Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good Times at Herp Tech

While in New Mexico last week, I spent my nights at an institution called Herp Tech. Herp Tech in the nickname of the house where my friends Geoff and Aaron live in Bosque Farms, south of Albuquerque. Bosque Farms is a quirky little village on the edge of the Isleta Pueblo.

Like the rest of Valencia County, Bosque Farms residents include farmers, ranchers, and artists. Geoff and Aaron are artists themselves but above all, herpetologists. Geoff's niece Katie recently moved in and has much improved the order of the place.

Geoff was a big help during my thesis research. He gave me a place to stay and store my gear, space to build my cicada traps, and entertainment at countless barbeques. Herp Tech has provided refuge for many a weary field biologist during the long summer seasons and winter off-seasons.

A variety of animals also make their homes at Herp Tech and, as the name suggests, most are reptiles or amphibians.

On this last trip I counted four dogs,

four cats, one nervous hamster, three exotic tortoises,

five rattlesnakes in a securely closed terrarium, one Great Plains kingsnake, one blue-tongued skink, one gecko, several frogs, countless tropical fish,

several painted turtles, a red-eared slider, a snapping turtle, a collared lizard, and at least one green iguana.

The property lies right next to the bosque where I conduct my field work.

The bosque makes for a great yard list of birds, but this spring it also makes for a large number of mosquitoes because due to flooding. Though I lost a lot of blood, I had a great stay at the Tech last week, catching up with old friends and cooking a lot of good food. Everyone seems to have mellowed a bit with age, which is probably a good thing. I hope to return for another stay next year.

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