Thursday April 10, 2008

White Pelicans

I didn't even know about white pelicans!

This afternoon, I was talking to a co-worker who had stopped by my cubicle. Over her shoulder, out the window, I saw a small flock of birds high up in the air. Gulls? No... larger than gulls and somehow more streamlined. My co-worker said "White Pelicans" .

Wow. Like the Blue Angels but birds. ...
       Continue reading "White Pelicans"

White Pelicans - posted at Thu, 10 Apr, 19:47 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday October 22, 2007

Bird!

At around 1pm, today, I heard one of my co-workers, Martin, say "That's a bird". Then another co-worker said "It is, it's a bird". I said "Where?" They said "Over here".

And there was a bird on the light fixture next to the wall. An Oregon junco. How did he get into the building.? Hey birdie, what are you doing in here? ...
       Continue reading "Bird!"

Bird! - posted at Mon, 22 Oct, 18:12 Pacific | Comments (1)

Monday October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day 2007

What would happen if every blog published posts on the same topic, on the same day?
One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.

Blogactionday

Today is Blog Action Day

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

blogactionday.com

As of this posting, 19,739 bloggers have registered. Bloggers are asked to participate in three ways:

  1. Post on your blog relating to the environment
  2. Donate your day’s earnings to an environmental charity
  3. Promote Blog Action Day around the web

I can't afford to donate a day's earnings; however, I did make a donation today to the National Wildlife Federation. ...
       Continue reading "Blog Action Day 2007"

Blog Action Day 2007 - posted at Mon, 15 Oct, 20:36 Pacific | Comments (0)

Thursday March 9, 2006

How to Catch a Mouse

I recently ran across a write-up of an elegant and humane "catch and release" method for ridding your home of unwanted house guests of the rodent variety... It looks like a cute trick. Happily, the only time we ever had a mouse in our house, we knew exactly where he was and were able to trap and remove him in an even simpler fashion. ...
       Continue reading "How to Catch a Mouse"

How to Catch a Mouse - posted at Thu, 09 Mar, 12:28 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday February 20, 2006

Panda Fix

What could possibly be cuter than a baby panda?

Baby panda ...
       Continue reading "Panda Fix"

Panda Fix - posted at Mon, 20 Feb, 08:17 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday September 27, 2005

A Rose By Any Other Name

Have you noticed that most roses don't have much fragrance? They're huge and colorful with many bright blooms bigger than a baseball (actually a softball but the alliteration was irresistible). But they smell like... plants.

Scientists are now trying to put the fragrance back into the flowers. ...
       Continue reading "A Rose By Any Other Name"

A Rose By Any Other Name - posted at Tue, 27 Sep, 08:07 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday September 19, 2005

Watching Elephants in Africa

I'm sitting at my desk watching elephants play and drink at Pete's Pond in Botswana, half a world away. Earlier there were a lot of fat birds and several deer of one sort or another.

I'm watching the National Geographic Wild Cam.

Rich read about this today in a piece by Jon Carroll, one of our local columnists (for the SF Chronicle).

Jon says

"I think we're experiencing wonder overload. There is so much that is marvelous that we hardly notice anymore. We expect the marvelous. We should be constantly filled with wonder, but we are hardly ever filled with wonder. When everything is wonderful, nothing is."

Elephants

...
       Continue reading "Watching Elephants in Africa"

Watching Elephants in Africa - posted at Mon, 19 Sep, 23:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Saturday July 16, 2005

Day Trippin'

We took a long day trip today (nearly 11 hours all told) to drive up to the North Bay for the Leopards, Etc fund-raiser and Open House.

We were up by 8 and left the house a bit before 9. We headed up 19th Ave and bought toasted bagels with cream cheese & lox (and tomatoes and onions at House of Bagels on Geary. Then we drove up to Fort Point and ate at the view area. No view (too much fog). Tasty though (even though I forgot to bring either paper towels or water!).

Then over the bridge in the fog and through the tunnel. Sausalito was clear (I think Marin County has demons up on the mountain with fans and brooms keeping the fog out! It's amazing to go through the tunnel from socked in grey cotton to blue sky and sun.

We drove up to Petaluma and stopped at Orchard Supply Hardware briefly, then turned on 166, then onto Stony Point Rd. and headed up to Occidental. I drove us up to Petaluma; Rich drove from Petaluma into into Occidental (and I looked at the countryside).

It was a lovely day for a car trip trip. We saw lots of cows in assorted colors, vultures, and rolling hills (golden in July). We past some horses in a pasture and there was quite a little colt with his mama. We also passed one field of cos where there was a baby calf lying in the shade near the fence with his mama (I wanted to go back and pet ;-)

We got to Occidental by 11:30. (We'd been told shuttles would arrive to pick us up starting at 11:50). In the meantime, we walked around a bit and went into a store where I bought some cute Gund stuffies. Then we wandered over to the Union Motel (closed) where we were supposed to congregate.

