Sylvestris and Felis, Fall Creek Edition

Franklin, felis sylvestris catus, office assistant

Sylvestris is said to have several meanings; the one I see most often is “of the forest”. But for this photo essay it will designate “forest”, and felis will designate “cats”.

Reflections of the forest in a steam

Many creeks run through sylvestris; this one is closest to us.

Leaves pause at the rocks

Boss and Lynx

Felis can’t live in sylvestris anymore. It just isn’t safe for kitties there, or in any of those former forests now modified to be cities, suburbs, and other places. (We do have to make an exception for those cats who are feral and cannot live indoors with humans.) Sylvestris became attached to the name felis. My own feeling as to why that fits is because of the unusual way in which humans and felis became acquainted. We didn’t deliberately breed them for domestication like we did other animals, they stepped out of wild spaces and came to us, drawn by the rodents around our stored foods. Both species adapted to each other. Lynx really looks like a small wild felid, I think!

Colors sneak into view

Expanse

Spooky

Sun and trees painting water

Autumn seeps

Sweet little Moonpie

Momentary unstillness

Casual  gathering

There aren’t a lot of leaves gathered in the creek now, like there were on the last trek down there. Rain washed those away. There also aren’t any fully turned trees all red, all orange, or all yellow. The sweetgum and oak trees are just now getting going so maybe? in a week or so? Maybe more leaf patches in the creek too? Our weather doesn’t know what to do with itself.

Stripey the performer!

Stripey doesn’t do windows often. He loves to roll around and play! He’s a big show-off, sort of like Sylvestris in autumn.

Dense yet patchy

I like the color mixes of the slow fall, myself.

Reflections reach the depths

Magnolia float

About four of those broad-leaf magnolia trees are part of this jammed up leaf bunch.

Y’all, I have so many pictures already of the creek, the trees, and all the cats; enough to likely keep going all through the winter, and with more in the camera. So here’s our friend’s cat, Shelley, for her cameo; it’s sunset, the light is low, so her pupils are wide to gather in more light:

Evening Shelley

And, here’s Boss again, pretending to ignore my book, Catwoods (another way of saying felis sylvestris), which would make a great holiday gift. That silver decal is a nifty MUSE Award Winner sticker! And, it’s a long book, about 363 pages, for long winter reading ahead. Boss won’t be impressed unless we can publish the second book, where he comes along!

Boss and Catwoods book

There will be more pictures, I just work slowly. I may be slow to respond to comments, too.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Cats Present: Creek and Leaf Scenes Change Fast While Fall Stalls; with Music!

October Greetings from Franklin

Franklin: Call me Franklinstein for today and tomorrow, it’s Halloween.

Within our slow fall season scenes at the creek change rapidly. As they say about our area, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it will change.” These creek pictures are mostly from October 16th and 20th and before. Then there was a rainy night. On a trek to the creek two days after, we found that all of the low rocky areas full of leaves in these pictures were underwater and it’s likely most of the leaves were washed away. I took pics of a few leaves left in the water (still in the camera). A few days later, we had freakin’ Zeta come through, not too rough where we are, but enough to sweep most of the downed leaves away. Now another boatload of leaves has to change and drop before we’ll see a creek color feast again.

Waiting for rain

Damp path of leaves

Party of leaves

We’ll be parting with these

I see at least two Tulip Tree leaves.

Distant destination

Rocky landings

We changed something, too. The long fallen branch across the top of the photo has now been removed by the hubs.

Bigger than it looks

There’s a double tree on the opposite bank that casts a long shadow.

Tranquility

Float, reflect, wait for rain

Greetings from trees

I like that the phone camera shows the reflections of pines.

On the way

More color is up there, I think the creek will get back what it just “lost”.

Forest quilting

Sweetgum

That Sweetgum leaf is early. The trees are just starting to turn. Each tree here will have mainly yellow leaves, and strangely, a few red ones.

I like this song by Michael Smith, “Panther in Michigan”, at this time of year because it mentions Halloween, and panthers. Panther is used in the US South to refer to mountain lions, and possibly in Michigan too.

There is a possible panther chase in my book Catwoods. I can’t say for sure that there was one here, I present the events and readers can draw their own conclusions. Anyhoo if you would like, get the book by clicking on the Amazon link to the upper right, or, to go direct to Borgo Publishing, check out the “Order the Catwoods book Online” page above.

