Monthly Archives: September 2014

Weekly Puzzler Answer #27

squirrel-116Here is the answer to last week’s puzzler: Caribou are the only members of the deer family in which both males and females grow antlers.

Weekly Puzzler #28


Here is this week’s puzzler: What does this crayfish have on its abdomen? Click HERE for the answer!

Schedule this regularly

feet-0308Try to just BE STILL. Our lives are jam-packed with To-Do lists and places we have to be. As often as you can, schedule some time to do nothing but BE. Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed and just sit there and be still.


Weekly Puzzler Answer #26


Deer have ANTLERS

Deer have ANTLERS

The answer to last week’s puzzler is a, This deer has antlers.

Many people use the words antlers and horns interchangeably, but these two words mean different things. Antlers are non-permenant structures that are shed each winter. Antlers are true bone. Horns on the other hand are permanent, made of keratin, which is the same stuff as your fingernail. This grows over a bony core. Horns are never shed and remain with the animal throughout its life. If the horn should become damaged, the animal will not grow another one and the broken part will not be fixed.

Animals with ANTLERS include: deer, moose, elk, caribou

Elk have ANTLERS

Elk have ANTLERS

Animals with HORNS include: Bighorn Sheep, goats, cows.

Mountain Goats have HORNS

Mountain Goats have HORNS

Do you think it’s true that you can tell the age of a deer from his antlers?

Do you know what determines when the deer starts growing antlers each spring?

Do you know how much antlers can grow EACH DAY?

To find out these answers, Click HERE.

This elk has some big ANTLERS!

This elk has some big ANTLERS!

Weekly Puzzler # 27

So if you’ve been following along, you know that last week’s puzzler was about deer antlers. In continuing with this subject, this week’s puzzler is a simple question: What is the only member of the deer family that both the male AND the female grow antlers? CLICK HERE to learn the answer!

What is Rejuvenating, Cheap and Awe-Inspiring?

Hiking is cheaper than therapy… so many benefits come from it and you can do it anytime. Get outside and take a hike today!

Weekly Puzzler Answer #25

puzzle8-4914Have you ever heard of a GALL? Not like “Wow, you are bold! You have gall!” but gall as in an abnormal growth formed on plants or trees? These galls in nature are formed in response to the presence of some insect, like a fly or a wasp, or in some cases, a fungi, bacteria, nematode (kind of worm) or even a mite.

In the United States alone, there are 2000 species of insects that cause galls. Each insects usually has a specific host plant, such as apple, oak or, in the case of this week’s puzzler, goldenrod. The abnormal growth is a result of chemicals the insects release that causes the plant to produce these galls, which can be all different sizes, shapes and colors.

The gall on the stem of goldenrod is caused by a fly called a Goldenrod gall fly. This fly is less than 5mm long and as an adult, does not eat and lives only about two weeks. In its larval stage however, the fly lives for a year. Here’s how it works: The adult female mates and then using her ovipositor, which looks like a needle at the back of her body, injects an egg into the stem of the goldenrod. After ten days, the egg hatches into a tiny grub-like creature called a larva. The larva begins eating the stem of the goldenrod and its saliva contains  a chemical that causes the plant to form this abnormal ball. Inside, the larva eats and grows. When winter arrives, the larva survives because it has an anti-freeze-like chemical in its body. Dormant all winter, the larva hatches out as an adult in the spring after going through its pupa or inactive phase. It will emerge from the gall and live live as an adult, for its very short life of two weeks! grod-3679

Interestingly, there are numerous creatures who will feed on the larva inside the gall. Some birds do this, including Carolina Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers.

Here are some more pages about galls:

Texas Entomology Extension Publication 

Goldenrod gall fly