I’m always trying to get an interesting view of the animals and plants I write about in my books and blog post. Roadrunners move very quickly, so I was having trouble getting a good photo. Then I came across this roadie at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center near Tucson, Az. The roadie was hurrying along the sidewalk when I joined the bird. Roadie tucked behind some rocks and an agave cactus, but I was still in sight.
Finally, the roadie decided it was safe behind a grouping of boulders and a large prickly pear cactus. Conveniently, the cactus left a window where I could observe the roadie as it spread its wings to expose its dark back to bask in the sun. I was honored by this opportunity to observe and share the bird’s behavior. I think the roadie got nice and warm.
You can read about this behavior and many others in the rhyming book I wrote, Don’t Make Me Fly!
Jo Busha, author of Time and the Garden: A Book of Essays, starting gardening in 1975, when she met and married her husband and they moved to the Randolph, Vermont, the property where they still live. She was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, and grew up in Indiana. After earning a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University, she returned to Vermont to teach high school social studies. After their twin sons were born, she went back to school to get her MS in Human Nutrition and Foods from the University of Vermont. Busha worked for the Child Nutrition Programs at the Vermont Department of Education for 23 years. Since retiring, she spends most of her time working in her garden or planning her next steps in the garden, and writing about gardening and country living in Vermont.
Lyric Power Publishing, LLC is proud to announce the publication of a new book, a collection of essays by author Jo Busha, on life, gardening and the natural world, called Time and the Garden. Jo’s collection of essays (written over a ten-year period about gardening, life in Vermont, and her observations of the natural world) is not a how-to book, but gardeners may find the essays instructive. It is arranged by season, but not all the essays have a specific seasonal connection. In addition to gardeners, Time and the Garden will appeal to readers seeking a strong sense of place and people interested in rural living, even if they aren’t able to live it. This place, where Busha has lived for 45 years, has played a huge role in her life. Book lovers are likely to feel this a cozy read, warmth for a snowy day.
I think squirrels are often maligned unjustly. People spend a lot of time and money trying to thwart them, but have you ever stopped to consider their ingenuity at overcoming the obstacles we put in their way? After all, they are just doing what they need to do to survive.
Squirrels are small to medium-sized rodents. They are native to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa. They live in almost every habitat, from tropical rain forests to semiarid deserts. They are predominantly herbivores, eating seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and even small vertebrates, as well.
Many of us interact with local tree squirrels, trying to prevent them from getting into our bird feeders. It’s amazing how much effort we put into attempting to out think these rodents—and then failing. The industry producing supposedly squirrel-proof bird feeders in quite sizable.
Here in the Sonoran Desert, I enjoy my ground squirrels, as well as tree squirrels. I think of their extensive digging as aerating my soil. I often head into my yard when I take breaks from writing. The little ones sitting up on their hind legs to greet me always makes me smile. I don’t discourage them from sharing in the feeders’ contents. I simply add a bit more for them.
I’ve written books about turtles and fish and tortoises and lizards and snakes and birds and plants—and even a fairy!—but not any mammals. No, wait! There is a mammal, a hutia, in Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia, but I can’t think of any others. (A hutia is an endangered rodent native to the Bahamas that has endangered the local ecosystem. Readers of this Curtis-tale tag along on his adventure and then must decide how to solve this conundrum.)
Tomorrow, please join me in appreciating squirrels, those adorable, ingenious rodents. And consider picking up a copy of Curtis Curly-tail Hears a Hutia for the budding scientist in your family.
Lyric Power Publishing LLC is proud to announce the arrival of four new books! Here at LPP we love weaving science into adventure tales and rhyming books. We love colorful, exciting illustrations. We hope you will enjoy three wonderful new additions to our book catalog and a special guest listing for Ricky Ricordi.
When Lorenzo finds an iguana in his garden, he has fun bonding with his new
pet, but soon realizes that the animal belongs in the wild.
Lyric Power Publishing, along with John Binns of the IRCF, recently assisted Dominican children’s author Nelia Barletta in the publication of the English version of her book about Ricky Ricordi. The delightful illustrations were created by Argentinian artist/children’s illustrator Juan Manuel Moreno. The English version is now available on Amazon.com.
I live in Southern Arizona and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sightings of one of my favorite locals, the Roadrunner. Talk about a fascinating bird! I write interesting facts about Roadies into a picture book called Don’t Make me Fly! Kids love the rhymes and illustrations, but I am a biologist and everyone learns something about roadrunners in this book. Science education is important to me, and I love making it fun.
I highly recommend a newly released book by my friend, Bonnie Scott. We share a love of conservation, iguanas, and the animals of Cayman Brac. She recently published her book about the brown booby, Brown Booby Birds of Cayman Brac. It’s filled with her marvelous photographs.
And I loved the island story of a lost juvenile brown booby and featured him in one of my books, Fly Back to the Brac, Brian Brown Booby, which is based on the true story of “Brian,” who was finally able to learn to fly and find his family. He’s pretty famous in the Brac.
As a mystery writer, a pathologist can be a very important pal to have. Pathologists do many important and interesting jobs, such as looking for disease within tissues, and determining causes of death. December 13th is Pick a Pathologist Pal Day and I thought I’d tell you about my friend, Dr. Dan Morse, MD, who was a forensic pathologist, meaning he determined the cause of death from skeletal remains. Talk about challenging!