We congregated. We talked. We found a spot with some wind (it was a very warm day). We found some shade. The shuttles were late. Eventually an SUV appeared along with a woman to "check us in". The SUV took three people up to the compound. A mini van came, then a second. People went. We weren't fast enough.

Rich and I went and sat in the shade again. Eventually a minivan came back and we piled in and it drove up into the hills to the compound.

[... to Be Continued ...]

Day Trippin' - posted at Sat, 16 Jul, 22:37 Pacific | Comments (1)

Tuesday November 16, 2004

Marshmallows???

After we got in from the hot tub tonight, and were sitting cooling down in the sunroom, I heard noises. A raccoon was out on the deck patting at the sunroom door!

I went over and knelt down on the floor and looked out at him. He thought that was fun. Then I saw a second one coming down the fence (by the gate) as if down a ladder. Unfortunately, his feet had slipped off the last "rung" and he was hanging there, about 8" from the deck, not quite sure how far down it was! After a bit he managed to get a footing and came down. Then he came over and looked in the window at me!

Bebop came over and looked at the raccoons too. Ooh. What are those?

Rich said they must be saying "marshmallows?", so I went up and got some marshmallows, peanuts, and dog biscuits and went out on the upper back porch. ...
       Continue reading "Marshmallows???"

Marshmallows??? - posted at Tue, 16 Nov, 23:45 Pacific

Saturday August 21, 2004

Sing a Song for Kitty

It didn't seem like such a weird question, especially considering that I was asking people at Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, a center of pet obsession. At Point Isabel, 21 acres of off- leash dog park, the value of pet accessories exceeds the gross national product of Lithuania, and half the cars in the parking lot sport "Dog Is My Co-Pilot" bumper stickers. So I was a little surprised when people nervously edged away from me, as if I were asking about a perversion.

But, honestly, what is so very weird about singing to your pet? I will fess up first. I happen to sing a new and improved version of "Que Sera Sera" to the dog. I know it's fantastic because everyone who hears it cringes in paroxysms of jealous agony. Surely, others as musically gifted as I provide amusement to friends and family by serenading their pets.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association's Ninth Annual Pet Owner Survey, about 65 percent of pet owners sing and/or dance before their pets, but park patrons were declaring that oh, no, they would never act so weird! Sorry, but when you refer to yourself as "Fifi's mommy" or "Madison's daddy," I'll bet real money that you're doing the macarena in the kitchen for your multilegged companion.

[ excerpt from Dog Ditties , the lead article for the Home & Garden section in the Saturday, August 21 SF Chronicle.]

...
       Continue reading "Sing a Song for Kitty"

Sing a Song for Kitty - posted at Sat, 21 Aug, 21:29 Pacific

Friday June 25, 2004

Well, Hello There!

While we were in the tub last night (around 9:30 pm), Rich suddenly said "Well! Hello there!". I turned and he had had his hand draped across the top of the tub with his fingers over the edge and one of the raccoons and come over and stood up and patted his fingers. Oh my.

No marshmallows last night; the raccoon wandered off after meeting Rich. I guess touching the hooman was enough for that evening's entertainment.

Well, Hello There! - posted at Fri, 25 Jun, 18:09 Pacific

Wednesday June 23, 2004

Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind

The raccoons came back last night. I knew they were around when we went out to the tub — first because Squirrel was pasted to the window watching something in the yard and then because I saw a raccoon on the fence while we were in the tub.

Two of them walked back and forth across the sunroom roof a lot after we went back inside. Raccoons are a lot like cats in that they walk along and then just... sit down. Then they start grooming. These kept getting up and walking a bit, then flopping down again and grooming something else. I shone a flashlight up through the glass to see them better. ...
       Continue reading "Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind"

Close Encounters of the Ringtailed Kind - posted at Wed, 23 Jun, 22:39 Pacific

Thursday June 17, 2004

Who's That Walking up There?

We had three raccoons on the sunroom roof last night after we came in from the hottub. They were sooo cute! Woolly and furry. BIG feet. Bushy tails. All about the size of Squirrel. Walking about. Sitting on the glass. Scratching. Licking their paws. Licking each other.

I shone a flashlight up. Oh look! Raccoon bottoms!

Raven was funny. Raven hathed at the raccoons through the glass. ...
       Continue reading "Who's That Walking up There?"

