Something Fishy: Getting Our Toes Wet

I love fish tanks. I had a beautiful 10-gallon setup as a teenager and often miss it. The fish tank urges have been strong for months and a few days ago, I finally saw THE tank.  Half price, round front, 10-gallon. It came with the full kit (heater, filter, light) and was very easy to setup. I chose a blue/green mix rock and added two plants (Anubias Congensis and Echinodorus Amazonius) from the box store.

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Today, Rex and I ventured out to The Wet Spot, an enormous fish supply store.  The staff was very helpful and spent a long time helping me decide on the fish for our little ecosystem.  Thanks to the internet, I was able to research modern fish tank practices prior to venturing to a real fish store. In the days of my little 10-gallon, you brought all the fish home, floated the bag for a bit, and then dumped them in. These days, a lot more information is available on proper and humane tank practices. I feel it’s important for Rex to always see animals being treated kindly, and fish are no exception. As tough as it is to wait, we’re following the right steps to keep our fish as comfortable and happy as possible.  This means, introducing one type of fish at a time and being careful how many total creatures we put in our ecosystem.

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We picked up an additional plant (Cabomba Caroliniana) and a moss ball (Cladophora Aegagropila) as well as a lava rock with hidey holes and rounded edges. Besides the flora, we came home with five Strawberry Rasboras (Boraras Naevus).

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These were my second choice, as the green rasboras were under quarantine. But I think they’re almost a better choice. They are less-flashy, but show up with red accents under the light and top out at a length of roughly 1/2″. We purchased five, as rasboras are a schooling fish and require a minimum of three to be happy. The guy helping us was more than happy to also scoop us a little snail.

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In 2-3 weeks, we can add the next fish. We know we want some guppies (male only) as well as shrimp (added at the end). I’m still waivering on adding another type of schooling fish to the mix.  Rex is just loving our new additions and I am too.

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Da Bears

A sunny and not too rainy spring Saturday leant itself to visiting the Zoo this past weekend.  We packed a picnic lunch and made it a short trip, just checking out the Great Northwest animals.  Being spring in the PNW, most of the animals in these exhibits were especially active, as this is their native weather.

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These two bears were having some sort of quarrel.  Either that, or they were putting on a show for the visitors.

This bear was having a late morning nap in the cave.

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The bobcats wanted nothing to do with the people and were being quite standoffish.

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There were also otters (moving too fast to get a picture), eagles (we didn’t get close because they made Rex nervous), and assorted other animals.  This exhibit is all arranged in a forest setting that lets you “hike” around waterfalls, salmon runs, and assorted flora and fauna.  It is really well done and I highly recommend checking it out on your way to view the more exotic animals.

P.S. Other than parking ($2.40), this was a zero dollar outing for us. We used our zoo membership and brought our lunch.  It was a really nice frugal adventure.

A Trip to the Zoo to Meet the Lion Cubs

Recently, the mamas went on an adventure to the Washington Park Zoo with toddlers in tow. We thought ahead and packed stroller, Ergo, and lunches.  It was the first really beautiful day of Spring and (unfortunately) the first day of Washington schools’ Spring Break… The zoo was busy, but we had a great time anyway!

2014-04-07 11.03.39Ready to see the animals!

2014-04-07 11.21.05This polar bear kept swimming up to the glass, doing a flip and swimming away. The kids just loved it!

2014-04-07 11.45.33The entire lion pride was out, enjoying the sun.  Two of the cubs were wrestling while their sibling worked on breakfast.  Daddy lion was less than impressed with their antics, especially when they tried to include him in their wrestling.

2014-04-07 11.49.56We saw a lot of sunbathing.  The cheetahs were napping in the grass.

2014-04-07 11.59.19The hippos were sunbathing on the rocks.

Packing our lunch was definitely the way to go. When the kids started to melt, we just stopped at an open bench and fed them lunch. You could hear the entire tone of the Zoo change as noon approached.  There was a steady din of crying children and irritated parents that got louder as time went on. So, parents of toddlers (or any age children), pack food!  When you start hearing the irritation of empty bellies happening around you, EAT.  It made our trip much more pleasant.

As an aside, we were lucky enough to get a Zoo membership through Sam’s work.  But, as with the OMSI membership, they pay for themselves very quickly. We’ve gone four times now and all we’ve paid for is parking. Our particular memberships also allow guests in (quantity depends on membership), so they make it easier to go with visiting friends and family.  If you can afford a membership to a local museum/zoo/etc. that you really enjoy, do it!

Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival

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Despite the torrential downpour, we braved the 17th Annual Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival on Sunday.  We made a quick tour of it, but still had a good time.  I picked up a bag of alpaca neck fiber from an animal named “Cocoa Puff” and 8oz of hand dyed colonial top. Rex wanted to live the Alpaca Lifestyle, but we couldn’t fit one in the trunk.

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