He also tried to determine what the person looked like from remains of clothing, etc., found on or near the bodies. One of his favorite projects was discovering how animals dispersed the bones they scavenged, from large animals like bears and foxes to small field mice. He was the Florida State Forensic Pathologist and taught at Florida State University. The highlight of each year was his “body dig and barbeque.” Go out and find yourself a pathologist pal—you’ll be glad you did!
Needless to say, when I featured a pathologist in my audio theater script, In the Swamp, No One Can hear You Scream, I chose Dr. Dan. This script is found in the collection Mayhem in Swamp and Snow. Danger can be found anywhere, and this collection contains two full-length mystery-themed audio theater scripts. The scripts require multiple actors and are well-suited for presentation by school and community theaters. (In the Swamp takes place in a south Florida mangrove swamp where skeletons are found, and is the story that features Dr. Dan.)
Even though I would love to have someone else do the marketing of my books, doing it myself allows me to discover interesting sites in the Tucson area. One such place is the Empire Ranch. I met some of the volunteers at the Western Writers of America conference and they thought my books would be a good fit for their gift shop.
The Empire Ranch is located on the road to Sonoita in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area. The mission of the Empire Ranch Foundation is, “Acting in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The purpose of the Foundation is to protect, restore and sustain the Empire Ranch historical buildings and landscape as an outstanding western heritage and education center.” The combine two interests of mine, conservation and historical preservation. Back in New Jersey, I was part of the Union Forge Heritage Association. The ranch was established in the 1860’s.
*Learn about the Night-blooming Cereus, Peniocereus greggii, the mysterious cacti
that bloom all together only one night per year
*An Amazon #1 Book in Children’s Botany Section
*See the Desert Southwest in a new, fun way *Scientific facts written in rhyme are easy to remember
*Enjoy spectacular illustrations of Cereus, the Sonoran Desert and its wildlife
I swear, when I first read this, I read it as National Hermit Crab Day. I guess that’s because I love hermit crabs–such fascinating members of the crustacean family!
A hermit is defined as someone living in seclusion, and don’t we all wish at one time or another that we could get away from it all? So, in honor of National Hermit Day, and the hermit in all of us, we’re celebrating the hermit crab, my favorite crab and hermit.
Hermit crabs can live on land or in the sea. If you’re not familiar with them, they are amazing crabs that resemble cartoon characters. How so? They are able to move their bodies from one shell to another. Because crabs are very tasty and many other animals like to eat them, they need a hard shell to house their soft, delicate bodies.
But, as the hermits grow, they need bigger and bigger shells. Sometimes, the demand for the proper-sized shell leads to battles between the hermits. The accumulation of litter means we now see crabs using plastic bottles and baby heads instead of crab shells.
I feature a hermit crab in the Lime Lizard Lads story, The Dragon of Nani Cave, which is set in Cayman Brac, where the land hermit crabs are called Soldier Crabs. I think it’s because they march to sea en masse for mating season.
In my story, Old Soldier sends the lads, Gene and Bony, curly-tailed lizards, on their mission to find the dragon of Nani Cave. They do find the dragon and many other interesting animals and plants along the way. It’s an adventure tale, in which the reader learns all about this special Caribbean island!
The Lime Lizard Lads, curly-tail lizards of Cayman Brac, seek an adventure up on the bluff. Their goal is to reach Nani Cave and meet the dragon that lives there. Gene and Bony soon realize how big and how dangerous the world really is. Leaving home is easy, but can the lads make it back?
Lyric Power Publishing offers comprehensive and fun workbooks and activity sheets to supplement your child’s education. The one below is based on the Dragon tale. It’s a great way to keep the fun going, while reinforcing reading skills.
I once wrote a poem that included the line “reptilian allure.” One of the meeting participants commented that he couldn’t see how reptiles had any allure.
Even if you don’t feel the need to cuddle reptiles as I do, they are worthy of our admiration. Their body type has been very successful throughout the ages. Their tough outer scales are very utilitarian, providing great protection. They also gleam in the sunlight, which is known as iridescence. I like to use the Rainbow or Bahamian boas as examples.
They do, however, have what we might consider drawbacks in their physiological design. Being cold-blooded, ectothermic, they rely on the environment to regulate their body heat. While man’s construction may seem like a good thing, basking on those nice warm roads is fatal for far too many reptiles.
Many people don’t see the benefits of reptiles, but they serve us in many ways. They help control rodents and the diseases they carry (and let us not forget the pack rats in Southern Arizona that chew the wiring in our cars); they help plants to disperse and germinate, and some of them have provided molecules that have been turned into medicines.
And, our reptilian friends are fascinating. We don’t have to fear them and a good place to learn why is in a book I’ve written called Don’t Make Me Rattle. Everything you need to know about rattlesnakes is in this dramatically illustrated, fun book written in rhyme.
Help protect our reptilian friends and watch the road ahead.
People fear rattlesnakes because they don’t understand them. Come inside and learn about these amazing snakes, how they help people, and why the rattlesnake should be respected, not exterminated.
CURTIS CURLY-TAIL COMES ALIVE ON YOU TUBE!
Don’t Miss a Thing at Lyric Power!
Learn about our latest science-based children’s books and workbooks. Read here about reptiles, birds, cats in a variety of locations. Read the blog to learn how the books come to be, what inspires an author to write, and many more interesting aspects of the publishing business.
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