Category Archives: animal planet

A day in the life

…of a squirrel, that barely missed becoming breakfast for a hawk.

Morning walk with Gaby. We had just entered the park when I saw the swoop-and-flurry. Squirrel dashing across open space and walkway toward safety of tree while hawk pursued and squirrel’s buddy brought up the rear, chattering and in general trying to disrupt the proceedings. It worked–hawk had to veer off to avoid hitting the tree, and the squirrel buddies dashed up into the safety of the dense leaves. They were still chittering when Gaby and I passed.

Made a circuit of the park and neighborhood. Spotted the hawk on the way back. It landed in a large oak and tried to settle in, but a couple of smaller birds drove it off and forced it to a different branch. Looked as though it hadn’t found breakfast yet. Rough morning.

It’s hotter than I thought it would be, and muggy. Showered after we got home. Straightened the kitchen. Time to work now.

Talked to neighbor on the way back. He had promised me fresh peaches a couple of months ago–today he said they’re getting close.

A fresh peach. Yanno, I don’t think I’ve ever had one. If he gives me enough, I may look up a tart recipe. Maybe chutney. Then of course, there are the ripe ones that you eat whilst standing over the sink because they’re so damn juicy.

In other news, Gaby got skunked the other night. That makes three times this summer. The groomer said that it’s been the Summer of the Skunk–she’s had 7-8 deskunkings in the last two weeks.

This skunk was eating the bird seed that had fallen out of the feeder. It didn’t return last night, so I am hoping that all the ruckus of being barked at and chased off will make it think twice about coming back. Depends how hungry it gets, I suppose.

Sunday, dusk

Finally cool enough to sit outside. The next few days are expected to be blistering, so no playcare for Gaby. I don’t want her running around in 85F+, and she doesn’t like heat anyway so it’s all good.

Passed the small pond during the morning’s walk in the park–the regular park, not the preserve–and saw that the singleton snow goose was still part of the flock of Canadas that inhabits the place. Glad to see it was still around, even though it makes me a little sad that it’s not with other snow geese. How did it wind up here? Did it lose its way? Get injured? Was it abandoned as a gosling and adopted? Oh well, it seems fine–it was swimming in the midst of the Canadas and feeding, just like one of the gang, so it looks like it’s well-integrated.

Going to stay outside until I see Venus, and keep an eye out for bats. They’ve been scarce lately, I think because of the lack of rain and subsequent mosquito shortage. I’m sure there are other bugs for them to eat, but they must not be around here. Lately if I see one or two over the course of 15 minutes, I’m doing well.

Sunday dash-off post

Saw one of these during the morning walk. I need to take my camera on these jaunts.

Herself got skunked last night. A minor assault, as these things go, but enough to make her rub her face in the grass for a few minutes. Luckily, I had bought a bottle of Nature’s Miracle after friends raved about it. Managed to get rid of the worst of the stink. I will still try to get her to the groomers this week, though. There’s always that last bit of whiffage that I can’t get out no matter what I do.

Once again, in lieu of actual content…

…bouncing otters!

You’re welcome.

(h/t to Diane Duane on Tumblr)


They’re everywhere, which is a good thing. Some have the yellow-and-black striped body I’m familiar with, but others are shiny black. Did a quick search and found a page describing all the different markings. Never realized there were so many.

The ones I’ve seen look solid black, which means they could be one of the Cuckoo varieties. But to be honest, they were all moving at the time of observation and I was reluctant to get too close because, well, BEE! They could also be part of Color Group 1. I’m just glad to see them buzzing around all the apple blossoms, the hanging basket petunias, the tiny holly flowers.

It is warm. Cool breeze, but the sun is making its presence felt. Last week, I wore a heavy sweatshirt when I took Gaby for her walk, and had to keep wiping my eyes because the chill breeze made them tear. Today, I wore a light t-shirt under a light jacket, and was glad I did because halfway through I took off said jacket and tied it around my waist. Even Gaby ran out of gas, which is a first. We made it as far as the lake. Saw a few boats, a yacht and a couple of smaller cabin cruisers. A speed boat. There was a haze over the water. Not much wave.

