Posts Tagged ‘Admiral Byrd’

The Post: Kids’ How-To Raise Fiddlers is in Progress!

January 18, 2016

Just thought I’d give you a hint of what’s in the works for kids in my new fiddler crab book:

Fiddler Crabs: If You Like Tweaky, I’m Your Pet – The Kids’ (or Kids at Heart) Guide to Raising Fiddler Crabs

by Debra Bailey, with Snarky Comments by Admiral Byrd

It will be a simple guide for middle grade ages and older on how to get started raising these great critters.  I will follow later with an adult version how-to, that will go into more detail. But I wanted to start with young nature geeks who might just fall in love with these tweaky creatures as much as I did.

So for now, here’s the Intro page to the book:”First, A word From Admiral Byrd”

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So, It’s about time you got here!

The name is Admiral Byrd and I was the KING of my aquarium.  Now my keeper has decided to write a book telling kids how to have fiddler crabs for pets.  It’s about time!  It sure took her long enough.

Well all I’m going to say is fiddler crabs are cool, tweaky and the BEST creatures you could ever have for a pet. And I have TONS of friends out there waiting for a good home.

So why are you still on this page?

Get reading and find out how you too can have a fiddler crab as great…well ALMOST as great, as me!  GET GOING!

The Post: Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara & Melanie Hamilton reappearing!

January 4, 2016

Well, it has been a long quiet time on Soul Mosaic, for good reason.  I have been very busy creating STEM programs at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC for these last almost 4 years. It is a fantastic job with the opportunity to reach out to students from all walks of life and engage them in the excitement that is science.

It is my passion to reach out especially to underserved students and schools and get them actively involved in science labs so they can see for themselves that a career in science is not beyond them. It is all about demystifying science and removing the fear.  I love it.

Soul Mosaic, though, has never left my soul.  I’ve just been on hiatus, feeding my soul in new ways.

As a result, I have some new things coming up in the next few months.

I am working slowly on plans for a series of book and article projects, some of which will draw directly from my Fiddler Crab experiences with Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara, and Melanie Hamilton.  Hence my favorite crustacean creatures will be reappearing in this blog and in articles and e-books in the coming months.

One – Fiddler Crab Love – will be lighthearted retrospective look at all the blog entries, couple with new comments on each one.

Another will be the The Soul Mosaic Quick Start Guide to Raising and Loving Fiddler Crabs.  I’ve accumulated a lot of experience and info on raising fiddlers and on things to do to get your setup going quickly and successfully (and keeping it that way).  So I will be publishing a short e-book on that in the coming months.

A third project – Molting Through Midlife – a soul work for sure, will be a deeper, more emotional journey through the years I was raising Admiral Byrd and company.  There was a lot going on in my life, and it’s time to look back from 5 years down the road, to explore the many truths that made themselves clear.  It will be my memoir of a difficult time, of struggle, survival, resilience, and how some tiny creatures led me to the path for a better life.

Beyond that, I have material in progress for a young reader book sharing the adventures of Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara, and Melanie Hamilton!

So I will be chronicling the progress of these projects here and keep all posted as to when and where they will be published.  In fact, for the duration, my entire focus on this blog will be these projects.  In the past I had many projects and topics I wanted to pursue.  I realize now it is time to narrow the focus…to, as I said in this early blog entry, Pick a Nipple. (If you never read that entry, please do for the explanation to what that comment means! 😉 )

I hope you will come along for the ride. Thank you!

PS  A gift to anyone in the Raleigh, Cary or Wilmington NC areas.  If you are at all interested in saltwater tanks, reef tanks (as well as freshwater tropicals, and of course Fiddler crabs 🙂 ) I found a great place with knowledgeable and helpful staff, and lots of tanks, critters and supplies:

The Fish Room

Check them out!

The Post – The Challenge of Animal Cams….

January 5, 2011

Animals are like kids – it’s a major challenge to get a good photograph of them.  When I got this photo for “Hey Baby!”  I must have shot almost 200 photos. Either he wasn’t positioned right, or he moved just as I clicked the shutter, the lighting didn’t highlight him right or I screwed up and used the wrong ISO or lens, or I used aperature priority when I should have used auto. Then of course, you can’t tell a fiddler crab “come on baby, work we me, yeah, flick your hair, turn, smile….”  And of course, the times he was in perfect position waving his claw, I was just in the middle of something else with no camera handy and by the time I grabbed the tripod and set up the camera, he was doing something else.  Suffice it to say tt was a major challenge getting one shot that he looked good in that was in focus, lit right etc.

I kept wishing I could have put my camera in the tank but too distracting and upsetting for Admiral Byrd and too awkward for me….not to mention I didn’t have one of those waterproof housings and my camera was too big for the tank.

