LAURENCE PRINGLE'S BLOG
November 12, 2018
Earlier this fall I researched and wrote the text of THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SLOTH. An editor wondered why this manuscript had less action and drama than, say, my books about a woolly bear caterpillar, red fox, and little brown bat. I had to explain: it is a sloth! These mammals are the least-energetic and slowest of all mammals. So, in writing I could not use words like "leaped," "scampered," "raced," or many other action words. Nevertheless, readers will get to know, and become emotionally attached to, the female sloth and the young male she gives birth to. Soon artist Kate Garchinsky will start her research and sketches, leading many months from now to a gloriously illustrated book.
And speaking of bats, on October 24th a house painter removed our bat house from a wall of our home, and a bat fell out. I rescued it, putting it a nearby shed. The bat house was put back and on Halloween I looked in, seeing one sleeping bat. Perhaps it was the same one. This incident led me to watch for bats foraging in the sky, to see if they might still be out there hunting insects. They were--as long as the temperatures at dusk were about 60 degrees F. And I saw two sizes of bats, probably little browns and big browns. It never occurred to me to watch for bats so deep in the fall, so I thank the house painter for that.
August 21, 2016
At this time of year, my wife Susan and I are glad we are NOT on vacation. Why leave paradise in West Nyack? The vegetable garden is producing a bountiful crop, especially of cucumbers and tomatoes. Arriving guests are told that they must take away some fresh produce. Many song birds are fairly quiet these days, but the dog-day cicada chorus is steady. Hummingbirds visit cardinal flowers and jewelweed blossoms. The cicadas are still going at about 8 p.m., then we hear the first katydids and crickets.
Some evenings, about 8:30, I go to watch the sky over our yard and gardens, and am
sometimes rewarded with the dodging, darting dance of a little brown bat, chasing moths. And the night can bring a mix of sounds: the delightful "whinny" of a screech
owl, or the worrisome howls, barks, and yips of coyotes. A mom coyote and her young seem to be in the neighborhood quite a bit--so far not seen but those sounds are unmistakable, and scary. We make sure the three cats are in for the night!