Lagniappe:

Our friend’s cat, Shelley

Shelley: I don’t need a Halloween costume, I am wearing October.

Franklinstein: You must be Mary Shelley, your tail looks like it belongs to three different cats.

In memory of Clara Granata, environmental advocate and friend.

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Beauties of Black Cats, Beauties of Autumn Leaves

Boss or Moonpie

I can’t always tell the two black kittens apart in the pictures; I think that’s Boss.

Moonpie in springtime

I know this is Moonpie.

Trees have been busy!

Looking out into trees glowing with autumn sunlight makes me think of nature’s beauties and how cats are part of that too. And yet black cats are in need of protection this time of year. The phases of plant life tug on our hearts and make us sentimental, can’t everyone extend those feelings, whether by logic or emotion, to include little animals? Pictured here in the light of last winter and spring, our cats now stand ready to revel in the fall and later,  purr us through long winter nights.

Boss in evening light

I know that’s Boss.

Mostly Mulberry

I love good spooky light-hearted Halloween fun as much as anyone. But sadly I have to again say, keep all cats and animals, especially black ones, safely inside this time of year.

Franklin Buddy

Franklin rocks the autumn light!

Autumn starting on the creek

The cats and I always sit around together, watching. But there’s just a little extra dimension to our watchfulness in the autumn season, for whatever reasons. Humans are hyper aware of the doings of the natural world this time of year.

Boss and Moonpie

Tree sprinkles

I see the imprecise arc of leaves falling and gathering when I go to the creek. The pictures look similar to those of last year, but present leaf placement by wind and water differs. The flowing arc of cats’ precision moves also happens in a flurry of random variations according to disparate feline impulses; moving and stopping for instants scarcely long enough to make pictures.

Black kitty, probably Boss

And we’re off!

Of a sudden Moonpie flows up and over one of her brothers. I don’t even see a ripple or flex of her powerful hind legs as they initiate the jump. It’s like when I don’t see wind, but trees move and leaves fall.

Magnificent Boss cat

There are a few red leaves down, but fall is still draggin’

Small reminder of Halloween festivities, a jack o’lantern carved in another year. I looked at our late Little Buddy when I drew the cat face onto the pumpkin. The hubs carved it and added ears. We’ll view some monster movies on that night.

Halloween Pumpkin starring Little Buddy

Our late Little Buddy had feline radial hypoplasia. His story is in my Muse Award winning book, Catwoods. I tried to use words to paint these cats and settings, without actual pictures. I am so grateful to the many people who have read the book and have good things to say! So I hope if you would like, you’ll get a copy. The proceeds will help us take care of our cats of many colors and patterns. It’s a long book, 363 pages, so that’s a lot of reading. The link to Amazon is at the upper left and there’s also an “Order the Catwoods Book Online” page above, where you can go direct to Borgo Publishing.

Stay tuned, there are more autumn pics coming and the whole gang of cats will be back soon too! (We only have one or maybe two more tropical storms to get through.)

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 87 Comments

Cool Snaps, Warm Winds, Leaf Colors, and Cats for Company

Franklin snuggles during the recent cool snap.

Even wild guy Franklin stayed cozy with me during the recent cool snap. Saturday, everything turned eerily warm as the remnants of the hurricane came dragging air from the Gulf. Frankie knew that storm was out there and he doesn’t like storms, so he again hopped aboard. There wasn’t much wind here, fortunately.

Zooming the creek

Leaves are really starting to turn now, but when this was taken a week or so back you could see that the water was reflecting the greenness above. So far I’m taking pictures from high above the creek instead of going down there. I’ve had some back trouble, so I hope I’ll be able to make several treks to be right by the stream this fall.

American Beautyberries

These Beautyberries are a sign of fall here.

Lavender froth

 

Some leaves are turning

 

These reds are ahead of the crowd

 

Shaggy green

Definite greens but looking worn, droopy, and crinkled from dry weather. That changed today.

Last green ripples

I have no resistance to the creek!

Ground-level autumn

Glance down and autumn is there!

Big yellow

The yellow leaf is from a Tulip Tree.

Something’s afoot

 

Shining Creek

This creek pic and the two of the ground are from the camera, and in a way I like them better than the phone pics.

