2022 · Christmas Season

Christmas Lights Poem

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πŸŽ„Christmas LightsπŸŽ„

Christmas stars shine on high,
Golden stars in the wint’ry sky;
Christmas candles in windows bright 
Send s greeting into the night;
While in our hearts the Christmas flame,
Glows with a love like his who came,
The infant Christ of lowly birth,
To bring good will and peace to the the earth.

by Marie Irish Bright

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2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus)

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers breed in savannas with scattered trees, shrubs, and patches of brush in the south-central U.S. and just over the border into northern Mexico. They also breed in towns, farm fields, pastures, and landscaped areas like golf courses or parksβ€”areas with a mixture of feeding perches, open space, and trees for nesting. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers spend the winter in southern Mexico and Central America, in humid savannas, pastures, agricultural lands, scrublands, villages, towns, and the edges of tropical deciduous forests. They commonly stay below 5,000 feet elevation but occasionally winter at up to 7,500 feet. Sometimes they roost in towns and disperse to the countryside to forage.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher flies in straight lines with fast wingbeats, its tail folded. It also often hovers with its tail spread or makes abrupt turns in midair. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers form large roosts during spring and fall migration, and they flock in winter as well. In some populations, the males continue roosting in groups throughout the breeding season, but breeding birds tend to forage alone or in pairs. Males arrive before females in the early spring to establish and defend territories. After pairing up, both males and females chase and attack other individuals that intrude onto their territory. Trespassing happens frequently, especially in the early morning, so keep an eye out if you see these birds as you may be treated to an amazing aerial chase. Pairs are monogamous within a breeding season but don’t always reunite in later years. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers attack intruding Red-tailed Hawks, Swainson’s Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Mourning Doves, Great-tailed Grackles, Common Grackles, Northern Mockingbirds, Western Kingbirds, Loggerhead Shrikes, House Sparrows, American Crows, Blue Jays, and Lark Sparrows.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Scissor-tailed_Flycatcher/lifehistory

2022 · Beautiful Colors of Autumn

Beautiful Colors of Autumn (13)

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Good bye, Autumn!

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2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Turkey Vultures are the most widespread of all the New World Vultures. They range across most of the Americas from southern Canada, through most of the continental United States, into Mexico, Central America,, and most of South America all the way south to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of Argentina. Northern populations of Turkey Vultures are migratory and will travel south to spend winters in Mexico, Central America, and coastal regions of the United States. During migration season, if you are in the right spot, it is possible to see waves upon waves of thousands of Turkey Vultures, along with other species of vultures and other species of raptors, as they float across the sky toward warmer climates.

Turkey Vultures are adapted to living in a wide range of habitats and can be found anywhere. You may spot one soaring over deserts and grasslands in search of prey, roosting in trees in forested areas, feeding on dead fish alongside marshes or coastlines, perching on fence posts in agricultural fields, or even scavenging around garbage dumps and landfills. They spend a lot of time soaring and can travel great distances in relatively short periods.

https://peregrinefund.org/explore-raptors-species/vultures/turkey-vulture

2022 · Beautiful Colors of Autumn

Beautiful Colors of Autumn (12)

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The Colony Shoreline Trail in October 2012

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2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The familiar Great Blue Heron is the largest in North America. It is a large bird, with a slate-gray body, chestnut and black accents, and very long legs and neck. In flight, it looks enormous, with a six-foot wingspan. Adults sport a shaggy ruff at the base of their necks. A black eyebrow extends back to black plumes emerging from the head. Juveniles have a dark crown with no plumes or ruff, and a mottled neck. In flight, a Great Blue Heron typically holds its head toward its body with its neck bent.

Adaptable and widespread, the Great Blue Heron is found in various habitats. When feeding, it is usually seen in slow-moving or calm salt, fresh, or brackish water. Great Blue Herons inhabit sheltered, shallow bays and inlets, sloughs, marshes, wet meadows, shores of lakes, and rivers. Nesting colonies are typically found in mature forests, on islands, or near mudflats, and do best when they are free of human disturbance and have foraging areas close by.