I would have loved one of those smaller cameras you can just set up – a “fiddler cam.”  Ultimately that is the answer to good pics I think….at least in terms of spontaneity and not upsetting him, but who knows if the kind of cam I could afford would focus well etc.

However, when I saw the following video I didn’t feel so bad. If professionals could have problems, I guess I didn’t do so bad. What I encountered was nothing compared to what the BBC group photographing polar bears went through, and they even  had robotic cameras… For your viewing pleasure:  Polar Bear video

I’ll just stick to fiddler crabs…. 🙂  have a nice day.

The Post – Hey Baby! …. A Tribute to Admiral Byrd.

January 2, 2011

Hey Baby! He was always there – strong, intrepid, fearless, hopeful.  He never stopped waving his claw even when he was the only crab left. We’d come back from being out and would peer into the house from the garage door and we could see him – standing on his tank rock, the dark kitchen lit only by the light of his tank, all alone in the house, tank, world, and still, he was waving.

Fiddler crabs wave their claws to catch the attention of passing females in the hopes the female will choose the home they have made, instead of some other male’s nest. They also wave them to warn other males to stay away.

Admiral Byrd was the uncontested master of his world – the 10 gallon tank in our kitchen. He was one of three fiddler crabs we bought over two years ago. In that time he outlived Peter Lorre, Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara, Melanie Hamilton, the Three Muses and a couple other males who didn’t live long enough to be named. He was the only one of them who was ALWAYS out exploring his tank – the females rarely emerged from the inside of their rock and the other males just sat in their rocks. He was always marching about the tank, even when he was brand new and he had no idea if this aquarium place was a deathtrap or a blessing. Admiral Byrd was the first, the best, and eventually, the only. There was only one Admiral Byrd and he lives on in our heart.

I buried him outside, just as I’ve done with the dogs, gerbils, hamsters, and rat. Because he was such a special creature in spite of being our smallest pet, I buried him in my meditation corner, right next to my statues of Buddha and Mary. (They’re a story for another day).

Now, to commemorate what a tremendous spirit he had in spite of being such a small creature, I honor him with this image of him in classic Admiral Byrd pose – out and waving. He is the logo picture for my Cafe Press store, and I have a whole line of products – mugs, T-shirts, note cards. I even have a case for my iPhone 4 that carries his picture. The “Hey Baby!” quote captures his unbreakable and commanding spirit. Humans could take a lesson from his never giving up.

So with Hey Baby!  on my storefront to remind me never to give up, I can always keep his spirit in me as I work my online store. And as I sip tea in a Hey Baby! coffee mug, I can still have Admiral Byrd with me in spirit, waving at me from the cup.  But most of all, he will live on in our hearts forever. 🙂

PS  If you would like to read the history of all the fiddlers, their antics, pregnancies, lives and deaths, just click here, or on the right sidebar page titled: And What’s the Deal With All the Fiddler Crab Stuff

The Post – I won the Battle of Photoshop!!

January 1, 2011

I was struggling with putting my images up on the Cafe Press site for my nature art products.  I wanted the image of my fiddler crab, Admiral Byrd, as the main pic for the site and for its own product line. Sounds good.

Loading the image went fine but even though I used 72 pt font to type in Hey Baby!  you could barely see it on the products or even the site’s picture. I tried everything – layers, putting the text in a canvas border (boy did that look stupid) , trying to downsize the picture (even though that’s an even stupider idea than putting text in the canvas border). How was I going to get big enough letters to show up on a high resolution image?????

FINALLY I decided to go back to my book, Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac.  I had spent a couple of hours going through the book earlier, with no help. But this was like God sending St. Peter back out to keep fishing after a whole night of no fish. You go back and try one more time and WOW! Talk about God sending a lightening bolt. Lo, THERE, on page 390, which my book just HAPPENED  to open to, was the answer: “How Resolution Affects Font Size”.  Did anybody here know you could get a bigger font size than what was in the drop-down menu????  I didn’t. As it turns out, you can just type in your own font size. And based on how tiny 72 was, I went for 150.

GUESS WHAT?  YES!  My words, Hey Baby!, not only showed up but they showed up as the right size!!!!  So I now have my site’s main picture, and a product line design picture, BOTH with the appropriately sized and looking text!!!!  YES!  One battle down, 3, 276.25 battles to go! 🙂

Soon to come….why Admiral Byrd as the icon of my Cafe Press shop and why, “Hey Baby!”  🙂

PS  Looking over posts unfinished from last year, suffice to say the ants died and that project ended quickly, at least for then. I’ll revisit at some point. As as for the Muses – they and Admiral Byrd are no longer with us. But Admiral Byrd is buried outside next to my statues of Buddha and Mary. He deserved to be honored and they will watch over him.

