!  Ours has been standing empty for several months, because we had to give the fish away.  It's only a 15 gallon tank, and the fish I bought were too large for it.  It's so nice to have something alive in it again.

Here is the larger one checking out his new digs.  He's much bigger than the other one who is cowering in the cave above, but he is missing his left claw, so I think they're pretty evenly matched.  They do tie up every now and again, though.  I'm thinking of naming them Fred and Ethel.  What do you think?

Oh! And that reminds me....thank you to everyone who suggested names for my little chameleon friend in the hose box.  Valerianna and Margaret suggested Ivy, and I think it's perfect! Because she is colored exactly like the variegated ivy she has made her home.  So, Ivy it is.....and she has a whole family living with her!  There's a strapping young male who's large and in charge, and there's a sickly old one with a stump tail whom I have already named, affectionately, Grandpa.  Hopefully, I can get some photos of them soon to share with you!


Valerianna said...

Much enjoyed wandering in the creek with you... just as I spent my youth, searching for salamanders, catching frogs and, at the seashore, catching puffer fish and hermit crabs. What fun! Glad to hear that Ivy has company!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I love this post..everything about it. Thanks for sharing this special time spent with your boys in nature. Wonderful
xx, Carol

margaret said...

another lovely journey I have been on with you this morning Starr, how lucky your boys are growing up in such a wonderful home and seeing so much of this wonderful earth.
No sign of babies from Ivy yet wonder how long she will keep us waiting.

Jules said...

Brilliant. Fred and Ethel - perfect! Your boys are having such a great introduction to the natural world!x

Suztats said...

Your post brought back many happy memories of summer days at the cottage first when I was a child catching crayfish and playing in the shallows, then watching my children do the same. Thank you.

Deb said...

Such a magical spot you and your boys have & wonderful adventures you are having. Just read your last post ... Your little Anoles is adorable (what a gorgeous green)& I know she will be spotted in some artwork soon :-)
Have a wonderful weekend.