Who's That Walking up There? - posted at Thu, 17 Jun, 19:01 Pacific

Wednesday April 21, 2004

Drizzly Day

Today is another drizzly day. It's been mostly grey and cloudy with on and off drizzle since Saturday afternoon. I can't really complain, though. One netfriend near Buffalo, NY, had snow on Sunday April 4; another (who lives an hour or two from Buffalo) got a few inches on the 14th. A third woman, in Alberta Canada, still has 5 inches in her backyard. Then there are the two woman on yet another list who had tornado warnings last night. I think I'll stick with drizzle. ...
       Continue reading "Drizzly Day"

Drizzly Day - posted at Wed, 21 Apr, 09:56 Pacific

Wednesday March 31, 2004

Wild Cat Adventure III

caracal_sm
Wild Cat Adventure is an educational outreach program covering the San Francisco Bay Area. The program is run by Rob and Barbara Dicely of Leopards, Etc..

The Diceleys are concerned about the fate of the animals on this planet. They believe in preventing extinction through education. Believing it's more difficult for most people to care for something they have never seen, Rob and Barbara bring their "ambassador cats" to approximately 150 invited programs a year, mostly at schools.

Several years ago, they expanded their work to include additional public outreach programs geared to families. They present four of these programs in the Spring and four more in the Fall.

Rich and I attended our third Wild Cat Adventure program on Sunday, March 28. (see WCA I and WCA II for details of past programs). This time, we arrived early enough for front row seats! (Actually, second row seats; the front row is blocked off to prevent anyone from getting too close and startling the cats). ...
       Continue reading "Wild Cat Adventure III"

Wild Cat Adventure III - posted at Wed, 31 Mar, 12:16 Pacific

Monday January 26, 2004

Wild Cat Adventure II

Yesterday (Sunday) we attended our second "Wild Cat Adventure"; we attended for the first time on April 13, 2003.

kamau_sm

Wild Cat Adventure is a public outreach program in the San Francisco Bay area, covering Sacramento to San Jose. The program run by Leopards, Etc. which is wholly owned and operated by Rob and Barbara Dicely, former school teachers.

Leopards, Etc. is licensed by the State of California, the US Dept. of the Interior, and various other governmental organizations to keep, train, and show wild cats. They do 150 programs a year, mostly at school assemblies. Several years ago, at the urging of parents and teachers, they expanded their programs to include several public outreach programs in the North and South, two programs in each location, both Spring and Fall. ...
       Continue reading "Wild Cat Adventure II"

Wild Cat Adventure II - posted at Mon, 26 Jan, 12:10 Pacific

Saturday January 17, 2004

Opossums - Up Close and Personal

Brenda Ice, a friend of a friend has been doing possum rehab! What a neat idea.

BrendaPossbabe5 Take a look at some of the photos of the baby possums (scroll down when you get to the photo page, but slowly; enjoy the photos of the cats and the deer on your way to the possums :-).

My friend sent out email announcing that she had posted several of Brenda's photos and her possum story to (my friend's) web site. My immediate response was

Ohmygooodness. What an utterly darling baby!
...
       Continue reading "Opossums - Up Close and Personal"

Opossums - Up Close and Personal - posted at Sat, 17 Jan, 14:17 Pacific

Friday January 16, 2004

Backyard Birds

I've started mixing a cup of "wild bird seed" (it's largely millet with some other seeds) into my sunflower seed. Our feeder holds about a quart of mixed seed. Because we also feed grey squirrels, I also mix in a cup of "hamster and rodent food" (contains beans, peas, bits of freezedried carrot, peanuts, banana chips, pumpkin seeds...) As I mix, I pull out the peanuts and banana chips to put in a different feeder because they won't go "through" the bird feeder; I add more nuts and some puppy dog biscuits to that mix, for the squirrels, jays, and raccoons ( I saw a jay fly off with a dog biscuit the other day :-) ...
       Continue reading "Backyard Birds"

Backyard Birds - posted at Fri, 16 Jan, 09:17 Pacific

Sunday December 7, 2003

Easy Bake Science

When I was a little girl, I wanted an Easy-Bake Oven. (My Mom's response was that if I wanted to bake a cake I should just ask and we would bake a real cake in the real oven.)

If I were a little girl today, I might ask for the Discovery DNA Explorer Kit.

...With this deluxe, first-of-its-kind kit, you can extract, view and map real DNA yourself. Ideal for budding forensic-scientists or secret agents, the working lab and tools are just like the real thing. Plus, you'll have all the supplies needed for six fascinating DNA experiments. Extract DNA from vegetables, find out what actually makes ink colors and even grow crystal stalagmites!...

