Thursday, August 28, 2008

I Saw Franny Today!

Sarah made a batch of brownies last night for the good Vet doctor and Vet Tech who've been working to preserve little kitty Franny's life. I was delivery person. The Vet Tech greeted me with news that Franny had her first solid poo last night! That's the first time in over two weeks, mind you, so it was something the entire Vet staff apparently celebrated with "wahoos" and exclamations of that sort.

I got to cuddle her while she purred non-stop, nuzzled my chin, sniffed my nose and mouth repeatedly--I'm assuming because she wanted to be sure it was me, after all! I haven't held her in over a week now.

So the Vet thinks Franny has turned the corner and we're all hoping she'll now begin to put some meat on her very little, thin bones. Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes and snuggles for Franny. I know she appreciates every one!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's This? A Visiting Monarch?

What's this? Lurking just out of focus?

Hmmmmm. Illusive lovely creature, no?

Come on. This camera thing won't hurt. I promise!
(Famous paparazzi quote, right?)
Just unfold your royal wings a bit, if you please . . .

I must have offended her highness.
She took off and fluttered and swirled up the hill and across the road.
Hold ON! She's back!
Still a bit camera shy, however.

Well, if that's the best you'll allow, I'll take it!
Thanks for your time.

(She did have her wings fully open a couple of times
--but of course--
it didn't happen when I had a camera to prove it!)

Still, these lovely creatures ARE so beautiful.
And this one seemed to be in pristine condition.
Maybe another day I'll get lucky and catch an opened-wing shot!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Update on Kitty Franny

Latest news on little kitty Franny is that she's sort of holding her own. Sarah was able to visit her yesterday and hold her for a little while, whereupon Franny purred and snuggled up under her chin--her favorite snuggle spot. It comforted her to know Franny hadn't forgotten her after almost a week of separation. The Vet isn't ready to quit on this tiny ball of fur just yet. And Franny apparently has quite the fighting spirit about her. Even though every morsel of food seems to run straight through her--moments after being consumed--she maintains the urge to eat and forge on. So if the ugly virus hasn't scarred her intestinal tract permanently, she might just pull through this seeming endless misery. We're hopeful. We're grateful for a Vet who cares enough to test his knowledge, training, and skill to keep her going! We're looking forward to the day she turns into a chubby little ball of bouncing fur!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Butterfly Photo Shoot

Friday afternoon I went out to check the mail box and found this lovely creature visiting some of the flowers we planted earlier--with enticing creatures like this in mind. We love flowers and beautiful winged creatures like this one, which I believe might be a Tiger Swallow? Fascinated, I watched as it slurped its way through several of the dianthus blooms then drifted off, circled around--as only butterflies can--and came back for more. I dashed into the house, up the stairs and grabbed the camera hoping for the chance to catch a few shots of it going about its business. (And I didn't fall down or break anything, either! That was pretty cool in itself.)

I was at first disappointed when I stepped back outside. My pretty subject had flitted away. But I waited and watched and it came along, teasing me by drawing close then swirling off and around, up to the roof and drifting back as if it were deciding whether or not I was friend or foe before it settled on one flower or another satisfying its need for the sweet nectar.

Isn't it lovely? And it's such a large butterfly, it was fairly easy to follow it around!
It also made it a bit easier to catch a shot up fairly close
without it flitting away and me losing sight of it.

More often than I dared to hope, it fully opened its wings and allowed me to get very close and snap its picture.

This plant with the white blossoms is called a "butterfly plant" by the folks we bought it from.
Early on I noticed that one of its "swallow tail" tails was missing. After downloading the pictures, I noticed that its wing (the left one) seems to have sustained damage further up as well. That made me sad, to see such a lovely creature damaged.

This little bush is called a butterfly bush. Appropriate, I guess.

I actually saw its underside more often than top side. Perhaps its body weight caused that to occur. I'm not sure.
I think you can really see the damage quite clearly in this shot. Poor dear.
Isn't it beautiful regardless?

I hope I'm not boring you out of your mind. I was/am so amazed that this pretty insect allowed me the privilege of taking so many pictures of it.
It was fun watching it take off and return again and again.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering who that great masculine image is . . .
standing as a back-drop . . . That's my one and only.
Perspective being what it is, as BB of Granite Glen mentioned in her most recent blog post . . . my man is 6'4". (I know you don't get to see the entire package. Sorry. He's a bit camera shy.) Not sure about the butterfly's size, but I think it's around a 5" wing span. Since I didn't have my ruler with me at the time, and it might not have stood still long enough for me to measure it anyway . . . Well, I'm sure you understand. Besides, with one damaged wing, I wasn't about to do something to cause further trauma.

