Creek, Late October

The mystery of the early red leaves

Sometimes one leaf will grab you.

The shallows ripple with casual flair

Unexpected

The water twists rays from both canopy and sky overhead, while downed leaves float around and onward. There’s plenty of color because we still have major green out there although some leaves have started to turn. Green, red, yellow, and blue show up in the currents.

Tilting towards blue

Wild water on a mild afternoon

Once the rapids get going the water moves fast, like cats do.

Just another creek with brilliance

Every twist and turn

The shadow changes when you’re not looking

So now I’m fiddlin’ with settings on the camera like never before . . .  because time, fatigue, being busy, always kept me from deeper exploration. I got the color too jazzed this time! But I figured something out while shooting these and seeing them afterwards, and the next creek post’s pictures will be better, er, well, different. But meanwhile, this way too bright color might make ya dizzy but it’s fun . . .

Feast

Fall usually comes on slowly here and this year it’s at a crawl. Some leaves began to change while others persisted, content to stay green. What factors trigger each individual species I don’t know. After the first wave of turning that you see here, taken October 28th, we got a whale of a lot of rain. The Tulip Tree leaves were changing and some had fallen in the creek. The red leaves of a vine that usually speckle the canopy views of pine made an early, less prominent appearance this year, and then vanished.

Yeah, this is the place. Fall has arrived! LOL

Here’s the Tulip Tree!

The view upstream

Now in late November lots of leaves have been downed by the rains, but the Sweetgum yellows are going gangbusters.  In the last few days there’s been a new wave of color, oranges and yellows, only a few reds; but I still see lots of green outside, too. It’s not so peculiar because the sequences have differed slightly over the last several autumn seasons. I bet it’s possible to trace the causation and someone out there would know how to explain the interplay of elements: weather patterns, the off-beat rhythms some plants go into, the particular sort of tree mix in the particular surrounding forest. In the next post I’ll not only be doing something different with the camera, the forest and the creek will have moved along, too.

Ultraviolet, glorious and sweet

Still miss this catgirl Ultraviolet and the way we used to mull over the creek together.

Franklin settling in the first day

We do have a new sleek little cat guy.

Instant abstraction

Looking close and quick

Until next time

Trees galore!

The canopy soars

Hoping to post more pictures later!

This is the comment I left on the previous post about my hospital stay and still ongoing recovery:

Thanks y’all so much for all the kind and encouraging words! I’m so sorry I haven’t been able to answer your comments individually, but please know they have made a real difference and they mean a lot to me. Recovery has been gradual and I don’t think I’ll get back to being even as energetic as I was before. So with less “juice” to go around, I’ve been crazy busy, but I don’t accomplish much per day because I work in super slo-mo. I’ve enjoyed keeping up with everyone’s blogs and websites and I hope to get around more in the future.

 

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Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , | 33 Comments

Street Kitty Comes to Live With Us!

Franklin is a little smoothie!

“I have a black cat for you,” said the friend on the phone. (The sound of the universe making other plans.) That was the same friend who found our late sweetie Ultraviolet amongst ferals, and homed her with us. Friends all know we have a soft spot for black kitties.

We’d thought we might look for an older settled girl kitty, after a time; this was a young boy kitty. (Creaks and squeaks as mental machinery went, “New info! Please stand by while we do a reset.”)

“Um, well hmmm, okay,” we’re discussing when the phone rings again: “He’s used the litterbox!”

So we laughed, and the next day we brought home the new young cat guy. He’s a live wire and loves to climb! You’ll notice the tipped ear. Somehow Franklin (named for Ben Franklin) had been TNRed. He showed up suddenly and wanted to enter our friend’s house. He was friendly, enjoyed being petted, and would sleep on a lap. He’s still a tad skittish about some things, especially noises, so maybe that’s why he was taken for a feral. He’d been living on the streets and was really thin when taken in, but he’s eating well and gaining weight. The vet also said his slimness and general slinkiness is partly due to some Siamese ancestry.

Franklin is less than a year old, I’d say and so did the vet, so he moves a lot and it’s hard to get a good photo of him. He’s chilling out and making himself comfortable.

Catching Franklin at rest is the only time to take a picture!

I’m still heartbroken about losing this one, I miss her so much:

Our sweetie Ultraviolet, always in our hearts.

Even the cat advocates doing TNR can’t always tell which cats are feral and which are socialized to humans. This will be the subject of a future post about feral cats, and the friendly and abandoned cats they hang out with, like Franklin and Ultraviolet. I’ll probably get to that next year.

