Archive for August, 2009

Possums

August 31, 2009
Strangest possums I've ever seen

Strangest possums I've ever seen

My friend Maria does wildlife rescue.  She’s had squirrels, red-tail hawks, rabbits, you name it.  Recently, the local animal “shelter” called her.  They had some baby possums that had been turned in.  I visited her and looked in on her possums.  I’d never seen black possums before. 

Possum cats

Possum cats

A feral cat, greatly pregnant, had been trapped in a humane trap and left at the shelter.  (Look up Hav-A-Hart traps to see what I mean.)  She gave birth in the trap, the shelter euthanized her, and called Maria to raise the babies.

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Prepare for the end

August 31, 2009
My Big Bro

My Big Bro

I found this picture of my big brother while I was going through my mother’s things.  She pretty much saved everything.  This picture was unnamed and undated, but I know that this is one of my older brothers, and I’m guessing that it was taken in the early fifties.  When I scanned the picture in the computer and enlarged it, I saw the chain around his neck and I was guessing that he had someone’s dog tags.  I thought that was humorous, that the little scamp had taken someone’s dog tags.  When I asked him about it, he said the chain held his own dog tags.  He further said that this was after World War II, and the threat of an atom bomb being dropped on America felt very real.  All school children were required to wear dog tags as their identification so that their bodies could be identified in case of an attack.

Not quite so humorous when viewed in that light.

Walter teaches my afternoon class

August 29, 2009

Mr. Woodpecker from NY

August 29, 2009
Do I look good as a redhead?

Do I look good as a redhead?

Is this my best side?

Is this my best side?

IMG_0525

While we were in upstate NY earlier this year, Mr. Woodpecker came knocking.  (Heh.  Aren’t I funny.)  He flew in from over the wooden privacy fence and landed on this tree, then dropped to the ground, then climbed up the tree.  My sister-in-law said she had lived in that area all her life and had never seen such a bird.  (She was a little bit apprehensive and wanted to know if he was dangerous.  That’s so cute.)  He’s a pileated woodpecker according to my bird book, and they don’t show themselves often.  They have this amazing loud call that sounds like a laugh.  He was only there for a few minutes and then flew over the fence.  The next day I heard him laugh again, but he stayed out of sight. 

I see a pileated woodpecker occasionally here at the Swamped! Plantation.    I can hear him knocking on the trees, looking for something to eat.  When I hear him, I can usually spot him up high in the trees, moving from tree to tree, then flying off into the woods.  It always seems like a special treat to see one.  I feel lucky to have such nice trees here.

Mr. Packett looks for a sign

August 28, 2009
What to do

What to do

Packett looks confused.  Yes, I know he looks that way a lot.  But he looks extra confused, like he is waiting for a sign to tell him which way to go.  There is a sign in the picture above, but he doesn’t see it.

A sign

A sign

That’s it!  He’s at a fork in the road!  And it points in the direction he must go!

Sylvia: "Who is he kidding?  He doesn't even have opposable thumbs."

Sylvia: "Who is he kidding? He doesn't even have opposable thumbs."

Meet me at the hangin’ tree

August 28, 2009

There’s a phenomenon that I’ve noticed in my woods.  Hanging branches are everywhere.  I pull down the ones that I can reach.  It seems to me that they shouldn’t be left to hang, but there’s been no one to pull them down for years, except the long-gone drinkers at the shade tree club in the woods (another story for another day).  I like to study the branches and see just how they managed to get wedged in the foliage.

HangingBranch

HangingBranch2

HangingBranch3

 I can pull them out easily.  I wonder how much longer they would have hung, suspended in space, before crashing down. 

Citizen of the forest

Citizen of the forest

If I don’t pull the hanging branches down, and they fall down by themselves without my help, do they still make a noise?  Well, of course they do.  The trees are not defined by human presence.

Superdog

August 28, 2009
Faster than a speeding dog biscuit

Faster than a speeding dog biscuit

I was at the cat station, and I returned to the meadow/RV park through the side gate, as usual, and was met, as usual, by a crazed animal.  Here’s Mr. Packett, enjoying the day by running through the meadow in circles.  Somehow, through the magic of photography and my awesome photographic skills, I managed to get this funny shot.  What must it be like to enjoy life this much??

