Monday, June 29, 2015

THE HENRY DOORLY ZOO IN OMAHA, part 1

On Friday, Mom and her friend Deb drove up to Omaha, Nebraska.  They spent the night and then came home on Saturday.  The real reason they went there was to go to Antiques Roadshow, which they did on Saturday.  It turned out that nothing they took to the Roadshow was very valuable, so in my opinion, the best part of their trip was going to the zoo.


As usual, Mom took a bunch of pictures so that I could put them in my blog.  She thinks that will make up for the fact that my brothers and I got stuck at Pooches' Paradise for 4 days and 3 nights, plus had to get baths before we could come home.  But she is wrong in thinking that!

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
(very creepy, if you ask me!)

However, since I have the photos, I might as well use them.  This first bunch is from a part of the zoo called the Desert Dome.  Inside the dome, there are animals and plants in various desert habitats. First there was the Namib Desert.


This plant is called Welwitschia.  Several years ago, my sister Piper wrote a whole blog entry about this plant, and you can read it here:  http://piperbasenji.blogspot.com/search?q=welwitschia   Mom managed to kill her Welwitschia in only about a month's time, and she has never tried to grow another one.


Here is a picture of a Sweet Thorn, which is also called Acacia Karroo.


The name of this bird is Cape Thick-knee.  It seems to like sitting around with its toes in the sand.


Mom was lucky because this klipspringer posed really nicely so that she could get a good picture.  Someday maybe I can research this little antelope and tell you more about it.  I just think it is really cute, and I especially like those dainty little hooves.


The part of the Desert Dome that included the American deserts looked like this.


Some of the saguaros were blooming.  Mom took a picture of this one, and we didn't realize until later that there was a bird on top of the saguaro.  We don't know what the bird is for sure, but it might be some kind of dove.


A Teddy Bear cholla.  You should never step on this plant or sit on it either!


A burrowing owl.


Two sleepy collared peccaries.


Rattlesnakes sleep in the darnedest places!



And finally we have a turkey vulture.  I'm not sure I would want to run into this guy in a dark alley!



In another entry, I will show you some more pictures from the Omaha zoo.  It is such a big place that Mom and Aunt Deb maybe only saw about a third of it.  I would like to see some of the animals in the zoo, but chihuahuas aren't allowed there, which is why my brothers and I had to stay home.

Monday, June 22, 2015

BIGHORN SHEEP

Bighorn sheep have really big horns, and that is how they got their name.  The horns of a ram can weigh as much as 30 pounds, which is about the same weight as 5 or 6 chihuahuas, all snuggled up together.  Bighorn ewes also have horns, but theirs are shorter and not as curly.  Coat colors range from light brown to dark, chocolate brown.  The rump and linings on all 4 legs are white.  Males usually weigh between 127 and 316 pounds.  Females weigh from 75 to 188 pounds.

http://www.clhsonline.net/sciblog/index.php/2014/05/been-there-done-that-bighorn/

Bighorn sheep are described as native to North America, but their ancestors came here by crossing the Bering land bridge from Siberia during the Pleistocene Era, about 750,000 years ago.  The Siberian branch of the family has since died out.


At one time, the population of bighorns was over two million, but by 1900, there were only a few thousand sheep left.  Mostly this was because of diseases such as pneumonia and scabies introduced from European livestock, and also because of overhunting.  More recently, the bighorn population has been restored through the efforts of several conservation groups, along with the Boy Scouts of Arizona.

Dall Sheep

There are two extant species of wild sheep in America today.  Dall sheep (Ovis dalli) live in Alaska and northwest Canada, and bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) range from southern Canada to Mexico. The two species are not so distinct from each other anymore because they sometimes interbreed.

