Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Forest Fire Follow-Up

The Effects of Forest Fires: We’re coming to the end of another fire season here in the Southwest, with many hundreds of thousands of acres burned.

In my community, we’ve been observing record numbers of deer, elk, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, rabbits, eagles, hawks, crows, woodpeckers, owls, and bears in our neighborhoods and along the sides of the roadways. A few people have even seen mountain lions in broad daylight, right in the middle of residential areas. The fire has driven these animals from their homes, and for the time being, they’re living among us until they can find a safe haven.

One of the most amazing sights I saw was that of a bear and a deer fifty feet away from one another, drinking at a pond situated on a greenbelt in a subdivision. I guess that the animals have called a truce in the face of the larger communal threat of fire.

These are the animals that are visible to us. But how about the Imaginaries? They have always been expert at concealment, but their habitats have been burned out. Where can they be hiding in this difficult time?

I knew they had to be there, trying to survive the fire, the same as the non-Imaginary animals. And I wanted to help.

All of these animals, both Imaginary and non-Imaginary, are stressed, anxious, and temporarily homeless. So I started putting out fresh water daily, some at the back of our paddock and some more hidden in a stand of trees at the edge of our property. I’ve also offered some water on stands off the ground, and put a few pans on the ground, so that a variety of animals can get a drink in safety.

When the fire was at its worst, we had lots of deer coming into our paddock, so my dad broke open a few bales of hay for them, and I put out a mineral lick. I also spread birdseed and pieces of fruit for the birds and smaller animals.

We did that for about a week, but once the fires got under control, we decided as a family that we would stop putting out the hay and the food. As much as we liked having the animals with us, they needed to get on with their search for new homes as quickly as possible. Leaving food out for too long might have tempted them to stay with us longer than necessary.

In the aftermath of the fires, my dad is being extra-careful to keep the trash inside until the morning of pick-up, because of the bears, and we make sure to turn on the outside lights at night BEFORE we go outside, to warn off any predators that might still be hanging around.

I didn’t see any Imaginaries, but right before we stopped putting out any more food, I found some unusual footprints and scat around one of the water pans, and sent a plaster cast and photos to Iranigami. They confirmed that it looked like a jackalope had visited my water station! So it turned out that I was able to help an Imaginary survive the fire, and that makes me really, really happy. – CINDERS, an Iranigami fan


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.