First Week of School

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This was my first week of school. I’m SO tired. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things and there seems to be a lot more homework to do in 9th grade. Summer vacation went by just too fast.
Manda and I are still collecting money for the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Center for Animal Research & Education. We have a little over $500 to earn to meet our $4,000 goal for this season. It is not too late to support these two great causes. Be sure to check out their links — you can find them on this blog. Tell your friends, too.

We are SO close to our goal — just $500 more!

I will have more animal stories soon after school gets going and I am used to it again. Talk to you soon — and THANKS.

Bearded Dragon instead of Toads

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I changed-out my fire-bellied toads that I got a couple days ago for Reggie II. Nobody told me how much a fire-bellied toad STINKS! After a few days of owning them they were not eating at all and were starting to seem lethargic. I was really worried I was not doing something right with them. We were purifying their water and feeding them their crickets, but they would not touch them. I took them back  and swapped them out for a bearded dragon. I’ve named him Reginald Zeke the II (Reggie and Zeke were the toad’s names). The only bad part is that I have live mealworms that I feed him and I keep them stored under my bed. My mom is not too happy about that.

Reggie II seems very curious. He’s been checking out his new home and he watches us and what we are doing. He has already clung to my hand so I think we are bonding. He sucked down some mealworms real fast, too.

Reggie the bearded dragon.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

According to the Bearded Dragon Guide (http://www.beardeddragonguide.com), “bearded dragon lizards are native to Australia. They live in rocky and arid regions of the country and are adept climbers. Dragons have large triangular heads and flat bodies with pointed ridges along the sides. They are omnivorous, eating both insects and plants.
Bearded dragons make a great pet lizard. They don’t get too large, eat a wide variety of foods, are active during the day, and are gentle animals. Bearded dragons are captive bred, have limited care requirements, readily available, and inexpensive. A  bearded dragon can be a great addition to your family.” Adult bearded dragons can get to be about 12 inches long but are still very easy to take care of.

As for the Reggie and Zeke the fire-bellied toads, the shop guy told me today that they were doing fine. He added them back to their original habitat and they started eating and jumping around again. I must not have a knack for taking care of amphibians. Reggie II seems happy, though.

BTW — a special thanks to Lani Aker who just sent money to order a JoeSentMe! tee-shirt and donate the proceeds, too. THANKS! We’re getting closer and closer to that $4,000 goal!

Reggie checking out his new pad.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

We’re REAL close!

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Hi everyone. We are almost at the $4,000 fundraising goal by August 12. I will still collect money all year for both the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and for the Center for Animal Research & Education, but I could work a lot on it over the summer.

If you know someone who will contribute we only have a little over $600 to go.
I wanted to give some shout-outs to a few people. Thanks for your help, Manda. I think we make a good fundraising team and you pulled my can out of the fire more than a few times. My grandparents and my aunt gave me some more money because they said they wanted me to reach my goal. Thanks, grandma Metroka and Aunt Shellie and grandpa Metroka.

The Nature Center sent out an article about Manda and I raising money this year and one of the longtime friends of the Nature Center contributed, too. Thanks Ms. Leonard. I really like the Leonard museum by M&O’s. I even have a shirt from there.

Joe in his Leonard’s Department Store Museum tee-shirt.
Photo by Kari Kirkham

If the readers of this blog have not been to that museum yet you need to go if you live in this area. Then go have lunch at M&O’s. They have GREAT burgers, and I really like the cupcakes that Rose makes.

M&O’s Station Grill and Leonard Department Store Museum at 200 Carroll Street, Fort Worth 76107

Welcome Zeke & Reggie!

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I got two fire-bellied toads today. I named them Zeke and Reggie. Who knows if they are female or not? One is larger than the other so I figure it must be the male. That’s Zeke. The other is either a female or a scrawny male. That’s Reggie. I figure “Reggie” is a safe name. It can either be a boy’s name OR it can be short for “Regina.”

I really hope they last a little longer than my fish, although Peggy the beta held out for a long time. They are not endangered per se although a lot of amphibians are disappearing due to pesticides and all. So in a way, they are endangered.