Desert bighorn sheep in Hellhole Canyon,
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Photo by Andrew Barna

Desert bighorns live in the hot, arid ecosystems of the Southwest.  Rocky Mountain bighorns have a habitat that consists of alpine meadows, grassy slopes, and rocky cliffs and bluffs.  In summer, these bighorns move high up into the mountains, but they spend the winter in lower elevations.  They eat grasses and shrubs, and they get minerals from natural salt licks.

http://www.ldjackson.net/sunday-hunt-for-links-bighorn-sheep-edition/

Bighorns are very good at navigating steep, rugged terrain.  They are usually safer from predators in such places, although cougars are also good at climbing over rocks and cliffs in pursuit of some tasty mutton.  Other predators of adult bighorns include bears and wolves.  Lambs are often hunted by coyotes, bobcats, lynxes, and golden eagles.

Bighorns in Glacier Park, photo by Kim Keating
http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/node/433

Bighorn sheep live in large herds, but there is usually no single leader ram.  However, before the mating season (the "rut") begins in the fall, the males start fighting to determine which rams get to mate which ewes.

http://www.montananaturalist.org/?attachment_id=4651

The fighting is very dramatic, with lots of running at each other and slamming their heads together.  Luckily, rams have large horn cores plus enlarged frontal sinuses and a bony head structure that makes it possible to survive all that head butting without getting brain injuries.

Bighorn lamb, Alberta
Photo by Phillipp Haupt

The peak of the rut is generally in November.  Then, six months after mating, a ewe's lamb is born.  In rare cases, she has two lambs.  Newborns weigh between 8 and 10 pounds, and they can walk within hours.  Lambs born earlier in the season have a better chance of surviving than later lambs because their mothers have access to better forage while producing milk.  Lambs are weaned when they are 4-6 months old.

http://www.summitpost.org/petroglyphs/711167

Bighorn sheep were particularly admired by the Apsaalooka (Crow) people.  The Bighorn Mountain Range was central to Apsaalooka tribal lands.  In the Southwest, ancient peoples depicted bighorns in many of their petroglyphs.

http://www.ldjackson.net/sunday-hunt-for-links-bighorn-sheep-edition/

Today the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep is honored as the provincial mammal of Alberta and the state animal of Colorado.


Monday, June 15, 2015

MOM AND I DO DOG-N-JOG!

Yesterday Mom and I had a big adventure called Dog-n-Jog.  I went on this same adventure with Mom a few years ago, right after she first adopted me.  And now I got to go on it again.

While we were waiting for our event to start, Mom took some selfies of us.
Our number was 609, which if you read it upside-down, is still 609.

What happens at Dog-n-Jog is that first Mom registered us, and then she asked some of her friends to donate some money to help the poor homeless dogs and cats at the Humane Society.  Mom did not work very hard at trying to raise money because she has been busy worrying about other stuff such as her antiques booth and our poopy foster kittens and Aunt LaDene's broken leg.  So we only raised $160, but it was better than nothing.

I wore my collar and tags, of course, plus a harness and leash.
My whole outfit was beautifully color-coordinated.
Anyway, we got up really early in the morning, and we went to the Country Club Plaza, and then we walked around and looked at all the other dogs.  Lots of people said I was fabulously cute, which I am, of course.


There were a whole bunch of Really Big Dogs at Dog-n-Jog.  Some of these dogs looked scary to me, like especially the Great Danes who were humongous, like horses.  There were also bulldogs and pit bulls and German Shepherds.  None of these dogs growled at me, but Mom usually picked me up when we were around them, just so they didn't suddenly decide to eat me for lunch.


Mom also kept me safe from the fierce Chinese warriors.  These statues are supposed to look like the clay warriors in X'ian, China, which is one of Kansas City's sister cities.  Mom says the warriors are not real and will not hurt me, but she may be lying about this.

The people with this little dog didn't know what he was for sure,
but they think he may be part Yorkie.
We also saw a bunch of little dogs, like me.  There were chihuahuas, yorkies, miniature dachshunds, miniature poodles, King Charles spaniels, a Chinese crested, and some unidentified breeds.