Great Blue Herons are often seen flying high overhead with slow wing beats. When foraging, they stand silently along riverbanks, lake shores, or wet meadows, waiting for prey to come by, which they then strike with their bills. They will also stalk prey slowly and deliberately. Although they hunt predominantly daily, they may also be active at night. They are solitary or small-group foragers, but they nest in colonies. Males typically choose shoreline areas for foraging, and females and juveniles forage in more upland areas.

https://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/great_blue_heron

2022 · Beautiful Colors of Autumn

Beautiful Colors of Autumn (11)

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Autumn At A Texas Creek

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2022 · Festivals · Special Events

American Heroes Festival, The Colony, Texas

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Since we live here in Connecticut, we miss the American Heroes Festival in our former hometown in Texas. Every year, the city had several good bands and a headliner playing on stage; free entry. The American Heroes Festival also had a carnival, beer tents, and concession stands. The evening always ended with a nice firework display. One of the reasons for the festival is we have a lot of veterans, including Kevin, in that community. I wish, Watertown or surrounding communities had something similar to the American Heroes Festival. It would be a lot of fun celebrating Veteran’s Day together.

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A Tragedy At The Veteran’s Weekend In Dallas, Texas

I also want to remember the pilots and crew, who was involved in the terrible tragedy of today’s Commemorative Air Force’s Wings over Dallas Airshow. May they rest in peace and the families be in our prayers. Sadly, six lives have been lost.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

2022 · Halloween Season

My Jack-o-Lanterns ~ 2014

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Today, I will show you the pumpkins I carved for the β€œThe Colony Family Fright Night” event in 2014. These pumpkins gained me 1st Prize. And the award was a $50 Movie Theater gift card. The white skull pumpkin is from Courtney. She asked me if I could capture a photo of it. It looks so cool, I had to add it to my Jack-o-Lantern photo collection.

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… to be continued in October 2023

2022 · Beautiful Colors of Autumn

Beautiful Colors of Autumn (8)

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Autumn at The Colony Nature Trail, Texas

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2022 · Halloween Season

My Jack-o-Lanterns ~ 2013

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Another Saturday has arrived to show off some of my Jack-o-Lanterns from the year 2013. Some I carved for our local β€œFamily Fright Night Campout”. And a couple of pumpkins, I carved for Halloween night.

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… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)

Queen

TheΒ Queen butterflyΒ (Danaus gilippus) is a North and South AmericanΒ butterflyΒ in the familyΒ NymphalidaeΒ with aΒ wingspanΒ ofΒ 31⁄8 – 33⁄8Β inches (80 – 85 millimeters).Β It is orange or brown with black wing borders and small white forewing spots on itsΒ dorsalΒ wing surface, and reddishΒ ventralΒ wing surface fairly similar to the dorsal surface. The ventral hindwings have black veins and small white spots in a black border. The male has blackΒ androconialΒ scent patch on its dorsal hindwings.Β It can be found in meadows, fields, marshes, deserts, and at the edges of forests.

This species is possibly a close relative to the similarly colored soldier butterfly (or tropical queen,Β D. eresimus), in any case, it is not close to the plain tiger (D. chrysippus, African queen) as was long believed. There are sevenΒ subspecies.

Females lay one egg at a time on larval host plants.Β Larvae use these plants as a food source,Β whereas adult butterflies feed mainly on nectar from flowers.Β Unpalatability to avian predators is a feature of the butterfly; however, its level is highly variable. Unpalatability is correlated with the level ofΒ cardenolidesΒ obtained via the larval diet, but other compounds likeΒ alkaloidsΒ also play a part in promoting distastefulness.

Males patrol to search for females, who may mate up to 15 times a day.Β Male organs calledΒ hair-pencilsΒ play an important role in courtship, with males with lower hair-pencil counts being selected against.Β These hair-pencils may be involved in releasing pheromones during courtship that could attract female mates.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_(butterfly)

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Hiking At The Colony Shoreline Trail, Texas ~ September 2013

In 2013, one September morning I began my hike I began from the other end of The Colony Shoreline Trail. From there I could get much closer to the lake and saw a lot of wildlife along the way. In the mornings it is warm, but not hot like in the late afternoons in those Texas Summers. So, I got the chance to observe a couple of Turkey Vultures and a Great Blue Heron looking for fish in the lake. I also saw some dragonflies, skippers, little fishes, a Mourning Dove, an Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, a couple of Fox Squirrels, and a Question Mark Butterfly. Yep, the Shoreline Trail was busy. It was a nice photo hike.

