Sunday, August 14, 2016

A TALE OF TWO KITTIES ~ POST SCRIPT

The Journey Continues

and We've Come a Thousand Miles

 


For those of you who read the story of our two feral boys and how they came to be with us, I thought I'd do an update, just a quick one.  

 

The blog tends to do it's own thing sometimes, and I can't make it behave.  Just so no one gets confused with the order of the pictures, BobCat is the orange and white boy while Spot is the grey ghost:>)

 

Spot came to us as a kitten.  He was scared, lonely for his feline family, and a real handful.  Now he's a strong-willed, affectionate, and intelligent companion somewhere around 2-1/4 years old.  He and BobCat (once called Max) are friends and spend a good bit of time galumphing around together, although Spot is an adventurer and will go seeking excitement in the woods.  


BobCat sometimes accompanies Spot, but he is the homebody of the pair.  The hydrangea bushes are a favorite place for him to lay and feel the breezes caress his fur.  That fur is LONG, and I comb it every day (sometimes twice) so we avoid the nasty mats that form without continual attention.  BobCat adores being combed and all I need to do is go outside and sit on the bench with the cat comb and here comes BobCat, trotting as fast as his sturdy but stubby legs can carry him :>).



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny how arbitrary life can be.  Spot, with his short fur, will devour the stuff I give for hairball relief.  We don't worry about Spot.  His fur is silky and he doesn't shed much, so he's not needing this goo.  If I leave the tube within reach, however, he'll tear into it and eat all he can.

 


 

BobCat, on the other hand, really needs to be treated so he isn't coughing and hacking because of fur.  He HATES the goo.  I need to put it on his paw to get him to lick it off, but he's rapidly gotten wise to my tricks and moves his feet just when I get close.  Although some always sticks, his fur seems to repel the paste and a lot ends up on the floor.  This is Spot's cue to get his share and he gobbles it up.

 



 

Beautiful Bob, now about 4-1/4 years old or so,  finally decided he wants to be in the house to eat and to sleep at night.  This was an enormous relief to us, and we welcome him in whenever he wishes.  He also now is comfortable with my husband petting him and even giving him a combing.  This is  very long way for Bob to travel from a shadow in the bushes, grabbing pieces of compost for meals and hiding from us, to a kitty who sleeps on the living room "cat" chair.

 

To sum them up - Spot is independent and BobCat is adoring:>)


 

The kitties are thriving and we are loving every minute with them!

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 


 



Saturday, August 13, 2016

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, CON'T.

Springtime Underfoot

A Story in Flowers

 

 Hepatica

 

Spring begins slowly, gaining steam with each day that passes.  From the truly early birds, like Skunk Cabbage spathes, on up to the flowers that cross into summer, there is a growing (no pun intended) progression of blossoms.  Some are minute, some large.  Most are low-growing and you may have to make some effort to pick them out of the other growing plants.

You may note that a few images are repeated from older posts. This is because I kept poor records of what I did and did not yet include, and I don't have the time to go back and double-check.  I have too many pictures and keep taking more, so I'll apologize in advance for those times when a duplication happens.   

I began this blog thinking a few people might find it interesting and entertaining, and it is meant to be a casual thing :>)  Well, it has quite a following which surprised me.  I thank you all for your time and interest!  The posts are erratic (as time allows), but I continue to hope that you are pleased with what you see and read.

These beautiful flowers, Trout Lilies, have lovely leaves as well as gorgeous blooms.  They are fond of dappled sunlight and thrive in the woods in rich, moist soil.  Look for them in late April to Early May in the margins of wooded areas where sunlight filters down to the forest floor.


 



The Dogwood and Redbud trees are springtime bloomers, too, and they fill the woods with white and pink set against the new-born green of leaves.  Trees offer some wonderful flowers, many are just too small to be noticed.

We are fortunate to have dogwood and Redbud trees growing wild in our woods.  Here are some Dogwood and Redbud images for you.


 




















After the browns and grey of winter, springtime bursts forth in a riot of color.  Leaves open, wildflowers bloom, and trees blossom.  It's a true awakening.


Skunk Cabbage blooms in February and March, even pushing it's way through snow and ice to offer up the fetid scent of something rotten to attract the few insects out and about. The leaves arrive after the plant blooms, beautiful, huge, green leaves that could remind you of cabbage.  When the leaves are crushed, they give off an odor that is something like a skunk.