Meanwhile, stay tuned. Next up will be autumn creek pictures.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats, Feral Cats | Tagged , , , | 56 Comments

Being Away, and My Sweet Bridge Angel

8247UVgrumpy5 copy

Sweet Ultraviolet. Grumpy, or Introspective?

Here is my sweet girl looking a little grumpy. I feel a bit that way myself as I’ve been away. I just spent eleven days in the hospital. I’m home now and glad to be there (although missing my kitty something terrible) and I still have a ways to go before I get back to where I was. Back to abnormal.

While in the hospital I couldn’t ‘like’ anyone’s posts, because on my phone, the wordpress reader just wouldn’t let me ‘like’ stuff. If someone posted a link on facebook, I could get to your blogs that way, if I saw it. I was limited in how much I could do each day.

I’m still limited, and I’m trying to catch up but it’s not going fast. Just wanted y’all to know, I haven’t been avoiding your blogs. I will also be slow to respond to any comments.

Hope to be visiting soon!

Posted in black cats, Cats | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Goodbye Little Ultraviolet

Our beautiful black kitty Ultraviolet (Little Girl)

We have lost our beautiful black kitty Ultraviolet, also known as Little Girl. I called her Sweetheart, most of the time. We’re heartbroken.

I knew she wasn’t young. Even so, I thought we’d have her longer. Two vets estimated her age to be about 10 last year in August, when we took her in off the streets. So this year I thought she was 11. Many of our cats lived to 16 or 17, and one even lived to 19 and a half. She could be older than 11, my husband said. Still, I felt hopeful because she had a hearty appetite and she was affectionate and cheerful. Her vet check up last year had been good. So was her recent checkup a few weeks ago.

Suddenly without warning she had a severe episode like a seizure, a stroke, a heart attack, or all three. Afterwards she was unresponsive for a time. She miraculously revived and chirruped and purred, coming to us to be snuggled. We hoped this meant she could recover; we made plans to have her tested for various ailments, but then during a sleep that seemed normal, she slipped away.

I don’t think we’ve ever had a sweeter kitty. All day and all evening she would go from one of us to the other, making little “urrrp oop eep” sounds of greeting. “Come up Sweetheart,” I’d answer. She’d jump up, sometimes with a little help from us, and settle in for pets and purrs. I miss her soft chirrups. And, of course, her editing.

Ultraviolet with a knowing look, helping me edit

As sad as we are, I would take an older cat again. I’m happy we could give her snuggles, her favorite tasty foods, toys, comfy blankies, and a safe home in her last year. I just wish we could have had more time with her.

She was so loving and had such cuteness and whimsey about her.

For the last few months I’ve been trying to get the first volume of my book ready for publication. I’m getting closer, but am not there yet. It’s taking a long time, partly because I haven’t been too well myself. I have a very limited time span each day when I’m capable of stringing a sentence together.

So I haven’t had much energy left over to go out and about and comment on the sites of others. I’m so sorry and hope to do better in the future! I do read and enjoy everyone’s websites, and I mean it when I ‘like’. I think of it as leaving a pictorial calling card; I sort of like that idea. But my plans are still to comment more in the future. I also meant to start doing book reviews and I’ve had to delay that too. There is so much more to the book publishing process than I had anticipated!

Once I actually have the book out I think it’ll be fun. But I always thought Ultraviolet would be here with us for that festive time.

Posted in Book topics, Cat Topics | Tagged , , | 108 Comments

Cat Assisted Look Back at Spring

Smug and comfy Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet the Cat sits with me during almost all computer work now. She comes cooing and trilling, “urururururp,” “ooo ooo ooo eep” even before I’m fully seated. “Come on up, Sweetheart.” She jumps up, stands for a moment, moves around. She looks at me while her floofy tail sweeps over the keyboard. Well it needed dusting anyway. Her tail sweeps across my face. Still cool. When it moves towards my tea, not so cool. She settles, and purrs.

March photo of violet and sweetgum seedpod. The pods fall over the winter but come April there were still a lot left up in the trees.

Sweetgum sphere fell from tall trees, landing next to ground hugging violet

I took some photos in town of ducks visiting from the nearby lake. I’m told they’re Muscovy Ducks. One huge drake walked right up to me expecting me to toss him food like everyone else in the neighborhood does. I was sans duck fare but I think they found some bugs.

Duck buddies

“Those look right tasty, can I have some?” says Ultraviolet.

Well hello, big fella!

“Um, no . . .”

The day was cloudy so I pushed the color up a bit.

“Are they all for Shelley?”