2022 · The Night Sky

August Stars & Constellations (1)

In Texas, I used to do a lot of stargazing in the Dallas suburbs. The best time was always when the Moon was new or crescent. Believe it or not, I still could make out the major constellations in the urban sky. When we moved to Connecticut, I lost this interest a little bit. Mainly, it has to do with making myself familiar with the angle of the stars & constellations. Another problem is the tall trees on our property. I might have to ask my neighbor if I can sit on a camping chair on the big rock in her front yard or go up to Mt. Fair to get a better view of the sky. It would be sad if I completely lost interest in the night sky.

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

The Doe At The Colony Shoreline Trail

A doe at The Colony Shoreline Trail (July 2014)

Several years back I told Kevin I would go to The Colony Shoreline Trail to look for some deer. Someone tipped me off about a certain area, where I would find some deer activity at sundown. On that night in mid-July, I wanted to see for myself and capture some photos. On the way out, I said: “Honey, I will hunt for deer tonight!” Kevin laughed: “Yeah, shooting with your camera?” “Yep, exactly”, I replied.

At the trail, I looked for some evidence. It didn’t take long until I found deer tracks. I hid behind a bush several feet away from the deer tracks and waited … and waited … and waited. The sun was setting, and I didn’t want to give it too much longer. It felt a little bit spooky, being out there by myself. All of a sudden, I heard something and saw a bush moving across from the creek. I tried to stay as calm as I could to keep my breath low. And then there she was: a doe was standing right in the open. Of course, the wind was blowing in her direction. It was too easy to spot me. Mrs. Doe looked at me for a little while, long enough that I could capture a few photos. And then she jumped back behind the secure bushes. That was it. But I’ve got what I wanted that night. Another night I found out why she was so hesitant. She had two fawns with her.

Arriving back at home, Kevin was resting on the couch. “Honey, I shot a deer tonight.” He looked surprised at me: “You’ve got that deer?” “Yep, I did get it,” I answered proudly. “Wow! First night out and caught it, huh?!” he said. I sat down on the couch and looked at the pictures with him.

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Mockingbirds are one of the most commonly noticed birds in the state of Texas. They are either applauded for their audaciousness or cursed for their persistence in nocturnal singing or in the defense of their territory. Insects, fruit, crustaceans, and small vertebrates make up the mockingbird’s diet. The fact that they enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables hasn’t exactly made them gardeners’ friends either, although they do eat lots of insects.

Mockingbirds are found in just about every habitat type in the state. The males’ territoriality and constant singing and displaying during the breeding season make them the most noticeable bird in Texas. Often this territoriality takes the form of early morning singing sessions or diving attacks on other animals or people!

Unmated male mockingbirds sing more than mated ones, and only unmated males sing at night. Both sexes sing in the fall to claim winter feeding territories. These areas are often different than their spring breeding territories. Mockingbirds mimic 50 other bird songs. They have also been known to imitate other sounds they hear such as rusty hinges, whistling, cackling hens, and dogs barking so expertly that even an electronic analysis could not tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original. Scientists have found that female mockingbirds are attracted to males that can make the most different sounds.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/mockbird/

2022 · My Travel Journal · Texas · USA

Hello July 2022!

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July

Barbecues and picnics,
Swimmers soaking up the rays,
Bike rides in the country,
Shady spots on sunny days …
Summertime Vacation,
Lemonade on front –
Porch Swings —
Special thoughts and memories
of July’s most favorite things.

Author: Unknown

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2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

The Independence Parade In The Colony, Texas 2011

In 2011, Sara was old enough for taking her to her first Independence Day parade. It was very warm the whole weekend. But we were prepared. Plenty of water, sunscreen and sitting in the shade helped tremendously. Katelynn and Sara both enjoyed the parade’s colors and candy. There were parrots, pirates, landmarks, Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, the Fire Department & Police Department, and so many flags. It was a wonderful event to see people from the community celebrating 4th of July.

