Fall Creek, Trees, and Cat, Part 1

Forest, November 2

We went to the creek on November 1 but the above picture is from November 2. Notice that the reflections are mainly blue sky and green foliage.

Franklin, staying comfy while on alert

Franklin stays busy making himself comfortable but he’s ever watchful too.

November 3, reflecting

On November 3, fall tree color was beginning to show in the water.

November 1, beguiling edges

The shimmers

We were there on November 1, when most of the action was at the edges. The creek was running high and silty from several gully-washer rain events. It was reflecting, just not at full tilt. Parts of the canopy looked like this:

Reds were there, a few speckles in mostly green canopies

Glorious Sourwood

. . . and the ground looked like this:

Loud, and unclear

And the water was like this:

First November day of 2019 in the US southeast

Ruffled travels

Even fast and murky, it was haunting:

One of my favorite haunts, keeps haunting me

The next two days we had:

Pond of sky

Drifters meet

Floaters wait

Raccoon tracks were revealed on sandy edges:

Evidence of critters

Frankie the explorer

“Y’all have to see tracks to know those raccoons are out there? Just sniff for ’em, that’s how I know they’re around.”

“You have a better sense of smell than we do.”

“Snort! Yeah I knew that!”

Just looking into the water, on November 2 and 3 we could make abstract art of whatever image fragments were being tossed up from the depths:

Currents we’ve witnessed

Tossed spectrum

Rays twisting through slow waves

Tranquil pine as we left the creekside:

Longleaf-pine-green will stick with us through the winter

Y’all, I have a gazillion autumn creek and tree pictures this year. I can make posts of these for some time. Our crawling autumn drags special effects along its way to winter. Stay tuned because a few days after these were taken, around November 5th or 6th, we walked to the creek and saw this glowing up at us, which means a bunch of even wilder and weirder pictures are within and around this scene:

Glitter fest bodes well

Franklin wants to remind everyone that “our” book – now he feels he had a paw in seeing it through to publication – would make a great holiday present! Here’s the Amazon link, for other online booksellers see the “Order Catwoods The Book Online” page under the banner above.

Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions


Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, environment, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

News from the Cat Writers’ Association and University Art Department

Franklin is cool, calm, and collected

In the last few days two exciting events have lifted my spirits! I learned I am now a member of an organization of cat writers and artists working in various media, the Cat Writers Association, Woo Hoo! Check out the spiffy new badge over to the right! Check out their CWA website! They are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

And The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History published the following link about my book! Woo Hoo!

Alumna Publishes Memoir of Life with Cats

UA’s always had a great Art Department and still does!

A big shout out to everyone who made these two events happen! Both really mean a lot to me and I don’t have words to say how excited I am!

None of this fazes Franklin, who remains astonishingly calm about it all.

In other news, we’ve actually had fall! The pictures are in still in the camera and I’ll get them out one day and post. So stay tuned!

Don’t forget that the Catwoods book will make a great holiday gift!

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Fall Creeps Along, Cat and I Wait

Sunny and wild

We have red leaves! Got ’em in October!

Franklin wants a word

“I’m not impressed,” says Franklin.

“Cats don’t see reds that well.”

There’s still lots of green, even now.

Currents mess with reflections

“Well I sure hear better, those raccoons really rocked out last night! While y’all humans slept I was on guard, makin’ sure that loud raccoon party stayed out in the woods.”

Today we have a sneak preview of creek pictures. I’m waiting on good working time and more colorful leaves in both the treetops and the creek.

I’ve waited all year to see scenes like this again

Sourwood provides us with most of the reds this year

I had to change cameras after the last one got sprayed by a rogue garden hose. I’m trying one that has a few more bells and whistles but too many may not be a good idea! I know my pictures lack technical finesse; they’re just fun for me, as well as a way to show others the astonishing natural beauty that exists in this area of the country. I never learned the traditional ways of controlling the exposure and depth of field, etc. I’m still mainly pointing and shooting. Learning new things isn’t easy for me.

I was a painter and mixed media artist until I became ill; I like Fauvist and psychedelic color. I see photos that have that quality but I can’t seem to make those myself. I also admire dark pictures taken on gray days or at twilight that have rich color. I want to have more natural light in pictures, and I have the color saturation cranked up in the camera, but I still have to stick them in an ancient photoshop program and twist and slide until they’re bright enough.

The following series of 3 may show what I mean:

Upstream, gray day

The above is right out of the camera on a cloudy day. I’m not sure but I think I had color saturation turned up for this. Anyway this first picture doesn’t look natural either.

Tweaked creek, gray day

I worked on the above photo not only by turning the color saturation up, but by going into color balance and making it bluer. The reflected tree trunks stood out much more after I adjusted towards blue. I like it better but it still doesn’t look natural, not like what I saw.

Gray and extra spooky

Here I’ve made it darker and I like it, the leaf colors really pop, but it’s a fantasy world and nowhere near the light level I saw.

Clouds meet forest

This gray day picture is closer to what I want although not quite there. I still had to bump up the color sat and the light in post processing. Photo editing, along with the slow, creeping pace of autumn in this region, is part of why it takes me so long to post fall pictures.

Here are the red leaves on a gray day but I still had to increase the saturation:

Patient forest

Stay tuned, we will get it done, more fall pictures are on the way!

I have book news! The book now has three Amazon reviews! Click this link and find out what three exceptional writers have to say about Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions! Mollie Hunt, author of the intriguing Crazy Cat Lady Mystery Series, is the latest one. Do check out her books as well as mine!