March ripples

“No, cats only get duck from cans.” (Much as it pains me, cats must be fed meat, because they are obligate carnivores.)

Wisteria, souped up

“Well that’s confusing. I’ll go catch ’em myself, next time we’re in town.”

Enhanced Iris

“They’re bigger than you.”

Newly transplanted spiderwort

“Phsssst!”

Ducks in April

We take UV with us to town on days the weather personnel says the sky might smash us. That’s where we rode out the 2011 EF4. You have to stay alert to conditions outside and track information sources every second. On April 22, fifteen minutes after arrival, we were in the polygon for a tornado warning. Ultraviolet was still in her carrier. We hurried to get Shelley into a carrier. Shelley commenced to hollering. All three phones let out grating blasts and their screens filled with TAKE COVER NOW. The tornado siren went off. We were about to get everyone into the safe room when the TV weather person said it was over. Conditions in unstable air change fast, for better or worse. The town siren stopped but the Shelley siren didn’t. We released both cats into their respective rooms and they were both happy again. Thankfully we had no further alerts that day but I still felt chilled. A little too much déjà vu; a warning soon after arrival at the same house just like before, same month, different year. April 27, 2018 was the 7th anniversary of the 2011 tornado.

Our friend’s cat, Shelley

“Shelley put up an awful racket! While I had to wait next to her, I could just smell her! What’s she doing in my post anyway?”

This picture is from another day but she really is right here

“Let’s look at some creeks, ‘K?”:

April creek

“Drinking creeks! To wash down fresh duck!”

A cloudy day with parrot setting

“Um, no . . .”

Green meeting blue under clouds

Heavy rains in May meant the creek was roarin’ by in great waves. Like a choppy ocean in a trough. I went closer with hesitation. Even UV agrees the pictures show the water is too muddy and fast for her to attempt the slurp she craves.

Waves moving down the creek. Cloudy day with parrot setting on camera

Rough and reddish creek

 

Not as smooth as it looks

Spooky moist beauty

I really didn’t want to get this close but I did.

A few days later, Tropical Storm Alberto rained on us some more. Waves were even more gigantic so I stayed farther away.

“But that flood water’s all gone now, amirite?” chirps Ultraviolet. We’ll talk about walking down there later. Where were y’all last night? I missed sitting with you.”

“We went ‘next door’ to hear live music.”

“I heard that low thumping rhythm sound from out in the woods!”

Ultraviolet in profile

(UV has a prominent forehead in front but it then flattens into an almost but not quite pantherine curve.)

“Wonderful counterpoint bass beat to the booming katydids, don’tcha think, UV? They played lots of Van Morrison, Ray Charles’ “‘What’d I Say’, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by . . .”

“Rolling Stones!”

. . . “‘Crossroads'” by . . .

“written by Robert Johnson!”

“And you know all this how?”

“Human kittens. They had parties when I lived in town. Oh you look sad!”

“Human kittens and their families are being so mistreated now. It’s horrific.”

“I saw it on your screen. I knew it made you awful blue. Like in some of the songs.”

“It’s serious heartbreak.”

“I will purr for you always.”

 

(Still not feeling so hot. Still hoping to get around more and explore everyone’s websites, and comment more. Thunderstorms drive me off the computer every day. Yikes! But I’ll have more time later in the year I hope. We hope for better, always.)

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Spring Fun with Colors, a Creek, and a Cat

Well I wouldn’t have thought . . .

Heavy rains made the water high and fast. The pictures don’t show how fast it really was. I used a camera setting I’ve never tried before, “parrot”.

Whatever!

I’m trying some new stuff. I don’t know much about adjusting camera settings to available light and using the bells and whistles because I’ve been ill for 25 years. That makes it hard for me to learn new things. The tiny movements that adjust digital cameras on the go are hard for my fine motor impaired fingers. I know my photos have technical flaws. But I have explored using this new (to me) camera setting and hope to investigate more, for fun.

A little spooky

The camera I use has a “parrot” setting that increases color saturation. I’m not sure I like it as what I really want to learn is how to make pictures look more natural, but with deeper hues. I want dark pictures that nevertheless have rich color, and bright pictures with perfect shadow and light balance. Overall I think the focus isn’t as sharp in these “parrot” pictures, although some of that is because these are low res copies. These were taken in afternoon sun.

Our little fluffmuffin Ultraviolet has something to say

(This was taken the old way, then photo edited as usual.)

“The water looks delicious. Why wasn’t I invited?” so says Ultraviolet the cat.

Water waves in pastel

I dared further photo edit one; wee woo hoo, weird!.

“Well you’d be in trouble if you fell in.”

