Sunday, November 30, 2014

Various Critters

Relaxed cat

Delmarva fox squirrel

Fallow deer in Richmond Park, England

Owl says "Mousie!" for the camera

Pine marten

Sheep on Rhossili Cliff, England

Bongo calves with a "nanny"

Weather Change

Hoooooo, boy!  What a couple of days of college football.  I was ecstatic when Mizzou beat Arkansas and became the leader/winner of the Eastern division of the SEC.  The only other team I was rooting for, that actually won, was Georgia Tech.  Dad got me into the habit of admiring the underdog....  Now I'll have to see what the Broncos do tonight.
   Since the Wednesday, we've been having unseasonable warmth - the highs have been in the uppers 60s and low 70s.  That changes today; we've already seen our high temperature, and it's supposed to steadily drop as a windy cold front drops in from the north.  The low tonight is forecast to be 14, after a high of 74 yesterday.  Time to get the woolies out again...
   I finally caught the mouse that Tipsi brought in Friday - since Tipsi roams the neighborhood, I just put it back outside the garage.Pounce has slept beside me every night at the ABC's, while Cooper and Lola have been getting two long walks each day.  I made another pumpkin pie last night - finished reading the new Pendergast thriller, Blue Labyrinth, and have started The Palace, another Count Saint Germaine novel.  Lots of new books out that I want to purchase, but I have to save for the family trip to Chincoteague in July.
  My kits have been full of beans, running everywhere, for the past few days.  I don't know if it's been the warm weather, or what has set them off.  Now is when I start looking forward to the Denver National Western Stock Show in January.  And I need to check my calendar for next month's jobs...  Thankfully, people love their animals, and want e to care for them!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bird Photos

Believe you Can - just like this duckling!

Northern cardinal

Firey-throated hummingbird

Red-tailed comet hummingbird

Salvin's currassow

Brown-headed nuthatch

Great blue heron

It's Been A Busy Week

I've been running around taking care of four houses - three within a half-mile radius, and one 2 miles out.  Then, of course, I've also made time to be home with my kits for a couple of hours each day - all using my feet and public transportation...  I've found a lack of east-west buses, while there are plenty of north-south buses...  Sunday and Thursday were the hardest days for transportation - buses only ran once an hour, which is a huge PITA.   Oh, well.  As of midnight, three families have returned, and I only have the ABCs to look after (plus Lovey and Nedi, of course).
   Let's see....   Kathy had her PET scan on Monday, and received the results on Wednesday.  On Wednesday, a Samoyed named Tulo joined Kathy and Jim's family for five days, while his people are away for Thanksgiving.   The Snow clan met and had Thanksgiving dinner at the Grange in Niwot, but I didn't have time to do so.  I did bake a fat hen, and a pumpkin pie.  And I had mashed potatoes, peas, and gravy to go along with them.
   I had to laugh at Tipsi, one of the cats I'm caring for.  Last night, just before dark, and just before I closed the pet door, Tipsi brought in a large vole.  He wouldn't let me approach him closely, but the vole looked extremely limp, so I figured it was dead.  Ten minutes later, it ran across my foot, with Tipsi walking along behind it...  Am I, somehow, causing cats to alter their behavior?  I can understand my kits bringing in live prey, because I yell a lot if they kill anything.  But why is Tipsi suddenly bringing in live mice/voles (like Nedi), and just following them around - not pouncing and attacking, but as if the vole is something to study?
   I also had my annual check-up with my physician.  My fasting blood sugar was 68; and my A1c level had dropped .2 since last year.  Blood pressure was 123/70; and I weighed 2 ponds less than last year.  Her only comment was that she thought I's feel even better if I dropped 10 pounds.  I agreed.  So I'm just waiting on my liver panel and cholesterol tests...  Everything else is A-OK.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I give thanks for my friends, family, and my two cats who keep me some what sane.  I have fairly good health, and I am in a position to help others, even though I am ranked below the poverty line.  I love my job, my cats, my friends and family.  I am a very lucky lady.
   This is my favorite depiction of  The First Thanksgiving 1621.  The artist, J L G Ferris, painted this in 1932 - 311 years after the fact.  There is no true description of the first Thanksgiving, so this painting is purely conjecture - but it is still my favorite.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend Update & Photos

