Last Emerald Greens, Cats, and Book News

Franklin is nonchalant, sometimes

While Franklin the cat seems unfazed by seasonal changes, when the last emerald greens leave I’ll have the blues.

We have book news! There’s a lovely review of my book, Catwoods, on Goodreads and also on the Amazon link to the upper right, where you can purchase the book. Here’s the link to the review by writer Carolyn Breckinridge (no cover pic on Goodreads yet):

Catwoods at Goodreads

Check out Carolyn’s mysteries, Tuscaloosa Moon and Tuscaloosa Boneyard. She also has a book of short stories, Kaleidoscope Jane & Other Stories. All three are deep character explorations and are full of twists you don’t see coming!

Travels near the sky

Back to the forest. Still green!

Leaf world

Deer track

I meant to show this one in July.

Spirited Frankie!

“Y’all giant hunters could catch me a deer to eat!”

“Um, no. We’re not actually hunters.”

“Oh yeah? Where does all that canned and dried meat come from then?”

“Complicated to explain, kitty.”


Kudzu at forest’s edge

“Look Franklin, we drove out to the road and I took kudzu pictures!”

Kudzu Blooms

Late in the summer, kudzu does bloom.

“I could go prowlin’ there. Catch my own deer. Purrrrrrrr.”


Kudzu meets forest

“Not gonna happen kitty, but the deer do come and eat it.”

Vines will creep

“Good to know! Purrrrrr.”

(“He’s going to be a picky eater.” That’s what our friend who gave him to us said.)

Kudzu usually stays in sunny places and doesn’t go into the forest. It tries, though. I know my photos are far from technically perfect and they have too much sunglare in them. But the pics convey the experience of all those big leaves bouncing the light around when you’re standing next to them!

Leaf and needle combos

Here’s the pines again, I can’t stay away. Even though they’re not going anywhere. Evergreen. It sticks around.

The big pick-up-sticks game in the sky


Franklin deep in thought

It will soon be the season when everyone’s snugged in, moody, and musing, like Franklin is in this picture.

Jazzed up Shelley

Meanwhile Shelley’s a jazzed tortie, and how! Our friend’s cat always frantically dances around me, rubbing all over my shoes and jeans when we visit her person in town. She leaves plenty of white fur on me. The picture is way out of focus because she’s in mid-dance here.

“Oh yeah,” says Frankie, “I smelled her when y’all came back. So that’s the varmint! Phsssst!”

Cats are everywhere in art now

A friend who’s a metal artist gave us this cat sculpture for the “garden”.

August autumn sneak

I mean, look at those reddish areas. This was freakin’ August! That’s why I have autumn blues already.

Stay tuned!

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Missing Ultraviolet


To me she was Ultraviolet. To the hubs, she was Little Girl, so named by the person who found her hanging out with ferals and gave her to us. I miss all of the many cats we’ve had, but there was something extra sweet about this one. She left us suddenly for the Rainbow Bridge on September 3, 2018, about a year ago. She’d just had a good vet check-up and the suddenness made it harder.

I so miss you, Little Ultraviolet Girl! I was going to post this in a few days but today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day so I went ahead.

Ultraviolet and the light of the forest

We only had her for about a year. She shines in my memories.

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Summer Slips By While Cat Basks

Cheerful Franklin

We’re looking back at June and July pictures today. It’s mid August and everyone’s yearning for fall, yikes. Leaves on a few trees are now turning yellow and dropping thanks to weeks of no rain. Outside in the heat in a light wind, I hear soft crunchy sounds of dry leaves stirring. Too soon! I still crave summer. I have August Angst, that melancholy frame of mind that comes with knowing the season will soon turn. I’m not ready.

In book news, many thanks to all who have purchased my/our (I wrote it but had feline muses and editors) book, Catwoods, we appreciate it! Now in addition to Amazon (click cover at upper right), Barnes and Noble, and other online sources, you can get it from Ernest and Hadley Booksellers, the indie bookstore owned by the indie publisher of the book.


It’s July, what’s up with the red-orange?

Those reds are actually berries, but it seems early for berries!

Swirling Myrtle

The crepe myrtles really showed up for us in town this year.

“That looks like last summer,” Franklin chimes in, “when I was new and little and hungry in town, that wasn’t a fun summer.”

Sun-soaker Frankie

“Do you remember how you got here?”

“I found a cat-feeding biped in October, who saved me. Then The Hubs showed up and brought me home. Much better eats, two cat feeders in-house, much better summer this time around!”

Crepe Myrtles have grown taller

“I expect you saw lots of these in town.”

“I did!”

Stylish Myrtle

“I jazzed up this one considerably.”

“Whoa! They didn’t look like that!”

The sky gets the blues!

“Let’s get back to the forest for a sec . . .”

“We haven’t left . . . ” (This cat takes everything literally.)

Our favorite canopy

I admit I’m partial to pine and the ways it divides the light.

Pine spree

Pine Delight

Summer with Rusty Reds

Besides the reddish berries, we’ve had some leaves going rusty red early. Maybe from the dryness, I’m tellin’ myself. Because to have leaves start turning in July would be just . . . eerie.

Woods Wildflowers

Mmmm, wildflowers!

Cute Toad!

We saw some critters in the “yard”.

Possible tree frog

This could be a tree frog but I don’t know the species. They tend to land on glass surfaces.

Blue Dasher

Blue Dasher Dragonflies have been zipping around everywhere this year. They fly right up to us and have been known to alight on a hand. They move so fast I haven’t gotten many pictures though.

