Bug-hunting Part 2: Hercules Beetle

I wrote last time about bug-hunting using a blacklight. It works very well, but sometimes it’s better to use other people’s lights. In this case, I’m referring to gas station and parking lot lamps, which are significantly brighter than anything I could put together. The beetle in question was Dynastes granti, the Western Hercules Beetle, and possible the largest beetle in the United States. Continue reading


Monsoon Season

The Sonoran Desert is one of the most lush deserts in the world, because of its unique pattern of rainfall. Not only do we get winter rains, which are slow and steady, but we also have a monsoon season in the summer, consisting of regular heavy thunderstorms. We had our second monsoon rain of the summer last night, so I decided to go on a nature hike this morning. Continue reading

Walking Reduce


We saw our first bobcat lat night! I was on my way to water a friend’s plants when we noticed a large cat walking through one of the yards. It didn’t take long to tell that it was a bobcat! It looked at us and kept on walking, and really didn’t care that we were there. Eventually he walked into the bushes and disappeared from view.

Watching Reduce(Click to see larger view)

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are found throughout North America, and eat primarily rabbits and hares, as well as pest rodents like packrats and ground squirrels. They will, however, eat chickens and small pets, so a lot of people worry about having them around. The easiest solution is to make sure that all animals are securely inside (or in a coop/barn) before nightfall.

On our way home, we found him lying on the ground near the path, and were surprised to find that we could walk right up to it to take pictures. We were only ten feet away when I took these photos!

~The Homesteading Hippy


Octopus on the Grill

Here’s a recipe a tried recently but hadn’t taken the time to post on The Homesteading Hippy: Grilled Baby Octopus. I bought them during one of my regular visits to our oriental market. The reason I am posting this now is that I just bought some jumbo squid and plan on using some of the tricks I learned with octopus to cook them. Continue reading


Homemade Mustard

I’ve been playing with the idea of making my own mustard for a while now, but hadn’t found a good store to buy ingredients since I moved to Tucson. Today, I struck gold when I visited New Life Health Center, a natural foods store here in town. Not only did they have bulk grains for my baking, but they also have a bulk spice section. I bought whole brown mustard seeds and yellow mustard powder, and went home to start my first ever mustard-making experiment. Continue reading


Turtle Tales

I read a lot of books about the ocean as a kid, and I do mean A LOT. Before I could read, I would have my parents read to me. From kids books to college textbooks, if it had a fish on it, I had my parents read it to me. I think this reading was one of the strongest influences on my life as it is now, working with fish and other animals professionally at a world-renowned nature museum. Continue reading


Fun with Scorpions

Many people I have known hate scorpions as pests or are afraid of them, fearing their sting. Anyone who has read my blog will understand that I am exactly the opposite. I can’t see a scorpion without running towards it and getting a closer look. Scorpions make decent pets, as long as you don’t mind having an animal that will not love you, care for you, or even tolerate your presence. Continue reading


The Rustic Look

I love baking bread, and I eat a lot of it. Unfortunately, my usual recipe takes a fair number of hours to complete, so I normally only bake on the weekends. That means that by the end of the week, I am either out of bread, or the remaining bread has gone stale. I decided to try a new recipe that is scheduled around my workday. Continue reading

4-Gila Head Small

Gila Monster

Hiking around the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains this morning, I experienced a real treat: my first wild Gila Monster. I was walking around, looking for bugs, when I heard scratching sounds coming from a bush to my right. I looked down, and saw a Gila Monster walking towards me. I stood still to let it pass, but it saw me and turned right around. Continue reading