Summer and Cat and Trees

Franklin keeps track

Franklin can be puzzling. He’s so long-legged and limber; exactly how has he tucked himself up here? His front legs are poised in front of him, bent at the knee joint. They’re a little indistinct because I’m still working with a camera that focuses when it wants to, so we’re mostly soft focus now. The visible hind leg is extended along with his tail. I’m thinking that underneath him, he’s thrust his other hind leg far forward and he’s resting his head and neck on that hind paw we don’t see. I think the the large joint on the back leg, called the hock, is partially visible in the picture; but you have to look close.

Pines . . . some are matter of fact and some get weird.

Farther than it looks

Threading the canopy

Game of pick-up-sticks

Mimosa, way up in the air

There’s even mimosa out there!

Waving at skies

Cunning conifers

In the pines . . .

Slipping in pastel

There’s a bumper crop of pine cones this year!

Pinecones galore!

Strange fiction

Franklin, one smug cat!

Franklin has no intention of editing, but he did remind me that listening to the critters outside is one of his passions and it’s time to post some of them.

As I’ve said before, taking pictures of insects around here is called “Looking for bugs in all the wrong places.” That goes for reptiles and amphibians, too. They will not seek out the nice natural backgrounds!

A five-lined skink on some steps

Moth/butterfly, species unknown

Chilling on pasteboard, I can’t find the identity of this moth/butterfly in the guides.

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly

At least it’s sitting on a leaf; the background is a broom.

“I’ve heard all of those,” says Franklin. “seen ’em too.”

Rescued tadpoles

The hubs scooped up these tadpoles from a transient mud puddle in a (now) treeless part of town, where the sun would have sizzled the water away before they became frogs. He transferred them to shaded waters out in the woods. I’m amazed that they look so blue! Can’t find out any mention about blue tadpoles in nature guides so far.

Blue Tadpoles

We saw a frog hopping around a week or so later!

Sunny skies

Days are often sunny . . .

Frankie looks really sweet when sun sleeping

But it’s raining a lot too . . .


Trapped in the car on a stormy evening.

That means a lot of leafy growth:

Plush foliage this year

Stay tuned, we’ll be back. Meanwhile, fade to green.

About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in black cats, Cats, Nature and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

57 Responses to Summer and Cat and Trees

  1. cat9984 says:

    Franklin photographs beautifully. Or I should say, you do an excellent job of photographing Franklin

  2. Yes, skinks are awesome and I even used to carry a nickname as skink. Where I grew up back in early 80s, I was surrounded by skink, they just used to bask in the sun and always provoked sense of curiosity and eerie feelings that then transformed me into a wildlife ecologist 20 years later. Out of 9500 species of reptiles, 1500 or one-sixth of them are skinks. It’s really diverse group of lizard hence keep taking and posting pictures….

  3. Really well written amusing post. Enjoyed reading it. I loved the image of the Skink you have taken. Skinks are largest group among all reptiles and one of my favorites. Franklin looks bit like my Megan Sweetie and Panther. You will see them in my blogs. Keep up the brilliant work.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks so much for the kind and encouraging words, I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I’ve been to your site and can see what you are saying about the resemblance of Franklin to your Megan Sweetie and Panther. I like the skinks too but there weren’t as many around this year so I only got a few pictures.

  4. Lavinia Ross says:

    A beautiful collection, Leah! I love the tadpole rescue operation, too!

  5. This is really awesome! I love the photos!

  6. nwolitzer says:

    What beautiful photographs! And thank you for liking Whisper and Made-up Trees on my website. This is a new way of working for me. I just draw from memory or the memory of a memory without looking at anything in front of me.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much! I’m really happy you like the pictures. My pleasure liking your art. I really like your work and the interesting media you use. I used to work a little with scratchboard myself, although I mixed it with other media.

  7. Your husband is a treasure, kind and caring. Franklin certainly has a good family.

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    I love that your husband rescued those tadpoles – such kindness! Your mystery butterfly is a type of Skipper. They are cute and friendly. We have Silver-spotted Skippers sunning on our deck railing every morning.

  9. terrepruitt says:

    I absolutely LOVE that first picture of Franklin. So cute. Cats are so odd in their postures!

  10. Robin says:

    Franklin is a beautiful boy! I’ve got a new puppy since I last visited and he loves nature sounds. He even perks up when he hears them on TV. Nice rescue of the tadpoles! And they look pretty in blue. 😊

    • Catwoods says:

      Franklin and I thank you, Robin! Congrats on the new puppy, he sounds like a smart and attentive little guy. I was pleasantly surprised by the blue tadpoles myself!

  11. Charlee: “We cats sure can contort ourselves into amazing positions, can’t we?”
    Lulu: “You sure can. It’s like you’re some kind of aliens without any bones.”
    Chaplin: “Maybe we are!”

  12. davidstone1313 says:

    This comes off as a kind of free verse, visual poetry, a series of ringing verses, loosely connected that make an original whole. A pleasure to read and see.

  13. RMW says:

    My favorite is the photo of Franklin against the blanket and purple background… looks like he’s thinking up his next round of mischief! When I was a kid in England I somehow got hold of about 100 tadpoles… they grew and grew… then they “mysteriously” disappeared one night. My mother swore she had nothing to do with it but I suspect they ended up flushed before they became frogs hopping all over the house!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you RMW, I’m happy you like the picture! And hahaha you have Franklin pegged! I think there were many more tadpoles and frogs around worldwide when we were all kids. Sadly, I can say for sure that they have declined in my area over the years.

