Archive for April, 2011

SIX GOLDEN EGGS

We inherited a wishing well when we purchased our home in Wildomar, CA. It required a little work to stabilize its aging structure. I suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea to remove it and replace it with something more contemporary. Judy remarked that she had always wanted a wishing well and advised that it might be a better idea to let it remain.

After completing several structural stabilization projects and removing the artificial flowers from the wishing well bucket, the wishing well remains in place. It is top heavy and still leans a bit to the east despite the stabilization. More stabilization projects are warranted.

Accepting the decision to keep the wishing well prompted me to think that the wishing well might make a nice venue to decorate for holidays and special events. Last Halloween season I removed the wishing well bucket and replaced it with a plastic pumpkin. Christmas Bells and a red bow replaced the bucket for the Christmas season. Then came the approach of Easter this year and I started looking for a large egg or eggs to replace the wishing well bucket. Unable to find any suitable large eggs, I decided to get some smaller plastic eggs, glue them all together and place them in the wishing well bucket. The chore took more time than I anticipated but the project was finally completed and the decoration was presented to the neighborhood. I placed several left over plastic eggs from the project to fill the void spots. I must say it turned out to be an attractive and subtle decoration appropriate for the season.

I began noticing that neighborhood children were attracted to the decoration and the Easter eggs therein. Over time some of the single eggs were removed. On one occasion when I heard children’s voices at the wishing well and observed a little girl yelling at her brother who was chasing a plastic egg that was rolling down the street. His sister was in the wishing well quickly putting the pieces of the decoration back in the wishing well bucket continuing to yell at her brother who apparently caused the original problem.

When shopping before Easter at the local grocery store I passed the stores seasonal decoration area. A package of three plastic golden eggs caught my eye. I purchased two packages. Late on Easter eve I placed Six Golden Eggs (each containing one dollar), three on each side, at the base of the wishing well in plain sight. Each egg contained a taped note on the outside stating, “Take Only One, Please.”

Late on Easter Day the Six Golden Eggs remained in place. It appears that most of our neighbors were elsewhere today and few children were seen.

A second day passed and there has been no activity on or around the Six Golden Eggs.

The only activity on the third day was wind related as the wind moved one of the eggs. There has still been no sign of children activity in the general area. It is afterall spring break so perhaps many of the neighborhood children may be elsewhere. I repositioned the Six Golden Eggs closer together to make them a little more obvious.

Perhaps tomorrow I will place the eggs in the wishing well basket to make them even more obvious.

ONE WEEK LATER – May 1, 2011

One week later the Six Golden Eggs remain undiscovered.

After not being discovered, the Six Golden Eggs were first placed in the wishing well bucket. On several occasions I thought that several had been taken only to learn that the wind had blown them out of the bucket. All six eggs were accounted for lying in the bottom of the wishing well. I have since placed the Six Golden Eggs at the base of the wishing well in plain sight. Despite children traffic in the area no one has yet found the eggs or have chosen not to take one.

ONE DAY LATER – May 2, 2011

Mid-day I noticed that two of the eggs were missing. I checked the area out soon after noticing the  missing eggs – they were nowhere in sight. I then checked out one of the remaining eggs that appeared to still be taped up. The egg still had the label stating, “TAKE ONLY ONE EGG PLEASE” still attached. On opening the egg, the one dollar bill was missing. I then checked out another egg and it was also lacking a one dollar bill. The individual(s) that claimed the two eggs apparently also claimed the contents of the remaing eggs.

I suspect the recipients of the eggs were two teenaged girls that I noticed in the area late on May 1, 2011. This suspicion is based on the fact that two eggs with the attached note stating, “TAKE ONLY ONE EGG PLEASE,” were taken suggesting that two individuals took one egg each. Since the note said nothing about, “the contents of the remaining eggs not taken”, would suggest, that the recipients reading the “egg note” rationalized that they were in compliance by removing the contents of the remaining eggs and leaving the egg shells behind. Sounds like a couple of teenagers thinking a problem through that would provide them the greatest reward.

This was a fun little experiment, but will need some refinements for next year.  Stay tuned!

Jim Lockyer

“Travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain

 

SRP RAMBLINGS – Rattlesnake Love?

SANTA ROSA PLATEAU ECOLOGICAL RESERVE, Riverside County, CA – APRIL 22, 2011

While on a wildflower photography hike this day, I approached the Tenaja area of the Vista Grande Trail. A family of four were near the bridge crossing at Cole Creek. I overheard the father ask his daughter, “What was the shape of it’s head?” She replied, “Diamond-shaped!”

My interest immediately peaked and I headed in the direction of the voices. I arrived as the two daughters and their mother were moving away from the area and their father was trying to locate the object of concern in a large clump of deer grass adjacent to the Cole Creek bridge crossing.

As I arrived the father had located a large rattlesnake, and then exclaimed, “It looks like there are two snakes in there!” The rest of the family continued to retreat up the bluff on the Visitor Center side of Cole Creek and observed the proceedings from their new location. The snakes were well hidden in the dense grass. The larger of the two snakes would occasionally move to reposition itself finally showing off its 13 button “rattler.”

Two SRP rattlesnakes - head to head.

The family decided to head back towards the visitor center. I thanked them for locating the snakes and continued to observe and photograph the area hoping that they might better show themselves – unfortunately they did not.

The snakes were Red Diamond Rattlesnakes. The larger snake was over 4 feet long and had a 13 button rattle. The second snake was smaller and remained motionless other than occasionally flipping a 7-8 button “rattler.” The second snake was lighter colored than the larger dark-colored snake. The larger snake also displayed a black-and-white “raccoon-banding” on its tail just before the rattle.

The large snake finally departed the area heading north from the observation site, while the smaller snake, as far as I can tell, remained in the original location but deeper into the deer grass.

The large Red Diamond Rattlesnake had a rattle of 13 buttons.

The snakes behavior was unusual with regards to their close proximity to human traffic (5-6 feet). There was no apparent anxiety prompting the snakes to warn of their presence. The larger snake appeared to be preoccupied with trying to evoke a response from the smaller snake. The smaller snake on the other hand didn’t appear to show much interest.

The day before this observation a large-bodied snake track was found on the bluff above the river bed. The distance between the track and this observation was approximately 4-5 yards.

JL – 04.22.2011

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  – Mark Twain