Amazon link for Catwoods, Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

Franklin’s Actual Gotcha Day

Franklin is a confident and self-composed cat guy

We celebrated early in the last post but today, October 25th, is Franklin’s actual Gotcha Day! We’ve had him one year today!

Franklin and our Catwoods Book!

Franklin says, What book? But we know he’s secretly hoping it’ll do well so we can come out with Volume 2, which includes the most memorable event a feline-centric memoir could ever have, his Gotcha Day!

Here are links where you can get it! Links to order Catwoods Book

A lovely card by Meezer’s Mews and Terrieristical Woofs for Franklin’s Gotcha Day celebration

A big shout out goes to Meezer’s Mews and Terrieristical Woofs for making us this card!! We appreciate it!

Stay tuned, the fall color is starting to come in! We’ve been to the creek, and we’ll go again soon! Pics are in progress!

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Feral Cats | Tagged , , , | 57 Comments

Franklin the Cat’s October Gotcha! Day

Welcome, Franklin!

Franklin’s Gotcha! Day was October 25, 2018. We were fortunate to be able to adopt a black cat that time of year, right before Halloween. Some rescues and shelters don’t adopt black cats out in October; others say that with strong vetting criteria for potential adopters, this time of year is no different. In this case he was given to us by a friend who had known us for 40 years, a fellow black cat enthusiast. Living in one place for many years can feel limiting, but it also has its perks.

(Black cats, black dogs and other animals, should be kept inside and safe during October; in fact, I would advise that for animals of any color.)

Franklin was an ear-tipped former feral who was friendly. The picture was taken the first day as he checked us out from couch, using the arm as a sort of shield on one side. What a savvy, bright-eyed little guy!

Franklin the Smoothie

Franklin soon got used to comfy surfaces, a reliable food source, and two humans to blink at and meow to!

Franklin with Blue

Franklin prefers to sleep on higher places at times. It might be a holdover from living outdoors, where trees and roofs are safer sleeping spots.

Franklin looks spiffy with orange

Franklin relaxes in style

Franklin does the panther stretch!

Early Spring Franklin

By spring Franklin had gained some weight, and grown up a bit – he was a youngster, a teen-aged cat, when we got him.

Frankie may have some Siamese ancestry

So it’s a little early but Happy Gotcha! Day, Frankie!

Here is a lovely card made by Meezer’s Mews and Terrieristical Woofs for Franklin:

Franklin gotcha day card

Franklin and I say, Thank you so much!

Frankie says, click this link and order our Catwoods book, Volume 1, so we can go on to publish the important Volume 2, in which Frankie arrives!

Order Catwoods the Book Online

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Feral Cats | Tagged , , , , , | 98 Comments

Fall Arrives in Patches; Cats Unfazed

Franklin chillin’

Fall is usually brindled here anyway. Now it’s starting, but only in patches. The weather’s still hot and Franklin stays cool on smooth surfaces.

Lonesome yellow

Small areas are changing.

Delightfully violet

Purple Mist Flowers are blooming on schedule.

Determined Shelley

Our friend’s beautiful Shelley, who is quite the patchy girl herself, keeps busy by applying fur to clothing and shoes.

Scattered, flighty autumn

Fall’s there, you just have to look for it.

Excitement galore!

We even have red!

Deep and glorious

The thing is, all these red leaves quickly crinkled up and fell. Weather persons promise rain soon. I’m cautiously optimistic, even though . . .

Leaf fest with Beautyberries

Not long ago the forest looked like this. Now most of the Beautyberries are gone, so something’s happening.

Luscious lavender

Meanwhile I enjoy these Purple Mist Flowers so much, even with the addition of the hubs’ cables of unknown purpose in the yard.

Frankie lounges

The dominant color is still, well, you know.

Franklin with my Catwoods book

Franklin is a Non-Editing Cat but he wants our Catwoods Vol. 1 book to be a success. That would mean we could go on to publish Volume 2, which continues to the times when he came along. He’s pleased that in editing this photo, I chose to make his beautiful panthery fur stand out more versus getting true color in the book cover. (I’m not all that good at photos and editing them.) He has gained weight and looks a tad chunky but the angle and the way he’s sitting make him look bigger than he actually is. He accepts that explanation.

The book cover, with truer colors, is visible in the upper right hand corner of the page. It’s available on many online booksellers. See our new page (page links are directly under the banner) with links to your choice of three online venues.

Posted in black cats, Book topics, Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Cat Presents: Green Fall Equinox

Franklin regards us

Franklin says, it’s technically the first day of fall, and we are . . . not there. We are . . . still green. Memes on social media show fall pictures with the qualification, “offer not available in (our state)”.

I would say, still green

Skies are vivid blue

We have some bright purples, thanks to the American Beautyberries.

American Beautyberries got a late start this year

Beautyberries have grown more lush since this was taken

Walk back a few steps, look up, and . . .

Pine Dreams

We did have a few leaves that turned slightly reddish late in late August. I had to really crank the saturation up in photo editing to show the redness seen here. That was likely due to dry weather, they turned early and then just crinkled up. Curious timing this year, for sure.

Dry pine needles and a few reddish spots

To see anything that looks remotely like fall forest color right now, we probably have to leave the forest and go look at our friend’s cat, Shelley.

Shelley the astonishing tortie

“Hey hey hey . . . ” says Franklin.

Frankie lounges

“Relax Frankie, you’re the star, you have more pictures than she does today.”

Pine lagniappe.

Evergreen veil

Don’t forget, our book, Catwoods: Stories and Studies of Our Feline Companions, is out now. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online venues. In the upper right hand corner there’s a direct link to Amazon.

Stay tuned, autumn is on the way!

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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.

Posted in black cats, Cats | Tagged , , , , | 81 Comments

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