Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First:  Season (Jim's daughter) had her second little boy this morning.  His name is Connor James and he is so precious. Congrats to Season, Lee, and big brother Owen.  And welcome Connor. 

After Bev was done compulsively checking Facebook to get word of Connor's birth (thank you Lee for sending out message shortly after 9 a.m.) we went to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just north west of Tucson.  It’s a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden all in one.  Jim is not a big zoo guy -- he thinks animals should be left alone in the wild and not caged for people’s enjoyment. I empathize with his viewpoint but think good zoos are educational and encourage kids toward careers in conservation, nature and the environment.  However, we’d heard good things about the Desert Museum, so we made the trip. Jim liked being able to see animals in a relatively natural habitat.  We both are trying to learn the names of desert plants.  And the scenery was gorgeous (can’t get enough of those saguaros).  And the prairie dogs... well, see photos below.

A large prairie dog town was separated from humans by just a tall glass partition.  The prairie dogs were going about life as if no one was on the other side.
Another prairie dog photo.
Landscaping at the zoo was beautiful and many of the plants were marked.  The blue/green succulents are agave; prickly pear is in the middle.  Many dessert plants are toxic, but agave is edible.  
 Javalinas look like pigs but we were told that they are not pigs but peccaries.  When I looked up peccary, it was defined as a "pig-like animal."  But here are a few of the differences:  Javalinas are more social and live in groups; pigs are more competitive.  Javalinas are smaller than pigs and usually don't weigh more than 50 pounds.   Javalinas have a straight tails; a pig tail is curly. Javalinas don't have gall bladders; pigs do.  Bottom line:  they look like pigs.
One of the lovely views from the Desert Museum.
Jim pondering.
Where we had lunch after our Desert Museum visit.