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritum)

The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North Americaβ€”perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.

Resource: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Double-crested_Cormorant/

2022 · Days of The Week · House Refurbishing · Throwback Thursday

Refurbishing The House In Texas ~ Summer 2011

Well, with owning a house, there are also lots of responsibilities to keep a house in shape, so it won’t fall apart over time. We bought our house in 2005. At that time, it was already 27 years old. It was maintained okay by the pre-owner. But it had signs of age. In 2009, we exchanged the older windows for newer, more energy-efficient windows. And in 2011, we fixed the foundation at one corner of our house, what you can see here. The workers dug up holes under the house, so they can push these 10″ pillars into the ground all the way until they hit bed rock. Once the pillars are in place, they use a concrete stone, which can sit on the pillars. When the space between the house and the concrete rocks starting to get tight, they place metal plates in to keep the foundation of the house straight. And this went all down with men power and a small compressor. Since Texas has lots of clay soil, and it shrinks and expends due to drought and rain, house foundations can be in trouble in a short period of time. We also have to remember, many moons ago, this area was all ocean, before it became prairie land.

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

The mournful cooing of the Mourning Dove is one of our most familiar bird sounds. From southern Canada to central Mexico, this is one of our most common birds, often abundant in open country and along roadsides. European settlement of the continent, with its opening of the forest, probably helped this species to increase. It also helps itself, by breeding prolifically: in warm climates, Mourning Doves may raise up to six broods per year, more than any other native bird.

Resource: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/mourning-dove

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

A Visit From The Cooper’s Hawk

January 18th, 2017

A couple of years ago, I saw a cooper’s hawk landing in our tree, to watch some small birds eating their seeds. I was very impressed by the size of this bird. After I did some research, I found out that little birds are the main diet of this hawk. So, by filling up the bird feeders I attracted the little birds, and therefore I attracted the cooper’s hawk. Back then I could capture a couple of photos of this beautiful animal, before it flew away.

Today, I had the same scenario: I filled up the feeders for the little birds. Some mourning doves, a common starling, and about a dozen house sparrows were munching those seeds away, when a cooper’s hawk landed in one of the trees in our yard. It observed the birds. But when it saw me, it flew off into the neighbor’s tree.

Cooper’s hawks are beautiful, but very shy birds. I also read a lot of reports about cooper hawks visiting the yards around this time of the year. And today was my lucky moment, again.

2022

Beach Home Decor (1)

Since it is Summer time, it’s also vacation time. My family and I use to travel a lot all over the U.S. But we can’t always make it to the beach. Therefore, I make sure, we have a little bit of beach flair in our house during Summer Break. The shells come out of the boxes, and I start to be β€œartsy & crafty”. With some flower pots, candles, paint, shells & glue a lot of cool beach designs can be done. Here are a couple of ideas I had in the past. And Mr. Pelican approves it.

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Benjamin, The Norwegian Forest Kitty

December 17, 2019

Benjamin is a 15 months old Norwegian Forest cat; we’ve adopted from our local shelter today. This is our third pet, we adopted in 2019; he’s our third Maine Coon next to Joshua and Chewbacca; and now we have six pets in the house. By city ordinance we are officially at our maximum limit.

Sara loves to call him Benny. Benny is still a bit shy, and tippy toes around the house, when he’s not hiding in his “safe place”, behind the Christmas tree. Katelynn lured him out with a toy wand. She loves how affectionate Benjamin can be around her. He rubbed his sides against her, and purred at her. Hopefully, he will be more comfortable around us in the next days to come. We gave him the best Christmas present what a pet could think of: a furever home.

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)

Mediterranean House Gecko

The Mediterranean House Gecko is a relatively small, 4 – 5 in (10 – 13 cm), species that has become ubiquitous in certain areas of the United States. Unlike any native lizard, geckos have sticky toe pads, vertical pupils, and their large eyes lack eyelids. These geckos are generally light gray or almost white in color, but may have some darker mottling. This species is most easily distinguished from the similar Indo-pacific gecko by its bumpy (warty) skin. The Mediterranean House Gecko can usually be found praying on insects near external houselights or other forms of lighting on warm nights.

