Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Life of Water

Raindrops ON spiderwebs; Water drops drip OFFa duck's beak.
(Click all pictures for larger view)
"Everywhere water is a thing of beauty gleaming in the dewdrop, singing in the summer rain." ~ John Ballantine Gough
Water comes in all forms; gas, liquid and solid. Small raindrops glisten in the sun, trapped in the little spider's web refract the sunlight into the colors of the rainbow. The geese and ducks splash and swim in the lake, dipping into the water for food. Water rolls off the duck's back and head, dripping of his beak as the camera stops motion.

Fish swimming IN the shallow backyard pond.

The little fish are silent
As they swim round and round.
Their mouths are ever talking
A speech without a sound.

Now aren't the fishes funny
To swim in water clear
And talk with words so silent
That nobody can hear?

~ Arthur S. Bourinot

Water pours OUT of the fish's mouth. Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
"When summer days are long and hot
the cool water of the fountains
calls to me...
come jump and splash,
get wet and wiggle with abandon!
Bring a friend or two...
have a water fight...
and I go... because who
can resist the call of the
~ Kerri Russ

STILL waters reflect images of life.
"No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. ~ Proverb

FLOWING water, dancing leaves.
"Water flows humbly to the lowest level. Nothing is weaker than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, nothing surpasses it." ~ Lao Tzu
I love to sit on the bank of a pond or a pool of water, when there is no wind and the surface is smooth like glass. There are no ripples, save the occasional bubbling from a passing fish or the tiny ripples formed from the light touch of a flying insect. One has a hard time telling where the shore meets the water; all the trees, flowers, even animals and people are reflected in the water's surface. I've seen the most intense burning colors of red, orange and gold reflected in fall, a stark intertwined network of skeleton trees in the winter, the delicate pinks and whites of dogwood blossoms in spring and the full dark green leaves of summer against the background of a deep blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Still waters reflect the glory of creation in a quiet and serene tone.

But when water flows, it demonstrates the power of creation. We've all seen the power of water when small gently flowing streams are turned into raging rivers that sweep cars, bridges and even homes away. Even the trickling streams of water in the drainage ditch behind our house sends leaves dancing downstream ahead of the tiny waves and the constant flow of a large river carves huge deep canyons over time.

Where the ocean waters meet the land. Virginia Beach. Posted by Picasa
"The shore is an ancient world, for as long as there has been an earth and sea, there has been this place of the meeting of land and water." ~ Rachel Carson
And then there are the oceans, vast expanses of water that is home to thousands of species. Imposing and yet very intimate and personal. Is there anything more soothing than the sound of the waves rolling in and flowing out from the shore; nature's lullaby? Powerful and gentle, menace and comfort, strong and weak.... water. Water is all around, above, below and within us. Water is life.

The theme for Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt this week is "water". You can go here to "Grab the Scavenger Hunt code" and here to join the blogroll. This really cute logo is available there as well. The link to other participants is in my blogroll on the sidebar.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

The Promise....

....of a new season. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa
"Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells,
And pretty maids all in a row."
~ Nursery Rhyme
The first new growth of Spring; daffodils, or perhaps crocus. New life pushing up through the pine needle covering. This is always an exciting discovery, for where there are daffodils and crocus, the tulips and forsythia will not be far behind. Today, a new discovery; tiny bursts of green on the tips of the fig tree and a hint of opening buds on the lilac. All nature is getting into the act.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "growth". (end of post)

The Spar and Spit

"Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they use." ~ Mark Twain

It's catnip playtime! Look! Here's the big jar of catnip chunks and my goodness, there are cat toys inside. They have been marinating for several days. Miss Clover checks it out, Miss Chloe feigns disinterest and Lady Willow looks on from the side.

Clover digs out the brown fuzzy mouse and begins her play.... ohhhh! The smell of catnip is heavenly, just heavenly. Willow waits for her turn.

When Clover comes up for a little air, Willow moves in for a sniff and to check out this curly haired mouse. Perhaps it will make a nice addition to the food bowl. Clover gets tense; she is not amused at all.

Suddenly the fight erupts with snarling and growling and Clover with her ears back throws the first punch, a right jab. Willow counters with a right cross and the melee is on, paw to paw combat. The sounds that emanate from Clover's mouth are loud and threatening, but Willow makes very little noise. She is all action as she gets in a flurry of punches.

Willow is all business as she has her right paw poised to strike again, but Clover takes the fight to another level! Just look at those bared fangs! Hissing and yowling and growling but always in a position to cut and run. Miss Clover appears very serious about this, yet Willow seems calm.

Could it be that Willow knows she weighs twice as much as Clover and that the fur around her neck is thicker than Clover's teeth can grab? Willow's claws are pin prick sharp, yet she keeps them retracted as she spars. She has learned that these momentary outbursts of Clover's are mostly for show and it really isn't in her nature to be disturbed by much of anything.