It's Friday Again--and Little Franny's at the Vet's

Wednesday's post dealt with our sadness at the passing of little kitty, Zooey. That evening, Sarah noticed that Franny was showing signs of "going downhill" as well. She called the vets (friends of hers) who'd been treating these cuties almost since she first adopted them. She was afraid she was seeing the "writing on the wall." Great Vet team that these guys are, weren't about to give up on Franny since she was still showing signs of determination to carry on.

It's been too quiet here. I sometimes think I'm hearing the tiny little mewing--but don't. Franny is holding her own, at last report. We're hoping--and praying--that she can conquer this yucky virus her brother succumbed to. I'll keep you posted.
(I made an attempt to post some other pictures of Franny and Zooey--but I don't know what I'm doing, and every attempt resulted with the pictures being 90 degrees off horizonal and I couldn't fix it. It could possibly have something to do with me being a little off kilter. I dunno.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We're Sad Today

We're sad today because this cute little fur ball, who looked like the picture postcard Kitten of the year, passed away last night. Apparently, according to the vet, he (and his sister) had a virus--most likely contracted from their mother, and though we were treating for symptoms, didn't really know what we were dealing with until he suddenly, yesterday started showing symptoms that were really scary--and indicated some brain dysfunction.

It's hard when you adopt a little kitten that looks the picture of health and is full of energy--then begins a downward spiral so quickly, all the while you're trying to do everything you can to keep them healthy.

It is the cycle of life, I suppose, and gratefully wasn't a child. But our hearts have lots of room for love--and consequently--for pain. This pain in not as heart-wrenching as that of losing a loved family member, though some people count their pets as family. But, we are continuing to work to keep his sister from falling to the same fate. She seems more robust--though that didn't seem to be the case at the beginning.

Now, I'm hurting because my daughter, Sarah, is hurting, and because I loved the little kitty myself. She loves her little cats, and has wanted her own cat(s)--again--after having lost other cats/kittens due to health issues, as well, or because they simply got lost in the past.

Life--including death--continually challenges us. Hopefully, we'll grow and be better for the experiences. But right now, we're sad.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Different Bees

The big bee on the right is huge! And apparently a carpenter bee. The smaller one is something different. It has the tiniest little wings! Love my basil that they're enjoying!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cardinal Bird and Bumble Bee

Last Monday evening, my husband and I were eating a late supper. On the patio immediately outside of the dining room French doors are several pots of herbs, one tomato plant and one jalapeno plant. I wasn't too surprised to see a beautiful male Cardinal fly down and perch on the side of the pot holding the jalapeno plant. However, what it did next, did cause me some wonder.

It hopped off the edge and stood in the dirt at the base of the plant for a moment, then hopped to the opposite side of the pot. It flitted a way for a moment and returned, following the same behavior. The third repetition of his actions amazed me even more. He started tugging on one of the peppers! I couldn't believe it. Those peppers are spicy! He flitted off once more and then returned to tug on the pepper once again.

I mentioned it to my husband, whose back was toward the French doors so that he missed the entire escapade. He didn't believe me. I verified my comment by saying, "Look for yourself" without thinking that any movement on my husband's part would probably frighten the bird away. Well, Husband turned, bird skedaddled. Husband was not convinced. So, not willing to be disbelieved, I opened the French doors and pointed to the remains of the accosted pepper. The evidence was there! Husband took a different tack. "He better leave my peppers alone!" Then,
"Why would a red bird want to eat a jalapeno pepper? It doesn't make sense!"

"Okay; I agree, but he did bite on it, more than once! I don't understand it, but I know what I witnessed!" That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!
This is the pepper plant the Cardinal set his eyes upon.

This is the evidence of the bird's designs on Husband's jalapeno pepper.

AND the damage he left behind!

When I went out, a moment ago to capture a picture of the poor pepper (evidence, you know) I was barely missed by a flying missile--yes that very large critter in the top middle of the picture above--the one that seems to be ingesting Basil nectar. That one!

This Basil Plant is a very close neighbor to the Jalapeno Pepper Plant. The activity around it (the Basil Plant) has been rather remarkable the past several days, too. One day I saw several very large Bumble Bees, some smaller looking Bumble Bees (or whatever they are--I'd say they were less than half, maybe only one third the size of the bigger ones), a yellow-jacket I mistook for a Honey Bee at first, and then a Humming bird came tasting the goodies provided by my well loved Basil Plant. The fragrance, I have to admit, is a bit heady! Were I an insect or nectar drinking bird, I too, would probably sup at that table.