Flowing with purpose

“I’ve never fallen into those artesian ponds you made for me.”

I really should record the sound

(Slightly increased color saturation above.)

“That water was moving fast. And the creek looks small on the screen but it’s way bigger than your water bowls.”

Ultraviolet has an answer for everything!

(Taken with “parrot”, then photo edited. A partially shaded window to our left accounts for the light reflected from her eye. The light is natural, I never use flash with kitties.)

“Ain’t nothing in nature faster than me. I like moving slurps. Very clean.”

Currents with pizazz

The camera always changes the colors and records reflections that aren’t immediately obvious to the eye. When we walk up to the edge the flood water looks brownish gray. Usually the camera catches the blues of the sky, greens of vegetation, and any autumn colors bouncing back from the water. So the appearance of the lavender purple color is a surprise. I think I’ve figured it out, though. Moving water is overflowing the banks and churning the creekbed. So there’s a reddish silt load along for the ride. It’s mixing with the blue reflections from the sky, creating purple. We don’t see it, the camera lens does.

Hey what’s the rush?

You can see from the banks in this picture that our earth is reddish.

On our way

“That would be a great place to walk and sniff and drink at night. I smell the night air coming in around the door and it’s intoxicating. Let’s all go down there tonight.”

Talking water

“Sweetie we don’t walk to the creek anymore at night, it’s too dark. We did when we were younger though.”

Keeping a calm demeanor while scooting along

“Not that dark for me! I know y’all are night blind but I can see into night just fine. I’ll lead us down there. I’ve smelled everything out there, I’ll protect us.”

Perception

“You had streetlights in town, this is country night. And how would you know about intoxication?”

Whitecaps reveal haste

“I had myself some good hidey holes in town. I watched those humans kittens at night, saw them when they were studious and watchful like I am, and other times when they frisked around. I learned to intuit their levels of intoxication.”

Mystery

“Ah, direct observation of student night life.”

Whatever it is, I find it fun

 

Foliage waves to water

Finding our way

That red leaf on the opposite bank in the first picture is in about the same position as the one I photographed there last autumn. I almost thought it was the same leaf that never faded out, but looking carefully I do think the position is a little different. That doesn’t preclude the fact that it could have been washed there by sloshing waves of rapids water, but it may also be another red leaf from the same tree or undergrowth.

Ultraviolet purring

Ultraviolet makes more sounds now! She’s calling to me in short, breathy musical notes, like soft cat trills. My husband calls them “grunts”. She gets in a “Hmmmmffff,” then settles in and purrs with me. She watches the screen while I sort pictures of her for this post.

I may be slow to answer comments as I’m rather low energy these days. Hoping for better, always.

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks | Tagged , , , , , , | 64 Comments

Tweaked Creek Ruffles Ultraviolet Cat

What do we have here?

These photos were taken on the creek last year in spring. I messed with ’em in editing. Taken on several afternoons, now they mainly just look darker, making the colors richer but damping down the springy brightness.

Ultraviolet getting into the fantastic

Ultraviolet Cat, our furry little light meter, says, “Whatever have you done with the creek! That light just ain’t quite right. Hey I’m a poet and didn’t know it.”

“I went to the creek, to tinker and tweak.”

Shallows and depths

“You worked a sea-change with the creek.”

Sweet water in the light of February

“So you’ve been getting into my old Shakespeare book just like Bud did?”

“Well, yeah, but I also slipped into a Survey of British Lit class at the University. No one heard me, no humans knew I was there.”

Gulp!

“You’re an educated animal.”

“I don’t miss much. I know you petted Shelley yesterday, I smelled her when you came back, snort, huff! Along with new grass and flowers – dandelions, redtips, crabapple trees.”

Spring in mind, but . . .

(Shelley is our friend’s cat.) “I petted you too−”

“There was no one to pet me while y’all were gone to Shelley’s! Boo phssssst!”

We can go lighter:

Are we there yet?

“I could so hunt in those dark pictures, but does the creek even look that way at night? So long as the water still smells fresh and sunny I want to go down there and drink from it.”

We can go darker!

Gulp again!

“Even better for hunting!”

“Say, what did you do with your gray mousie after you found it several days ago? And did you ever find your blue mousie?”

“Ain’t studyin’ mice, I’m all about water today. And you need to study light in pictures more.”

Ultraviolet and her glorious tail

“Yeah I know that Kitten, and I will, after I finish the book work. Meanwhile this is for fun.”

“I’m sleepy now, but I’ll expect creekwater when I wake up.”

Happy Spring!

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , | 55 Comments