Includes:

  • Centrifuge
  • Magnetic mixer
  • Electrophoresis chamber
  • Test vials
  • And lots more
Requires six D and three 9V batteries (not included). SRP $79.95. ...
       Continue reading "Easy Bake Science"

Easy Bake Science - posted at Sun, 07 Dec, 11:16 Pacific

Saturday November 29, 2003

Cat Show

We went to a TICA Show (Fog City Cat Club) in Pleasanton CA today. There must have been three aisles of Bengals! Lots of Bengal kittens too!

There were some splendid Maine Coon representatives including a cousin of Squirrel's (Holdermaine's Prowler) who is a Very Handsome boycat! He's a red-shaded silver (w/o white) so looks much the same as Squirrel except he has apricot tabby-marked feet)-- at 18 months he's a BIG boy with enormous feet. He will be extraordinary when he's full grown; he looks like he will have an awesome ruff. He's being shown as an alter. We've met his mama and she's a stunner so we can see where he gets his looks! ...
       Continue reading "Cat Show"

Cat Show - posted at Sat, 29 Nov, 22:58 Pacific

Friday October 24, 2003

Sunrise, Sunset

I have a temporary contract job in the South Bay — an hour's drive from my house. In order to put in a full day (and I'm putting in 9 hours each day so that I have a small "time bank" to handle possible contingencies), I leave the house at 7:30. I get up between 6:15 and 6:45 (the alarm is set for 6:45).

As I have never been a "morning person", this is...shall we say... not really desirable. But I do get one benefit.

Sunrise

Our kitchen windows face the bay, looking due east. Oh my goodness do we get some impressive sunrises. Yesterday there was a cloud settled onto the bay (clear at our house, clear in the Oakland hills, the entire bay obscured) with a stunning neon pink band over the cloud to the southeast.

We get some delightful sunsets too; I saw one on the drive home last night. Cotton candy and peppermint striped swirls of pink and orange clouds against infinite shades of purple, blue, and green. Fantastic.

At least when I have to be I'm up at this hour, Mother Nature puts on a good show!

Sunrise, Sunset - posted at Fri, 24 Oct, 07:32 Pacific

Wednesday August 6, 2003

Bird Brain

We have been putting out sunflower seed for the birds and squirrels, as well as corn and peanuts for the squirrels. Occasionally I put out a walnut or two. Generally I crack the walnuts first. Today I didn't bother.

Our backyard fauna also includes Scrub Jays, a rather intelligent sort of bird, as birds go. Until today, it never occurred to me that Jays might like walnuts. ...
       Continue reading "Bird Brain"

Bird Brain - posted at Wed, 06 Aug, 14:25 Pacific

Sunday July 27, 2003

Adopt a tortoise

A short piece in the August 2003 issue of Sunset magazine suggests an interesting and "different" choice of pet. Although it is illegal to take a desert tortoise from the wild, tortoises in captivity often need new homes.

...
       Continue reading "Adopt a tortoise"

Adopt a tortoise - posted at Sun, 27 Jul, 16:02 Pacific

Wednesday July 23, 2003

Rick & Rack's Big Adventure!

My friend Marian, in Nashville, TN, is blessed with a home on the edge of a wooded space. Her backyard is host to many wild creatures - deer, raccoons, and flying squirrels! She shares their stories and photos with us on my favorite mailing list. Recently, she had a visit from a pair of young raccoon twins, out for a big adventure without mama. With her permission, I'm sharing it here. ...
       Continue reading "Rick & Rack's Big Adventure!"

Rick & Rack's Big Adventure! - posted at Wed, 23 Jul, 10:50 Pacific

Friday July 18, 2003

Gardening

I've been out to do a little work in the garden, mostly deadheading the roses. These are delightful roses, disease-resistant, exuberant, easy to care for but they are NOT (ouch) thornless, oh my no.

Bebop came out and helped (actually, Bebop had his own agenda, which involved lying in the sun, rolling around on his back on the path, and enjoying the breeze in his fur). ...
       Continue reading "Gardening"

Gardening - posted at Fri, 18 Jul, 15:50 Pacific

Saturday June 14, 2003

Nature Walk

Once again, I forgot to take a camera. Sigh. Pics are representative; from enature.com. But we did see these. Time to put a camera in the car; it does no good on the shelf!

Coming onto the trail we met a woman coming out carrying a lizard! She had caught him and was holding him in the palm of her hand. Either he was petrified with fear (Rich's comment) or he didn't mind; he wasn't trying to get away and she just held him on her hand, palm up, gently stroking his back with her thumb. My guess is he was hypnotized. :-) He was greeney-grey.