 

Look inside to see white sphere with nobs that is the reproductive part of this plant.

These are Skunk Cabbage spathes.  This is a wetland plant that loves wet feet.  Look closely into the spathe on the right and you'll see some white specks - this are on a ball-like structure and this is where the flies and other bugs go.  The bugs pollinate the plant.

This is the seed pod of a SkunkCabbage plant

Skunk Cabbage leaves as they begin to grow.  Notice the plant is right at the edge of the brook.
A mature stand of Skunk Cabbage leaves

The greens of springtime are serene and cool.  Ferns are some of my favorite foliage plants and there are many types.  They grow in all kinds of habitats, have a wide variety of shapes, and have different ways of producing the spores that are their "seeds"


Maidenhair Ferns, like those shown below, are delicate with a graceful curve to the leaf.  Each leaf has a black, wire-like stem.  The height is what I'd call average, about one to two feet tall, and they grow in clumps in filtered sunlight.








Pussywillow trees flower in the spring.  They are widely used in bouquets, and kids love to feel the fuzzy catkins.  These are swamp trees that enjoy damp environments.  Look for the blooms early in spring.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wild Ginger is another May arrival in wetlands.  The tiny flowers grow at ground level beneath the cover of the foliage above. 





Chicory is a late spring flower that grows all summer long.  Often it keeps company with Queen Anne's Lace, another white wildflower with great appeal.  Chicory is blue except in very rare occurences of white or pink.  This white blooming plant never appeared again after I found it the one year.






A rare sighting of a white Chicory flower.

The wild Blue Flag, another wetland plant, blooms in the very late spring and early summer.  It favors the edges of lakes and ponds or slow-moving streams, and is a magnificent sight.  You may recognize it as a member of the iris family.

 


Wildflowers make a lovely show for anyone looking :>)  Here are daylilies, daisies, and black-eyed Susan flowers.  Although daylilies have been widely hybridized (and thousands of colors and shapes are  available for gardeners), they were originally an introduced flower that is so successful at naturalizing, they are now shown in wildflower guides.




Here is one of our favorite parts of spring, chorus frogs.  This is a Spring Peeper, but there are quite a few kinds of tiny, singing frogs in our area.  Cricket Frogs sound a lot like, you guessed it, crickets :>)  These little guys live on the forest floor but climb well.  They hibernate behind loose bark or under logs while winter grips the land, then emerge in spring to  burst forth with lovely song.  We know spring is here when we hear the frogs begin to sing.  They need water to lay their eggs in, and vernal pools are of utmost importance to maintaining the species.


Spring Peeper


This Black-eyed Susan wildflower has visitors.  Honeybees are rarely seen here since the population crash, so any sighting is a cause for celebration.  The beetles are also enjoying a snack.






Wild Geraniums give a sweet, pink addition to the colors of spring.  They like moist soil, but don't want to live right in the water.  Moist woodland is fine for them as long as they get enough sun with a touch of shade,





Do you love butter?  As kids, we'd hold a buttercup under someone's chin to see if it reflected yellow.  If it did, they loved butter!  There are many insects who love, if not butter, buttercups :>)

Buttercups belong to their own family of flowering plants, and there are at least two types of buttercups in Pennsylvania.  Wild Columbine and Delphiniums are cousins.  This family of plants is called poisonous, although tasting a buttercup will not kill you.  The chemicals in them suppress the central nervous system.  Never assume a plant or flower is "safe to eat" unless you've done your research.  Caution is the better part of valor.








This is one wildflower you CAN eat.  The common name is Heal All, and as a perennial, it grows back year after year.  Our woods have many plants.  They don't seem to grow together;  we have more individuals than colonies.  They look like miniature orchids to me.





Speedwell (or Veronica) is the common name of this minute, pretty wildflower.  It grows close to the ground in full sun, and you'll need to look for it to notice it.  The flowers are about 1/4" - the ant gives a size reference.


Veronica, or Speedwell, Wildflower with ant visitor.

I'm leaving you with a picture of a shy butterfly, the


Little Wood-Satyr


that lives right on the margins of the woods and tree lines.  They flit in and out of the undergrowth seeking a sunny leaf to rest upon and warm themselves.  If you see them flying in and out of the shadows, you'll probably not give a second glance.  Seen close up they are beautiful.




Thank you so much for taking time to view my blog.  It's amazing to see there are readers from all over the world :>)  I hope you continue to enjoy this modest little corner of my world.