I spent Saturday coring, slicing and dicing crab apples again.  Got another 5 gallons into the pot to cook down into apple sauce - Kathy, Jim and Michael started a deep cleaning the house in case Kathy has to undergo chemo or radiation therapy.  I started caring for the hens, cats and carp on Dellwood, and will do so through Thanksgiving.  I was able to watch Mizzou win it's game, but did not see Florida and South Carolina win theirs.  Did get to see the Broncos yesterday - and they had me worried for quite a while, but they were able to pull off a win.  Today I add caring for Lynn Thore's home and pets to my care list, and tomorrow I add two more houses.  I'll be busy.
 I'm just going to add today's photos into this short blog....
1940 Chevrolet

American pine marten

Sunrise on Assateague Island, Virginia

Somewhere in California...

Male twelve-wired bird of paradise

Trotting Friesian

Grandma Ann's cat, Tabitha

Frosty web

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Frosty must have eaten tons of beans to produce that New York snow!!

Short & Sweet

Boulder has warmed up enough to see some grass under the snow in yards.  We're expected to be windy today and tomorrow, which will help melt and evaporate the remaining snow.  But, we're expecting more snow Sunday night and Monday.  I am not complaining.  We've not had anything like the lake-effect snow that Buffalo and western New York received...  Our ski resorts are very happy, as they are expecting 10 to 20 inches of snow between now and Sunday night.  But I have to walk on slick and icy streets and sidewalks while out taking care of houses, so I'm just not ... impressed.
   I start caring for Dellwood today, so that's two cats, four carp and five laying hens.  They are easy to care for; but if it's warm in the afternoon, the hens occasionally don't want to enter the hen house for the night.  I'll stop by there on the way to Kathy and Jim's this morning, and will stop in and close them up for the night on my way back home.
  Cousin Sarah inherited most of the Nocks family photos (Thank you for keeping them away from Eleanor, Sarah!) and has been sharing identified photos on the new Nocks family website.  I've seen a lot of family photos that I have never seen before - and a lot of the cousins who have never met are being able to connect with one another.  It's great.  I'm very happy that my cousin Dennis reached out and asked how to get his part of the family tree posted...  It's been a wonderful distraction from worrying about my sister's cancer diagnosis.
  Lovey and Nedi have been happier that it's getting warmer, as they get longer periods of time outside to play.  I don't think that Nedi will find anymore mice to befriend until the Spring - it's still a weird feeling to go into the bathroom and realize your cat has a "pet" mouse sleeping with him in the tub!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fisher Cat Photos

The critter known as the "Fisher Cat" is not a member of the cat family.  It belongs to the mustelid, or weasel, family.  Fisher cats are small carnivorous mammals, and are closely related to the American (pine) marten.


