Looking for Gertie: A second guest blog from Buzz Brooks

I used to have an electronic indoor-outdoor thermometer. You put a little box outside somewhere in the shade, and it transmits the outside temperature wirelessly to the wall-mounted unit inside the house. One day it went on the fritz, and try as I might, I couldn't get it  working again so I tossed it.

Still wanting to know the outside temperature, I had a little extra thermometer about an inch and a half high which I took outside and mounted on a post. Trouble was, I couldn't see the little thing by just standing in the doorway. I had to go outside and get up close to read it.

So my immediate thought was to purchase one of those very large 18-inch tall big numbers thermometers. But I caught myself in the folly of that --- If I installed a big one, I would be robbing myself of the experience of stepping outside of my house, which enables me to REALLY check out what the weather is outside. You see, I have some built-in sensors; I think chief among them is this thing called skin.

And it occurred to me that I could achieve greater efficiency by combining two tasks in one; checking the outside ambience, and walking my yard to do what I hope will be daily observations. I'm especially keen on looking for Gertie. Gertrude is a garter snake that has taken up residence in my yard.

At first glance, it may appear to you that there is absolutely nothing going on in your yard. But, if you stop and slow down and start actually looking closely at things you will discover that it is probably teeming with life.

Just today I came across two spiders that were new to me. Two of the usual kinds of bees doing the poppies.  And several other small insects whose nervous afflictions disabled my ability to identify them. And of course, I get to assess the health of my various flora. 

So, if you have a yard, I encourage you to go outside into your yard, dwell there a bit, and discover a whole microcosm industriously completing their cycles of life. And if you're lucky, you might even adopt a new friend ---- doesn't have to be a snake! 


A 14-inch western terrestrial garter snake ( Thamnophis elegans,  aka- Gertrude or Gertie) is welcome to eat all the slugs and snails in Buzz’s (i.e., Yardbio’s demo) yard.

A 14-inch western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans, aka- Gertrude or Gertie) is welcome to eat all the slugs and snails in Buzz’s (i.e., Yardbio’s demo) yard.