Wait! I do sup at that table! I plucked several of its lovely leaves for my spaghetti sauce just last week. (So, it wasn't nectar. So what?) Of course, I also plucked some fresh Oregano and Rosemary leaves/sprigs to join the Basil. It (the spaghetti sauce) was yummy, if I do say so!

Okay. Back to the Bee. Confound it! It didn't want to sit still for two seconds for me to focus on it so I could get a good picture of it. (We're talking "portrait" mode here. No real zoom lens. I was six inches or less from this insect.) So, it was intent on its business, not mine. (I guess I can be thankful for that.) At any rate, while I was commanding it to be still for a least a moment, and clicking off as many shots as I could, I looked away from the camera long enough to notice its starboard wing wasn't whole. Poor baby! However does it manage to fly? (I'm really proud of this shot! I wasn't sure I'd managed it. I think I mentioned a post or three back that so many of the pictures I take with Husband's camera, I take virtually blind. I point, pray and click.)

I did manage to get a few other good shots of this little (BIG?) flying critter, but I didn't want to bore you! Perhaps these two will suffice.

Anyway, has anyone out there witnessed similar, weird behavior in red birds--or other birds--that you'd like to share? So now I have TWO questions for you folks out there: One about Cardinal Bird diets, and the other about How do Bumble Bees fly with missing wing parts? Please let me know.


Franny and Zooey is the title of a J D Salinger book about a brother and sister. That's why Sarah chose the names for the little furry brother and sister. I might have chosen other names, but then, I'm not Sarah. "SMILE" ;-}

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Kittens--Franny and Zooey

These are the rescued kittens that Sarah found almost two weeks ago at the animal shelter. Her heart nearly broke from seeing all the little furry kitties without homes and had only come to find one. She wanted to save them all, but couldn't bare to only rescue one of a pair. Two were sharing a cage and we were told they were brother and sister--as far as they knew. They appeared to be about the same age--somewhere between 3-5 weeks. Little. Little bitty. Little bitty fluffy, kitties.

This cutie fur ball (below) is Zooey: pronounced like Zo--ee, from the title of a J D Salinger book. Zooey is a little male kitten. His face and other markings are preciously perfect and he knows how to use his good looks, let me tell you! That's not even mentioning his tiny, pathetic little "meow". Heart rending. I tell you, simply heart rending--just before you chuckle because you know he's using all his pull on your tenderest heart strings!

Now, I'd like to introduce you to petite featured Franny.
This precious little female has very long limbs and body,
but much tinier feet and face than her bro. Zooey.
She's very non-confrontational,
but will give Bro. Dear a good tussle when there aren't other options.
She's quite a beauty in her own right.
Her fur is thicker than Zooey's obvious tabby-marked one,
though she has very muted tabby markings of her own.

Here's Zooey putting on the "cute" factor--again.
His little feet are much larger than his sister's.

Little Franny likes to eat. Can't tell so much yet because of her rather bony frame, but the vet said she looks pretty healthy. They've both had their initial shots and will get boosters in a couple of weeks.

This duo shared one little bowl of food up until about yesterday--
without quarreling, if you can imagine that!
When their little heads got just a mite too large for easy sharing,
Sarah provided individual bowls.
I already mentioned Zooey's tiny little mewing.
Franny's is a little quieter than his, which is hard to imagine!
They're both awfully well mannered little ones to have been without their Momma
at such an early age!

Sarah likes Zooey's natural "white eyeliner." He really is just too cute for words.

Just like a kitten should be!

It was really very difficult to take pictures of them.

1) They were fascinated by the camera--wanted to be right up in the lens,

2) were moving too fast for my novice skill status to get the shutter to click often enough or fast enough to catch their antics, AND

3) they desperately wanted to play with the wrist strap attached to the camera.

So after trying lebenty-times-seven times to get a few decent shots,

this was the best I could do for now.

(Jeanie! I forgot how to fix the line breaks! Before it didn't want to do it separate. Now it does and I don't want it to! Help!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh! That's Me!

