Thursday, July 31, 2008

I killed them

Its all my fault. I forgot to water the garden.

and I noticed the cloudy water and the snails heading toward the top, but I didn't do anything, figured I just needed to do a water change.

Well, I had moved the filter and apparently I wasn't getting enough surface agitation. Both blue rams are dead as well as the cory and all 5 of the harlequin rasporias.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So I Lied

I said I was going to start my Viv yesterday, but everything went wrong, I overslept because the dogs were whining and the batteries in the camera died, just nothing fell into place. My next day off is Thursday. We'll see what I can get accomplished then.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Scored another 20H today, someone dropped of a Red Tailed Boa in it, and I found a good guy to re-home it with. But he didnt need the 20gal since it didn't have a reptile lid.

So now I have 2 aquariums to practice my terrarium skills on....woot

But now I need to find a home for a full grown female leopard gecko if anybody wants one....

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Perfect Pork Chops

You need a hot grill (you shouldn't be able to hold your hand over it for more then 2 seconds)
Or preheat an oven to about 375

put pork chops in a Ziploc with enough soda to cover them, I'm using Dr Pepper but Coke or Pepsi will work as long as it is a dark cola
a teaspoon of salt and pepper
two cloves of garlic (Italian dressing works well too)
or any combination of herbs that you like , I'm using basil, rosemary and garlic chives
marinade in the fridge for at least an hour
pour off the marinade
you can put them directly on the grill if you like or make a pouch

put pork chops onions/bell peppers/ corn on the cob or any other vegetable that steam well
into enough foil to fold over and close
one teaspoon of butter or olive oil
seal pouch and put in oven for 30 minutes or on grill for 15 to 25

i usually put one directly on the grill to eat for dinner and then the rest of them in individual pouches to reheat later

this method also works for steak or chicken, the soda gives it a nice flavor and tenderizes the meat

pouches are almost full proof, the pork chops come out tender every time


Don't transport tanks with weight in the doesn't work.

Poor Fire Belly Toad

Someone dropped off a single little fire belly toad at work today. It was in a little plastic habitat that was molded to have little grasses and a blue pool in the middle, pretty fancy compared to some of the "fire belly landing"s I've seen, but still completely inadequate. It was completely dry and covered in cricket poo. I had a heart wrenching gasp and got him cleaned up and into a 10 gal with fresh water.

I of course had the urge to bring him home but I just couldn't. I'm out of unbroken tanks and he can't be housed with any of my other he stayed at work. Hopefully someone else will have room for him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Yeah! One of my fellow Frog lovers and friends has started her blog, and LINKED to me. Makes me feel special.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I'm doing a water change on the 18H with the Blue Rams in it. And I found a bunch of anibus leaves floating at the surface, I planted them to deep in the substrate and the roots rotted, I've lost two more Anubis Nana plants, they are so expensive and hard to find, its frustrating, that makes four total I've lost I have two left that I still haven't even planted, and I've only seen 8 for sale in the past 10 months. So unless I have better luck with them...*sigh* this is going to be an unending battle.

PS, Crawdads love to eat Anubis

On the bright side, My java fern is going crazy, i have little babys under almost every leaf and the stands i tied to the grapevine have rooted well, my ludwiga that I planted all of two stems of is actually growing and rooted, I've never been able to keep stem plants alive before, the penny wart has sent a shoot all the way to the surface, it looks like it made a direct beeline. And the dwarf sag has filled in nicely.

I'll have a lot of excess plants from this tank, I'll ship some to some friends and use the rest for some of my terrariums. I'll post a pic of it in a couple of days when the water clears, I kicked up a lot of mulm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Click Me

I know its silly....but then maybe it just proves I'm a girl

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fish Tank Backstory

Not long after I set up the 29 gal I took this photo. Its been through many changes and trials since.
Lots of the plants didn't make it, even though they should have been well suited for the environment.

I took a bag of cheep potting soil from wal-mart as instructed by Diana Walstead's Natural Planted Tank Method, I haven't read her book but took most of my information from the APC or Aquatic Plant Central. I cleaned out all the pine bark, which is a feat considering its about 50% pine bark. I laid about 3/4 of an inch of this over the bottom. i added a light layer of carbon and crushed coral over this.I then laid a cut to it piece of window screen. My theory for doing this was to keep the Corys and Loaches from digging up to much of the dirt which I had seen them do in the past. It has had the side effect though of not allowing the larger plants like the Amazon Sword Plant to send larger roots to the bottom. It could still get nutrients from the soil but not anchor to deeply so was easy to remove when it got to big. I could not locate any skrit which is my preferred size of gravel (a fine gravel that they use to put on iced roads, I found it in houston but couldn't find it in east Texas) so I used pool sand from a local store to cap off the dirt, about 2 or more inches worth.

