Friday, June 16, 2017


SPARTAN RACE has a special offer just in time for Father's Day and it's pretty sweet.

It's a limited time offer, so I am interrupting the usual Florida nature boy posts. Don't worry, soon come ... I'm volunteering on a dolphin research project this summer so, yeah, I've got critter news to share, but first...

REEBOK SPARTAN RACE is offering the following Father's Day deal:

1. This is a limited time offer. It ends at 11:59 pm on June 18, 2017.

2. The official fine print stuff: Free e-book download and $69 Sprint afternoon race offer valid with an adult registration during promotional period only. Must use SPARTANDAD code during checkout. Code cannot be combined with other codes, including GovX. Offer not valid with Spartan Passes, Volunteer, or Groupon entries. New, afternoon time block registrations only, cannot be retroactively applied. US events only. Offer ends 06/18/17 11:59PM ET. E-book download instructions will be supplied by 6/22/17.

3. The free e-book download refers to 2 books by Joe De Sena, the founder of Spartan Race. I own one of these books, "Spartan Fit", and it is a good read ... Joe is intense. Those 2 e-books on Amazon total about $22.00 currently and you get them free when you sign up for a race using this deal code:

4. With this code, the cost of a race (afternoon waves) is $69.00. Spartan races are not cheap, but that special price is!  Right now, the afternoon price for the December Spartan Sprint in Mims, Florida is $99 and that will just rise as December nears. This deal, without any of the extras, is saving you $30 already.

5. Signing up with this code also gets you a discount on official Spartan Race Gear... up to 50% on some items. 

Like an 8 foot vertical wall on a Spartan Race, you have to jump if you want it ... this deal expires in just a few days.

To make this easier, I've posted a banner ad off to the right of this post. That will take you directly to the deal.

AROO, y'all.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

That Time I Was Rescued By Assassins...

Every year about this time, Tussock Moth Caterpillars invade our porch. Scores of them creep all over the porch rails and walls until they get to the ceiling.

Once there, they weave a tough silken cocoon that irritates me to no end... and I'm a pretty live and let live kind'a guy.
If I try and brush the creeping caterpillars off the porch, one of two things happen.

1) They survive the brush off and just come back. 
2) They don't survive the brush off and leave a brown smear on my blue porch.

So, that ain't a plan.

Once they have constructed their impressively strong silk cocoons, even a pressure washer struggles to remove them.
It usually takes 2-3 short blasts per cocoon to remove them.
(Any brushing of the cocoon with a broom takes us back to the brown gut smear problem)

So, yeah, I'm not a Tussock fan.

But this year, I got help.

Maybe it was the mild winter or the extended drought, or both, or neither, but for some reason ... we have an extra abundant crop of Wheel Bugs (Arilus cristatus) this spring.
Wheel bugs are a type of "Assassin Bug" ... a group that specializes in ambushing other insects, injecting an innard-digesting enzyme, and then sucking the life out of their prey.

Their nymphs are everywhere and man are they hungry...AND Tussock Moth is on the menu!

 Take that Tussock Moth porch defiler!

This is an adult Wheel Bug cleverly hanging out in a Magnolia blossom, just waiting to ambush some pollinator that happens by.

If you look at the Thorax of this Wheelie, you can see the round, spiked hump that gives the Wheel Bug its name.

A word of caution: Even though I like having these assassins around, NEVER make the mistake of picking one up. I did as a kid and I highly recommend NOT EVER touching one of these unless you enjoy the feel of a white hot needle being inserted into your finger and ... left there for a while.

These guys aren't fooling around.
Like any assassin, they are serious bugs on a serious mission.

Here are two "sharing" a Tussock Moth.