Expanse

Lagniappe:

Mary Shelley

Our friend’s cat Shelley, intrigued and curious.

Leaf colors have begun changing more rapidly over the last few days. So, stay tuned for something much more autumny! And, please do consider getting my book, which is actually the cats’ book too, by clicking on the cover at the upper right or going to the “Order the Catwoods Book Online” page. It’s 363 pages so that’s a lot of kitty reading! It will make a great holiday present!

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 54 Comments

Cats Bask Their Way Through Slow Fall; October Gotcha Month

Franklin all cozy, and wild

It’s been colder than usual this time of year. This is Franklin’s version of snuggling, his eyes ever-wild.

I’m going to declare October Gotcha month for  all our indoor cats. We began bringing the kittens in around Oct. 10th last year and Franklin came in on Oct. 25 of 2018. I can’t recall exactly when the ferals arrived. We’ll just celebrate Gotcha for them too.

Stripey is grand!

Spookums keeps an eye out!

Lynx is ready for his close-up. All the kittens love this hand truck.

Moonpie, small and lithe

BossBuddy is actually only slightly sleepy here

The cats do like the windows. When the hubs rebuilt their rooms he made the sills a little extra wide with cats in mind. We knew we’d always have a cat or cats, but we didn’t really expect the sudden appearance of five kittens in the yard. A case of “If you build it, they will come”.

My cell phone died and I had to have another, so we got one we hoped would have a good camera. I never learned photography basics, I was a painter and mixed media artist until the illness. I didn’t have photo knowledge to transfer to digital cameras. I’ve been writing since I was 12, and I always read a lot, so I still retained that framework mental practice and I wrote a two volume book. Without prior experience, I do have trouble learning new things. So I’m not using digital cameras or cellphones to the max, it’s hard for me to learn the settings and they are difficult for me to manipulate with poor fine finger coordination. I’m using an ancient Photoshop program to “fix” photos somewhat, or at least to change them to something I sort of like. I’d love to have really natural pictures with perfect balance of colors and darks and lights, but I know I’m rarely coming close. I’m never really satisfied with the pictures. But they do show the astonishing scenery I’m surrounded with.

With the cellphone I can now get a few of those cat pictures that show every hair in focus, mostly shipshape although I did work on this. Close-ups are best:

Shelley has an intense gaze!

Our friend’s cat, Shelley.

Some are still way off in dark-light-color balance:

Clawsome Boss basks through an early fall day

Boss looks clawsome here but he didn’t scratch me, he was just flexing his fine claws.

For landscapes I mostly prefer the camera. I find the cellphone shots difficult to frame, too. The pictures look much better in the cellphone than in the computer, where they look much more washed out. My lack of fine finger dexterity means I open up features I didn’t mean to. During one still shot of Franklin, the phone recorded me saying “Kitten, kitten”. LOL it really startled me when I scrolled through the pictures and suddenly heard it.

I was going to put early fall landscapes here – we’re still mostly green but there are a few changes – but I have so many cats to photo edit, I don’t even have any pictures of the ferals ready this time. Jack did start to walk up to me meowing the other day when it was feeding time. He stopped and froze like “Oops, what have I done?” but I felt honored all the same.

I may go back to the format of having Franklin as presenter with Shelley doing the wave-offs, for the nature pictures this fall, anyway. This post is long enough for now.

A huge thank you to all who have purchased my book Catwoods and read it! Consider getting it if you like to read about cats, both anecdotes and science! And a forest full of animals! And art, music, and  some old sayings and language from the southeast US. It’s nonfiction but when I do “voice” the cats, I think about who they were living with before they came to us, as well as what books in our house they might have gotten into when we were asleep.

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New Copies of Catwoods Are Back!

Catwoods the Book with the MUSE Medallion Award sticker

The buy button for Catwoods on Amazon is back! Catwoods has won both a Certificate of Excellence and a MUSE Medallion Award from the Cat Writers’ Association. For awhile new copies could not be ordered because there has been a slow-down in the printing industry that affects print-on-demand books. So order yours now because supplies are limited and if they run out again there may be another re-stocking delay. Click “1 new at 23.95” at Amazon which leads to Borgo Publishing. UPDATE Sept. 27, 2020:  SHIPPING IS FREE on the Borgo Publishing site ONLY until Sept. 30, 2020. So order yours quickly at the Borgo link below as there are only 3 days left of free shipping! Most of the time the Amazon link leads directly to Borgo Publishing. But sometimes it opens up a panel to the side that lists Borgo along with used copies at inflated prices. (23.95 is the correct basic price, before sales tax and shipping.) You’ll have to look for Borgo on that list. Right now it’s the second item down. I don’t know why Amazon keeps changing the format!

