“It Was the Third of June . . .”

Franklin sun-soaking

. . . and our moods are mixed and mostly somber. We’re sorrowful about terrible events in the nation. We had hoped for a world of kindness and compassion by now.

I post this on facebook every year on June 3rd; so now I’m posting it here too. In 1967 this deftly worded mystery went to the top of the charts for four weeks. It continues to haunt. I like the first video better for vocals; the second is better for visuals, IMO. The line “There was a virus going around . . .” hits a little harder now.

I’m not used to posting videos so I hope they work okay.

. . . and, June means summer! How’d we get so green already? I said that back in April. I’m still astonished, and now mimosas are starting to bloom. So we’ll look back at pictures of another spring gone, and acknowledge the green world.

Volcanic iris:


Iris everywhere I look

Iris with spiderwort

Mystery ground cover

I got more comments on this ground cover photo on Facebook than on anything else I ever posted. It’s everywhere, and many knew more about it than I did. I misidentified it as “clover” when it’s actually oxalis rubra, or pink sorrel. It grew all over the yard of one of the hubs’ uncles, so they called it “Uncle Frank’s Weed”. I think I’ll go with that.

Pink Sorrel

Here it is with more blooms.

Profuse, tangled, entrancing

Robust foliage mixes it up

So many plants, I saw the name of one but lost track of it.

Tantalizing plants unknown to me

I can’t call the name of this one, either.

Cloudy wisteria

Wisteria on one of those gray spring days, when we had so much rain.

Rainy day violets

Mystery caterpillar

There was this caterpillar and when I tried to look it up all I found were similar critters in Europe. Everything’s hectic now so I didn’t try to look further. We don’t see nearly the number of bugs and critters we used to.

. . . here’s the greening. This was freakin’ April 9th. It happened before that, took us by surprise.

Cloud show seen through the canopy!

Fresh Green emerges to meet Evergreen

I thought you’d never get here, lol

Clouds and cobalt

Still can’t shake off the melancholy.


Lovely Shelley

One day I may do an entire post about Shelley’s unusual tail, which is tortie pattern until almost to the tip, and then changes to orange and white stripes with a black tip on the end.

Franklin with the my cat book, Catwoods

To keep Franklin happy instead of hissy, I make him lead cat for every post instead of substituting the kittens. However, the kittens will be back with a post of their own, it may take some time as I’m so busy, but meanwhile, the link to purchase my book Catwoods is still up there to the right, and on the “Order Catwoods the Book Online” page. If you are outside the US, please email easty@ernestandhadleybooks.com (the publisher) to arrange to get a book. Sorry about the inconvenience, I hope it will be temporary.

About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
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82 Responses to “It Was the Third of June . . .”

  1. My cat is sitting here with me, reading through the stories.
    I am having a problem keeping her off the keyboard though. It’s nice and warm……

    • Catwoods says:

      I know how that is, I’ve had cats who wanted to be on the keyboard too! Franklin sits with me a lot but fortunately isn’t drawn to the keyboard. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!

  2. Platypus Man says:

    I was 11 years old when the Ode was released. Living in the UK it offered a glimpse of the USA that was very different from the conventional image at the time, which centred around endless cowboy movies (John Wayne has a lot to answer for!). Great song, very intriguing, leaves the listener craving to know more.

    My good friend Milky Bar sends fraternal greetings to Franklin: https://64reflections.home.blog/2020/06/03/defying-the-lockdown-the-new-adventures-of-milky-bar/

    • Catwoods says:

      Fascinating, Platypus Man! I can see where Western movies would certainly have an impact on perceptions of the US. One thing I always liked about the song is that it’s a real-world glimpse of life in the rural southeastern US, and even the accent is pretty authentic as Bobbie Gentry did grow up in the region where the song took place. I think the unsolved mystery is part of the song’s staying power over decades.
      I did go read about some of your kitties, very interesting! Franklin sends purrs to Milky Bar!

      • Platypus Man says:

        Just listed to the Ode again. It’s like an audio version of a sepia photograph, portraying a long-forgotten world, a time when Facebook and Starbucks and Star Wars would have been unimaginable. A hard life, but simpler in so many ways.

  3. Thanks so much for your moving post. You are an inspiration for me to keep going! Thank you!

    • Catwoods says:

      Janis, thank you so much for your kind words! I’m very happy you enjoyed the post. I always love seeing your art in your posts! So I hope you will keep doing more work and posting it!

  4. Love your flowers and pictures of the skies, Leah, but most of all to see a sun-soaking-Franklin and a lovely Shelley…but we’re very curious of the tail…we can picture it though ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜ธPawkisses for a Happy Sunday to all of you๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ˜ฝ๐Ÿ’ž

    • Catwoods says:

      Franklin and Shelley and I thank you so much! I’m happy you liked the pictures! I am slowly working on getting the tail pictures ready, I don’t work very fast, but one day . . . Happy Sunday to y’all, also!

