Keeping a Vigilant Eye on the Coming New Year


Monday, January 1, 2024,

Happy New Year, friends. I wish you all the best. This is a pair of photos I took just yesterday. As far as I can recall, this is the first time I’ve ever posted pics of myself here at Joe Kayaker. And now, you can see why.  🙂

The little beauty beside and atop me is Marigold. She’s the newest Possum that I am helping to train to become an Animal Ambassador at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, New York. Marigold is a doll and very human-friendly, although it did take a bit of work to get her there. This poor orphan was the runt of her litter. In fact, she was so small that after just a few weeks, her brothers and sisters were twice her size. Her siblings will all be released, but this little girl is just too petite to make it in the real world. Happily, for her and for us, she is acclimating to life at Sweetbriar.

Yesterday was the first time I walked around with her on my shoulder. Before then, we’d been cuddling her in our arms or letting her snuggle into our hoodies. However, if I’m going to take her into the yard to see the world and greet folks, she needs to become comfortable on my shoulders or chest. Luckily, Possums are amazing climbers and clambering about on a biped presents few challenges for these wonderful marsupials. JK.


Tuesday, August 8, 2023,

This is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly that I spied in the gardens at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown, NY. As some of you know, I am a long-time volunteer there. I do various things for SB. Sometimes, I give talks and tours. Other times, I help with the feeding of animals or, maybe, I check water qualities for the fish or Axolotyl tanks. But, in my spare time, when I’m not playing with Penny, one of our Red Foxes, or a Possum, or one of the countless other animals we have, I will sometimes bring out my camera and take photos. These two pics were taken while I was goofing off.  JK.