Like most other invasive species, the Mediterranean House Gecko breeds rapidly. Females are capable of laying multiple clutches of two eggs each throughout the summer. These eggs are laid in cracks and crevices in trees or man-made structures including buildings. Like rodents, the Mediterranean House Gecko has been aided by human development. It is very common to see the geckos on the sides of buildings under lights catching insects on a summer night.

It is uncertain how the Mediterranean House Gecko first made its way to the United States. It was first reported in Key West, Florida 1915. It is thought that this gecko was probably a stowaway on a ship from the Mediterranean area. Mediterranean House Geckos are quite common in the pet trade, which has no doubt led to its spread across the United States. Currently, this species has high numbers in Florida, and has established breeding populations all along Southern states.

Resource: http://www.tsusinvasives.org/home/database/hemidactylus-turcicus

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Say ‘Hello’ To Zoey

July 27, 2019

This week was very busy. First, we’ve got our hearts broken, because we had to let Lexi cross the rainbow bridge on Tuesday. Then I found out that our local shelter is over-flown with dogs and cats, and they call this situation β€œCODE RED”. Last night, I asked Kevin if we were ready for another dog. The shelter needs relief by adopting those sweet pups and kittens. Kevin agreed, we could take another fur baby in.

This morning, Kevin, Katelynn, Sara, Luis and I went to the shelter as soon as it opened. After a Meet & Greet, we decided we would give Leti, who is now Zoey, a shot. We were told she doesn’t like small dogs and no cats. I heard that before, and was determined that my pets all get along with each other. And sure enough, as soon as Zoey entered our house, Joshua waited patiently at the door (he’s cool with the ladies), Chewbacca watched her from a higher level in the dining area, and Ozzy’s back hair was standing up. But Ozzy wanted to play like a kitten. After a couple of swipes and nips, Ozzy and Zoey got along with each other. They chased one another in the house and played tag. After a nice walk, the dogs are tired and sleep in the front room.

Zoey, the Pitador (Pitbull/Labrador Mix)

2022

World Turtle Day 2022

Red-eared Slider Turtles

Rarely is there an animal more beloved by humanity than the turtle. These shelled creatures can be found in virtually all corners of the globe and have found their way into parables, mythology and all forms of popular media. Each year, May 23rd is dedicated to our friends, the turtle, and tortoise. World Turtle Day is not only about showing love and adoration towards turtles but also making sure we can protect them as well as their various habitats.

It’s important to know what the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is. Although they both belong to the same family, turtles spend their time near or in the water while tortoises are primarily land creatures. Both turtles and tortoises are creatures who play tremendous roles in their respective ecosystems. Whether it’s by digging holes that are habitable for other creatures or cleaning up dead fish from beaches, there are more than enough reasons to ensure their protection.

Resource: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/world-turtle-day-may-23/

Happy World Turtle Day!

2022 · In Our Garden · On Our Property · Texas

🌺World Bee Day 2022 πŸ

World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20 each year. The purpose of the international day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem. Every year on this day, the global public will focus on the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators. People will be reminded of the significance of bees in providing for the needs of humanity.

Resource: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/world-bee-day-may-20/

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Ozzy, The Kitten

July 1, 2019

Say Hello to our new kitten, Ozzy, we’ve adopted him today. This morning I woke up, and decided, it’s time for a new cat to complete our house again, After Finley crossed the rainbow bridge, I had a hard time even thinking about adopting a new cat for the last two years. But today was the day. I know Finley looks down from cat heaven, and is very proud that another animal found a furever home in our family.

Ozzy came home with us, and we introduced him to the gang. Luis sniffed out the box, while Ozzy tried to get out of it. Ozzy gave Luis a nose kiss, and they were buds from that moment onward. Chewbacca was next, he sniffed Ozzy’s butt. It’s funny, because this is usually the dogs’ job. But Chewbacca is a β€œdog” in his own way. Then our diva, Joshua, saw Ozzy. OMG, speaking of diva and drama. Joshua hissed and was mad, because he is so jealous. Chewbacca gave him a piece of his mind. And Joshua is mad at everyone, now. We have to give josh’ about 48 hours, and he will be alright. Even Lexi came out from her nap to welcome Ozzy into the family.

