Saturday, April 20, 2013

Oh, the thrill: Bat poop in my sink!

Little Brown Bat (from

I found bat poop in my bathroom sink this morning, and my heart soared. Johnny, my bathroom bat is back. Year 7! I've been checking the sink every morning and was just beginning to worry. Below is the story about discovering I had a roommate some years ago.

Originally post in December 16, 2011 Included in that post is the story of my bat rescue if you didn't see it the first time.

My first clue that I had a bat in my bathroom was bat-poop in the sink. I'd go upstairs at night to find lots of little black, mouse-like droppings in the sink, but no bat. Then one night, sick with a cold, I went to bed early and was just drifting off when a small shadow circled the room, illuminated by the light from the TV, and flew into the bathroom. (I should add that nothing about bats scares me. I adore them.) I waited a few moments before getting up and turning on the light. There he was, hanging on the wall above the sink--preening.

Mystery solved--sort of. If this was his nightly roost, why hadn't I seen him before now? Was he a he? Was he/she the first of a colony? Where did he go to sleep?

The ceiling in my bedroom and bathroom is beamed, and to my astonishment, when he'd finished cleaning up, leaving a litter of insect legs and wings, he wedged himself between the beam and the ceiling planks. It doesn't look like you could slip a sheet of paper between them, but he had no trouble at all.

That was six years ago. And Johnny, my bathroom bat, is still my summer guest. He disappears in late fall, but occasionally shows back up in mid-winter. Three years ago, he over-wintered in my bathroom and a friend of his found refuge behind a painting in my stairwell.

Johnny is a male. Males are, thankfully, more solitary. It's the females that form colonies. I've very fond of Johnny, but not nuts about the idea of an entire colony of bats in my bathroom. (For another story, keep reading.)

 This link is to a wonderful story about a baby bat.

 I'll be offline for the next ten days.
See you in May.

I just received this video. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Blog by Frankie Kangas
Every year one Million Cats are needlessly put to death in American. Why? Outdated information.

Just as HIV was once believed to be a certain death sentence for humans, that old belief is still attached to FIV (the feline equivalent). But with cats, the mere diagnosis TRIGGERS that death sentence … by those who should know better.

Not only are FIV+ cats being punished, so are their non-FIV associates. We received this request for help a few days ago:

“My mother has gone to an assisted living facility and left behind more than 12 cats. I can’t find a local rescue to help me find homes for ANY of them because 2 tested FIV positive.” Stonewall, LA

FIV Cat Rescue, a nonprofit based in Fort Bragg, California, has a mission: to end the killing of FIV+ cats forever. We work directly with FIV Researchers and Veterinarians to insure all information is correct and up-to-date. Plus we have a 2 step plan to achieve that mission.

Step 1: Create The FIV Book
Since the problem is based on outdated information, the solution is to gather the latest research information and mass produce it in book format. The book is being funded through an Indiegogo campaign “Help Write The Book That Will Save A Million Lives”.
The campaign is so popular that it reached its goal of $1,539 within 2 weeks. And people are still donating because of ...

Step 2: Create The Documentary Video
With a month left in the campaign, all new donations will go toward creating a professional documentary video, for mass distribution through TV and other channels.
Please visit the campaign Your $1 donation will save lives.
Author Frankie Kangas can be reached at:
More to read on the subject.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What if the last thing we considered was killing?

TWO examples of realizing
what you believed to be true, isn't.

This TED talk is 23 minutes, but if you want to know more about research in desertification this one will blow everything you thought caused it out of the water (pun intended.)


Last night I watched  Strange Days on Planet Earth: Disc 2 It offers commanding evidence of the impact on an ecosystem when the top predators are removed--including how the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone has halted the decline of aspens.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blatant self-promotion--with a little help from some friends

This wonderful video was produced by kids at the Independence Middle School


Dear Ms. Rorby,
My Name is William H.  I'm 12 years old and in 6th grade in San Antonio, TX. I finished reading your book in class and I really really liked it. For extra credit, we needed to choose to write something about the book we just finished. From several different topics,  I chose to create a sequel for Hurt Go Happy. I'm not sure if you will have time to read this, but it would be an honor for me if you do. Unfortunately, I didn't get the assignment in on time, so nobody will read it except my parents. I really wanted my teacher to read it, but I guess I will not have that opportunity. Anyway, I hope you do write a sequel to the book because I enjoyed the story and would like to know more about Joey's future...
Thank you for your time,
William H.
By William.
The title of the sequel to Hurt Go Happy will be called I See You.  I chose the title from the sign phrase that Sukari used to greet Joey. Next is a brief summary of the book.

