Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Our Neighbors Are Pigs..."

Well, not really, our 2 footed neighbors are actually quite nice!  These "neighbors" are rather odd looking and not really pigs at all, they are Javelina, or collared peccaries.

Javalina have a very good sense of smell and really poor eyesight.   They are a small animal, and stand about 1.5 feet at the shoulders and are about 3 feet long from nose to tail. Their average weight is from 40-60 pounds. Javelina travel in herds ranging anywhere from 8-27 animals (the largest ever counted was a herd of 54). Their dorsal scent gland and their sharp sense of smell, helps each javelina identify other members of the herd.  You most likely will "smell" one coming before you see them!!

Javelina are usually found in the low to mid-altitude deserts and cactus desert grasslands between 1,000 and 5,000 feet.  Sometimes they will travel into the higher altitudes for food which may include pinyon pine-juniper, oak, and pine-oak vegetation between 4,000 and 7,000 feet but they don't live there.

Javelina are pretty much herbivores (plant eaters), although they have been known to eat insects once in a while. They primarily eat cactus and other spiny and succulent plants, roots, tubers, and pods .

Javelina babies, or "piglings," are born pretty much all year long, with the highest numbers born in June. A litter consists of one to four piglings, with an average of two.  They are just the cutest little things, you wonder how they can keep up with the herd as their legs are so short! Mother Javelina are very protective of their young, and they WILL go after you if you come upon them and they have their babies with them.  They have been known to attack dogs and kill them.  So when we walk our dog we walk with a large walking stick and we try not to walk during the time the "locals" come out to forage for the night!!

Our "neighbors" are quite in tune with the beat of the rest of the "hood".  They seem to know which night is the night before garbage day.  We see large herds of them (usually the same herd as they are very territorial) roaming down the subdivision streets on Monday nights!  We learned to not put our trash out the night before as they knock over the trash cans and forage through the weekly throw aways!!  They make quite a mess....many of the old time neighbors still insist on putting their cans out on Monday's and they can more often than not be seen Tuesday mornings in their bathrobes picking up trash!  We also learned, quite early on, to keep our garage door closed because they will go through there as well rooting around looking for something good to eat!

This guy seemed to be alone today, maybe he was the scouting party leader for tonights feast....and the night before garbage day is tomorrow!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yup, even in Tucson, Arizona it snows. One of the neatest things about living in this desert is the fact that we have Mt. Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains within driving distance from town. You can literally drive 45 minutes and be on the slopes skiing here in the winter! Mt. Lemmon received 8 inches of snow on Sunday night and another 10 inches last night. The "snow level" dropped to about 3,500 feet (Mt. Lemmon is about 9238 feet tall). Where we live, at the base of the mountains, we're at a little over 2,500. It's wonderful to walk the dog in a light jacket and still see the snow in the mountains.

The grandkids love it when their parents take them up the mountain to go sledding. One of our grandkids, Noah, just turned 3. Noah can't go up the mountain due to having to have 2 different surgeries on his ears, the altitude just makes him scream from the pain. My son, Noah's father, took the other 2 boys up to frolic in the snow. Now Noah knows he can't go, but was just thrilled when his Dad and his brothers William and Dakota brought a pickup truck bed FILLED with snow back to their house! He had hours and hours of fun making a "snow boy" as he calls it and tossing snowballs at his brothers! They even piled it high and let him slide down on his plastic saucer.

Tucson does have lots to offer, but the summers here are just brutal, that's why we now head to Missouri and the lake in the Spring! I thought I wouldn't miss Tucson when we moved, I'm beginning to think otherwise. And as the remodel on the house starts to take shape, I think I will miss it even more this year....we may be rethinking renting or selling this house...somehow we would like to hang on to it.....if we can...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Look For The Rainbow In Any Storm!

On Friday, January 31, 2009, Congress placed a "stay" of enforcement on the CPSIA Law which would of gone into effect on February 10, 2009. This means that the CPSIA required "third party" testing for all children's products will not have to take place. This does not, however, mean the existing laws requirements for lead and other chemicals can be ignored. We must still adhere to the "reasonable testing" portion of this law. To my business, this just means I am now turning to my suppliers of fabric, stuffing, thread and ribbon and asking them if they have written certification that their products are free of lead and other chemicals that the U.S. Government is regulating. So far, I have had very good luck with my suppliers. They can assure ME in writing that their products are safe and that allows ME to assure YOU that my finished toys are safe for your baby!

One of the biggest victories in this entire thing is the fact that the "big toy companies" (who were very, very involved in writing this law) are very upset right now! They had fully intended for this law to put the "little guys" out of business, thus allowing them to monopolize the market. Sad to say this would of taken your "choices" as a parent away from you. Because, the only ones that could afford the third party testing would of been the huge sorry guys!!

Bottom line, my toys are safer now than before. Is it because my suppliers have done something different to the manufacturing process of their goods? No, my toys are safer now because I now know, for sure, that the supplies I am using are safe.....and I have that in writing from them! Nothing has changed except my peace of mind, and YOURS.

Thank you for supporting me through this. If you wrote to someone to protest this law, thank you, if you listened to me whine about it for months, I REALLY thank you, and if you kept my spirits up when I was down, bless you......remember, there is always a "rainbow" in every storm!