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Indian Caverns

The weather has been in the 90’s and very humid so we gave up on boon-docking in order to plug-in and have the comfort of A/C. We found a nice little tucked away park called Holiday Pines just off of I-80 near Langdon, PA. The bathrooms were nice and the playground was cute. Divagirl got her energy out before the mosquitoes came out in droves. Did I mention we were in the woods? Yup. Lush and green.

The next morning we got an early start, with a plan to stop and visit the Indian Caverns, not far off I-80, which broke up our day into two halves. The day was overcast with a light rain as we made our way along back-country roads towards the caverns. As we reached a fork in the road toward the end of our trip, with about a mile to go, I noticed a sign that said the fork was the end of the truck route, and there was an 8′ 2″ bridge coming up…but the GPS was telling me to turn! I panicked at the last minute and took the path to the right, and we quickly pulled over to try and figure out our options.

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Black Racer: Caught!

This is our last day at the Bay Bayou, so the kids and I decided to visit the local pet store one last time before we leave. The bike ride there was chilly, and the cold head-wind was !@#%&!^ annoying, but we made it in about 20 minutes.

We were the only people in the store, so we were allowed to hold a bunch of critters: Mr. S held a ball python and a large bearded dragon, and Divagirl held a dainty and delicate chameleon – they’d all make great pets, we just don’t have any space to keep them!

After spending about half an hour visiting with the animals, we decided to head home. On the way, we stopped at the old board on the side of the road, where we originally found the black racer days before. This was the third attempt at capturing it, and Mr. S knew it would be his last chance.

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Foiled by Lizards

The other night, Mr. S decided to figure out a way to catch the elusive skink that’s been evading him for weeks.

After doing a bunch of research online on how to safely trap them, he found a nice DIY solution that would work with what we had on hand.

The basic idea: find a plastic bottle that has a tapered spout (i.e. 2-liter soda bottle or larger water bottle), cut the spout off, invert it and set it back into the bottle, then tape the two pieces together. This provides an easy way in, and a difficult way out. You then set some bait in the bottle, place it strategically in a lizard zone, and wait.

He decided to use a few pieces of baked sweet potato as bait, and set the trap in the evening after dinner. The next morning after the sun was up, we both went to check the trap and found the bottle, still sitting snugly in its location, with a nice hole in the bottom!

He was disappointed, but amazed.

Given the type of bottle and size of the hole, and given that it didn’t look like it had been moved at all, his guess was that something got in, and chewed its way out (rather than vice versa). Either way, something had a nice snack.

His next iteration is to create an in-ground trap, where the critters, hopefully the skink, would fall in and get stuck.

He’s persistent!

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Educational Outing to the Gun Range

I didn’t grow up with guns in the house, or hunting, or target shooting or with a fear that I needed one for self defense.

Although at the age of 8, I remember going with friends to a huge field at the end of our street to shoot cans with a BB gun. That was actually a lot of fun, and I remember being a pretty good shot for a first-timer. Pew! Pew!

That same day, my friend decided to invite a bunch of us over to his house in order to have a mini hunt in his backyard to see if we could find any small animals to shoot. He was thinking birds and squirrels would be small easy targets, and he said we could all take turns. I remember thinking that was a horrible idea, and I felt rather uncomfortable. In the end, I passed on the opportunity, and just sat back as the other kids took their turns eyeing small birds in the trees.

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Our Budding Herpetologist

Mr. S is smitten with reptiles. Actually, “voraciously impassioned” might be the more appropriate description. He’s able to identify all of his catches and has begun writing a book about his finds. He’s extremely gentle with them, and they are all catch-and-release. The other night we watched a NOVA documentary about the Lizard King, a biologist and expert lizard hunter, and Mr. S has now discovered his purpose in life: to be a reptile scientist like the one on the show.

NOVA Lizard King

In the park where we’re staying now, there is apparently a 6 inch long skink he’s been trying in vain to capture. It’s apparently very elusive and fast, and lives in a wood pile. He’s seen it 3 times so far, and attempts to capture it daily.