Sara played with Ozzy all afternoon. Now, they are both tired and take a nap on the couch. They literally pooped each other out.

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Luis, The (?) Mix, aka. “Sir Fartsalot”

When Ranger passed, we were all very devastated. I shed a lot of tears. And especially Lexi didn’t want to eat. Due to mourning, she ate a couple of milk bones each day. And that was it. After two weeks, I’ve seen enough. We decided to adopt another dog from the shelter, to make our family complete again. Lexi needed a buddy of her kind. The cats did a good job. But it is not the same without another dog. And I needed someone to help me with my grief.

Katelynn, Sara and I went to the shelter. We looked at some dogs, which were playing in a huge fenced area outside. I spoke with a lady, who volunteers at the shelter on a bi-daily basis. After I told her that we just lost a pet, she pointed out β€œBill”. The girls and I looked at Bill closer, walked him around in the shelter area, and asked for more information at the front desk. Since he was the β€œPet of the Week”, we got him vetted and for a good adoption price. The papers said, he is a pug/boxer. But when I looked at him closer, there was no way that this dog was a partial pug. I looked up pictures of all kinds of boxer mixes. And we came to the conclusion, he is a pit/boxer mix. We are still not 100 percent sure. Only a DNA test could give more information. But I’m pretty confident there is a pit in this dog.

When we came home, β€œBill” made friends with Joshua immediately. We were very surprised. Joshua is usually the last pet to warm up with a new fur-friend. But that should change a few days later. Joshua is no friend of hustle and bustle and started to enjoy the β€œslice’n’dice” moments. He does it only when Luis comes way too close to him. Luis learned quickly that a cat has claws. And those claws aren’t pretty. Katelynn didn’t like β€œBill” so much, and wanted to name the dog differently. She said, she likes β€œLuis” so much better. After some thoughts and how we were going to spell his name, we agreed to β€œLuis”.

Luis is such a stinker. He came a long way, since he didn’t know any commands when we first adopted him. Now, he is pretty good at it. Sometimes he is still focused on something. And it is harder to get his attention. But we work on it. He loves to chase and protect us from the β€œevil rabbit”. But then again, when Luis stops to take a leak, the rabbit sits next to him and waits patiently until Luis is done with his business. I think they are more friends than enemies. And I believe Luis chases the rabbit to get some workout. Yes, Luis loves daddy so much that he chewed up a pair of Kevin’s jeans, a pair of shorts, one of his dress shoes, and a pair of old tennis shoes. I guess Luis gets bored with all his chewy and squeaky toys sometimes. But on a good note: Since Chewbacca has a friend, who he can play and rough house with, he hasn’t chewed a cord lately.

Luis does a good job to help me with grieving for Ranger. Ranger was an awesome, laid-back dog. Luis, on the other hand, is soooo hyper. But that is exactly what we all needed: a dog with a different character. That way, we won’t compare them too much. And we accept each pet as an individual. We are very happy; Luis became a member of our family. 

(February 2017)

2022

Mother’s Day ~ 2022

🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷 

Mama Duck & her offspring

Happy Mother’s Day!

🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷🌹🌷 

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Chewbacca, The Ginger Maine Coon

Last November I looked up a cat at a local shelter. She was a sweet Himalayan/Siamese. And she reminded me of β€œTardar Sauce” a.k.a. β€œThe Grumpy Cat”. I felt sad, because she was approximately 8 – 10 years old. And pets at that age have it much harder to get adopted, because a lot of people have the perception that older animals are stuck in their ways. They might have never heard of: β€œYou still can teach an old dog new tricks.”

The girls and I went to the shelter and we were almost ready to adopt the cat, when the lady at the desk told me about the adoption fees. My mouth dropped. I just couldn’t afford spaying fees and doctor fees at the same time. I was a little heartbroken. But I didn’t give up. Because I came with the mind-set that we would adopt a cat that day.

I looked in the cages, and there was a cute male Mainecoon cat sitting there and staring at me. The lady at the shelter let us look at him, to see how he behaves. He was very playful. And he showed himself from his best side. I said: β€œYep, he might be the better decision!” Papers were filled out and signed. And we could take the cat home. Since his shelter name was Chewbacca, he kept his name. Hey, I’m a Star Wars fan since I was eight years old.