According to e-How.com, fire-bellied toads are native to Europe and Asia. They live in forests, mountainous areas, meadows and river areas. They live by water although some have been found several hundred feet from the water source. Fire-bellied toads eat a lot of different things like mealworms, crickets, fruit flies. If you have them as pets it’s even suggested to feed them a little lean red meat or fish now and then. Fire-bellied toads can live a long time (up to 12 years) if you don’t do something stupid like not purifying their water or expose them to toxic stuff.

Right now I have them in a temporary aquarium. I want to put them in something a larger so they have room to move

Reggie getting used to a new habitat.
Photo by Joe Kirkham

Reggie (front) & Zeke (back).
Photo by Joe Kirkham

around more.
Read more: Facts on Fire-Bellied Toads | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6384480_fire_bellied-toads.html#ixzz22KjDFAQB

What Type of Bird has the Most Feathers?

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Most of you guessed right. It’s a SWAN who has the most feathers. They have about 25,000 feathers. They have almost more than any other bird. I don’t really know which bird has the most but I’m willing to bet it is the ostrich just because of its size.

Just 2.5 Weeks to Go! Then, back to the GRIND!!!

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Hi everyone. This is Joe.  My friend Manda and I raised $2985 so far for the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Center for Animal Research & Education (Big Cat CARE)!

We have a goal to raise $4,000 before I go back to school on August 13. Manda goes to a different school than I do so she will start back a little later in August. We fundraise all year but this big drive for JoeSentME! will end.
Thanks to ALL of YOU who have donated and supported us. And thanks to all of you who also bought JoeSentMe! tee-shirts.
Manda and I have a favor to ask you. Will you PLEASE forward this blog to your friends?

We just need to earn $1015 more in two-and-a-half weeks.


1 penny to 1 dollar — we’ll take anything to help these two organizations help animals!!!

You can make checks or send cash to JoeBites, 2316 Ashland Avenue, Fort Worth, X 76107

You can also see how to donate for a tee-shirt from this blog. Just go to Raising $ with JoeSentMe!


America’s Zoo!!!

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I just got back from a trip to Virginia and Washington DC. It was very cool. I had a great time. We went to a bunch of the national monuments, the Smithsonian Museum of History (I saw Kermit and Dorothy’s ruby slippers), the Spy Museum, the Newseum, we went to the White House where  I saw the President’s dog, Bo.

The other thing is that we went to the National Zoo. The zoo was really large and had lots of animals. It’s famous for having a panda and kiwis. Those are small flightless birds with long beaks that live in New Zealand. I didn’t get to see them though because their enclosure was having some renovations added to it.  I wanted to share some pictures of it all with you, so check them out below and on the picture page.

I’m still raising money throughout July for the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Center for Animal Research & Education if you have not donated to the cause yet. If you are interested, send any donation amount or make checks payable to JoeBites, 2316 Ashland Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76107. THANKS!

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa, DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa DC

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

National Zoo, Wa DC
Photo by Joe Kirkham

We’re More than Half-way There!

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Hi everyone. Thanks for giving a donation to Joe Sent Me! for the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and the Center or Animal Research & Education (Big Cat CARE, now with lemurs, too).

As of this date we have earned a little over $2500!

We hope we get to split a good amount for each. My friend Manda and I want to raise at least $4,000 by the end of July. Manda will be helping me when I get back from vacation. I am going away for a week to Virginia for my cousin’s wedding and also to go visit Washington, D.C. I will post  new interviews and pictures in a couple weeks. I hope that you will check them out.

If you still want to donate or you know someone who might want to donate to Big Cat CARE and the FWNC&R, send your donation c/o Joe Bites. Sorry I did not say that in my first bunch of letters I sent. The address is 2316 Ashland Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76107. If you want to learn more about the Nature Center or CARE, check out their links on my blog.

Thanks and I will post after I get back.


p.s. Starting in July I will be volunteering at the FWNC&R day summer camps. I’ll report on that, too.

Quiet Hill is a Great Place to Watch Nature Wander By!