This is a long book, 363 pages, and it’s about cats, but it also has a little about the southeastern area of the US where I live, its natural beauties, wildlife, wordways, and arts activities. It now comes with a nifty MUSE Award sticker like you see above! If you already ordered the book and you haven’t received it, this printer delay is the reason for that, and it should arrive soon.

Catwoods at Amazon

You can go direct to Borgo Publishing:

Catwoods at Borgo Publishing

I wanted to do a “RememberMeThursday” post yesterday and just wasn’t up to it energy-wise. But I do encourage everyone all the time to adopt cats — from shelters, or strays after checking thoroughly to make sure there is no owner looking for them. Almost all of our cats over the years came directly from the streets or the woods. There are sweet pets to be found in shelters!

I needed to post this quickly but here is one kitten picture, there will be more coming soon.

Spooky, Moonpie, and Lynx

I got three out of five lined up near the window! Little sunsoakers!

Posted in Book topics, Cat Topics, Cats, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments

Season Shifts; Kittens’ 1st Birthday

Wistful Franklin

That’s Franklin in January of 2020, looking towards the light. It’s different now of course. The outdoor photos will be in August, when we really begin to notice changing light. That’s our first sign of oncoming fall.

Kudzu begins to bloom

Last year I had a conversation with Frankie about kudzu. He thought he could go hide in the vines and catch deer, who feed on it. Nothing came of that.

Strangely floral

I enjoy the flowers although I know kudzu is widely disliked.

More than meets the eye

Haze, anyone?

After checking out the kudzu, we drove to the nearest post box in a slight fog.

Twilit curve

It was good to get out!

E-vening things out

We brought the first kittens inside at about 5 weeks of age in mid October last year. So they would have been born in early or mid-September and are now 1 year old! I still call them “The Kittens” and I always will, but they’re essentially grown cats. Although cats do still grow and develop somewhat after the 1st year rolls by.

Lynx

These are older pics of The Kittens, in no particular time sequence.

Boss

Spooky

Spooky balances like a wild thing on a lofty point where she can supervise all kittens below her!

Stripey

Moonpie

Our feral pals

Uncle Jack and Mom Groucho.

So, Happy First Birthday, Kittens!

Late summer evening glow

Forest Sunset

Lagniappe:

Radiant Shelley

Shelley: Um, what’s that about kittens?

A note about getting my book:

UPDATE: September 25, As of today the books are back and the buy button is back on Amazon. Click “1 at 23.95” which leads to Borgo Publishing. Or, you can go directly to Borgo Publishing at the link under “Order the Catwoods Book . . .” Get yours fast before they run out again and have to order more with another delay.

UPDATE: Sept. 22, the publisher tells me the books have been shipped and that when they arrive the “buy” button will go back up on Amazon. There will now be possible (but not always) shipping delays of 25 days when ordering books. I personally prefer printed books and would be willing to wait that long for a printed book I wanted.

Sept. 17, 20202. There is a slow-down in the book industry that apparently affects indie books like mine which are print-on-demand. Yesterday the Catwoods listing at Amazon which reads “1 at 23.95” and leads to the publisher of the book, Borgo Publishing, vanished. I am told that the printers are all three weeks behind, so if you have ordered the book recently and it hasn’t arrived yet, it appears there will be a delay. I don’t know whether you can still order directly from the Borgo Publishing page, or their other pages. I am trying to find out. The used booksellers are charging higher prices than the retail cost. The cost is supposed to be 23.95 before tax and shipping. That may seen like a lot, but the book is 364 pages.

So if you can’t get through on Amazon please try the Borgo Publishing link, and if it doesn’t work, let me know. And please try again.

I prefer printed books myself. But I am working on making an electronic version of Catwoods. That would be great for readers outside the US, readers who need to be able to enlarge the print, and those who are down-sizing by using Kindle instead of printed books. But, this won’t happen fast. So please stay tuned.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Cats React to MUSE Award for Catwoods

Spooky wonders what this actually is

Spooky: Human catmom, did you just try to mew?