     Joey Willis, a nineteen-year-old deaf girl, has just suffered through the hardest struggle of her life.  Sukari, a 10 year old chimpanzee entrusted to her after Charlie’s death, finally died after a long illness.  Now a student at a college for the deaf in Washington DC, Joey continues her studies in biology with the hope of becoming a veterinarian.  Her family still lives in Ft. Bragg, California and Luke, her younger brother, and Ray, her stepfather, are doing great.  The biggest influence on her life, her mother Ruth, is losing her health.  She was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, most likely from her lifelong habit of smoking.  At every opportunity, Joey visits her family.

     At her college in Washington DC, Joey has three good friends:  Madi, Jennie and Michael.  Madi, who is in her fourth year, is 40% deaf, very independent and quite sassy.  She is good at singing, playing the guitar and standing up for others.  Madi, a beautiful blonde from Chicago, is one of the smartest students in the whole school.  Jennie, a second year, is completely deaf, very quiet and shy.  She’s very good at math, playing the piano and distracting people.  Although Jennie is short and nerdy, she can beat anyone in a general knowledge contest.  Last, but not least, there’s Michael, another second year student like Joey and Jennie.  He is over 50% deaf and his parents are diplomats from South Africa, stationed at the South African Embassy.  Michael’s parents have a rainforest house in Tanzania, close to the home of the largest chimpanzee reserve in Africa.  When Joey finishes college this summer, she wants to go there to visit chimpanzees to try to capture the magic of Sukari.

     Whenever Joey drives past Charlie’s old house, she thinks about Sukari, Charlie and the first time that they met.  It’s funny how she felt awkward around a “talking” chimp who knew more sign language that she did.  She recalls Sukari signing I SEE YOU and RAISIN, but remembers what Sukari signed to Luke that day after he hit his head.:  HURT GO HAPPY.  That phrase really gave her inspiration to carry on when life got tough.  When Joey goes to pick up mushrooms for her mother, she realizes that walking off the path changed her life forever. 

     Back at college, Joey finds out about a university trip to Africa, but seats are limited.  Joey is thrilled, but she’s not sure if she can go because of her mother.  The only way to get selected for the trip is to have very good grades.  Joey works hard to study for tests and makes great strides, but sadly, she’s not chosen.  Michael feels sad for Joey and wants her to go to Africa.  With help from Madi and Jennie, Michael convinces his parents to take Joey to their house in Tanzania.  Happier than ever, Joey goes to Africa with Michael, Madi and Jennie.  They stay there for two months, helping at the chimpanzee reserve. 
     Joey meets and becomes friends with one baby chimp named Chloe that reminds her of Sukari.  Joey tries to teach Chloe sign language, but is failing miserably after two weeks.  One day, Chloe walks up to Joey and signs I SEE YOU J-Y.  Joey bursts out crying because of the memories of Sukari and Charlie.  She gets a great feeling now that she’s taught sign language to a chimpanzee.  Before long, Joey teaches Chloe all Sukari’s signs and now the two communicate through sign language. 

     Shortly thereafter, Joey gets a letter from Ray telling her that Ruth has gone from bad to worse.  Sadly, Joey leaves Michael’s house early and must say goodbye to Chloe.  After arriving in California, she hurries to be with her mom.  At the hospital, she gets a frantic call from Michael.  There’s been a devastating fire at the Reserve and they need Joey to return as soon as possible to help recapture the chimpanzees.  Joey is torn - her mom is dying, but Chloe is lost and suffering. 

   Will Joey Willis stay in California with her mom, Ray and Luke or will she go back to the Reserve to help Michael, Madi and Jennie to capture the chimpanzees and locate Chloe? Will Joey find Chloe and take her back to the States or will Joey find her home among the chimpanzees of Tanzania?  Is Michael the one to help Joey finally forget the nightmare of her youth?  Will Joey succeed in school and make it to become a veterinarian?

   This and much more await the reader of this exciting sequel to Hurt Go Happy the ever suspenseful I See You.  Make sure to get in on your reader today!          

which is full of stories by many of the best writers on the Mendocino Coast

Available from
Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino