Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sunshine and Butterflies

I took this photo of a Black Swallowtail cat two summers ago as it was feeding on a bronze fennel plant in my veggie garden.

Two or three of these beauties appeared one day (or so it seemed; I just hadn't been looking for them) and then disappeared again when they made their cocoons. I was disappointed to not have been able to find them as they underwent their metamorphosis. The same always happens with the Monarch cats I find on my Swamp Milkweed plants. They grow to be big and fat and then disappear. I wonder if some hungry bird comes along and picks them off just when they are ready to morph?

Today was a cold and wet wintry day that had me wishing (too soon) for sunshine and butterflies.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Dora smiles (almost)

Dora is the newest bunny to join the family. She is a Checkered Giant and was adopted from Kind Heart Rescue who took her out of a slaughterhouse here in Central NJ. My two Flemish Giants, Boomer and Cricket, were also rescued by Kind Heart from the same slaughterhouse.

Dora is a doll of a rabbit! She is quite particular in her habits and loves nothing more than for me to rub her forehead. She lives in my spare bedroom/office and naps beneath my chair while I work at the PC. She makes a great foot-warmer, although she occasionally tries to nip my toes!

She is adjusting to her new home well, after only one month here. She's learned our routine and greats me and my offerings of food and treats with leaps and shakes of her pretty head. That's just her way of being silly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

For falcon lovers

Publishers Weekly
O'Brien is the author of three novels (most recently, Brendan Prairie), a short-story collection and a popular nonfiction book, The Rites of Autumn. A resident of Rapid City, S.D., he is also an aficionado of falconry. Here, he explores his lifelong romance with birds of prey. For O'Brien, falcons are an ideal "point of entry" into the larger webs and cycles of nature. As the title suggests, this is also a book concerned with middle age, specifically with the author's approaching 50th birthday. O'Brien's laconic prose is well suited to this autumnal theme, and his treatment will likely appeal to many baby boomers. O'Brien also writes frankly of the not always pleasant burden of possessing an acute mind and imagination, of the joys and travails of daily life on the ranch and in town, of the highs and lows of an existence lived faithfully in the service of art and nature. After "twenty years of working in the wind," he has "learned a few things." The book contains the essence of those revelations, and most have to do with love-the love of a man for his wife (a physician in Rapid City), for his closest friends (Jim Harrison, Rick Bass, various ranching buddies), for his falcons and for the land that has nurtured him. O'Brien is one of the West's stellar talents, and this is one of his finest books. (Mar.)
Courtesy of BarnesandNoble.com

Dan O'Brien is one of my favorite authors, and Equinox was the first of his books that I discovered. If you enjoy nature writing and share an interest in falconry, see if you can't find one of his books at the local library. He wrote a few novels and short stories related to falconry and ranching in South Dakota and most recently has been writing historical novels about the Great Plains.

I tend to read by author when I find someone that I enjoy. I like to read everything by a particular author, regardless of subject, just to see where the author takes me. With Dan O'Brien I've been pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying his historical novels (The Contract Surgeon, The Indian Agent) as well as his novels about falconry and the outdoors.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My brothers and me

I came across this old photo yesterday while transferring files from my old PC. I had scanned it last year so my brother could include it in a slideshow he was preparing for my father's wake. It was a year ago yesterday that my dad died. My brother put together this great composite of old photos from when my parents and we kids were young and had the slideshow playing on a laptop placed on a small table at the memorial home during the wake. It gave people visiting something nice to laugh and reminisce over.

I think the photo was taken in Virginia Beach during the mid 70's on vacation. It's one of my favorites, I think because we all look so scrawny and goofy. In most pictures of us as kids at least one of my brothers is making a silly face or holding his fingers up behind the other's head. In this one they look like they're behaving! My big brother has that Budweiser hat on which he probably still owns and wears fishing. Nice memories.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

So much for writing every day...

Well, it was good while it lasted - for all of three days!

I didn't accomplish much of anything this weekend, other than taking this lovely photo of Boomer relaxing in the sunshine.

Boomer is such a handsome rabbit. As a Flemish Giant he is destined to be extra large, but if he keeps eating the way he does and laying about, boy will he be huge! Right now, he's about 18 lbs. and I don't want to see him get any bigger, really. He has the most adorable way of laying on his belly to eat with his legs spread-eagle behind him. His is the picture of contentment when he flops on his side for a nap with Cricket beside him. Pure bunny bliss!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A good read

I spent a fair amount of class time tonight discussing with my students the novel we're reading this semester, "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. It seems that most are enjoying the book (or so they tell me) and it is exciting to see these *non-readers* anxious to talk about a book!

I think it was a good choice, despite my misgivings about the sometimes uncomfortable to discuss (in a roomful of college-age students) subject matter. They are handling it well and maturely.

We are counting down now to the end of the semester and a well-deserved break!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pond chores

This weekend the DH and I started work to close up the pond for the winter. This involves scooping out any leaves that have managed to find their way in, sinking the hardy plants down to the deep end of the pond, and removing lots of accumulated stuff (fish poop?) that litters the pond bottom. Despite the cooler temperatures and decreased sunlight my new water lily is still blooming.

This chore is kind of depressing and sad because it means the summer is gone. It also makes me remember all the grand plans I had for the pond this past spring, most of which I never got around to. That's one thing about keeping a pond - it is always a work in progress! And I can spend the winter planning for next spring.

For now the goldfish are slowing down, still friendly at the pond's edge, but not begging the way they do in warm weather every time they see your shadow go by. I had to be careful when scooping out the leaves and stuff on the bottom because once or twice I scooped up an already sleeping fish in the net.

What puzzles me are the frogs. When we first put in the pond we added a few tadpoles for fun - some just seemed to vanish and others grew into big bullfrogs like the one in the photo. We've had a few little green frogs show up from nowhere. But I never can find them in the fall when we do clean up, nor in the spring when we start the pump and filter running again. I'm not sure where they go to spend the winter.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A starting point

I thought this might be a fun diversion from all the things I should be doing; like laundry or schoolwork.

I've always wanted to be a person who enjoys writing and who writes daily. Maybe this will help. It does take a commitment to write everyday. I envy people who do.

Not sure what I will post here aside from random thoughts and photos. We'll see. Today's photo is a favorite of Boomer and Cricket. Typical of how they spend their days. Not a bad life, right?