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banner - piffle and jottings from the dessicated west during 1934

by George E. Marsh

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A Sweet Singer and Pet Horned Toads

It was way down the line in New Mexico that I heard it. I had just awakened and lay on my cot facing the wall of the tent. There came to me music like that of a microscopic canary singing a lullaby. It was oh, so sweet and oh, so faint. As I rolled my head to raise my ear the music faded and as I turned my head in the other direction it grew louder. Lifting my head even an inch, it was no more. I listened, wondered and marveled– wondered what it could be and marveled at its delicate beauty. Never before had I heard anything so faint and yet so clear, so tuneful, so mysterious. Entranced, I listened. What could it be? Noting the exact spot on my pillow (my folded-up sheep-lined coat), I gently arose and unfolded the coat. Alas, my (insect) songster was nowhere to be seen.

Every now and then I find articles as we drive along, wrenches, screwdrivers, et cetera. As Daily, the truck driver, was taking Upplinger and me to our stations, I saw a white flour sack in the road. As I picked it up, I remarked that it had a package of corn flakes as that was what I felt within. Again seated in the truck, I brought forth a sure enough c.f. carton but it contained a recently prepared lunch of two nice egg sandwiches, one with pineapple jam and goodly chunk of chocolate cake! These we promptly ate with glee and gusto. A horse-man of some sort had doubtless lost it

The horned toads are making history. Aridious Desertarious, Ari, for short, laid 32 eggs as I have reported. The three ladies from Montana, all Mona, Mono, Moni are the mothers respectively. The youngsters were 3/4 inch long when born and lengthened to an inch the first day. They were lively and made great ado over eating their first ants, very small ones of course. It was quite impossible to get them to pose for their picture and the best I could do was to turn them all out in the lid of an oatmeal carton and them topsy turvy.

horned lizard moxo in toy car with caption moxo in his red racer

horned lizard in toy car - with caption ari passes on moxo's car

Wishing them well, I let them go in three different localities that I thought would best suit their natural requirements. It was not without some reluctance that I left them all behind but facilities and leisure time to play nursemaid to 58 baby lizards are too limited, interesting as it might be.

Mexa and Mexe are yet to be heard from; or perhaps they are Mex and Mox? And whether they are oviparous or viviparous is unknown.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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