Out on the deck now, under the brollie, with iced lemon water close at hand. The hardwoods are finally starting to leaf out. The honey locust. After a short nap and some water, Gaby is alternating dashing about the yard and lying beside my chair and resting up in preparation for more dashing. A dog of her weight and approximate age–almost 6 1/2 we think–she is supposed to be around 42 in human years, but I don’t see it.

It’s the first summer without King. He hated buzzing–flies, bees–and would either try to snap the offending insect out of the air or tuck tail and seek shelter in the deck Dogloo. Once all was clear, he would lie by the gate and watch the street. The guardian.

The Pets of Balloon Juice 2013 calendar

For the third year in a row, King and Gaby are among the pets featured in this great calendar (they’re shown in September). Balloon Juice is a political/current events blog run by John Cole, and we of the commentariat have submitted many a photo of many a dog/cat/occasional other for inclusion. Proceeds go to MARC, Marion Animal Resource Connection, which helps Marion County (TN) residents find safe places for strays, dumped, and unwanted animals.

If you are looking for a gift for the animal lover(s) on your list, or could use a 2013 calendar yourself, please consider this one. Many a critter will thank you.

Wall Calendar The Pets of Balloon Juice 2013 calendar Balloon Juice Online Store.

Dance, little sister

It’s the little legs that make me go awwwwwwwwww

Drive-by posting

Spam message of the day: Lofty bye, considerate friend . Sometimes the garbling takes it to new levels of internet incoherence.

Recipes of the weekend #1: Cheap cornbread mix, the small box that fills one 8×8-inch pan. Added one tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, two tablespoons chopped fresh chives, and a few twists of pepper from the mill. Sprinkled a spice blend on top–chili powder, ground rosemary, etc. Subtle. Thyme works well in cornbread.

Recipes of the weekend #2: grilled salmon that I marinated using the following:

For 2 4-6 oz steaks:

1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 scallions, chopped (2 green onions)
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Except…I didn’t have scallions, so I used a small shallot instead. And I didn’t have fresh ginger, so I used a half-teaspoon of the ground stuff. The trick to this was mounting the chopped garlic and shallot atop the salmon when it was on the grill, so that when I turned the salmon over for the last 4 minutes of cooking, the garlic and shallot cooked through until they became brown and crispy. The garlic was actually borderline burnt but still good, but the shallot tasted great. Went really well with the salmon.

Thunderstorms are moving through now, which means restless King which means not much else getting done. For various reasons, the Sunday afternoon crankies have struck early. A bottle of wine may be opened soon. And Season 2 of Sherlock begins on WTTW tonight, so I’ve that to look forward to. Ben Cumberbatch. My Favorite High-Functioning Sociopath.

I’m sick of the cold and the rain. We had that taste of early summer in March, and it’s been crap ever since. I do think I spotted birds I’d never seen before. Gray catbirds–slate gray with black caps. I didn’t see the red patches under their tails, but in other respects they looked just like the pictures.

Oh well, back to whatever else the day holds. Grumpgrumpgrump….

Clark Kent

Some time ago over on my LJ, I posted updates about Clark Kent, a cat that almost died due to the neglect, and who was rescued by a good Samaritan and the good folks at City Kitties and The Cat Doctor (Facebook links). But the last update didn’t contain the best news. Doctors found a slow-growing bone cancer in his mouth. Given his many other medical issues, the decision was made not to put Clark through another surgery and/or radiation. Instead (and here comes the good news!), Clark was placed in a new home where he could live out the rest of his days in peace and comfort.

Well, another update has been released, and Clark is doing great. His weight is steady, and his labs are more normal. He’s sleeping on the bed–human or kitty, not sure which–and runs through the house with his sisters–kitty, I assume.

Good news on a dreary day. Long may you wave, CK!


The thing is, I have suffered from cat allergies for much of my life. Asthma attacks. Red, itchy welts where the dander touched my skin. ┬áBut my allergies overall seem to have settled down a bit over the last few years, so I was hoping that I wouldn’t have much of a problem when I visited my friends D&D and their 2 pups and 6 cats.

I guess you could say I didn’t have a problem:

Singer is an Empathy Cat. I had a few rough moments related to some phone calls from back at the homestead, and was feeling a little tense. Worried. This was about the time that Singer decided that my lap was the place upon which to spend extended stretches of the evening and even parts of the afternoon. Stroking him made it all better.

My throat didn’t even itch. Didn’t sneeze. Sort of amazing, actually.