One bad kitty

August 28, 2009
Who me?

Who me?

Once upon a time a baby was left on the vet’s doorstep.  The baby had a broken leg, which was fixed by the vet.  The baby grew up to be an adventurous kitty named Ollie.  He has this crazy hair that grows out of his ears (the retirees among our readers can sympathize with this).  Ollie became a brat that bit people at the counter, scratched clients in the waiting room, and teased the dog patients all the while being charming and innocent.  Ollie’s day became numbered when he scratched a woman – but in Ollie’s defense, she reached out to him when he wasn’t ready.  The vet said that Ollie couldn’t live there at the office any more, so he was adopted out and went to a new home. 

I miss working with Ollie, but he was definitely a challenge.  He could climb to the top of the cabinets and spring out on an unaware passer-by.  Luckily we are set up to take fecal samples here.

How did he get up there?!

How did he get up there?!

Here's the jungle cat high in a tree

Here's the jungle cat high in a tree

The Irish judge gives him a 10!

The Irish judge gives him a 10!

Tall Man

August 28, 2009
Happy Granddad & Gear-shifting Jenn

Happy Granddad & Gear-shifting Jenn

Here’s my dad and my oldest child.  My dad loved all children, but he was so tall that he scared those that didn’t know him.  He said that he was about 6’6″.  People would ask him how tall he was.  He told a man once that he was five foot, eighteen inches.  The man didn’t say anything for a moment, then he commented, “You look a lot taller than that.”

Dad used the name “Tall Man” as his CB handle.  Mom’s name was “Pocahontas”.  She probably enjoyed using the CB radio more than Dad, but they both were pretty adept at using it.  During the time period that the CB radio was popular, she monitored it constantly.  Once, she was listening to it while Dad was out and about on errands.  She heard him talking to someone else and she listened to their conversation.  He referred to her as “the old battle-ax”.  It was not pretty when he got home. 

All the grandchildren loved to ride on the tractors with him.  It was a special time for everyone.

How hot is yo mama?

August 26, 2009
Hootchie mama

Hootchie mama

It gets pretty hot in Tennessee.  High humidity, little breeze, and no air-conditioning at the time this picture was taken.  This picture was taken about July 1944, and the event was probably my older sister’s first birthday.  My family didn’t take many pictures.  I guess we didn’t have a camera, but my grandmother had a Brownie. 

By the time I was born, my mother was OLD.  Like 38.  So I never knew her as young, and I was surprised when I first saw this picture.  She was young, and pretty, and she was smiling.  I remember my first child’s first birthday, and it IS a wonderful, smiling kind of day.  At least I remember it vaguely.  I was tired.

Fast forward 13 years

Fast forward 13 years

This picture show my mother, myself, and one of my older brothers.  The setting is the same, but my parents no longer live here.  My grandmother lives here now.  My parents built a house nearby the year before this picture was taken.  I only knew my grandmother to live in this house, so I was surprised when I learned that my parents and some of my older siblings had lived here.  That seemed impossible to me.  You just can’t count on some things.  My parents were so solid and ordinary that I couldn’t imagine that they lived somewhere else besides the house I grew up in.  I found out later that they had lived many places, but, come on.  My grandmother’s house?  How was that possible?  Where did my grandmother live? 

I spent a lot of time in this, my grandmother’s house.  Sometimes I would spend the night there.  On Tuesday nights, we would watch Red Skelton.    And my grandmother loved Dean Martin.  She thought he was handsome, which was bizarre to me because she always said that she would never love another man except her husband, and as far as I knew, she never even looked at another man – except Dean Martin.  I said, “But he’s drinking!”  She said he was still handsome.  Every time I spent the night, she would say “let’s have a little sup of Coke.”  She made an evening snack of Cracker Barrel cheddar cheese cut into little squares and saltine crackers and a juice glass of Coca-Cola.  Every single time.  You could count on it.