The end of the 1-mile run.

The first event was the 2-mile run.  Mom and I did not enter that one.  We didn't enter the 1-mile run either.  Finally, it was time for the 1-mile walk.  I went almost all the way around on my own little legs, but when I started to pant, Mom picked me up and carried me for a while.


Mostly, people just stood around and waited until time for their event to start.


Here's a view of everybody doing the 1-mile walk.  In this event, you don't have to hurry because no one is trying to come in first.  That woman on the right is picking up her dog's poop.  I did not poop while we were at the Plaza, so Mom did not have to pick up after me.  I did mark several spots in the grass by lifting my leg on them, though.


While we were driving home in the car, I felt kind of tired and sleepy.  I guess Mom felt that way, too, because when we got back to the house, she took a 3-hour nap!


Monday, June 8, 2015

IN THE WEST BOTTOMS

On Friday, Mom went to a part of town called the West Bottoms.  In this area there are many old brick warehouses that were built in the 1800s.  In the warehouses, people used to make things such as nuts and bolts or harnesses and wagons.  There were also stockyards in the West Bottoms, and lots of trains came and went, full of cattle.


The reason this area is called the "bottoms" is that the Kansas River flows into the Missouri River  there, and the low land near a river is called bottomland.  The problem with bottomland is that if the river floods, the bottoms are where the flood waters go.  There have been several really major floods in Kansas City over the years, and eventually people got smart enough to build the main part of town up high on a bluff.


But anyway, all those old warehouses are still sitting around, and because they weren't being used for businesses any longer, some people thought they should be used for other things, like for example antique shops and haunted houses.  So now there is a huge event on the First Friday Weekend of every month, and lots of people go to the West Bottoms to shop and buy their lunch from food trucks. And that's what Mom did on Friday.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, there are also some East Bottoms, but I don't exactly know what is there.


Friday morning there was a big rainstorm, so a lot of places were muddy and had big puddles.  Like, for example, this parking lot.


Most of the warehouses are 4 or 5 stories tall.  They are made of bricks, and they do not have air-conditioning.  However, the windows can be opened and there were lots of fans running.


There are alleyways between the buildings.  There are also lots of train tracks embedded in the streets, but the trains do not go there anymore.  They just use the regular tracks nearby.


Several buildings still have not been made into antique malls or anything else, but maybe they will be someday.


Anyway, a few of the things Mom found inside the antique shops include this John Deere tractor wheel.  There were two of them, so if you bought them both, you would have a pair.


Or you could buy a pair of wheels for a Model A Ford.  The tires seem a little bald, but I'm not sure where you could get newer ones.  Maybe on eBay.  You can buy anything on eBay!


Here's a painting of some cows.


And here's a pillow.


The car Mom learned to drive in, which was a '64 Ford Fairlane, had door handles exactly like this one.  There were probably lots of cars with handles like this.  Back in the old days, people didn't have any imagination, so they just used the handles to open their car doors.  Now we know the handles can be used in artsy-craftsy ways like this.


Mom thought this sign was funny because she has never liked peas, or at least not cooked ones.


If you have a chicken cage that you don't need for chickens, you can use it as a coffee table.  Of course, if you set a cup of coffee on this table, it might tip over and spill.  But I guess no one thought of that.




Now, here is the coolest thing Mom found on Friday.  It's an old type of hat that a guard would wear.


But not just any guard wore this type of hat.  Guards at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, where Mom used to work, wore these hats.  We know this because the Duane Hanson Museum Guard statue at the Nelson is wearing a uniform like Nelson security officers wore in the old days.  The hat is part of the uniform.  Mom feels extremely grateful that she did not have to wear a hat like this while she was working at the gallery!


When Mom was leaving the West Bottoms, she saw a car painted to look like a Texas Longhorn.  I think this is really the most perfect kind of car to drive in an area that used to full of stockyards!