Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tough Lil Orchid

I have an orchid that I bought to give away as a present ...that was 4 or 5 years ago and I acquired a few more now. I know nothing of orchids, or what they need to grow, put it in a south window, water and every year around Christmas this one always blooms white. This year with Gus the bobcat the orchid has taken some bumps, knocked over at least three times, and Blake the wolf, not to be outdone totally creamed it, took replanting, bent and broken leaves, looked grim.I did not think it would bloom this year but tonight I noticed a green bump of a bud getting ready to welcome Christmas time. It is orchid lesson 101- bloom even if you take some bumps and replanting! Those blooms are worth waiting for.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Any Given Day

On any given day it's hard to say who is gonna give us a call and well, lets just say, we have 20 alligators. I don't like to answer the phone: I cut hair for 20 years, the phone rang all the time, and in all those years of phone calls I never did get a call saying, "This is Randy W I am now able to meet all of your rat needs!" We have rat needs! huh! See what I am saying? So, on Monday when we got a message from the Speedway Police Department about a abandoned boa constrictor, not really a strange call par for our course. Larry returned the call and found the snake had been left in a apartment. He gets a box and we head to Speedway, Indiana about an hour away. We both laughed because the apartments were the same ones that Larry lived in way, way back when I said the apartments were broken in for snake habitat, cause if Larry lived there well , you can probably imagine anyway. Long story short we were to late , the snake was dead because he had been left with no heat for a month. The owner had left a mess, Larry said the apartment was destroyed. We were both bummed another animal treated badly by humans. In hard times the animal always suffers. Larry said that the snake had good body weight but a month without heat in Indiana, no way! The apartment people had no idea that it had died because no one wanted to touch it, poor snake, even dead people are afraid. Rescuing animals really isn't what our job is but both of us hate to see animals suffer cause of humans, it makes me wonder how can you just leave something you took care of to die? Kinda sad huh? Two hour drive for nothing, guess we helped the apartment people though, plus we had a good lunch at Union Jacks...our old stomping grounds.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feeling Better

Traveling going into different schools, well you can figure we'll catch the colds that are going around, and we did. Me - stomach, Larry the chest - nose - throat, most of the time we will man up and go, but with no voice power, that changes the deal. So we had to reschedule a day of programs and happily we rescheduled to the next week. As the boys and girls went into the gym for the show and we were bringing in boxes a young man asked "how I was feeling?'. As I looked up to reply I met the face of a beautiful young man that I could tell knew what it is to not feel very well, and not just a dumb old cold either, he knew about feeling bad , but he asked about me - man I have to say that set me back. How cool, how unselfish, how lucky I am, to be able to show our animals to such great kids! You guys rock.

Knee Socks

I met PJ in 4th grade, back when girls had to wear dresses to school and knee socks were the choice. I could never keep mine to my knees, they always slouched or fell down to my ankles but PJ's were always perfect always to her knee and even folded over perfect. I was quite impressed by that besides that she was a sweetie, shy, quiet and my best friend. BFF I guess nowadays, and wer'e still friends to this day, that is a life blessing. Helping her move a few boxes into her new home a few weeks back was kinda a old friend reunion, PJ's sister, her boyfriend (we've been friends since our teenage years) and a friend from grade school helping in the move. It was the kinda day you just couldn't help but smile seeing old friends you haven't seen in a while. PJ's new home felt like old home.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Painting in Circles"

One of my closest friends has an annual "Boo-Fest", I love Halloween costumes ,candy, scary stuff and candy...........People dressed up is fun and I like fun. I like to paint too and last year for the "boo-fest" we were painting their place and readying for the party and in the middle of our preparation their Aunt Jean passed, out of nowhere, on a colt's game weekend. To say the least the fest was shelved, hard to have fun, real fun but we still needed to do it. When someone leaves your life it is like a hole in your life, your gut, your head, but you need to pony up- do the right stuff and the circle goes on of what was a year later and we were painting again preparing for the fest and believing in fun and candy-bittersweet but believing. This year the "Boo Fest" was fun there were cool costumes, kids, games a table full of candy! That circle can help to fill holes of sadness with new moments, fun moments, a little candy and I love a good tootsie roll. Happy Trick or Treat!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Destination Conservation (continued)