Frankie rolls and cavorts

“Say,” Frankie says, “those last three have caught my eye, and I have yet to eat any. We’re right here in the kitchen. Couldn’t you . . . ”

“Um, no way. No one here eats those critters . . .” (Life with a small outspoken predator.)

Confusing July berries

Creepy Myrtle

Our crepe myrtles have been cycling all summer, sprouting buds while the older blooms wither and new flowers open. This often lasts well into autumn.


Stay tuned, August may be even weirder . . .

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Editing and Non-Editing Cats, Explained

Studious Minou

Editing Cat. The first feline editor of the book I’ve just published, Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, was our late Minou, tuxie extraordinaire and a real scholar. When I started writing the books in 2004 both volumes were woven together. So he had a complex task early on. Here Minou studies abstract expressionism to better comprehend painting, which informs so much of the prose. This wasn’t my favorite of my paintings ever – abstract expressionism just wasn’t my thing – but it’s durable, the only one of my large paintings to survive storage problems. Displayed in my late Mom’s house in the rooms wrecked by the tornado, it survived that too. Art from a later phase after I hit my stride:

Minx the Muse

Our late Minx, who graces the cover, was a Non-Editing Cat, but she was the Muse for all ages and every cat knew it. She and Minou would be so thrilled that their stories are now published! But catlike, they’d never let it show! (There are many other cats in the book, the fifteen that lived in our house over the decades, my Mom’s cats, cats of friends, cats we found homes for.)

Here’s Budster!

Editing Cat. Bud the Editing Cat, a brown and white tuxie of mind-boggling size, took charge of editing when he came along! Here he puts himself in place for a take-over! While Minou instilled the editing process with scholarship, Bud brought vigor, delivered with a RAWR.

Our beautiful Little Ultraviolet Girl

Editing Cat. After Bud left us for the Rainbow Bridge, Ultraviolet, AKA Little Girl, stepped up. She positioned herself perfectly for editing by snuggling upon me in front of the computer. She brought a sweetness to the process during the most crucial and complex editing time. She too departed for the Rainbow Bridge at the end of last summer. As that anniversary approaches, I’m really sad.

Franklin Alert

Non-Editing Cat. Has his own agenda. Our Franklin came to us last fall, after we lost UV. There was still editing to be done but he was having none of it! Standing tall to scratch the back of the computer chair was the extent of his participation. He indicates he might help with Volume 2, where he shows up. We’ll see!

Cats, both Editing and Non-Editing, are a gift. We adore Franklin! And, since cats are highly opinionated, it was a bit of a breather to have some editing time without constant, sometimes fussy, feline input. Don’t tell Franklin I said that!


Franklin chillin’

Franklin slacks off and looks adorable doing nothing!

Stay tuned! We have a lot in the works although we don’t work fast. One thing we have done, we’ve had all those ads removed from our site. Yay!

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , , | 52 Comments

Catwoods the Book is Out!

The cover of the cat book!

Years ago I started writing a cat book, and now, Volume 1 is out! It’s been a long slog getting this done. For me, it’s exciting but a little scary too.

That’s The Minx you see in the cover picture, taken by the hubs. I took the pic of the background greenery. If you purchase the book you’ll see a little surprise looking out at you on the spine.

The book tells of the years of fun and joy as we find our cats on the streets and in the woods, but it also has serious research about cats and other critters. There’s a chapter about current kerfluffles between bird advocates and cat advocates. It’s 364 pages, thoroughly researched, and has endnotes. There is no electronic version as books with endnotes aren’t usually published electronically, according to the publisher.

Publishing is by Borgo Publishing, a local indie publisher.

It’s available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. These are the links:


Barnes and Noble

Now you can also order it direct from the indie book store in town that is owned by the publisher! Ernest and Hadley Booksellers

It’s also on several other online mail-order sources, which I found by doing a search for the title.

Below is one a brief description of the book, one of those that sounds like someone else wrote it, but I actually wrote it myself.

Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, Volume 1 is about a couple who rescue, adopt, and love cats in their deep woods home in the southern US. These cats are all such original characters that they make every day blissful, giddy, poetic, or even somber, the way the moods and phases of real life unfold. Leah Alford observes domestic felines indoors and later studies wildlings like foxes and raccoons who live outdoors amidst the glowing, dense leaves of the Appalachian jungle. A screaming non-entity in the night might well have been a cougar. This heavily researched volume covers cat coat color and genetics, color in nature, cat behavior and affection, multi-cat home dynamics, feral cats, spay and neuter, radial hypoplasia cats, black cat rhapsodies, and more. Communication between animals and humans is the core of Catwoods, as despite the language barrier Alford and her husband have rapport with each cat; with looks, gestures, purrs, and meaningful visual cues, the cats voice their declarations and diatribes. This first volume, which extends into the year 2004, revels in the natural world, the luxuriance of birds, insects, and yelling frogs. Covering many decades, Alford also writes of art, music, and writing in a changing South.

Below is a picture of Franklin, who is a tad peeved. He wants to know why we didn’t start with Volume 2 since that’s where he enters the picture. He doesn’t accept my explanations about time sequence, or the fact that he can’t be listed among the other cat editors since by his own choice, he’s just not an editing cat.

Franklin looking regal

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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.

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Tributary: Becoming Green Warriors of the Red Earth Country

I’m reblogging this older environmental essay of mine for a number of reasons. There are many ongoing struggles to protect the waters of my state and nation right now. And, some newer followers who are environmentally minded have not seen this because I first posted it in 2013. Sorry, fellow cat enthusiasts, there are no cats in this. But they were always nearby when it was composed. Cats will return here soon!

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