The rats have probably lived in the Githens Acres neighborhood since before the white settlers came.  What is now Githens Acres was changed from a typical foothills meets the prairie ( with a seasonal creek) area to a large apple orchard that covered hundreds of acres.  The Silver Lake Irrigation Ditch was put in for the various crops in the area, by the various owners - Mr. Githens being the orchard owner.  My brother-in-law, Jim, bought his house in the mid-1960s, when Githens Acres was located far north of the City of Boulder, and living in that area was considered "living in the country."  Now the neighborhood is surrounded by the City, and the seasonal creek serves as a "green way" for wildlife on the move - coyotes, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, raccoons, and an occasional otter.
   In September of 2013, Boulder County (and much of the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains) was swept with a huge rain storm that flooded the upper foothills of the mountains, sometimes sweeping towns away.  The eastern end of the street my sister and brother lives on was completely washed away; when the water finally dried, there was a crevasse that ran between 6 inches to ten feet wide, and from six inches to eight feet deep.  I was staying at Kathy and Jim's house, as they were on vacation.  Several neighbors and I noted seeing some large rats in the area, immediately after the flooding.  We decided that the flood had brought the rats.
  Casting back in time, wending through my memory, I remember that the winter that Kathy and Jim went to Peru (and I stayed at their house), I saw a couple of rats.  At that time, Jim had two Samoyeds - Suki, the mother, and Boo, her daughter.  Neither one of them reacted to the rats - even though the rats ran into a crack under the concrete steps that led into the house.  In any event, I've seen the rats off and on for several years.  I spoke to Kathy and Jim about them, but, as they had never seen the rats, they took my stories with a grain of salt.   This past summer, after the flood, their next-door neighbor complained about "all the rats" that were around her house and garden.  She set out traps for weeks, but only caught two rats, while all the other traps were tripped multiple times.
   The day after our first heavy snow, Tuesday, 11 November, Jim saw a rat run across the back patio at his house.  During lunch, both Kathy and Jim saw a rat run across the patio.  That afternoon, Jim got 6 rat traps - the inhumane kind, which is supposed to kill the rat by breaking it's neck when it takes the bait.  (Jim couldn't find anyone who wanted to extend a welcome and re-locate the rats elsewhere - )  Jim baited all the traps and placed them outside.  One on either side of the patio doors, one at the rear door to the garage, one at the corner of the garage, and two by the back steps where I had first seen the rats, way back when.
   Those suckers are clever and strong.  Frequently, the bait is removed, without the springing of the trap.  But Jim has trapped and killed ten of the rascals.  While I was making meatballs in the kitchen on Tuesday, I heard a loud clap and about 5 seconds of high-pitched squealing.  I peeked out the window and was looking right into the eyes of a large rat - the levered bar of the trap was right across it's neck, and the mouth was partially open with the tongue sticking out.  I was certain the rat was dead.  A few minutes later, I glanced out the window again, and the trap was upside down and empty - and you could see the butt and tail-wiggles of the critter in the snow, where it had worked to escape.  That was pretty amazing.  That was after there was a dead rat in a trap on the patio - and I know that that one was dead - it was frozen solid, because I had to keep Rosie from playing with it, and I checked it.  Three hours later, Jim was going to remove the carcase and re-bait the trap, but he couldn't find the trap or the rat.  We both walked over the back yard and under the trees, and could not find the trap or the rat.  (But I did find a large pile of coyote scat, and a place where a coyote had napped in the sun, so Jim and I think the coyote took the whole kit and kaboodle.)  Jim was rather upset because the missing trap was one of the hair-trigger ones that had an extremely powerful snap.
   I think the funniest thing that I found was a rat-made slide in the snow.  It began under the woodpile under the kitchen window and coasted down about 24 inches to the regular ground level.  It had several little twists and turns - just like an otters slide down into a river.  One could plainly see the marks of the rats' tails in the middle of the slide, along with an occasional footprint, giving themselves a push...  Yesterday leaves had blown onto the slide and it looked as if it were no longer in use.  I hope that Jim has caught the majority, or all, of them!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Critters & a Farm - Photos

Warthog in snow

Squirrel with a black walnut

Tree kanagroo

Country farm view

Kodiak bears

Cleveland Bay stallion


Nocks Family

I was supposed to spend yesterday addressing and writing Thank You notes for all the cards, flowers and food Kathy has received since her surgery - instead, I cored, sliced and diced five gallons of crab apples to process into homemade apple sauce.  So my wrists and hands are a bit sore from arthritis this morning, but otherwise, I'm fine.
   The Nocks family has been celebrating a bit, as cousin Sarah set up our own webpage for sharing things - and we are going wild sharing photos and catching up with family that we haven't been in contact with previously. A second cousin that I didn't know existed contacted me by e-mail and wanted to know how to add to the family tree - and that began an explosion of photo sharing.  Hopefully, I 'll have time this afternoon/evening to do some more exploring, and contact another elder in the family and get dates and places to add to the tree.
  Kathy visits the oncologist today at 4, and will learn what she has planned to combat the cancer - radiation, chemo, and/or hormonal therapy.  Once I know that, and Kathy is ready for the knowledge to be public, I'll write about it.  In the meantime, it's still a waiting game - with no paths obvious or designated.  It's very frustrating for both Kathy and Jim.
  Should be able to blog more over the weekend - then I have 4 houses to care for over Thanksgiving, so I don't know when, or if, I'll have time to blog.  We'll see...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fall Scenes on Assateague Island

Bald eagle

Brown pelicans

Peregrine falcon

Cattle egrets

November surf

Cody Two Socks (mare) and Doc Amrien (foal)

Sunset from Assateague beach