Me: No sweetheart, I said MUSE, it’s a MUSE Medallion. It’s for my book Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, and it’s from the wonderful Cat Writers’ Association!

Aside to readers: This is my first year at CWA, my first book, and my first contest! So I’m thrilled and grateful to receive a Certificate of Excellence and the even harder to get MUSE Award! Because all cats are my inspiration, and every kitty we’ve ever lived with has been a Muse of sorts, I thought our present cats should see the medallion.

Moonpie mystified

Moonpie: Well I thought you said “mews” too!

Lynx inspection

Lynx: I’ll have a look and a sniff.

Lynx reporting

Lynx: Fascinating.

Me: You remind me of someone I used to see on TV, Lynx!

Boss is paws-on!

Boss: Hmm, it has a pleasant feel to my paw-pads.

Stripey the diplomat

Stripey: I’m sitting this one out! I’m not getting into a disagreement with those feisty sisters of mine! And I find this all a-muse-ing … could I have some popcorn while I watch?

Me: Um sorry Stripey, it’s “no” on the popcorn.

Franklin the playful cat guy!

Franklin: This is to play with, RAWR!

Spooky checks it out

Spooky: I’ll look again, but … hey I see a cat on there; I still say I heard you say “Mews”, or was that the metal cat trying to mew?

Catwoods with the MUSE Medallion sticker!

Me: Uh, here’s the book with the MUSE Medallion sticker, Spooky.

Spooky’s fuming a bit

Spooky: Well, Phssssst and Hmmmpft then. You sure do crow about that book a lot! When you’re not trying to mew like us, that is …

Aside to readers: In real life, I hear mews all the time, so I think the cats are actually happy about the MUSE Award. (LOL I may be as mixed up about the sounds as Spooky is, not to mention, reality.) If you’d like, consider getting the book, it does help us care for the kitties. Just click the picture at the upper right of the page or go to the “Order the Catwoods book online” page.

A rare photo of all five kittens together. Many thanks to the hubs for contributing this and another picture to this post:

Lynx, Boss, Moonpie, Stripey, and Spooky

Lagniappe:

Our friend’s cat, Shelley:

Shelley in springtime

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cat Topics | Tagged , , , , , | 81 Comments

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Ultraviolet confers with me on a point of editing

August 28th is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day. My heart is heavy with so many kitties who have left us and I won’t be able to mention them all here. Their stories are detailed in my book Catwoods. Ultraviolet, our most recent loss, isn’t in Volume 1, which only goes to early 2005.

She showed up amidst a friend’s ferals. She was friendly but we couldn’t find anyone who claimed her, so in August of 2017, we brought her inside. She helped me edit the book in 2018 when it was finally coming together. She made the cutest little “oop, eep” sounds whenever she approached one of us to jump up for pats, scritches, and purrs.

She left us on September 3, 2018. All cat loss is difficult but her loss was, and still is, especially heartbreaking for me. She had just had a good report at her annual vet checkup. She was estimated to be only about 11 years old, and many of our cats have lived well into their teens. She was with us for only a little over a year. She was an exceptionally sweet cat.

On her whiskers you can see a bit of rainbow from the sunlight in the first picture. In the one below, I was using the color enhancer in the camera and the strong sunlight bounced around, sending rainbow color everywhere.

Afternoon with Ultraviolet

Now she’s at the Rainbow Bridge, invisible to me. She does stay in my heart.

I want to thank Deb Barnes of Zee and Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, author of Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond,  and founder of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, for creating this day of remembrance.

I may be slow to answer comments. On Friday we have the potential for severe weather due to being on the eastern side of Hurricane Laura; I’m posting early because of that. And, I’m just draggin’ these days. NOTE: The bad weather did stay north of us so we’re okay, we dodged another bullet.

We are entering The Chronicles of Zee and Zoey‘s Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2020 – Purr Prints of the Heart Blog Hop. (This is the first blog hop we have ever entered.)

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 70 Comments

Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Boss is celebrating today!

Here’s a quick post with Boss, who is helping us celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day today! He’s also here to present a link to my black cat essay, which is based around an excerpt from my MUSE Medallion Award winning book, Catwoods.

Black Cats in Sun and Shade, A Painter’s Eye View

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 48 Comments