Since I didn’t have a cage to transport Chewbacca, we sat him in Katelynn’s lap and told her to hold on to him on his neck for safety reasons. That way he would squirmΒ and wiggle around, while I was driving. At home I took Chewbacca from Katelynn and I walked with him into the house. Lexi was greeting us. But I forgot, not every cat is used to dogs. Chewbacca jumped towards the storm door and was shocked, because there was a dog in the house. Lexi is very outgoing, and he didn’t like that one bit. After some hissing, I told Lexi to go and called Finley. The cats got along very well, to my surprise. I called Ranger next. Ranger and Chewbacca looked at each other from a distance, and they both seemed to be alright. Ranger is a very laid-back dog. He gave Chewbacca that vibe: it’s all okay. Joshua, the β€œQueen”, woke up from his nap and wanted to see what this commotion was all about. β€œOh hell, no! You brought another cat home??? HISS-HISS-HISS!” I could tell that Joshua was very jealous of the new cat. Finley must have thought it was very hilarious. He finally wouldn’t get attacked by Joshua as much anymore, and he can relax. I think that’s why he liked Chewbacca from the moment they crossed each other’s path.

Joshua was mad for three days. He walked by Chewbacca and hissed as badly as he could. Chewbacca gave him the look: β€œDude, if I wanted to do it, I could kick your butt!” That made Joshua even more mad. The same day, Joshua must have gone too far with his bad attitude. Chewbacca gave Joshua a piece of his mind and kicked his butt. Joshua learned a valuable lesson: Don’t mess with someone, you don’t know! All cats started to get along much better. Lexi learned to be less crazy on Chewbacca. And Chewbacca doesn’t feel intimidated by her anymore.

Now, we need to work on not spilling all the water by knocking cups over. And we need to learn to stop chewing on cell phone charging cords. Other than these little β€œminor setbacks”, he is an awesome fur-baby.

April 2015

2022 · Connecticut · My Travel Journal · Texas

Sell A House; Buy A House ~ May 2021

Texas

Exactly one year ago was a bittersweet day. We finalized everything by signing the Texas house over to the new owner. It was our home for nearly 16 years. And we’ve raised our girls in this place. The Colony is a great community to raise children. It has great schools with an awesome ISD (Independent School District). The shops are close to home. But our street is still quiet. We will miss our good old home and community. At the same time, we are very grateful for still having a job during this pandemic. Even when it brings us to a completely different area in this country.

Connecticut

Before we signed the papers for purchasing the home in Watertown, we got a chance to look at the house inside. I saw it only in photos and on a live camera, when Kevin and the Real Estate Agent walked through the place. Finally, I’ve got a visible dimension of the house and the property. We saw what needs to be changed and how we have to approach it. In the afternoon, we signed the papers at the title company in Oakville, which is still a part of Watertown.

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Joshua, The Tabby Maine Coon

It was December, and for days I was following a post about a certain cat on the internet, which was stuck in our local shelter. The local Animal Advocates also posted on their page to let the neighborhood know that the shelter is overflown with pets. They also let us know when the dogs and cats were ready for adoption. When I saw this one cat in a photo, it was like β€œLove at first sight”. Now, my job was to persuade my husband that Finley needs another playmate other than two middle-aged dogs. β€œHell! That cat even thinks he’s a dog! The only thing, what makes him not being a dog: He’s not barking!” I insisted. It took me two hours to get Kevin to ask: ”When are we going to the shelter and take a look at that cat?”

We drove to the shelter; with the hope the cat was still there. When we arrived there, the friendly staff at the shelter showed us the cat room (which brought back memories of when we were looking for Sammy, and adopted Finley years earlier). I looked at the cages and said to Katelynn: β€œThat’s him! Just look at him. He is even more handsome and adorable than in the photo. After getting introduced and observing the cat, we realized he had sniffles. Katelynn and Sara were a little bit concerned about it. But I ensured, the cat probably has the β€˜shelter-cold’, what is common in some pets, when they have to stay in a cage for days and wait for a family to adopt them. Katelynn was satisfied with my answer and said: β€œMom, are we adopting him? I’ve already got a name for him.” β€œWhat would his name be, if we take him home?” I asked. She replied: β€œI’d name him Joshua!” A little bit later, Kevin and I agreed to adopt the cat. And Joshua came home with us.