(continued)where was I, oh.......Well the show began and for some strange reason, no not strange, maybe they feel, they know it but even the setup did not faze any of the animals. Gus, no fuss was just that beautiful, no fuss, Mr. Gus, I could not have been more proud and amazed, the animals always rise to the occasion. One gentleman in the audience took some awesome pictures of the show. His website is Check em out, he is a rockstar with a camera, I think that it was the 4th show, see if you can see how proud I am of my kids, oh and Larry too. Even when we came back to schools, Gus outshined himself again, a difficult in and out , people that did not watch our program were in the hallway and they were noisy an disrespectful of their wild animal guests. Gus he only ripped a few holes in me and the shirt that I was wearing. But he is a champ!!! He came in two more times and the hallways had no people in them. Sometimes it is frustrating when people dont get how amazing the animals are to trust us enoughn to go into a strange place, makes me realize the people in the hallway needed the lessons the animals teach most of all.The kids underswtand- lets say they get us!!! Lets start to nuture nature.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Destination Conservation

Over the weekend of October 16-18, the animal guy and his two favorite gals traveled to West Virgina...oh and I went too! Of course his two favorite gals are the two Elizabeths in his life- his mom and baby Liz the baboon. Mom Battson traveled with us for the second year, now. Mom Battson is far to smart to ride in the animal van so she and her traveling partner her cairn terrier Brightey ride comfortably in her car. For the past twelve years Larry has performed for the Open House at the National Conservation Training Center. We feel very privlidged to load ourselves and our wild animal friends and entertain and educate for the day. We have met very special people there, people that dedicate their lives to protecting our natural world - our kind of people- lets just say they get us, Im proud to call them friends. Larry's mom loves the facility too she wiuld hang out longer if she could. I think that it is the beautiful campusand we get the royal treatment. This year it rainedon the way and all day Saturday and that is the first time the weather was not so good, so some of the festivities were brought inside. That is ok it was still a cool and educational day. Nature people dont mind a little rain, that's nature. We did four programs and that made the day fly right by...great people... great day!!! The start of the day I was kind of worried, I know the entrance to the stage is up a flight of stairs and busses with people turn in front of the stairs. Ive done it before but this year our 5 month old Bobcat Gus does not like busses or cars and I was hoping that he would not freak out ....I mean if he didnt like the first show, oh man, how will I make him do it three more times. I was kind of freakin..he wasnt ...just me. Well the show began and for some strange reason , no not strange- maybe the feel of it and Gus was fine....(to be continued....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Covered Bridges

Out where we live there are two ways to know that it is fall, 1# The covered bridge festival , of course centered around Indiana's best covered bridges, miles and miles of fun food and shopping. All kinds of shopping, new stuff, old stuff, homemade stuff, great stuff and did I mention food? Around the block, is one of the covered bridges and on the roads to the bridges there are signs with a picture of the bridges. One time my mom was coming out to visit she noticed the signs and she didnt realize what the picture was, and she asked me when she arrived "What are those signs for garages?" She could be pretty funny,I told her and we went to check out the neighborhood bridge, fun day!!!Oh yes the #2 way at our neck of the woods is moving the big gators inside, including 7 foot Baxter , he is a big dude now. The reason we have so many gators is when people get them as pets and they become tired or afraid of 'em , they will toss them in a lake or a pond around Indiana, a death sentence for their so-called pets. The animal guy knows it is not the gators fault so we take them in and care for them. That means a building, heated, water the stuff they need. That is what we do and the gators pay us back by being valuable teachers, first lesson: WILD ANIMALS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS!!!!! Only thing left is to persuade them to go inside...that my friends is a seperate blog altogether....stay tuned