The coral helps to keep the PH at about 7.5, which the Platys that I like prefer, normally the organic material would lower it to around 6 or even lower.

It now looks like this:

The red decoration lost most of its paint within 2 weeks so I took it back. My dwarf sag and 3 varieties of Crypt have done very well. I am still not happy with the hard scape and removing the amazon sword had to be done because it was shading other plants, but it removed a lot of the impact of the tank visually. The onion plant to the right was an experiment to see how well it lived, it has done well so I will be adding more of that. Most of the plants floating at the top still need to be planted, or are trimmings that I'm giving away to people but haven't gotten around to yet.

This is the Blue Ram Tank:
It to is in a perpetual state of needing to be planted. Most of the Annibus is floating still, and II added this filter after the hang on the back I had died, just havn't gotten around to moving ti to the back. It was started 6 months after the 29 but is actually closer to being finished. I used about the same method of substrate, 1/2 inch of potting soil with 2 inches of skrit that I had left over form tanks I had in Houston before I started planted tanks. I cured the driftwood myself, which is 3 pieces of grapevine which I plant to have completely covered in annibus and java fern.

I'm hoping to work on these this week and will post progress photos.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Garden Additions

I found these on clearance at Wal-mart and Hobby Lobby. I had another terracotta sun that Indy broke a while back and finally found one I like at a price I was willing to pay.

I have to finish cleaning off the rust on this display grate for my Cantolope plant. It looks much like the one I am using for my tommatoes. I will paint it with rustoleum when I'm done so it looks pretty.

I've been Yolked

So, I'm sure you've all heard in grade school or at some point that an egg can be applied with a large amount of force as long as the pressure is even it will not break. It might be even demonstrated by a teacher squeezing an egg in her hand and it staying intact to the amazement of third grade minds....

It does not however work as a good bar bet between uneducated rednecks.

redneck1: Hey Hey! ya gotta egg?
redneck2: My friend just made a stupid bet! Says I ain't gotta payback tha hunerd dollars I owe 'em if I can break an egg in ma hand. So, ya gotta egg?
redneck1: It ain't possible I tell ya!
redneck1 and 2: (Unintelligible arguing back and forth seeing as how they are both drunk and from the backwoods)

me: Yeah, I've got an egg.
redneck 2: Bring TWO! I'll do it twice!

I bring two, we go into the commons area and redneck 1 is demonstrating how redneck 2 is supposed to roll it in his hand to squeeze it.

me:So what exactly is the bet?
redneck 1:That he cant break an egg in his hand. If he does it then he dudn't have ta pay me back.

The egg is handed to redneck 2 who promptly breaks it, squirting egg yolk over everyone and bystander 1's truck.

redneck 1: NAW NAW! You didn't do it right!
redneck2: I broke it did'n I!

redneck 2 grabs the second egg and does the same as the first.

redneck 1: Naw! your usin' your fingertips or sump'n!
bystander 1: My truck! Ya'll better wash that off or ya'll are gettin me a new paint job!

The story ends with no one oweing anyone any money. The neighbor getting his truck washed. And everyone covered in yolk.

Moral of the story: Don't mess with a southern mans truck.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Garden Update

Ok, I knew about this one...

But this one snuck up on me! (you cant tell in the pic but its about 6 inches long)

My basil has gone completely crazy. Its almost 3 foot tall with huge shoot of little white flowers.

And a bell pepper!

AWTF Habitat

I finally got around to redoing the Australian White's enclosure, it had gotten pretty bad. A lot of mineral deposits had built up on the glass and the eco-earth had turned mucky. So I put done a layer of sphagnum moss and a nice thick layer of eco-earth and douglus fur bark and jungle bedding and planted some of the plants I had from the last posts.

Creeping Jenny,Club Moss, and Bugleweed are at the bottom with the unknown terrarium plants we sell at work for hieght. They look so much happier.

I used one of my half finished pieces of art for the background so you can see better in the photo.

These guys are so layed back, its a joy to clean their enclosure, they just hang out on the edge of the bucket and watch me. They are still a little obese but not nearly as bad as when I first got them. They are so easy to overfeed. Their former owners were throwing a couple dozen crickets in the enclosures about once a week and just replenishing them when there wernt any left.