About 100 feet into the walk we saw another lizard on the rocks at the side of the trail; this one was dark brown. I'm not sure what kind of lizard they were (or even if they were the same kind). I'm guessing the guy in the picture ;-)

On the way back we came to a place where some people were looking at something along the side of the path. It was a snake; a man jogging by said it was a California kingsnake (confirmed on the web when I got home). He looked much like the photo here (from enature.com) but ours was brown and wasn't curled up; he was slithering along. Here is an even better picture.

He was a very handsome snake. At least a dozen people stopped and watched. Unfortunately, the snake was moving north and we were heading south on the way back towards the car so we bid him adieu and came back home.

Nature Walk - posted at Sat, 14 Jun, 18:42 Pacific

Sunday May 25, 2003

Today in my backyard

Bebop and I went for walkies in the garden this afternoon.

I found (and turned over) a water-collector (it's the base of a picnic table umbrella; the umbrella has been taken down and the picnic table moved but the base was collecting rainwater) - it's almost mosquito season.

Anyway, under the thing was a worm or two ...and then I realized that one (two?) of the worms didn't seem to be worms...not slimy enough. They had... heads? eyes? Tiny brown snakes??

So I very gently nudged one with a long grass stem and it turns out they were a pair of very small, skinny, brownish red salamanders. They had very small legs. I could have run in for the camera but wasn't sure if I could get close enough for a shot. Oh well, I missed it; let them go find a new damp place to live.

I just looked on the web and I'm pretty sure these were California Slender Salamanders; this is what they looked like.

slendersal.jpg

Today in my backyard - posted at Sun, 25 May, 21:46 Pacific

Thursday May 22, 2003

Meow TV

meow_tv_tourcar.jpg "Meow TV" (sponsored by the Meow Mix cat food company) will premiere May 30 on the Oxygen cable channel and will run several more times throughout June. Broadcasting from their fictional living room, hosts Annabelle Gurwitch and her cat, Stinky, will narrate segments like "Squirrel Alert," (where squirrels run up and down trees to fast-paced music), readings of cat haiku, "Cat Critics" (critique of a film about lions and cheetahs) and footage from viewers. ( c.f. CNN article)

Viewers in 10 US cities will have the chance to participate in a "talent show". Top acts will be videotaped and posted on the MeowTV website where fans will be able to voite for their fevorite performance. The winning act will appear on an episode of Meow TV.

Drat. They're not coming to San Francisco. ...
       Continue reading "Meow TV"

Meow TV - posted at Thu, 22 May, 18:00 Pacific

Sunday May 18, 2003

Living on the Edge of Civilization

Our development backs into a large Open Space area: watershed, animal/bird refuge, national recreation area. We hear coyotes on the ridge some nights; occasionally deer come down into the development. Mostly we get skunks, raccoons, wood rats, and an occasional possum. ...
       Continue reading "Living on the Edge of Civilization"

Living on the Edge of Civilization - posted at Sun, 18 May, 15:15 Pacific

Tuesday May 13, 2003

Wikki Wakki Air Ballet

As we were coming home this morning (after being out for some errands) I saw a flock of seagulls in the air above the park across the street. They were flying mostly in formation, enjoying the air currents. Lots of slow swooping, back and forth, up and done, all well-coordinated. A lovely 5 minute air show, without the engine noises. We stood and watched after getting out of the car, until they disappeared over the trees.

It reminded me of Esther Williams and the water ballet stuff from old movies, except these were birds and it was in the air, not water. They weren't "going" someplace, they were just having a good time.

Wikki Wakki Air Ballet - posted at Tue, 13 May, 11:43 Pacific

Monday May 12, 2003

Mama? There's a CAT in my house!

Well, today was THE DAY. Raven no longer has to live in the garage "apartment". However, we did bring his bed, litterbox, and toys up to the guest room so he can have a quiet place that's all his for timeouts for a few days.

First we went to the vet for the next step in the hookworm meds; got the tartar off the last tooth (and a hole in my finger). Got him microchipped (all our cats are chipped; they all have collars too with colored hearts; Raven's is yellow to match his eyes).

Then we came home and had a BATH. This wasn't as bad as it might have been. It helped that I wore old jeans and a long-sleeved denim shirt in the tub with the kitty! It's difficult to get much of a toehold in denim. (The other three had baths last night; Bebop was the most difficult as he has the most muscle.)

Then into the bedroom for a dry-off and wander around while the other cats were in the other part of the house. We brought the three big kids in one at a time. ...
       Continue reading "Mama? There's a CAT in my house!"

Mama? There's a CAT in my house! - posted at Mon, 12 May, 21:31 Pacific

Sunday May 4, 2003

Chickadees

We have an adorable little flock of chickadees that come to the sunflower seed feeder on the back porch. They are so cute and tiny; they make the finches look big! They also take baths in the bird bath, sitting right in the water and ducking under and splashing and generally having a merry time.