The Post – New Fiddlers: The Three Muses

March 16, 2009

Okay….the softie in me couldn’t stand it anymore. Admiral Byrd  all alone in the tank for the last couple months. I’d expected he was on his last legs, so to speak, but he actually molted, came out bigger, stronger and has been out in the tank waving his claw….to no one in particular since he was now all alone.

Today I decided that even if he died tomorrow, he deserved company and I was tired of viewing this as a death watch instead of life. So today I went out and bought three female fiddlers and added them to the tank. They’re small…miniature compared to him….hopefully they’ll survive, but they were the biggest ones I could find. PetsMart’s – forget it. Tiny and you just couldn’t find anybody to wait on you to get them. I went to Pet Supermarket and the kid there was most helpful and dug out the three largest females in the tank for me. I had tried to go back to Fish Pros….but their storefront was empty and no one answered the phone. Alas, they may be out of business.

So, since I can’t tell the three ladies apart, at least not yet, I have named them “en masse” and call them, The Three Muses. So…..we shall see how the “introductions” go……

The Post – Play time

February 2, 2009

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but that doesn’t mean no activity. I have 3 new paintings that need to be either photographed or uploaded to this blog. So that’s coming soon, and more paintings to follow.

I’ve also decided to take a break from writing per se, and “play.” My fiddler crab project yielded quite a lot of fun, AND has brought me quite a following…it’s the steadiest draw on this blog. 🙂

SO, I will continue in the fun vein. Very shortly (like as soon as Amazon delivers it so I can mail my coupon for the critters), I will be revisiting something from my childhood, and my son’s : AN ANT FARM!!!!   I thought it would be fun to do that again only this time, chronicle it from the perspective of the 5o-year-olds in the house, ie my husband and I. Perhaps we’ll both enjoy it more than we did when we were kids!

Also coming soon will be my hermit crab project. I’ve been accumulating supplies so once the ant farm is up and running, I’ll move the hermit crab forward.

Hence, my blog will have “critter followers” of all kinds.

Speaking of critters – just a short update on the fiddlers….I’m sorry to say that in the last month or so, both Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Hamilton have died. One I think, didn’t survive her molting, the other may just have been old age. They both lived abou a year, a lot longer than guaranteed by PetsMart. Admiral Byrd is still alive and well and just molted again. It will be interesting to see if he is much more long-lived than the two ladies. I haven’t decided if I want to restart the fiddler project with new females. I may just let it go as is. We’ll see.

Anyway, stay tuned in the not too distant future for ANTS!! 🙂

The Post – Admiral Byrd Kicks Back on Father’s Day With Bubbles

June 15, 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve done any fiddler crab updates. Just to let you all know, they are alive and well. I’ve been under the weather a lot, so I had to put my attempts to raise babies on hiatus. However, not to worry. I’ll get there yet.

In the meantime, suffice it to say both ladies are doing well and have been mostly hanging out in their live rock. However, I did notice today that one of them was resting in Admiral Byrd’s “lair.” So I suppose babies might be on the horizon again in the not too distant future.

Admiral Byrd decided to celebrate Father’s Day by kicking back and relaxing. He climbed out of the water and sat on top of his cave rock, blowing bubbles. It does have that “foaming at the mouth” look, but in reality, I think he’s just relaxing and aerating his gills while he sits out of water. He keeps moving his claws and legs up and down as if he’s using them to spread the bubbles around and like he’s then washing himself. It does look odd. But, he seemed pretty relaxed.

I came across this entry from Wet Web Media’s FAQ on Freshwater Fiddler Crabs, where someone else noticed the exact same behavior with their fiddler crab, and asked about it:

“Odd freshwater Crab behaviour
I have a ten gallon tank with low water and rocks for crabs and other crustaceans. I bought some crabs and here’s my q’s.
Today the male??, one large one small claw, climbed out of the water onto the rock and started foaming? or bubbling from his face and doing something, like he was washing?? what is this? He the proceeded to sit then later he did this crazy claw dance, waving his arms around slowly in these rhythmic motions all the way out and then back in, what the heck? Does he have mad crab disease?

>> Crabs have to get oxygen when they are out of the water they will “chew” a small amount of water to mix it with air and get oxygen from this process, that is likely why your crab is foaming. He is waving his claws to show his territory and attract females, so he is not mad. …For a great website on crabs and other crustaceans check http://www.crusta10.de not sure if it is all in English, but the site owner is one of the most knowledgeable people on the subject. Good Luck, Oliver”

For some pics of Admiral Byrd’s bubble-blowing session, here you go!