Now I put 2 to 6 in every other day or so.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

THE List...

So I realized,

I haven't actually posted a list of what animals/habitats I actually have.

8 habitats
3 fishtanks
1 birdcage

1 dog, bluehealer/australian sheppard mix, Indiana "Indy" Rose, in kennel at night and while I'm at work adoption
1 stray cat,Miss Kitty, stays outside, hunts, adopted me
2 parakeets, Clovis and Sparks, bought at petstore
29 gal natural planted tank, 13 fish, 5 species of snails, I lost 4 fish after fumigating,12 or more species of plants
18H gal,"Blue Ram Tank" 10 or so fish,8 or so species of plants, self cured grapevine driftwood
1 gal, houses a blue betta and is my first planted tank, it has been ongoing for almost 2 years
habitat 1; 3 green anoles,3 green tree frogs 1 southern leapard frog,abandoned at work
habitat 2; Mississippi mud turtle as yet unnamed,abandoned at work
habitat 3; ball python, The General, male, abandoned at work
habitat 4; 3 south plains skinks, 2 plains leapard frogs, 1 giant jungle millipede, frogs abandoned/millipede bought
habitat 5; argintenian ornate horned frog "pacman", Creepy, planted, bought on clearance
habitat 6; 2 bearded dragons (I don't know there names) about 4 months old, baby sitting for a friend
habitat 7; 2 australian white's tree frogs, abandoned at work
habitat 8;2 hermit crabs bought over 4 years ago,2 bought about 2 years ago and 3 abandoned at work
I don't count the cricket 5gal as a habitat

I only name the animals with a lot of personality, I don't know why, I just don't have the drive to
I have in the past had a hedgehog, Skittles, which I found a home for because I found him boring, he had been abandoned at work
Willy the white cockatiel whom I loved dearly I gave up because I found a home that was better suited to him,I miss you Willy


No offense....really....just a whole lot of amusment:

Friday, July 11, 2008


So four days later......the house still isn't clean, but the habitats are re homed, although some still need there dirt changed out and all of the cords need to be organized.

However all of the habitats are much more accessible, I don't have to move the turtle tank to get to the frogs or lift a bunch of things out of the way to feed the Beardies, I can feed everyone and fill water bowls and spray from my spot on the couch.
Close ups:

I came home and part of one of the beardies tails had fallen off, I'm glad, I thought I was going to have to amputate it. They are about 4 months or so old, and I am baby sitting them for a friend while she is away. The tail was dead when sh handed them off to me and although I'm pretty well versed in reptiles, I had little personal experience with bearded dragons. She is asumed that they were just picking on each other becasue they were getting older, but after soem research I discovered it was probably because of malnutrition. Either the beardies body was ridding itself of unsustainable mass or its cagemate had literally picked it to death. I upped there food intake from 5 small crickets a piece a day to 10 crickets a piece 3 times a day and reduced there salads to every other day finely chopped, when before they were constantly given whole leaves that they never really ate. There salads have also been switched up to include different greens, fruits and vegtables for variety. There growth has exploded, making the poor little dead piece of tail split time will tell if it continues to rot further up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


For all the Hippies, Conservationists, Horders, Cheepskates, and anyone who loves free stuff...


Day Off 2

More then 24 hours later...

No...I'm still not done yet
Damn the internet!

Monday, July 7, 2008

My Day Off

Its time for pest control. Ants, Roaches and various other buggies are a fact of life in east Texas. I have two days off in a row, so I am going to take out several things on my list. Almost everything will get moved outside, all of the animals and their supplies for sure, and a pile that is going to storage. The two larger fish tanks will get duct taped clothes and everything will come out of the cabinets so I can spray.

I'll be using Bengel Roach Spray for pesticide control, it is supposed to be nontoxic to animals(dogs and cats (I take that back, apparently the data sheet says its highly toxic to cats) anyway, I have no delusion about the frogs being immune to it), and I have used it in a house with fish before with no ill effects, just be carful to not spray directly in the tank, and will work for 3 to 4 months.

I'm going to treat the Ball Python enclosure with Provent-a-mite and almost everything else with Bio-shield. In a house with this kind of humidity, not to mention spilt water, I need all the mold and mildew protection I can get.

