Here’s a handful of the 13 baby rats— called pups —that my daughter is now raising. Yes... we now have 16 rats in the house.

My daughter got two new rats recently. Here they are, the brothers Sparky and Comet.

We got a new *working* pump organ for free through Craigslist. Pump organs work by continually pumping foot pedals (see photo) to power a bellows that then forces air across reeds. They were popular in the 19th century. Ours is from 1896.

Did you know that "pull out all the stops" is an idiom originating from organ playing?

As summer wanes, we see more and more cicada exuviae. I found this one clinging to the garden hose, downstream from the leaking faucet.

Hoverfly (possibly Toxomerus politus). These are not bees and don’t sting. They are an example of Batesian mimicry — the bee-like appearance has evolved to mimic the yellow and black striped warning pattern of real bees to keep potential predators away.

American Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus), grows up to 4 inches long (100mm).

Leopard slug (Limax maximus) grows up to 8 inches long (20 cm). We often find these climbing this white fence on summer mornings after rain. This one made it to the top and found a spider friend waiting there.

More in the “front porch fauna” series. The blue tailed skink.

Adult cardinals are beautiful birds. Babies, not much. I dropped a trash bag in the can outside my house this afternoon and heard a chirping noise. This little baby was inside! Seems like it miraculously escaped harm though.

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Baby bird, just starting to fly. Flew into the garage and got lost. Several pitiful hours later, covered in dust, I finally nudged it toward the garage door and out to freedom.

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