First from the front:

And then from the back…note that Admiral Byrd is still watching me even though I am photographing him behind his back…he has his “eyes” tilted back to watch me:

The Post – Fiddler Babies Thrive in the “White Cloud.”

March 30, 2008

The white cloud in the babies’ tank continues, yet the water quality is GREAT.

What mystifies me is the absolute ?attraction the fiddler babies have for the aragonite sand and the reef rock. They swarm all over areas of the sand, stirring up clouds of dust, and bouncing down against the aragonite sand, then move on to another area. They are equally attracted to the reef rock, which is nothing more than a hunk of petrified coral.

On the flip side, while they swim by the live rock, they do not seem to be interested in it to any great extent, even though there is a wide variety of algae growing all over it.

The aragonite sand is Seachem’s Meridian Marine Tidal Substrate. The reef rock is “Carib Sea Reef Rock.” Both products help to maintain proper pH and calcium levels, as well as encourage the growth of coralline algae and beneficial bacteria. In fact, I suspect it is the cloud of aragonite dust in the water that may have helped spur the bacteria on, resulting in the nitrite levels in the tank dropping to zero. It just seems counterintuitive to me, to have a tank of water I can barely see through, yet have it be so healthy by the numbers.

I shine the flashlight in the tank and can see thousands of babies swimming around, digging in the sand, or clustering on the reef rock. All are in motion, so they are most definitely alive. I have to wonder if there are already lots of microscopic algae on the surfaces of the sand and the reef rock, and the congregating of the fiddler babies is about eating what’s there.

I am currently feeding them 4 drops of Wardley’s Essentials Small Fry Liquid Food and a 1/4 tsp of Kent Marine’s ZooPlex, 3 times a day. I’m being very careful not to overfeed, and monitoring ammonia and nitrite levels 2-3 times a day.

I’ve also started the live brine shrimp hatchery going, though I have to say, I’m not sure if that’s something I want to deal with on a regular basis. Just one more job I have to do and as one of the sites mentioned, if you can’t get live food, frozen brine shrimp is the next best thing. I know I saw cubes of frozen brine shrimp at PetsMart and I may yet change to that. But for now, I’ll see the “sea monkey” hatching project through and see how it goes. I expect I’ll have hatched brine shrimp by tomorrow so I will try some of that instead of the liquid feeds and see what happens.

Just as an aside, I found a page on About.com that mentions their top picks for “small fry” food.

While these are primarily small fry as in baby fish, they all contain the multitude of nutrients need, and in an accessible, easily digested liquid form for young aquatic creatures. So I’m not too concerned.

Frankly, even though the Kent Marine ZooPlex is supposed to be for larval invertebrates, I have to say I’m more happy with the “dispersal” ability of Wardley’s Small Fry food. Wardley’s is a milky liquid that spreads completely and uniformly through the tank, so the most food and nutrients are available to the most number of critters.

The Kent’s on the other hand, is like ground up bits of brine shrimp in a pink liquid. The instructions say a teaspoon per 50 gallons, and since I’ve only got a 10 gallon tank, I am giving 1/4 tsp of the stuff. However it seems like precious little food, that probably isn’t getting to anywhere near the number of baby fiddlers that are hungry and needing to eat. So at least so far, I’m not that impressed with the Kent Marine ZooPlex and will stick primarily with Wardley’s. From there it’s live or frozen brine shrimp.

I raised the salinity of the aquarium yesterday to 1.017 from 1.012. I’d be happy to get to 1.020, which is close enough to a marine environment. I’ll leave it there for a couple weeks then, and gauge the appropriate time to lower it back down to brackish. I want to match that to the development of the more advanced crab forms from the initial larval stages.

As to the adult crabs – they’re doing fine in the main tank. Admiral Byrd, flush with mating success these days, never stops waving his claw. In fact, yesterday, I no sooner put Scarlett O’Hara back in the main tank, and he was right there saying “hi.” She hid behind the water filter to eat…though not too hidden, he actually lay backwards and slightly upside down on the water heater near her, and waved his claw at her upside down. Talk about “never give up.”

Anyway, so far, so good. We’ll see how this progresses over the next few days. It would be nice to keep many alive to actually make it to adult crab stage. Stay tuned!

The Gift

March 26, 2008

In keeping with my “photo gifts” kind of mood this week, as well as my “Under the Pier” posting today, some new shots of Admiral Byrd waving at you.

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He has got to be the crab equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger given he holds that claw up for MANY hours a day, every day now. I should be so buff…..

I will also note that while he waves that claw so diligently in his attempts to flag down women, he is very pragmatic and can multi-task. He can keep that large claw in the air and wave it back and forth, even as he manages to pick up a shrimp pellet with the other claw and eat. The guy’s gotta keep up his strength, right? 🙂