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to School

For us, the first day of school isn't about new backpacks, cool new clothes or shoes, folders, pencils, well, ya know. Our first day of school is about, what wild animal teachers will travel with us? What will they need? And how will they travel, will they like to go to school? How will they want us to make it fun for them? Our first day back was fun, seeing old buddies and new ones too! One of the things that I am responsible to do is bring the animals into and out of the school and keep the animals happy and comfortable. Liz (our baby baboon) and I were coming into Aboite Elementary our first day and there were some ladies in the hallway. Liz seemed ok about it, they all thought that she was cute, she is and she knows it. One of the ladies asked "Do you train them?" I guess she meant the animals or Liz or I dont know, all I could say is that they train us, and they do. Larry the animal guy has done this job 30 years and he is a crazy guy. Me I have only helped him for 13 years, this year will be 14 and I am a rookie compared to him. When I started helping Larry our wild animal teachers were seasoned pros..Chuck our 4 year old mountain lion, Leon the amazing 6 year old "tame" badger and of course Dolly the hamydras baboon, and she was an adult. She had already met Oprah and Matt Lauer. Now remember I was a barber and to become a barber you attend college-classes, tests, instruction and hands on training. The only training I received was the first day-first school was the Animal Guy says "When I finish talking about the lizards tail, you come out and grab that badger, he will hiss and growl at you but just grab him anyway". And out of the truck Larry went and there I sat , not a clue! So I turn around to these amazing teaching pros and ask, "OK guys show me what to do" and they did. I have been receiving lessons from them every day and I am still learning. So wish me well I have two new animal teachers this year. The first animal teachers that I worked with have passed now but I will always be grateful for the training that I received from them, without it I would still have no clue or maybe the human animals that I met at the barber shop helped to get me used to the real wild ones.....animals that is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


More than a few times the animal guy and I have people say "I want to do what you do". We smile and encourage their love for the animals and nature, but usually they have just watched our program. Now we get the opposite too "No way I would do what you do- have you ever gotten hurt? That we hear a lot more if it is the rattlesnake program they have just breathlessly enjoyed! Our job our career is not just the shows, we dedicate our lives to these animals. Do you enjoy vacations, shopping sprees, fancy clothes...forget about it! On Saturday Larry had a Bigfoot program in Martinsville, Indiana and after our evening chores of feeding, washing baby bottles and baby bedding, cleaning cages finally about 8:30 - 9:00 PM it's finally our turn to eat and end our Saturday. Lar had stepped out to get Bailey our african serval cat and bring her inside for her dinner. The a cry of a freaked dog came from the front - it is Chloe our wolf and she had gotten her head stuck in the front gate. She is freaking so out I go without a thought but to help her.It was impossible the gate was so tight I couldn't get the lock out and the more I tried the more she seemed to freak out! I'm trying to free her when I feel Blake the male wolf fill his mouth with my bum. I realize that Blake is attacking me.Next flash he is on my shoulder, arm and all. I in surprise yell to Larry , who cannot come thru the back fence fast enough"Blake is attacking me and I cannot help Chloe!". I turn tail and run to the house- about that time the animal guy was in the fence and the wolf and he had their discussion man to man or wolf to wolf man, not what was planned on a Saturday nite or any nite! My rear hurt my arm was bleeding and I was glad that I had baggy pants on.By the way Chloe got her head out and ran right into the house and under our bed. She wanted no part of the animal guy's discipline. He had gotten grazed in the face and he was not a happy camper, do you still want to do what we do? Things happen around wild animals so if it is not to bad we have learned how to doctor bites and scratches but when I took my shirt off and some of me came off onto the sink I thought "That this is goin to leave a mark", and my bum hurt too!!Blood on the back, shoulder and bum...two bites. Blake thought I was why Chloe was crying, she was freaking and I am there and fierce loyalty to his wolf friend made him take me off of her, once I let go or was away from her he did not try to strike again. Kinda like , hey get away from her and to bite is the way he knew to get that done. How loyal the wolf is and I have to respect him for that. That is a powerful lesson to me. Some people would say "Get rid of him!'' "Put him to sleep!" "Kill him!", he put you in the hospital, "he has gotta go!" That is not our way, he was being a wolf, and that is loyal. So 8 stitches, 3 inside and 5 outside, canine holes in my rear and some good pressure bruises on both bites and boy does it hurt, not the stitches but the bruised and bitten rear end....ouchie-ouchie. The nurses and doc at the Putnum County emergency room were great. They knew the animal guy and one of the nurses had seen him when she was in grade school (man he is old....just kiddin'). Several nurses came in to check out the wolf bite, I guess they do not see that every day. By the way the tetanus shot hurt too so both arms are sore from needle shots, stitches, bruises and wolf bites , glamorous job huh? So you still want to do what we do?.........