I went out today to fill the feeder; they zipped off but not very far and they kept zipping back and forth as I was pouring in the seed. (Chickadees zip; it's the only way to describe it). As I was putting the lid back on the feeder, two of them zipped back and landed on the feeder while I was there and started pecking at seed. I stood very still, ever so slowly knotting the rope that holds the lid on (if we don't knot the rope, the raccoons lift the lid (and the sides) and spill all the seed into the yard...

Just as I had the knot almost tied, a third Chickadee came and landed on my finger and stood there for a few seconds. Ooh. Utterly fearless.

Chickadees - posted at Sun, 04 May, 12:36 Pacific

Saturday May 3, 2003

Hug Your Cat Day

HugCatDay.jpg

EFURRY Day should be

Hug Your Cat Day!


Hug Your Cat Today!

If you don't have a cat, hug a friend's cat!

Or, hug a friend who has a cat...

Hug Your Cat Day - posted at Sat, 03 May, 12:43 Pacific

Thursday May 1, 2003

This Raven has fur

We are pleased to introduce Ravenclaw (aka Raven), the newest member of our furry tribe. Raven was a rescue kitty; now he has a home. He's our token moggie :-)

Raven is settling in as best he can, given that our vet has nevertheless requested/required that he stay in quarantine for 2 weeks, to be absolutely sure he hasn't picked up anything that he could pass on to the other furkids. This is standard procedure for new cats for our vet. It's probably more difficult for the emotionally challenged hoomans in our household than for the pussycat. Squirrel is none too happy, however, when Vickimom disappears into the garage for half an hour at a time!

We built Raven a nice snug little apartment in the garage. ...
       Continue reading "This Raven has fur"

This Raven has fur - posted at Thu, 01 May, 01:02 Pacific

Monday April 28, 2003

Grey squirrel - up close and purrsonal!

The grey squirrel has been back a few times; I'm making sure I refill the feeder with sunflower seeds. But today, as I sat on the screenporch finishing my lunch, he came right up to the windows and sat on the outside windowsill. This was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that Bebop was sitting on the porch with me, enjoying the vieWOW! Look at that! Oh oh oh oh oh. quiver.

Even more fun than Bebop's obvious fascination with the whateverthatis on the windowsill was the fact that the squirrel was obviously just as fascinated with Bebop!

Grey squirrel - up close and purrsonal! - posted at Mon, 28 Apr, 13:38 Pacific

Tuesday April 22, 2003

We saw a squirrel!!!

We had a grey squirrel on our porch rail this morning! Rich told me last night he had seen one yesterday. I was hoping it would come back. We'll have lived here 15 years in May and this is only the second time I've seen a squirrel closer than a mile from the house - the other time was December of last year when I saw one in the tree behind the back fence. That was terrific; today was just delightful!

The boys were entranced (they saw it first). I don't know how long they had been watching before I woke up.

This porch is a small deck just off the end of our upstairs screenporch. The porch rail has our sunflower seed feeder on it. The cats love the screenporch - fresh air, a great view of the back yard (and the birds). And today, a treat! ...
       Continue reading "We saw a squirrel!!!"

We saw a squirrel!!! - posted at Tue, 22 Apr, 10:00 Pacific

Saturday April 19, 2003

Purrrrrrr

As is often the case, Mezzaluna was lying across the foot of the bed this morning when I woke up. I leaned down to stroke her tummy and rub her chin. She was (again, as is often the case) purring. Mezzaluna has an incredible motor. I lay my ear on her chest and let all of those wonderful vibrations fill my head.

Last weekend at Wild Cat Adventure, you may recall we met a cheetah. We were told that scientists were at first unsure whether to classify the cheetah as a cat or a dog. Unlike most cats, cheetahs do not have retractable front claws (it's easier to run in cleats). They don't have glow-in-the-dark eyes and great night vision either (cheetahs hunt in the daytime when the lions are sleeping; lions prey on cheetahs). They don't climb trees.

Well, after spending time in a room with a contented cheetah (he was in charge; he was content) I could tell the scientists that the cheetah is unequivocally a cat. Cheetahs purr!

Purrrrrrr - posted at Sat, 19 Apr, 12:11 Pacific

Thursday April 17, 2003

Crunchy Mornings

The furkids get a crunchy treat every morning after breakfast (Whiskas tartar control tuna flavor). The ritual goes like this:

We all troop downstairs after everyone has finished breakfast.

Mezzaluna, who usually finishes early, is sitting tucked into the corner by the bookcase, waiting.

Squirrel keeps a close eye on Vickimom (many backward glances and mews of encouragement) to ensure I don't get lost on the way. I have been known to get distracted.