  5. Chandra Lynn says:

    Love the pics. I’ve bookmarked the song to listen to later.

  6. Yup, that song lyric is fitting for the times. Your flowers are beautiful. We also have several beautiful blooms (gladiolus, bee balm) and looking at the flowers is a respite from current events, if only for a few minutes.

  7. Mew mew mew Shelley has such beeuteefull furss Miss Leah! She iss lovelee.
    An Franklin iss lookin mitey reefined an hansum inn his fotoss too!!
    Wee wunder if there will efurr bee a ‘normal’ werld again? Butt wee stay close to home fore now….
    **purrss** BellaDharma an ((huggiess)) LadyMew too

    • Catwoods says:

      Meow BellaDharma and Lady Mew, Shelley and Franklin and I thank you for your kind words! We are wondering the same things about the world! I’m glad y’all are staying home and being careful, we are too! Many purrs and hugs from all of us!

      • Yore furry wellcome Miss Leah!! Yore furry tallented. An this werld iss so diffyrent now. Mee an LadyMew stay home most of THE time. An shee only goess out with Aunty Sheila so not with a bunch of peepell.
        Wee can have 10 peepell inn our bubbell now butt LadyMew sayss only 4 or 5 an still no one comin inn our place….
        **purrss** an paw ((huggiess)) BellaDharma
        Pee S: Hope yore doin guud Franklin an Shelley too!

  8. Marjorie Dawson says:

    Your plants are lovely and I adore Franklin.
    Have a good week.

  9. icelandpenny says:

    those protest songs come back to resonate again — also Buffalo Springfield’s “There’s something happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear (stop children, what’s that sound…)”

    • Catwoods says:

      Protest songs do indeed come back, I remember Buffalo Springfield very well. Also a lot of the Bob Dylan songs. They were really meaningful.

  10. terrepruitt says:

    Lovely pictures as usual. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t know that I have ever heard that song.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Terre, I appreciate it. The song came out in 1967, so it’s old and there are many who may not have heard it. It tends to be remembered in the southeastern US since it’s not only a mystery, but a kind of portrait of rural life.

  11. I have always loved that song, but had forgotten all about it. What beautiful photos today, so many gorgeous blooms! Don’t give up on a kinder, peaceful world, we’ll get there.

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m happy you like the pictures, Catscue Catmom, and thank you for the kind and encouraging words about the world. I needed them today!

  12. Carole Schulman says:

    SHELLY! Forgive me my Lady. Slip of the keyboard.

  13. Carole Schulman says:

    Good Morning each one of you! So glad to be back to see you. Stella…wat a gorgeous lady cat you are. I would love reading about your tail and seeing it would be just as fine! I was going to tell you what that plant was, your Uncle Frank’s weed, but you found the name so I will spare you having to read my well meant naming! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Catwoods says:

      Hi Carole, Good Morning and good to see you! LOL almost everyone knew what the plant’s actual name except me! I’m slowly working on getting a few good photos of Shelley’s tail together.

  14. Charlee: “We think ‘Uncle Frank’s Weed’ is definitely a more colorful name for that flower than its real one.”
    Chaplin: “If we see it here, I think we will call it that too!”
    Lulu: “Just don’t call it that while Dada’s Dada is around. His name is Frank too and he might get confused.”

  15. Regine Karpel says:

    Beautiful flowers. I love it.

  16. Great post Leah. I like the images of your wild flowers and Shelley and Franklin looks proper Sweeties. Love the songs too. Hope you having good Summer! Best! Ashraf

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Ashraf, I appreciate it! Glad you liked the pictures and the song!We’re having a good summer and we wish you the same! Best wishes always! Leah

  17. Appropriate song…such scary times right now…
    I love that oxalis, so dainty!
    I just planted 2 wisteria…hope they ‘take’ and grow onto the trellises I pi=ut by them…when they get bigger I want to let them stay where they re and take the trellis our for an arbor/pergola…like a doorway to our little patio…(Can’t afford an arbor right now…sigh…)

    We have some ‘heirloom’ irises here, they are a yellow tone, and they have a dark brownish center. Another patch is sort of whitish/pale yellow.Maybe that’s like the beige ones another commenter wrote about. And we have some pale purple ones…

    I think perhaps that unknown plant could be either a sumac or a young walnut seedling.

    Shelly sure is beautiful and nicely relaxed in the sun!

    • Catwoods says:

      Shelley and I thank you, Meezer’s Mews and Terrioristical Woofs! I bet the wisteria will look very nice! I’ve seen it trained to make a bush or an arch, so that should be cool! Interesting that you have some some yellowish and pale colors of iris; they sound pretty. I like all the colors but can’t garden so we just accept the ones that were at the house (mostly purple but one is a bright yellow) when Mom got it, and some she brought from her previous residence. The pale purple ones are nice too.
      Thanks for the tip about the unknown plant, that’s good to know! I’ll look into it one day, I stay so busy these days.