Well, I figured it was about time... Some of you bloggers have posted little pics of yourselves, which kinda helps us identify with each of you a little better. So there's me--over on the left of this wordiness stuff. I look a little smarky, smerky, smirky, smoky, smurky something so I guess I can't run and hide any more. Good, bad, or ugly--the truth is the truth. I have wrinkles around my eyes--and other places--that verify I'm as old as I am. (Probably from all that smirking, before anyone else points that out.)

But, I have to admit, I kinda like seeing what others look like, so fair is only fair. I'm me and only LOOK like other people. (For over 40 years people have told me "You look just like . . ." Either that, or people begin talking with me as if I were that "Somebody Else.") But this (or at least that) is ME.


My daughter acquired, rescued, two very cute little kittens last week from an animal shelter. Or, was it the week before. I forget. Anyway, they are VERY cute, if I haven't mentioned that already. I wish I'd had the camera a couple of times when they were being exceptionally cute, but didn't, so today I've tried to rectify that situation.

Not being professional at photography really gets in the way, you know? Not to mention that kittens (starved for your 100% attention) tend to get in the way, too. In the way of being able to take pictures of their little cuteness. They, the kittens, think it's very important to run up your legs, run up your body to stare in your eyes, eye to eye, and mew the tiniest, softest, most heart-rending mews to keep you from snapping their cute little pictures. (I've not counted, but I'm thinking I may have nearly used up my "cute" quota for the day.) Maybe not.

I'll have to sort through the photos and try to edit out my feet, legs and other body parts not pertinent to cute kitten pictures and see what I can post in the near future.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fabulous Friday

Friday. Friday morning. Friday is special to me and has been for over 38 years. (But I'm not telling why!) First thing out the door this morning, I heard the familiar Pileated Woodpeckers' odd call. We have many in the neighborhood due to the abundance of trees which, somehow, apparently assist the ample number of carpenter ants around here with their life's work--DESTRUCTION. They're often followed by termites and MORE DESTRUCTION. (ANOTHER POST, PERHAPS. Maybe not.) Carpenter ants are one of the woodpecker's "listed" favorite foods. Just so you know the facts.

The humidity was abundantly evident this over-cast morning--not as oppressing as the 100% humidity yesterday morning, but still enough to be uncomfortable--as I took a young friend to work. After dropping her off, I moved further west, not far, to pick up a couple of grocery items and a little cash before heading back home.

Returning to my car I noticed the heavy laden gray clouds to the east pierced with a few subdued golden shafts of sunlight erupting slightly right of my center-view. Nice effect for morning, I thought. As I began to drive through the parking lot to leave, I noticed blue patches of sky framed by fluffier, thinner, contrasting white clouds in the west. I turned east heading home. Minuscule water droplets suddenly began appearing on the windshield. The further I drove, the more frequent the droplets. Before long I could hear the raindrops landing with increasing regularity. The road began to glisten with its newly acquired layer of moisture. After turning north, an occasional huge drop of rain dripped from an overhanging tree branch to splat on my windshield along with the increasingly frequent smattering of tiny ones. The raindrops increased in intensity the further I drove. Hmmmm. Another east-to-west pattern--that's different, I thought. Usually it's the opposite.

TS Edouard--Why again, did they forget the "o" at the end? I mutter to myself. Often.--came in the traditional way--counter-clockwise--east-to-west earlier in the week. We prayed for rain. Edouard(o), passed us by with nary a drop. Glad it never became a hurricane, however!

So, when I got home I thought: Wow! RAIN! Actual, water falling from Heaven! I'm so grateful! The grass is burning up, along with a plethora of other what-should-be-green growing things. I'm SO grateful for the rain. I won't have to water today! (I'm sure our water bill will be at least triple the norm as it is.) I feel particularly blessed because I haven't done anything particular to have this prayer answered!

Then I thought another minute. Hmmmm. Well, I did get my husband's truck washed yesterday. I did water all the plants. We are going off this weekend. And, of course, I did pray for rain--not terribly fervently--but I DID pray for some.

At any rate, when I got to the house, I got out in the rain--sans umbrella--pushed the garbage can out to the road, then got the few groceries out and brought them inside. I had water trickling down my head to my neck. The shoulders and back of my shirt were rather damp. A couple of minutes later I hugged my daughter before she went through the door on her way to work. She stopped, grimaced slightly, then wiped off the excessive moisture I'd unwittingly left on her cheek/chin. Oh! Sorry! See you Sunday. Have a great day.

At least she smiled and said, "Bye, Mom. You and Dad have a great weekend."

And maybe we just will! I know I'm happy it rained--and it's supposed to continue doing so. Good start, right?