We arrive at the place where the crunchy treats are distributed; Everyone gathers round.

I get the bag off the shelf. If Squirrel is feeling really cute, he sits up and paws at the air. Unfortunately, I can't get him to do this more often, though I try. It's adorable.

I pour out a handful of treats. These go on the only bit of linoleum at the far end of the downstairs room. Everyone starts to eat. Positions are constant - Mezzaluna in the corner, Bebop in front and facing the wall, Squirrel at the opposite end from Mezzaluna.

I go clean the litter box which is in the bathroom at the far end of the room where the cats are crunching. I can look up and see them. I can see Squirrel leean out, reach a long paw towards Mezzaluna, and snaffle a crunchy treat from her area. I can see Mezzaluna try to extract crunchies from under her tail feathers.

As I finish up with the cat box, Squirrel saunters towards me. This is always a slow and deliberate, apparently "random" stroll, occasionally stopping for a wash. Still, he's always immediately outside the door of the bathroom before I leave.

More?

I follow him back and put down a second small handful (the other half). The cats commence to crunching.

Crunchy Mornings - posted at Thu, 17 Apr, 11:47 Pacific

Sunday April 13, 2003

Wild Cat Adventure

There's a group in the SF Bay Area called Leopards, Etc that I recently found out about! They do educational programs (public outreach, programs for schools, corporate and private events). They do 150 programs of some sort a year! Leopards Etc. is owned and operated by Rob and Barbara Dicely, experienced educators (formerly teachers), licensed by the State of California, the US Dept. of the Interior, and various other governmental organizations to keep, train, and show wild cats. They have a 20-acre property in Sonoma County, CA, with (at present) 24 cats.

Several times a year they do a public outreach program called "Wild Cat Adventure". This is a one-hour program to which they bring 5 or 6 cats and give a talk, with demonstrations. I was looking forward to attending as soon as I heard about it (only a few weeks ago) and today we attended the Wild Cat Adventure at Foothill College (just north of San Jose). ...
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Wild Cat Adventure - posted at Sun, 13 Apr, 23:27 Pacific

Sunday March 30, 2003

Cat Show

We don't show our guys, but sometimes we like to watch :-)

We went today to the "San Francisco Reveler's" (and Friskies) cat show at the San Mateo expo hall. A nice big show (CFA). Lots of kitties. Lots of toys, cat-design clothing, furniture, and other stuff.

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Cat Show - posted at Sun, 30 Mar, 21:48 Pacific

Monday March 24, 2003

Making the bed

People who don't have cats miss out on the adventure in small domestic tasks. Today we stripped the bed and put on fresh sheets. Bebop and Mezzaluna helped.

Pounce! Dive! Bouncepounce! Boing boing boing. While I admit it takes longer when I have help, it's ever so much more fun. Who but a cat parent could say they have so much fun making the bed?

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Making the bed - posted at Mon, 24 Mar, 00:14 Pacific

Saturday March 22, 2003

Springtime in San Bruno pt. 2 - March

I thought I'd share a little more spring from the SF Bay Area... (warning - popup images ahead. You'll need Javascript enabled to see the photos)

Our plum tree is mostly red leaves now; only 2 or 3 blossoms remain. The tulips are starting to bloom; these are in a large pot on the deck by the sunroom door; they get more sun. The others (in the terrace) are still just buds. The daylilies are blooming too now (yeah!).

This is the first of the lilacs from 4 days ago. The white lilac blooms earliest. Here's another blossom from today; its really on a roll now.

The dark purple french lilac is putting out flower buds; I'm happy to see this, as the poor thing was canted way over earlier this year and had been inundated by the nearby rose bush. I dug around it, re-set it upright, trimmed the rose back. And the lilac seems to be recovering from its ordeal.

We've got some nice moss that grows between the stones of the footpath and between the blocks of the terrace wall. It's quite a nice lush moss, still verdant at this time of year. I think the closeup came out well.

Springtime in San Bruno pt. 2 - March - posted at Sat, 22 Mar, 18:58 Pacific

Saturday March 15, 2003

Bengal 4th most popular breed of cat

I picked up a copy of one of my favorite periodicals yesterday - the CATS USA annual (from the editors of CatFancy Magazine). It's 1/4" of glossy photos, tips, photos, articles, photos, breeder directory, and more photos.

I was very interested to read this year's "Top 10 list" of the most popular breeds. The Persian is still the "world's most popular" breed of cat, and the Maine Coon is still the second most popular in the US (we know why). But coming in third this year, surpassing the Siamese in popularity is... the Bengal. The Siamese is now in 4th place.

Cool!