After her last histrionics, Clover moves away and both are soon napping; in separate corners, of course.

Now that Willow and Clover have finished their fist fight, they can visit the other cats on Friday's Ark, hosted by the Modulator. Then on Sunday, perhaps they will play nice at the Carnival of the Cats, hosted this week by IMAO. See you there. (end of post)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Harbinger of Spring

Mr. Robin comes to visit.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa
Spring Is Coming

March has warmed the icy blasts,
And the wintertime is past.
Now we hear the robins sing-
Happy harbingers of spring.
Little buds will wake from sleep,
From the ground their faces peep.
Do you know why all the fun?
Spring is coming on the run.

~ Dorothy Hevener
In some areas the robin is the last bird to leave in the fall and the first to arrive in spring. Here the robins are at home all year, but in spring their numbers are amazing. The other evening my mom and I saw a flock of almost fifty robins on a freshly mowed lawn. All were doing the robin dance... hop..hop..hop... tilt the head.... stab the ground... swallow the worm. Today this fellow showed up in the flower bed after I had pulled all the weeds and raked the topsoil. I did all the work; he reaped the reward. I didn't mind, how could you when the air is alive with a symphony of songs. It really is Spring.

I almost used the crocus entry for Thurday's Challenge as well. But decided this would be another colorful take on "spring". (end of post)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


....the old and the new. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Architecture aims at Eternity." ~ Christopher Wren
Grand Central Station, with intricate curved arches, complex statues and that glint of gold represents the old architecture of New York City. It is everywhere, refurbished and restored; the buildings still in use with high stakes deals flying here and there in the bustle. In the background, a modern skyscraper with smooth, sleek lines and floor to ceiling windows; steel and glass, reflecting the sun and clouds in the sky. All over Manhattan the view is the same; old treasured architecture mixed with glossy futuristic construction. Where else could such juxtaposition between the past, present and future work and mesh so well?

Submission for LensDay topic "architecture". (end of post)

To Paint The Laughing Soil

The crocus have bloomed and gone.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil."
~ Reginald Heber
All winter the grass is brown, the trees bare, and often the skies gray. We rely on small patches of color....a cardinal here and there, the blue patch on a female mallard wing, ever present pansies and purple ornamental cabbage... and of course, the Christmas lights. But during the coldest months of January and February, even these are too scattered and far between. Then in March, after the many "two steps forward, one step back" of fluctuating temperatures, it seems to sneak up on you and yet, bursts on the scene like an explosion. Spring! Daffodils, forsythia, dogwood, tulips, cherry trees, Bradford pear, redbud and of course those tiny harbingers of spring; small, almost an afterthought but often first... the crocus. Royalty in purple, sunshine in yellow, a clown in stripes... they come and go too soon. And Spring goes on.

Submission for Tuesday Challenge topic "spring". (end of post)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Three For The Price Of Two

Mr. Rhett assumes the position to catch some rays..with his tummy.
(Click pictures for larger view)
Posted by Picasa

With the return of Spring, the sunroom has become a favorite place for the cats to lounge and "catch some rays". Later, the heat will prevent this but now it is not too hot, not too cold. So they gather to play with toys from their toy basket and when the catnip overwhelms them, they sleep; or at least rest a bit. Just outside the birds sing and the first bees and butterflies have made an appearance.

Miss Willow is a bit hungover from her catnip frenzy.

On this particular day we had more than one cat showing tummies at the same time. I had opened the big jar of catnip pellets and they had all stuck their heads in to get a whiff of the good stuff. Now we must rest and feel the warmth on our fat bellies and some of us, on our skinny bellies.

WAIT!!! Max, you are NOT a cat!
"In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him." ~ Dereke Bruce
Even Max, wants to get into the act of showing his tummy. What is an old dog to do? He lives with seven cats and sometimes sleeps in the sunroom with them at night. He loves to have their company when the doors and windows are opened so that all that remains between them are the mesh screens. Max hears them meow to him and he whines back or squeaks his basketball. Sometimes a brave kitty will sniff noses with him through the screen door. So, forgive him for inserting himself into the "Cats on Tuesday" tummy pictures we had for today. He gets tired of them getting all the attention.

The cats (and one very furry dog) are gathering today for Cats on Tuesday, hosted by gattina. There will also be cat tummies at Tummy Tuesday over at catstuff.
Max loved being with the cats so much, he wanted to go see the other dogs at Friday's Ark this week.

