Tumbling Tumblebugs

It’s oddly not hot here in southeastern Texas. It’s even odder that I would say it’s not hot. The temperature is running mid to upper 90’s every day. But in contrast to most of the country, that’s practically chilly.

We slid about 20 feet and started a second hole last week. We’ve been in the same spot for so long, home construction is beginning to take place on our front lawn. In all of the time I’ve been in Texas, I still haven’t seen a Tumbling Tumbleweed but we do have quite a number of Tumbling Tumblebugs.

They tumble on our pretend grass carpet. The above photo and the following facts are taken from an article by Howard Garret, The Dirt Doctor.

Tumblebugs roll manure into balls as large or larger than themselves. Female adults lay eggs in the balls and bury them to supply food for the larvae. Some adults dig burrows below the dung piles. Most dung beetles roll the dung in balls some distance from the piles.

It took this Tumblebug a little while to find its target to tumble.

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A single egg is laid in each dung ball. The larvae hatch and feed on the manure. The male helps in preparing the nest for the larvae. This is the only known case among insects where the male aids in providing for the young.

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You know, fathers just have a way of putting everything together. ~ Erika Cosby

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The dung beetles aren’t burying the poop as a favor to us and the cows. They are storing it for food and to provide a place for their eggs to hatch to be food for their larvae.

This completely dismantles the widely held theory of altruistic beetles. Ours got off to such a promising start and then got side tracked.

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The ancient Egyptians worshiped them. The “sacred scarab” can still be found in Egypt and surrounding countries. To the Egyptians, ball rolling symbolized the daily movement of the sun. The tomb of King (Tutankhamen) contained a pendant depicting the sun-god Ra as a scarab beetle rolling the sun across the sky. We don’t need to worship these lowly poop rollers, but they are magnificent creatures deserving of our respect.

Well, alrighty then…

Back to our Tumblebugs. This one came back but just couldn’t seem to quite hit it’s stride.

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I have a little garden That I’m cultivating lard in, As the things I eat are rather tough and dry: For I live on toasted lizards, Prickly pears, and parrot gizzards, And I’m really very fond of beetle-pie. ~ Charles Edward Carryl

Mr Carryl’s Robinson Crusoe would find no shortage of lizards and prickly pears here. He might have to substitute buzzards for parrots. As for the beetle pie, he’d do well to remember Minny and The Terrible Awful!

Smile and Nod

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.  ~J R.R. Tolkien

I’ll try to finish up the story of how we got into gate guarding tonight soon (lately, the internet has been evaporating after 10). In the interim, I thought I post a couple of short conversational recaps, just for fun.

Some leave little option but to smile and nod. 😀

I used to have a Life is Good t-shirt that had the second portion of Tolkien’s quote Not all who wander are lost on it. I loved that shirt. I decided it was my lucky t-shirt the day I caught the almost 6 pound bass when wearing it as pictured in: In A Land Far, Far Away.

Then, one day last summer, I got overzealous and added too many quarters to the dryer in the already steaming hot laundry mat in Nixon and transformed it into a 4T.

Still, Tolkien was right. Not all who wander are lost. And neither are all who ask for directions. Variations of this conversation have happened several times (no kidding)!

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Trucker: Are y’all familiar with this area?

Sorry, no I’m not.

Trucker: Aren’t y’all from around here?

No, Iowa.

Trucker: Well then, that explains your Canadian accent! 

?  (smile and nod)

Trucker continues: I was going to ask you for directions.

I have a Texas map, would you like to look at it?

Trucker: No, that’s OK, I’m from around here.

(smile and nod some more)

I’ve quit dressing like Johnny Cash. Now its blue jeans and I’ve traded in my Steve Jobs black for  white t-shirts – the absolute thinnest they sell at Walmart – to wear under my not as cool as one might hope, jailhouse orange security vest.

But Heidi, who unlike me, no longer feels like it’s 127 degrees when it’s really only 107, mostly wears Life is Good T’s. We both love the company and the are happy to advertise the optimism.

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I threw Heidi’s t-shirt over a pillow. She’s long asleep by now, which is why it’s headless! I did dress it up in my vest, so you could get the full colorful effect! 😀

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Today a delivery guy made an interesting comment on Heidi’s optimistic Life is Good t-shirt:

Delivery Guy: Hey, cool shirt!

Heidi: Thanks!

Delivery Guy: Just like the Army!

Heidi: (smile and nod…)

Heidi thought the exchange was funny. She had no idea what he was talking about but we’ve kind of gotten used to that since arriving in Texas. 😀

I’m guessing that he was thinking of the Marine motto Simper Fi –  Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful / Always Loyal).

Simplify and Semper Fi – two great concepts for the job and for life! That and smiling and nodding…

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Life is Good! 😀