At home the dogs sniffed the new family member. We called Finley (Remember Finley thinks, he’s a dog. Yep, he also listens like a dog. LOL) to introduce him to his new playmate. Finley came around the corner, looked at Joshua. And Joshua’s reaction was a big hiss. Finley walked away with the look in his face: β€œWhat the …?! Since when do we allow cats in our house?” Ranger’s and Lexi’s conversation must have been like this: β€œAre you going to tell him, or do you want me to tell him?” β€” β€œNaw, let him figure it out himself!”

It took about two days, until the cats were not hissing back and forth anymore. They started to tumble and play fight with one another. It took Joshua about a week to get rid of his cold. We wrapped him in a blanket, where he napped for most of the days. But at 3 a.m. the night was over. Because Mr. Joshua was meowing until the whole house was awake. Unfortunately, that went on until we got another cat. I’ll post about that member next week.

(April 2015)

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)Β 

Red-eared sliders are Texas’s most common aquatic turtles. These turtles get their name from a broad red stripe behind their eye and their habit of sliding off rocks and logs when startled. Older turtles are often covered with a thick coat of algae. Some red-eared sliders can live more than 30 years.

Sliders are cold-blooded and spend hours sunning themselves on rocks and logs. If there are not enough rocks or logs for all of them, they will often stack themselves one on top of the other! They bury themselves in loose soil or mud during the winter to escape the cold. When population numbers get high, these turtles move across land to other bodies of water in search of food and space. They eat aquatic plants, small fish, and decaying material.

Sliders have poor hearing but are very sensitive to vibrations. This makes it hard to sneak up on them. Their name, slider, comes from the fact that they are quick to slide off rocks, logs or the banks if danger threatens.

Resource: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/slider/

2022 · Days of The Week · Throwback Thursday

Finley, The Domestic Shorthair

In June 2007 our first cat, Sammy, went missing. One day, she slipped out of the house, walked away and never found her way back home again. I printed flyers and taped them to the mail boxes, asked businesses if I could hang a flyer on their pin boards, and went to the local shelter every other day. But there was no sign of Sammy.

One late afternoon, I walked into the shelter again. There was still no lead that Sammy was seen somewhere; she was nowhere to be found. Katelynn looked at all the cats and kittens, said: β€œMom, I miss Sammy. But can we have another cat?” I looked at some of the cats. And there was a cute, three-year-old Mainecoon. I had my eye on her, while I called Kevin. Kevin wasn’t so sure if this was a good idea. If Katelynn really wants to get another cat, it would be better to have a younger cat. I was still on the phone with him, when all of a sudden, a small paw reached for me. A little grayish/white kitten meowed, as he wanted to say: β€œHey, how about me?!” I rubbed his little paw with my thumb and I fell in love with this little stinker.

After all the paperwork was done, we named him Socks. Socks was actually fairly big for his age. At that time, the shelter estimated him to be four months. But he looked more like a six months old kitten. A couple of days later, I realized I didn’t like β€œSocks”, because it was a common name. Kevin and I were thinking about a name, when it popped into my head that we could name him after a player or former player of our local, professional basketball team, the Dallas Mavericks. β€œDirk” and β€œMr. Nowitzki” sounded silly. β€œNash” was out of the question. I came up with Bradley (Shawn Bradley). And then Kevin had the idea to name him Finley (Michael Finley). I really liked the name β€œFinley”. On that day, Finley got his permanent name.

Now, eight years later he is still an awesome cat. He definitely is a character. Finley will let us know, if and when he wants to be petted by rubbing his side on our calves. He can’t stand it, to be picked up: All claws come out, while spreads his β€˜fingers’ and β€˜toes’. But he loves catnip. OMG, does he love it. Finley is also a very good hunter. At this time of the year, we have to be careful, he’s not bringing any baby bunnies and rats into the house. He feels privileged to offer us food. So, we need to tell him to leave his β€˜trophies’ outside.

April 2015

Finley (2007 – 2017)