(end of post)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Well Founded Hopes

Iris seed pod. Macro.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest." ~ Mary Webb
This green represents the hope of May flowers to come. The iris spread both by splitting of the root and bulb system and by seed. This is the seed pod that forms after the flower has withered away.. it is the hope of things to come. Even these are gone by Autumn, carried away by birds to parts unknown. Personally, this macro shot reminds me of those little latex cat balls, not quite spongy, not quite hard.

I thought it quite funny that this past week or two we have had three different photo memes with "green" as the topic. This one tickled me the most as it seems that the administrator of Shutterday, whose topic this week was "anything but green", suggested the topic "green" to Macroday. I guess that is one way to make sure yours is different. This will be Macroday's "green".

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shutterday: Anything But Green

Brilliant red Cardinal and not a speck of green in sight.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Let us be like a bird for a moment perched On a frail branch when he sings; Though he feels it bend, yet he sings his song, Knowing that he has wings." ~ Victor Hugo
Cardinals are the state bird of Virginia and are commonly seen throughout the year. Their single high pitched "tweet" is distinctive but at least for me, they are notoriously difficult to photograph. Unlike the chickadee, who I would classify as aggressive, persistent and at times pretty obnoxious with their chatter, the bright red Cardinal male is shy. I hope this fellow and his mate will build a nest somewhere in the bushes of our yard this year. I remember a proud papa teaching his little one to fly. They were leaping and fluttering in the middle of our quiet street, down in Mississippi. Papa kept pecking at him to "try again" and finally he flew to the top of a fence post. Baby bird flapped and flapped and managed to get lift enough to get half way up the chain link fence, then to the top of the dog house and finally to the post beside his proud papa. They are quite the striking red, are they not? And not a pixel of green to be had.

The topic for Shutterday this week is "Anything but Green". I guess as they said "it wasn't easy being green", with so many "green" topics recently. When I looked through my photos, it surprised me at how many had at least a small patch of green in them... this one did not.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Than Just An Empty Nest

"Empty pockets never held anyone back.
Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that."
~ Norman Vincent Peale

The bird bath is empty today.
(Click pictures to enlarge)

So is the bird feeder.

Of course we have an empty nest. (In more ways than one)

"Hey! Lady! Get with the program!" Posted by Picasa
"Fill what's empty. Empty what's full." ~ Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Yes, things have been a bit empty around here this week. But, little bird, you really must say something to the starlings. They found the bird feeders and with extremely loud voices have emptied them in a day. I promise we'll try very, very hard to do better. We'll fill the feeders and clean out the rubbish from the bath and fill it with a little water. I don't know about that nest. It's in the artificial nest from last year right now and you know how the mourning doves would rather have things "move-in ready". It might just have to stay where it is. Don't give me that look, now!

The theme for Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt this week is "empty". You can go here to "Grab the Scavenger Hunt code" and here to join the blogroll. This really cute logo is available there as well. The link to other participants is in my blogroll on the sidebar.

(end of post)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Sentimental Treasures

My grandmother's handiwork, crocheted lace handkerchiefs.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"And there were times when one yielded quite shamelessly to the sentimental. They were more likely to be times of crickets, I think, than of birds - when it was impossible not to feel, like another essence of the sunlight, the bittersweet of life that lingers about old houses, and places where men have died, and things that forgotten hands have touched." ~ H. G. Dwight, Atlantic Monthly, 1912
My grandmother loved to crochet and quilt. She could look at an afghan and replicate the pattern on her own. Her quilts were pieced and finished by hand and she left each of us several examples of her handiwork. I have about six of these linen handkerchiefs that she made with crocheted lace borders. The work is delicate and intricate and required total concentration. These are precious because they were made before the Alzheimer's took its toll on her mind, before she could no longer remember how to write her name much less crochet. These represent my grandmother before she no longer knew my name.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "sentimental". (end of post)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Little Man Syndrome

Chihuahua with an attitude... chases cars, headstrong.
(Click pictures for larger view)
"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
This is the neighbor dog from across the street. When he was a puppy he could get lost in the tall grass in the front yard. He definitely has the "little man syndrome" often known as the "Tom Cruise syndrome". He thinks he is something. His mom looks like a teenager and has no control over this dog. He runs into the street and stands there; he chases cars. I was taking pictures and he ran half way across the street, stopped and barked then growled. I just looked at him and growled back. He ran... oh, yes. "Little man syndrome."

Oh, what a fierce face.. I'm so scared! Posted by Picasa

When I was three, I had a Chihuahua named Tippy. He had "little man syndrome" too. He was a thief. If I were playing in the grass with a blocks or other toys, he would run over and steal one, take it to a tree across the yard and sit down. He didn't chew it or play with it; Tippy just wanted to make sure I couldn't play with it. Chihuahuas and three year olds don't go together. He was always under foot and one day I stepped on his toes. The vet tried to fix them but he had a reaction to anesthesia and died. They have such small bones, even a tiny child with soft sneakers on will crush them.