Bengal 4th most popular breed of cat - posted at Sat, 15 Mar, 19:56 Pacific

Sunday March 9, 2003

Bebumps

I'm sitting here at my desk, happily receiving "Bebumps", Bebop's special brand of kitty bumps. He sits on my desk, next to the keyboard, looking at me with those wonderful expressive eyes, little hearts poofing out of his head like the kitty in Rose is Rose. Then "bump" with his head on my arm. Or a paw on my shoulder (or wrist). Another bump. I kiss the top of his fuzzy head. He licks my wrist. I rub his ears. Bump.

I type a little. Another bump. "Pay some attention to the cat" he says. "I'm here. I love you."

Eventually he's had enough attention and hops up into the kitty basket above the monitor. I feel sorry for people who have the computer but not the cats...

Bebumps - posted at Sun, 09 Mar, 19:29 Pacific

Sunday February 16, 2003

Springtime in San Bruno - February

(warning - popup images ahead. You'll need Javascript enabled to see the photos)

February is springtime here. The ornamental plums all begin to flower in the beginning of February. This is the best year yet for our tree. Even the rain of the last 2 days hasn't made much impact on the blossoms

The picture of the tree was taken this morning, after last nights rainstorm. Still grey skies but clearing. Photos of branch and blossom were taken last week when it was sunny and nice.

This purple flower is our fall flower; I don't remember what it's called... but it has velvety leaves and big purple flowers that bloom from Sept/Oct to Jan/Feb.

This rose is a Flower Carpet ground cover rose - they take little care, are hardy and disease resistant and, in our climate, bloom year round (I know they'll grow in Pennsylvania; a friend of my parents' has some!). They are available in the US but the main information site appears to be in the UK.

Last but not least, here is Bebop, enjoying the garden.
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Springtime in San Bruno - February - posted at Sun, 16 Feb, 11:16 Pacific

Monday February 3, 2003

Nature Walk

We took a walk this morning along one of our favorite area trails, the Sawyer Camp Trail along the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

It was a lovely day, blue, warm, clear. I wish I had brought a camera (the photos below aren't the same animals we saw (sigh) but they look very much like the ones we saw.)

Aside from the sparrows, junkos, blue jay and hummingbird, we also saw a sweet Mule deer doe. She had come over the fence to the trail and was standing by the side of the paved walkway, nibbling leaves and things. She would look up at everyone, assess them as "tame humans" and go back to eating. She was no more than 6 feet away and didn't seem to care.

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We went 1.5 miles, then turned around and came back. Halfway back I stopped at a bench to adjust my sock, and I saw a little brownish-grey head pop out of the ground in front of me. So I called Rich over (quietly) and we sat and watched a pocket gopher eat his lunch. He looked like a little furry fingerpuppet with bright black eyes and little whiskers. He popped out just his head or head and shoulders and grabbed some clover, cutting it off at the stem with his teeth or teeth and paws and Pop! backwards into the hole.

We watched for about 15 minutes until he'd eaten all he wanted; then he filled the hole back in from the underside and went somewhere else.

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Here's more about pocket gophers


Nature Walk - posted at Mon, 03 Feb, 14:02 Pacific

Friday July 5, 2002

Mac OS X

It's been almost a month now since I upgraded to Mac OS X and I really like it. I have a few nits to pick. For one, I can't stand the default menu and System fonts (and Apple left out the ability to customize the fonts :-( I miss spring-loaded folders (it took me a long time to get used to them, but then I was hooked). I don't ,much care for the dock, but I use DragThing and my dock is set to the smallest possible size. I really dislike the giant icons... but those can be re-sized too.

My biggest nit was the missing Finder labels; they aren't really gone, just hidden and Apple didn;'t include the interface to rename them. But Eudora can find them and use them. After a few weeks of "Hot", "Cool" and "Project 1" I finally found the right resource and renamed the labels the way I want to have them. So I'm happier.

10.1 is ever so much nicer than 10.0 was... we played a little with 10.0 but it wasn't ready for us. In 10.1 there are more customizations possible, more 3rd party apps to bring back desired features such as Windowshadng, arrows at top&bottom of the scrollbar (though, sadly, not a fixed-width "thumb". Am I the only one who doesn't think the proportioal thumb is a cool feature??). Most of our must-have apps have Mac OS X native versions now. And Classic integration is MUCH better than it was in previous releases.

While it doesn't hurt to not be afraid to look "behind the curtain" at the command line, you don't have to. Mac OS X is fast approaching a state I would recommend to my parents and less technically-minded friends.

Mac OS X - posted at Fri, 05 Jul, 21:55 Pacific

Wednesday May 15, 2002

Hug Your Cat Day

515HugYourCatDay (41k image)

Hug Your Cat Day - posted at Wed, 15 May, 17:08 Pacific