....It's going to be a hell of a day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

To Do List

  1. Change Eco-earth in AWTF habitat
  2. Clean House
  3. Wash clothes
  4. Change water in crawdad tank
  5. Finish planting 29
  6. Finish planting Blue Ram tank
  7. Refinish trellis for Cantaloupe
  8. Take stuff to storage
  9. Get box fan from storage
  10. Find flagstones
  11. Lay flagstones
  12. Lay brick
  13. Pollinate vegetables
  14. Find expandable folders
  15. Get rest of RV park contracts signed
  16. Find Tire for Indy
  17. Organize contracts
  18. Organize bookmarks
  19. Deconstruct 6 broken 10g tanks to reuse glass
I'm sure there will be more....

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Miss Kitty

Just picked up Miss Kitty from the Animal Protection League. She is drunk with her tongue hanging out and she can't go outside for 48 hours. Miss Kitty was a stray that wandered up several months ago. She was obviously young and at one time a house cat. We were sure she would only have one or two kittens survive seeing as how it had to be her first pregnancy and she had them out in the woods. Fire Ants are vicious in this area, and small newborns are consumed by them on a regular basis, they have decimated ground nesting bird populations in Texas. But one day she decided the best place for them to be was in my house, and of course I couldn't turn them out....that is untill they were moving around on there own and pooping little kitty poops. So outside they went. I underestimated how difficult it would be to get rid of them....


I used the square foot gardening method, the book is well worth the 20 bucks btw. I bought most of the plants already sprouted. My plants aren't near as big as some of my neighbors, but I have been pruning the tomatoes in order to have a single stem, and a hail storm set me back by about a month. my tomatoes however are sweeter and far prettier. The bell peppers I planted right after the hail storm are more then twice the size of the first pair.

Immediately after planting, My boyfriend says it was the spring equinox:
On Apr 1st, about a week after planting the second bed:


Aren't my tomatoes pretty?

I'll be eating this big one tomorrow for sure.

More Plants

Bugleweed "Chocolate Chip":Ajuga x

Sun to Partial Shade, adapts to dry or moist conditions,Vigorous and disease resistant.
And it has a nice purple color that doesn't come through well in the photo.

Button Fern: Pellaea rotundifolia

it will get way to big but I needed something with more hieght.

I found these at the garden center, the next ones came from Petco.

Im pretty sure the one on the far left is a bromeliad, and I have another one in with the Austrailian White's Tree Frogs, its in sad shape but will live. I thought the red in the two taller plants would go well the the purple colors in the bungleweed and the hosta and the bright light green of some of the other plants.I'm keeping the plants that will get to big for the terreriums to a minimum but I need there hieght and textures to add more variety. I would also like to incorporate some lucky bamboo, its strength will come in handy in the AWTF enclosure. The Anoles,Skinks, and Green Tree Frogs are a lot lighter and wont cause any problems with the more delicate plants.

The plants that require less water and more light like the mint , will be located near the top and shade plants will be located under other plants or closer to the water to compensate.

The Plan, Two 20L Aquariums

So, here was the original plan:
But this has sense been revised. I've only built the rock wall (in green), but both realizing that the dirt ( possibly a combination of eco-earth and peat moss compost) cant sit in that much water, and that I actually need a larger body of water then that. If I were to follow this plan not only would the dirt turn rancid but there would only be about 1 to 1.5 gal of water.

Rock wall, built with river stones and clear silicon:This is a pic with it only half finished. I now know I should have used black silicon because the clear silicon will yellow and the black silicon will look more natural with algea on it. There are small holes in the wall to allow water flow and hopefully for a few single stems of plants

This is closer to the new revised plan, the gravel layer is raised and only about a 1/2 inch of substrate is submerged, enough for a wick effect but not so much that causes it to rot, and not shown in the diagram, the planting shelves will be expanded to make a terracing effect. The black lines are pvc pipe, this will shorten my growing area but will increase my water volume. I will have to include soem sort fo grating that is large enought to allow fish to pass back and forth in order to hide and be more comfortable but small enough that frogs can not get accidentally traped underneath. This will give me about 5 gal of water and room to include a heater or filter possibly, therefore the grate will have to be removable. I'm thinking plexiglass cut to fit with holes drilled in it.

The two aquariums will be almost miror images in design and hopefully look like one complete terrerium with a divider. Plant placement will be completly different though.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


They have gone to a local store front to be given away and will find new homes soon. They were to cute, I'll miss them, but I wont miss the destruction they unleashed on my garden.