I have always loved animals, especially insects. As a child I would hide bugs in my pocket in order to sneak them into the house (my parents quickly caught on). After the secret was out, I began keeping and raising a vast quantity of arthropods. My room was full of various enclosures containing everything from isopods to mantids. However, my favorite were the butterflies. At the right time of year, females could be observed laying eggs under leaves - that I carefully collected. It intrigued me how the entire life cycle and metamorphoses of a butterfly could be observed from my bookshelf! Pictured: Jamie, age 8 with her monarchs.
Years ago, I saw an A. versicolor in an exotic pet store. I was taken aback by the spiders vibrant coloring and the way it marched, front legs high in the air. I had never experienced such overwhelming curiosity, or draw, to an animal. Naturally, I took “Linux” home with me.
Linux was by far the most interesting “pet” I have ever kept. Within a few months I had obtained many more tarantulas from the genus Avicularia. Each specimen had it’s own personality, and each possessed unique attributes. I wanted my animals to be healthy, happy, and act as they would in the wild. I couldn’t find an existing cage that provided what I believed my specimens needed. At the time, I was lucky enough to work in a Machine Shop; thus, I had the tools available to manufacture my own cages. Over the years - with much trial and error - the designs improved. To this day we continue to design and re-design our cages to provide a pet tarantula with the most ideal enclosure possible.
Tarantulas are captivating observational pets. When kept in the right conditions your pet tarantula will behave exactly as they would in the wild. Their day-to-day routine can be observed through the looking glass of an enclosure.
I have many hobbies in addition to acquiring and raising tarantulas. First and foremost, I love to cook! For nearly 4 years I was a private chef. I was once a chef on a charter yacht, and even attended culinary school. I still cater and offer in-home cooking classes. I don't know that I specialize in any one type of food. I particularly enjoy fusion cooking. I love bringing together favorite elements from French, Asian & Mexican cooking styles, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. Lately, I have been into Charcuterie; making my own cured ham, smoked bacon, and even dry salami! Pictured: Macadamia nut crusted Mahi-Mahi in pineapple-vanilla rum sauce.
Aside from tarantulas my hobbies include reading and spend time in my garden. Poultry are another hobby of mine.
I am currently exploring the hobby of aquaponics (culturing fish and plants together in a recirculating system) I believe Aquaponics is a very real and feasible solution to many of the problems we face in this day and age. It is an incredibly interesting, rewarding and delicious hobby. Recommended reading.