      • RMW says:

        I’m sure you are right. We don’t necessarily think of frogs being that important but everything has its place in the ecosystem.

  14. Hello there. Speaking of skinks: I had a Scottish soup recently that’s called Cullen skink. Strange name. Cullen is where the soup was developed. Skink means soup. It’s a chowder made with smoked haddock. Delicious.

    Neil Scheinin

    • Catwoods says:

      That’s interesting Neil! I wonder how the word skink came to mean soup. I only know it as a term for lizards from the family Scincidae. There must be some different line of word derivation. Certainly no blue-tailed lizards would have been used for soup, as they are widely believed to be neurotoxic to cats and by extension to humans, who have a similar neurology. (Though it hasn’t been documented scientifically, I had a cat who ate one who was saved by the antidote from the vet.) By coincidence, we once had a cat named Cullen.

      • Right, there’s no connection between the lizard and the soup. The linguistic derivation of skink (in re the soup) is confusing to me. I think there’s two or three theories about where the word comes from.

  15. nananoyz says:

    Franklin is so sweet! Gorgeous pics.

  16. chattykerry says:

    Fantastic shots, Leah! Franklin is turning into the most handsome young man. He looks so cuddly. Love, love, love your fabulous skink and damselfly. I saw one just like it on a trip to Alabama. We have very similar pines in our yard and there are pine cones everywhere right now. The squirrels are enjoying them. Happy Fourth, when it comes. K x

    • Catwoods says:

      Kerry, thank you so much! I’m happy you like the pictures! As a cat, Franklin loves to hear that he’s handsome! We usually have many more skinks and dragonflies than we’ve seen this year, but the summer is young. Although it does go fast! I do love and enjoy the pine trees! Happy Fourth to you and yours also, Kerry! xx

  17. DS Levy says:

    That Franklin! He’s a flexible kitty, that’s for sure! LOL And, I might add, a pretty darn photogenic young man.
    I love the pines pics — love pines, period! My favorite tree, besides the birch.
    And my gosh — Bill is a wonderful human being for scooping up the tadpoles! Thank him so much.
    Again, your photos are wonderful Leah … and the narrative is superb as well. I love it when an authentic voice comes through, talks about making/creating. This post is an essay, a wonderful, intelligent read. I’m glad you shared!

    • Catwoods says:

      Hugs, Deb, and thank you so much for all you say, you always give me a lift! I’ve always loved pine and I love birches, too, I just never see them around here. I should check into whether any grow nearby, though I don’t really think so. Franklin sends greeting too!

      • DS Levy says:

        Just seeing your comment here, Leah. We have a lot of birch trees in Michigan. They were my mom’s favorite tree, so I love them, too. 🙂

  18. Great shots! The top pose of Franklin is adorable! 🙂

    • Catwoods says:

      Tom, thank you so much! I’m happy you like the photos, and Franklin, being a cat, is always glad to hear you think he’s cute!

  19. Haven’t seen tadpoles since I was a kid believe it or not. Don’t think I have thought of them til now either! Looks like a moth not a butterfly. New Species: the “Franklin Moth”! Plenty of pines around here to be sure. Franklin looks pretty artistic posing on the coloured blanket!

    • Catwoods says:

      I agree it does really does look like a moth Greg, but it was out in the daytime. I’ve heard of day moths before, though. Pines are everywhere, and I’ve always loved them. These are southern longleaf pine, I think, with the really long needles. Franklin and I thank you!

  20. Cate says:

    Go, tadpole rescuer! Bless you. Is that a feral “fixed” ear notch on red Franklin or is it just an odd angle?

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Cate, for the good wishes! Franklin was found by a friend and he had indeed been ear notched, so someone must have grouped him with ferals. He must have been an abandoned cat because he walked into the friend’s house, used the litterbox, and acted friendly. That said, he does show a few feral behaviors and is a little rough around the edges, so I can see how he was miss-assessed. He’s not as snuggly as our previous cats – yet (he’s young) – but we’re just as crazy about him.

      • Cate says:

        Of course you are. 🙂 Mine have gotten more snuggly as they’ve grown older, and I bet Franklin does the same, though at every age there is a great deal to appreciate about our wonderful cats. Best to you and yours.

  21. niasunset says:

    Franklin is so lovely, I love the photographs especially the red Franklin, it was amazing image. Actually all your photographs dear Leah, are all art work, wonderful colours, and light and contrast you capture. But about reptile (even it was great shot) I can’t say I loved it… They are all my fears and phobia… Seems that a lovely summer there… Thank you dear Lean, Blessing and Happiness to you all, Love, nia

    • Catwoods says:

      Nia, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos. Sorry about the lizard! They are scary and they are fast movers but at least they’re small. I’ve gotten used to them, and some um, even larger reptiles, from living in the country so many years. We are fortunate in having a little cooler summer than usual here. All good wishes for blessings and happiness to you and your family and kitties, Love, Leah

  22. Yvon says:

    I love the pictures of nature … and Frankie is adorable 💕
    greetings from Yvon

  23. Lauren says:

    All of your colors are gorgeous, Leah. It’s a major stylepoint. Black becomes sumptuous here, and black Franklin becomes wondrously multichromatic

  24. Mollie Hunt says:

    Always beautiful pictures of Franklin. Photographing a black cat is a challenge, and you do it so well, even with the less than stellar camera.

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