Friday, September 11, 2009

WONDERLAB September 5th, 2009

Wonderlab Science Museum in Bloomington, Indiana was a real cool place to do our show. They called it "Leapin Lemurs" a live primate presentation and of course Betty our ringtail lemur was with us and as a special treat Elizabeth the baboon, as we find now stole the show and the hearts of all the folks and kids that attended that day. I believe she enjoys being a science teacher!!!! Between the program the Animal Guy and I looked around and it was very educational. We saw a caterpillar becoming a cocoon and the cocoon then re-emerging to become a amazing Monarch Butterfly. I have never seen the stages of metamorphosis in progress and it was very cool. It is fun to learn new things or see new things and the Bloomington Wonderlab is just that kind of learning place.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"I Like Growing Stuff"

My grandparents lived in the foothills of North Carolina. Grandpa always planted a vegetable garden. Food always tasted better at their house, fresh good stuff, homegrown.When my Grandma passed away Grandpa came to Indianapolis to live with my mom and dad. Since Larry and me have lots of room to grow a garden, I tried my hand at it, or should I say...thumb? Ya know "green thumb". I was proud to take fresh veggies to Grandpa, checking out the green peppers I grew he said "I like growing stuff". You know I realized then - I do too! So this year, with a new baby baboon to feed, I planted some stuff she loves, peas - green beans - cantaloupe - although the bunnies ate the bush beans, we still had plenty of pole beans. Today me and Liz our baby baboon picked some of the last beans of the season, she loves beans right out of the garden - fresh and tasty - yum! Grandpa has passed away and I always feel kind of sad at the end of the garden season. But I am always amazed at the abundance nature gives for just a bit of effort, great fresh veggies...."I like growing stuff".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gus the Bobcat

  • Mr. Gus the baby bobcat has finally started eating meat! May not seem odd that a wild cat is eating meat but Gus hasn't taken to it very easily. He is a very good baby, I call him, "Gus no fuss" cause he is a good guy except for the meat part.I tried it all- he would spit it out and drink all the milk around the meat. I worried a lot,I always question myself with a new baby animal. Being a parent is not an easy job. And being parents of the wild nature babies is a blessing and a special challenge. Then they teach me what they need and what I am supposed to do. Gee, when we tell you the animals we have our teachers, we know because they teach us too!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Larry the animal guy and our website dude, Jessee keep telling me to do my blog so here goes; First I would like to thank everyone for the sympathy cards. Your cards made me realize how much Dolly our baboon taught all of us espescially me. I will miss her. There is a saying"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. Now we have two new silver friends, you probably know that Elizabeth, the olive baboon now 6 months old has come to live with us and we can't wait till you guys get to meet her she's to cool. The other silver friend is our beautiful bobcat baby Gussington. Mr. Gus came to us at 2 weeks old. Both babies are keeping the animal guys very busy this summer- we love it! Cher