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My parents and I have visited a place in Doss, Texas (right next to Fredericksburg) called Quiet Hill Ranch. It is owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Whatley who have lived there for 30+ years. They come from families that have lived around the area there for six generations.

The Whatley’s started out as cattle ranchers. Then, in 1995 they started renting out cabins to people. In 1997, they built a wildlife observatory. This is a great place to take pictures and study wildlife. When I was there I saw mostly birds. The Whatley’s get lots of different types, like the Painted Bunting, the Black-capped Vireo, and the Scott’s & Orchard Orioles.

I asked Mr. Whatley a few questions about Quiet Hill and the wildlife observatory. Here is what he had to say:

J: Mr. Whatley, how did the ranch turn from a working cattle ranch into a place where people can book a cabin, hold weddings and family reunions, and especially observe wildlife and nature?

Mr. W: Joe, in the late 1980’s-early 1990’s, cattle ranching was a very tough go (nothing new there).  The lingering drought, bad press about beef, and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) all combined to drop the price of beef as low as I have ever seen it (I bought my first cow in 1953 at the age of 9 years).  So, as usual, Cindy and I began praying to God for guidance in what direction we should go to enable us to stay on the ranch and raise our family here.  Quiet Hill Ranch is the answer to that prayer!!!

Quiet Hill Ranch Observatory
Photo by Quiet Hill Ranch

J: What are some of the different types of animals that you have seen? What are some of the different types of birds?

Black-and-White Warbler
© Copyright 2007
Quiet Hill Ranch Photography

Mr. W: Gosh, Joe that’s a big question… Well let’s see, there’s the deer, raccoons, skunks, opossum, bobcats, ringtails, rabbits (jack&cottontail), squirrels, porcupines, armadillo, coyote, snakes and lizards of all kinds (sorry, because of fire ants there are no more horny toads tho)-: I’m sure I’ve left out a bunch.  The bird sightings are too great to list here but one of our guests photographed 38 different species from the observatory in one day.  That did not include the numerous flycatchers etc down in the meadow below.  I have personally seen more that 100 different species of birds here at Quiet Hill Ranch.

J: Have you ever seen animals like bears or bobcats? Tell me about that.

Mr. W: I have seen bobcats here on the ranch.  There have been sighting reports by hunters and other ranchers of Mexican black bear and mountain lions in the area.  Just to be honest, I hope they stay far away from Quiet Hill Ranch.  We have enough to deal with as it is with the coyotes etc.

Painted Bunting
Male Painted Bunting
© Copyright 2007
Quiet Hill Ranch Photography

J: I have seen your cat, Snoopy, your pig, Pork-and-Beans, the chickens, and I think a horse. Do you have any other animals I have not mentioned?

Joe and Mr. Whatley at Quiet Hill Ranch a few years ago.

Mr. W: Snoopy is doing very well.  He hasn’t (contrary to what he may tell you) been elevated from Head Barn Cat to house cat status.  Pork-n-Beans lived his entire 15 years at Quiet Hill Ranch.  He passed away Sept 12, 2000.  He is still greatly missed.  You probably remember his favorite thing…eating whipped cream from a spoon.  You might say he lived very large…in many ways. He will never be replaced but we have a new pig.  She is Queen Prissilla and she enjoys life at the ranch too.  She is especially thankful ol Jim didn’t put in one of those new fangled garbage disposals.  She looooves eating the table scraps of the Quiet Hill Guests.

Rest in peace Pork-n-Beans!

   I really love visiting Quiet Hill Ranch and I hope we get to go back there sometime soon. The Whatley’s are extra-nice,
  too. If your family needs something to do for a weekend you should drive over and stay at Quiet Hill Ranch.

Here is their website for you to check out:

Quiet Hill Ranch: http://www.quiethillranch.com/index.htm


CARE needs a new truck!

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The Center for Animal Research & Education (CARE) is asking everyone to vote for them on this link so that they can win a new truck. They need this truck to haul food and even the animals, themselves.

Go to this link:

http://www.100carsforgood.com and click on “vote.”



Pass the word around.



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