Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


Introduced Species

The balance of nature has been out of kilter for hundreds of years – basically, since man has interfered to make things better. In many cases, some species have been introduced to an area where they are not indigenous to solve a problem “naturally,” without resorting to pesticides or culling of another species.

An example is the cane toad in Australia. It was brought into the country to deal with the cane beetle in the sugar cane fields. Unfortunately the cane toad is now the bigger problem.

Rabbits, too, were introduced there, and have multiplied as only rabbits can, making their population unmanageable.

The green crab has been transported in ships’ ballasts and has upset the marine ecosystems wherever it has established itself.

Zebra mussels are also an invasive species transported by ships.

Feral swine (also called wild pigs, Eurasian boar, or feral hogs) destroy agricultural fields and impact the regeneration of forests by eating the seeds, nuts, and cones of trees. The swine are omnivorous and so are a threat to young livestock. They can do tremendous damage to the agricultural industry. Feral swine carry at least 30 types of diseases and 40 types of parasites. They are really bad news!

Burmese pythons have been introduced to Florida’s Everglades through the pet trade and have upset the balance of nature there. They prey on rabbits, foxes, raccoons, and birds, to name a few. Many populations of smaller mammals have been decimated. The Burmese python has also brought a pentastome parasitic disease, infecting other reptiles. The parasite is now considered to be endemic in Florida.


So you see that introduced species can be quite detrimental to their new habitat.

While trout fishing on a local lake recently, the Captain encountered a new invasive species, the freshwater crocodile. It is pictured here, photo taken with the Captain’s little point-and-click Fuji camera. It is a bit blurry because he was shaking with fear, and paddling with one hand while he risked his life to take the photo with the other.

If you ever find yourself tempted to swim in a freshwater lake in British Columbia, be aware that these newly introduced crocodiles could appear from the depths to nibble on their favourite delicacy, swimmers’ toes.


Music for Valentine’s Day

“Sweetheart, I adore you. Give us a kiss.”

Oooh! She’s closing her eyes. I think it’s working.

“Come here, Bud,” she chirps.

Oooh! She’s whispering in my ear.


“What’s that, Biddy? You want me to sing you a love song?”

Sheesh! She sure is high maintenance. But my little Biddy is almost ready to say “yes.”



“Would you like me to play something … er … like accompany you on the pigiano?” asks Porky.


“Okay, here goes! … Hmm …  It doesn’t seem to be working.”


“I have to what? Open the lid?” Oops! “Of course! I knew that! I was just about to do that…. Hmm … I can’t seem to remember any songs.”



“Well, thanks for turning on the Budlight — I mean the light, Bud — and finding some music, but, ah … well … the truth is … no glasses.

No matter. Can’t read music.

Anyway, this doesn’t look like a love song.”


“Hey, Porky! Would you like us to accompany you? We’ve got a guitar, cymbals, and maracas. Come on. Let’s play. Just ignore that naked Cuban lady dancing behind us.”


“And we can help too. We’re the Mainzelmaennchen of German television ads fame. Let us show you. From left to right, you can see that we play natural instruments: the pot and wooden spoon, the coffee mill, the whistling kettle, the comb, the all-purpose whisk-like wooden spoon, and the pot-lid cymbals (watch your nose there, Fritz).”

“Aw-right!” says Porky. “Let’s jam! And please ask our audience to put their donations into that slot in my head. I’m banking on that.

A-one, a-two, a-three, a-four.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.



Pigs, Music, Books

We know that pigs are smart.

I read somewhere that pigs like music, especially Mozart’s compositions. While this piece is not by Mozart, it is a German song often sung by community choirs, so maybe that inspired the pig to learn to play it. It is called “Komm, Trost der Welt” (Come, Comfort of the World), and refers to the night and how it brings consolation, respite, and relief to many  who work hard all day long and have a lot of cares.

You can see that I used the music sheet that the pig is playing from as part of the cover of my novel “Julia’s Violinist.”

The pig is not a character in my book, but once he learns to play the song, I’ll teach him to read so he can enjoy “Julia’s Violinist.”

You can buy this novel for less than the price of a hamburger at amazon if you have Kindle, or at smashwords.com if you have any other kind of e-reader.  Just click on the image of the book on the sidebar of this blog.