Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mice, Rats and Rain

There’s never a dull moment! We’ve had delightful weather here at Pancho Villa State Park. This past week temperatures have been in the mid to high 90s during the day, and down in the low 70s at night. A cool breeze lulls me to sleep.

The reason for cooler weather? Rain. This past week we got rain 5 of the 7 days. On a couple days it rained so hard in the afternoon that the park could boast a “lake.” This one near Jeremiah I called “Lake Pancho Villa”.

As it poured down on Monday, I took some photos from inside Jeremiah. Visibility was very poor – I could not see the nearby restroom area.

A lot of my week – when I was not staffing the museum/visitor center – I was finishing up putting the Friends of Pancho Villa State Park financial information on Quicken software. The Friends group has never had “real” financial records, just a collection of records of deposits, checks written, and a bunch of petty cash slips. This lack of good, easy-to-read financial records has caused problems, and I decided to tackle this.

The volunteer that currently keeps these records does a thorough job, and fortunately has a mind like a steel trap. She sat by me as I worked through all the financial stuff since April 1 (the start of the group’s fiscal year). In all, during this month, I put in between 35 and 40 hours working on this. I got it all done, and taught one of the local gals how to do the computer entries and prepare/print financial reports. It is a good feeling to get this done

However my big excitement was "the rat" I was inside Jeremiah; Cat was outside. I noticed my mighty hunter stalking something - and when I went outside to look, that something was either a very large mouse or a rat. I grabbed my weeding hoe and joined in. The critter took off and climbed up the shaggy part of a yucca plant, probably trying to hide itself in the fronds. Aha, I was quicker than the critter and whacked at it. Critter fell to the ground, twitching and trying to drag itself away. Whack, Whack! Dead critter. Another volunteer determined that it was a rat. Here's his/her last photo:

I’ll end this blog entry – my last one until my next trip in September - with two pictures of local wildlife.

Tarantula: we have a lot of them here – just look like huge spiders. I watched them walk, and discovered that legs 1 and 3 move at the same time; and 2 and 4 also do.

Very small toads: Can you find the toad in this picture? The little fellow blends in with the small gravel/rocks, doesn’t he? Remember, to enlarge the photos, just click on the picture.