Archive for the ‘animals’ Category

tracking animals

Posted: June 15, 2011 in animals, arizona, protein

As mentioned in a previous post, we learned how to track humans as part of the Complete Survivor Class from Ancient Pathways. During the weekend we also discussed tracking animals.

Most books center of what the impression of the animal looks like. This is not so useful because the print will quickly deteriorate so there are no details left to identify the track. Tony emphasized one should think about the “stride and straddle” of the animal to figure out what type of animal it was.

The stride is evidence of  if the beast was walking or running. Stride  would be how long is the step, and straddle would be how wide the animal is. Identifying this takes practice. I am planning on making a “tracking box” in my backyard and study the feral cats impressions and later compare this to a coyote sized dog. Cats and dogs have different tracks.  Most of the wild animals that can hurt us were originally cats or dogs.

Below: Hard to read prints. My guess is coyote.

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3 out of 4 cats caught and quiet.  The last one is too smart, or at least after seeing his mom and two siblings caught he decided to beat it.  Trap still set in case he changes his mind.  From my kitchen window, I watched how each one was caught.  With each successful capture they became more reluctant.  But the smell of oily tuna is one hell of a temptation.

Mom caught first.  6:30

First sibling caught 6:45

Second sibling caught 7:15.  The  last two stalked the cage together.  One watching out for me while the other inspected.  They were smart enough to play with the door from that was shut from the outside of the cage to see if they could work it open.  I find it odd that the two that were already captured did not freak out when they smelt their brethren close by.  The blanket over the cage to calm them works wonders.  Cats are both brilliant and also really dumb.  It was finally the smell of tuna, rather than curiosity that captured the third cat.

9:17  Trap still set.  The 4th cat remains elusive.  He seems to have satisfied his curiosity.  He is not lingering anywhere in the yard.  He is not patiently watching under one of the many dark shadows and corners in my chaotic backyard.

Saturday morning: 6:30  The chicken in the last trap remained untouched.  I had reset the trap and the bait around 11:00 to no avail.  Cats are currently at alteredtrails waiting for the knife.  I pick them up around 4.

Feral Cats

Posted: April 10, 2011 in animals, animals, animals, backyard, pets

I want to keep the three black cats who have claimed my backyard for Spain.  I think they help with insects, plus they keep the plants company.

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Altered Tails has a Trap-Neuter-Return program for  Feral cats,  which means I trap the cat, schedule an appointment, remove the cats special purpose, and finally release the cat back into the hood.   It is either that or kill them, and I don’t know about you but assassinating a family of black cats seems like bad mojo.

Plus it will give me a little experience of how to trap and animal without killing.   Do pacifists make for bad hunters?

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A while back I declared a truce with the gophers.  They, however, did not see my white flag.  Last week, they went at one of the two agave plants I have in the backyard. 

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Upon my return (I was gone for a week) I found one of the agaves dug out from underneath.  The agave is now in 6 parts.  The roots have been thoroughly gnawed.  I assume the plant is going to die, but the nice thing about agaves is they are like Abe Vigoda and take a while to die.  I have replanted the different parts to see if I can salvage any of the plant.  The stems that aren’t going to make it I am using by rubbing on my skin, giving me a nice glow.  (Sidenote: The agave nectar is a thousand times better for my dry skin that the expensive lotion I have been buying from the store.)   

I think the gophers attacked the plant’s roots because the agave was weak from overwatering.  I had recently pruned the mesquite tree behind it and also planted a brittlebush beside it.  Both activities involve a couple of deep watering.  I think the water caused root rot on the agave and the gophers saw a weakness.  This is the first time the gophers have committed a frontal attack on one of the plants in the yard.

I have decided to surrender in my war against the gophers for four reasons.

  • I am a highly ineffective opponent.  They are clearly winning.  Assuming regular new holes means they are doing just fine.
  • I am not confident that they are doing any harm to the garden or the trees, I think they eat the grubs, which I think can do harm to the garden. So I have already been feeling guilty about being mean to them when I did not really have a good reason.
  • I don’t think they would be healthy to eat unless one was desperate.
  • I am tired of getting hate replies for being mean to animals.   Man, I really am not good with conflict.  This could be an issue when society descends into barbarians at the gate.

God bless Bill Murray.

Gopher update

Posted: February 17, 2011 in animals, animals, backyard, cooking, gopher, gophers, pets, protein
Tags: ,

I have yet to kill much less catch a gopher. I will spare you the details because otherwise you would think I am cruel.

Despite the fact I have yet to even coming close to catching a gopher, much less killing, skinning, cooking and eating one, at some point I am going to have to think about cooking.

If I lived in the Appalachian’ foothills of my youth then wood would not be a problem.  But here in Phoenix it might be, the desert wants for lack of enough wood for multiple fires.  The wood is good for starting fires, but not good for keeping one burning for hours on end days in a row.

There would be wood to burn from abandoned buildings, but it might take a while for people to abandoned buildings wholesale, and even if they did, a constant pillage of smoke would advertise you to the roaming pillagers, gangs and exiles.

So next experiment will be building a solar oven, goal is to boil water, that would be two birds one stone.  And one stone for two birds is a good rule of thumb to follow after Armageddon.

I am not sure if one can actually boil water in a solar heater, I hear tales of Ray Reeve’s doing experiments with a TV screen, but I plan to try.   From what I read, I need 5 walls of tinfoil, a glass wall, a door to go in and  out, and some way to hold the pot.

In the meantime, anybody got some black sheets of metal I can have for the stove?