Category Archive: El Rancho Deluxe

Tales from the Faster country seat in Cottonmouth County, Texas

Apr 27 2009

Bunting bonanza

This painted bunting looks like he's balancing on his tail, but is in fact jumping to get at some grass seed. Cottonmouth County TX, April 2009.

No time to post. Bunting hunting in progress. An effing mural of buntings, both painted and indigo, are hopping around the Spinster Ornithology Compound as we speak. A group of buntings is also known, for some reason, as a “sacrifice.”

Apr 25 2009

Nyerk/Tsuck: small brown birds of Cottonmouth County

This poor thing was getting buffetted pretty severely before the winds carried it off, tail over beak, into the wild blue. Female Painted Bunting, Cottonmouth County TX, April 2009

There are some pretty flashy birds flitting around the Spinster Ornithology Compound, but few of them ever seem inclined pose for our cameras. My Gaudy Bird Perching Reticence theory is that, because the air is solid live oak pollen at the moment and it’s blasting nonstop at 30 MPH, the branches they perch on are …

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Apr 20 2009

“Life IS Life !!”: Commenter, in stunning intellectual leap, equates concept with itself

I tried to upload a photo of a painted bunting, but this proved impossible, as it turns out I haven't actually taken any pictures of any painted buntings. Instead, please enjoy this photo of the spinster aunt's winsome young relative Finn. We were all surprised when her face did get stuck like that.

It must be annoying, dealing with a spinster aunt who only pretends to be an Internet feminist. I admit it; I have been moonlighting as a flesh-and-blood person lo these past few days, flitting around the countryside as though the Internet didn’t even exist. Spring is boinging up all over the rancho, and — not …

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Apr 07 2009

Protuberance Korner

Fig. 17.b. Behold not one but two genera of the world's most scintillating fungus orders: earthballs. Pisolithus tinctorus (left) and scleroderma bovista. Both fungal globs are the size of your fist. The field guide describes them in terms of tennis balls: half-buried, semi-deflated, and lost for some time. Don't eat'em! You'll puke and puke, just like when you read the BBC news feed.

No doubt you are deeply embarrassed for me, my having developed the unseemly habit of reading the BBC news feed, selecting a grotesque headline from the “Health” section, and dropping it at your feet like some slavering dog with a half-dead rat. And no doubt what I am about to say will raise the concern …

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Mar 21 2009

Non-Radical Feminist Patriarchy-Blaming Blog of the Week

Raccoon skull (adult); providing me with these is one of Chuck's chores

El Rancho Deluxe employs, part-time, a strong-willed, eccentric rancho hand named Chuck. Chuck’s job description is “do chores.” To my mind, “chores” are activities like splitting logs, making piles, digging holes — pretty much anything involving backbreaking labor that is not directly related to spinster aunting. In Chuck’s mind, “chores” means arguing with me about …

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Mar 13 2009

Spinster aunt talks about the weather

Fig. 13a

Cottonmouth County, home of Spinster HQ, is the droughtiest county in the droughtiest state in the country. I know, because, like all spinster aunts, I am an expert climatologist, and also because I consulted the U.S. Drought Monitor. If I may direct your attention to Fig. 13a? Observe the section of the map that looks …

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Mar 01 2009

Gray tree frog of the week


This just in! The gray tree frog brings the grand total of tree frogs spotted at El Rancho Deluxe up to 1. Hyla chrysoscelis or Hyla versicolor, who knows which. Cottonmouth County, TX, February 2009. When Mungo, the big-ass computer nerve center here at Spinster HQ, went belly-up a few weeks ago, it took Photoshop …

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Feb 08 2009

Giant centipede of the week


Here at the Twisty Arthropod Lab we have a particular fondness for centipedes. As famed arthropod scientist J. L. Cloudsley-Thompson remarked, “centipedes seem to exert a weird fascination on the morbid appetites of the hysterical and insane.” [cite] This is Scolopendra heros, the Giant Red-Headed Centipede. It is a formidable entity, as venomous as it …

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Dec 16 2008

Spinster aunt has aromatic neighbors


When I’m not swatting adorable bluebirds out of my eyes or forcing deer to pose with garden implements, I’m partying with these bad boys. Mephitis mephitis striped skunk (short-striped version), Blanco County, TX, December 2008. Will I ever blame the patriarchy again? Sure! In fact, at this very moment, brewing in the stinkpot down at …

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Dec 03 2008

Spinster aunt likes deer


Run, Bambi’s mom, run! No deer were harmed in the making of this photograph. My dog Bert was chasing her, though. He does this all the time, but so far the only mammal he has successfully run to earth is a skunk, and needless to say the skunk had the advantage in that stand-off. I …

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