      • Yes, those irises were all here from the previous or earlier owners…we have been here over 32 years, now. I did move some of the purple ones around when we did some major work outside, but they are hardy and forgiving.

  18. Your cat has the most amazing colors! So very cool! I love unique…

    • Catwoods says:

      Shelley and I thank you! She does have a nice combo of colors. Actually the cat of a friend (I forgot to say in this post) but I see her often.

  19. -Eugenia says:

    Beautiful photos and I’ve always loved “Ode to Billy Joe”, one of the most intriguing songs ever made.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Eugenia, I’m happy you liked the photos! For sure the song has just the right amount of mystery to grab attention over decades!

  20. Nature is so soothing and healing. Beautiful nature and beautiful cats. Don’t need anything else.

    And June means summer, but summer can be hot and stifling, and flying cockroaches running all over the sidewalk at night, until I’m afraid to go out at night.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks, Tel-Aviv’s feral cats! We have hot summers too but I like it better because at least there are rarely severe storms. Those big roaches, I know all about them! We have the ones that fly and cover the sidewalks here too!

  21. Pam Lazos says:

    More color — and cat — therapy, Leah. Love it!

  22. pollymorse says:

    I saw the ’76 movie, it was good, but have never seen the videos. Thanks, it was nice.

    • Catwoods says:

      My pleasure! I didn’t see the movie. According to what I’ve read, the answers there to the mysteries weren’t actually based on the song, although it was an important story to tell in itself. The song was originally seven minutes long and the original draft is in the University of Mississippi library archives, in the Faulkner room. I don’t know if it’s available to the public, though. BTW I do intend to write you an email as soon as I can, it’s been a hectic and difficult week here.

      • pollymorse says:

        Oh, the movie was good, but I guess I won’t count on it as the real answers. Wow, I wonder why she kept it such a secret? Don’t worry, my world is a tad crazy right now as well! Thanks so much.

  23. niasunset says:

    Beautiful post dear Leah, and song too… I hope and wish it would be a nice June and summer days… Thank you, Love, nia

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you Nia, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures and the song! I’m wishing you a nice June and nice summer too, to the extent we can enjoy it with the pandemic going on everywhere. Much love to you and your family and friends and kitties, Nia!

  24. 15andmeowing says:

    Beautiful blooms. Such an appropriate song for right now. XO

  25. Lavinia Ross says:

    I remember that song well! Thanks for including it!

    The seasons change, and your area is as lovely as always. Our best to you and the kitties, Leah. โค

    • Catwoods says:

      My pleasure posting the song, Lavinia. I’m happy you enjoyed the pictures! Best wishes always from the kitties and I to you also, Lavinia! โค

  26. Cate says:

    .. another sleepy, dusty, delta day.” I love Bobbie Gentry, and had cause recently to revisit this haunting song, which has been wonderfully described as “Southern gothic.” Thanks for posting it, and for the lovely images.

    • Catwoods says:

      My pleasure Cate, and I’m glad you liked the pictures! It’s quite a remarkable song that seems to resonate across decades. I’ve seen it described as Southern Gothic and that does fit. I read a ton of it in the past, Faulkner, McCullars, O’Connor, etc., and was trying not to write that way in my book, (except for the long Faulkner sentences). But, I suppose we were sort of strange and atypical . . .

  27. Love this song, it takes me back in time. And I always love your pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Brian says:

    We haven’t heard that nice tune for a long time! Love the pretty photos!!!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thanks Brian, I’m happy you liked the photos! I hadn’t listened to the song for awhile either, until yesterday. Takes me back!

  29. Your photos are lovely! Thank you for sharing them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. iamthesunking says:

    I wish our irises were so pretty! Ours are beige. Iโ€™m not joking.

    • Catwoods says:

      I’ve recently seen some iris of beige and bronze colors! I thought they were fascinating and beautiful too, although I admit purple is one of my favorite colors for flowers.

  31. Cats & flowers…what could be better ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Timothy Price says:

    Everything looks beautiful. Franklin is handsome sun-soaking and Shelly is lovely.

  33. Lauren says:

    Beautiful colors and beautiful cats.

  34. Yvon says:

    Wonderful pictures and thank you for Ode to Billy Joe ๐Ÿ™
    instantly thought about the song as I read the title …
    I still have a record of Bobby Gentry with this song. Perhaps one day I will have an oldfashion player again …

    • Catwoods says:

      Yvon, thank you I’m glad you liked the pictures, and the song. That’s amazing that you still have the record! Most of our old records have been lost over the years. But I do know people who have those old record players in working condition, and play the old vinyl records.

  35. Your photos are awesome! And I would love to see Shellyโ€™s beautiful tail!

  36. ginnietom says:

    those days are gone, never to return…๐Ÿ™Š

  37. John says:

    I love this song, it’s always had a haunting effect on me…

    • Catwoods says:

      I’ve always loved the song too. It’s had a phenomenal impact on so any people for so long. I can only think that a well-told mystery will always have a grip on the human psyche.

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