My friend Miss M, in Mississippi has a Chihuahua named (would you believe) Little Man. He has this same syndrome, although I understand he now weighs 16 pounds. I don't think I've ever known of a Chihuahua weighing that much. I doubt she'll be carrying him around in her purse any time soon....

This fierce (and very, very stupid to hang out in the street) little fellow will be visiting Friday's Ark and the Carnival of the Dogs this week. I do wish I knew his name. (end of post)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Starting With A Clean Slate

Green: a blackboard for Spring.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown,
Who ponders this tremendous scene--
This whole experiment in green,
As if it were his own!"
~ Emily Dickinson, "No. 1333"
Winter's gray is slowly replaced with the vibrant colors of Spring; the yellow daffodil, blue periwinkle, pink hyacinth, purple crocus, red tulip. All the colors of the rainbow and more. And the backdrop for this wild Spring painting? Green. Forest, emerald, grass, mint, chartreuse, and fern green; what flower does NOT look good on a slate of soft, clean, luscious green? Who does not look forward to the exquisite smell of freshly cut green grass or the rustling of green leaves in the warm breeze? There would be no Spring, without "green".

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "green". (end of post)

Welcome, Spring!

Herald of Spring.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa
To The Spring

Welcome, gentle Stripling,
Nature's darling thou!
With thy basket full of blossoms,
A happy welcome now!
Aha!--and thou returnest,
Heartily we greet thee--
The loving and the fair one,
Merrily we meet thee!
Think'st thou of my maiden
In thy heart of glee?

I love her yet, the maiden--
And the maiden yet loves me!
For the maiden, many a blossom
I begged--and not in vain!
I came again a-begging,
And thou--thou givest again:
Welcome, gentle Stripling,
Nature's darling thou--
With thy basket full of blossoms,
A happy welcome now!

~ Friedrich von Schiller (1759 - 1805)
Today is the first full day of Spring; time for robins and daffodils. The pear tree is budding and the hyacinth in full bloom. Wild daffodils grow along the bank of the ditch behind my parent's house and a mallard couple practice their nesting techniques. Perhaps I'll plant wildflowers or lilies or pull weeds and dig in the dirt. It is daffodil time. It is time for color and new life to spring from the earth. It is Spring!!

Submission for LensDay topic "yellow". (end of post)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Miss Scarlett IS Hyper!

Look! A little tiny kitty. I think it is a toy.
(Click pictures for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"A cat is a very special friend who comes into your life. When it comes it brings warmth, companionship, contentment and love. Whether it's long-haired, short-haired, pedigreed or "heinz" makes no difference." ~ Sharon Lundblad
Well, we got the results back on Miss Scarlett's thyroid suppression test. They were abnormal. It turns out that her base level T4 was elevated this time and her post suppression level did not go down. So she is hyperthyroid. We started her on Tapazole in a daily dose of 0.25 cc. It is an emulsion liquid, given orally with a syringe.

It smells like catnip. Yummy!

Do you remember when you or your children were small and antibiotics were prescribed as liquid emulsions with flavoring such as cherry or grape or even bubble gum were added? This Tapazole is similar, except that the flavoring is tuna. Unfortunately, Miss Scarlett is not fond of tuna; beef is more to her liking. She threw up right after the first two doses. On the third day I fed her a small amount of the a/d (anorexic) prescription food with a syringe then gave her the tiny dose of medication and two more syringes of food. Then we sat quietly together for about half an hour, Scarlett all swaddled in a soft towel. She kept the medication down and even ate additional food (Mixed Grill Feast) on her own.

That was nice, but now I'm tired. Time to rest in the sun.

Her vet wanted to wait a couple of weeks to take out her bladder stone but I am not sure we can. Unless I start to see some weight gain we will need to do it earlier. I did feed her a couple more syringes of the a/d food before bedtime but I don't think any real improvement will be coming until the stone is out. Will keep you up to date on her progress and thank you for all your good wishes. Scarlett still has such a sweet attitude, well except for the syringe feedings and meds.

Miss Scarlett is sleeping right now, her little cat toy next to her and snuggled warm on a fleece throw. She won't mind that I've sent her pictures over to Cats on Tuesday, hosted by gattina.
Update (3/22): She has kept her medicine down every day since Saturday. She eats pretty good on her own but I still feed her with the syringe before the medication and before bedtime. She has her growl back... since she hates the syringe, she growls and squirms... but as yet I can't tell if any weight is going on. We will check with her vet about the stone removal this week.

Scarlett loves to see the kitties on the screen when we visit Friday's Ark and the Carnival of the Cats. The carnival is hosted this week by Scribblings.

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