Howdy, buckaroos. We just received the cancellation of the boil water notice that we've been living under for the last eight years* so I'm giddy and in the mood to engage in some mindless activity...like blogging.
I don't know if you heard, but Texas traded places with Antarctica for a week, and then Hell took over. But, things are looking up, at least for us here at Casa Fire Ant. We went from 3º on February 16 to 73º yesterday, so our reputation for science fiction-level weather remains intact.
In the midst of the misery, there were some bright spots, and I learned a few things. For instance, did you know that mockingbirds and robins don't get along? For a couple of days, I watched with great amusement as each of them tried to stake a claim on the big yaupon in our back yard, laden with delicious (to a bird) berries. The first time I noticed their jousting, the robin chased the mockingbird away. But thereafter, the mockingbird, having apparently gotten a pep talk from his buds, bullied the robin. I've known for a long time that mockingbirds are pugnacious avians, having had to wear a motorcycle helmet in order to mow the grass around a tree containing one of their nests, but I had no idea their hostility extended to other birds.
Above: The robin enjoying a rare moment of peace
Below: The mockingbird enjoying the fruit of his victory
We'll talk more about birds in a moment, but I think it's extremely important that you take a moment to contemplate the sheer genius of a website that allows you to draw an iceberg and then view a simulation for how it will float. Just imagine how different things might have been for the Titanic had the crew been able to access this technology. OK, probably not much different. But the point is...it's really fun to play with. And in observance of Texas temporarily becoming a...well, you know...here's what it would do if totally immersed in water (insert your own broken water line joke here at such time as it's not too painful):
And speaking of being frozen, here's a cardinal (the bird, not the cleric) in an icy loquat tree (which, by the way, is likely dead...it just doesn't yet realize it. I'm referring to the tree, not the bird, and certainly not the cleric.).
Speaking of things that may (or may not) be dead, there's quite a bit of chatter going around about a claim that a thylacine has been spotted in Australia or Tasmania or one of those places where the toilets flush in the wrong direction. I'm sure I don't have to explain the implications of finding that an apex predator -- the largest carnivorous marsupial known to science but thought to be extinct for almost a hundred years -- is still kicking. Yes, that's right. If the Tasmanian tiger/wolf/what-have-you is real, then confirmation of the existence of the chupacabra cannot be far behind.
[In all seriousness, the discovery that a species previously thought extinct is still alive would be a Very Cool Thing. Let's hope it's true.]
In closing, let me leave you with a visual recipe for the most delectable dessert you'll likely ever encounter that can be made in a matter of mere seconds.
*This might be an exaggeration, but there's no way to know for sure since our clocks AND calendars froze.