I've made some changes with the new blogger template options. Plus, I got rid of the wintry photo from Oregon and replaced it with a pretty yellow flower that bloomed from bird seed in my back yard. Goodbye winter (even South Florida had a winter this year!!) and hello spring and summer!
I'm looking forward to the rainy season with it's afternoon thunderstorms and explosive plant growth. I'm starting now to pray for NO HURRICANES hitting my area this upcoming season.
On a spiritual note - HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY or HAPPY EASTER or HAPPY WHEN WE DIE (SINCE WE'VE BELIEVED IN CHRIST FOR SALVATION) WE GO TO HEAVEN, WHICH IS A FABULOUS PLACE AND WE'LL BE HAPPY FOREVER (UNLIKE HERE!!)
Here are some photos I took this morning. First, my kitties. The white and orange kitty is Junior Beans. All cats have beans - those are the pads on the bottom of their paws. When my daughter was little, we started calling those pads, "beans". We even figured out that the big "palm" pad looked like a lima bean, while the others were navy beans or black beans or kidney beans. Hence, all my cats have a middle name of "Beans"(their last name is ours - or whatever name we choose) .When Junior Beans became a member of our family, he had been discovered in our back yard trying to eat a peanut. He was a very small kitten and no mother was around to take care of him. We brought him in, although, being a feral kitten, he was tough to catch and tougher to handle at first. My husband is not instinctive with kittens, so he tried to grab Junior Beans, who promptly screeched and scratched him royally, at which point he dropped the kitten and pronounced him ferocious. A few weeks later, after trying to coax him to come to me with soft words and food, I was able to pick him up and give him rubbies. He was starved for affection and loved it - he's been more my cat than my husband's ever since. Since he was smaller than our other three (yes, we have four cats), he was named Junior Beans - not very original, but it has stuck and he knows his name. He has a very quiet meow (unless food is involved) and sometimes when you make eye contact with him, he opens his mouth to meow but nothing comes out. Junior Beans has several nicknames - "Batface" because he meows and nothing comes out and he looks like a photo of a bat with it's mouth open. "Siberian Kitty" because he has the thickest, softest fur of all our cats - it's like bunny fur, which is another nickname for him. "Goat boy" because he runs and jumps onto his perch in order to be petted and invariably bangs his head into the nearby door - hard. All together he is "Bat Faced Siberian Goat Boy", alias Junior Beans. He likes to butt the back of my husband's legs in the morning, causing his knees to cave. This is because my husband has taught all the cats to sit for treats in the morning. He has a strict schedule and the cats know it. First, he boils the water for coffee, then he pours the water into the French Press. Once he puts the top on the French Press, the cats know it's TREAT TIME!! Until this moment, they've watched his every move, meowing, head butting his legs, smacking into his legs with their head (this would be mostly Junior Beans, a.k.a., Goat boy).
Next up is Neko Beans. He is a daughter cast off (don't tell him, though). He lived with her in her college dorm for some months until he was discovered and we had to bring him home. He used to travel the six hours back and forth in the car with her when she came home for a weekend. Cats don't like to ride, and he was no exception, but my daughter just popped him in the car and he knew he had no option, so he settled down - although we think he now needs serious counseling and/or anxiety/depression medication because of this enforced car riding. Neko is the skinny, I've-had-too-much-espresso cat. He is also nicknamed, "Killer" because he can catch anything and his paws whip out before anyone or anything has even noticed. Neko also likes to randomly run around the house at the speed of light, skidding for three solid seconds on the tile floor before his claws grab and he can take off. When he stops, it is a four foot skid, often sideways and into something. He must love to do this because every everning at about five o clock, he starts to race back and forth through the house. He is happiest if he can cut you off in mid stride by these antics, racing in front of you unexpectedly. Neko is also our "Angsty Boy". When we brought him home from our daughter there were no other cats here. There was only one very aged Beagle who ignored him. He was king. Then my daughter moved into an apartment and Neko went back to live with her for a while. Poor Neko - he's never gotten over ruling the roost here for a short time, and my husband jokes that his time living with our daughter has scarred him for life - hence the jokes about counseling (and smoking cigarettes). Neko is also very talkative - I think maybe he is part Siamese somewhere. He ALWAYS meows, sometimes repeatedly. If you pet him, he meows. If you look at him, he meows. Sometimes he picks up a toy and carries it in his mouth to you, meowing the whole way in a muffled, wailing fashion. Sometimes he meows repeatedly like this in the middle of the night and we wake up and go pet him and wonder if he has had a bad dream or something. Neko needs extra love and care and gentle handling - and this he gets. If hubby tried to hold Neko upside down, it would not end well for either of them.
We missed having a cat when Neko went back to live with daughter, so we went to the Humane Society and picked out......Buster. We didn't know what to name Buster at first. We tried "Java" and other chocolatey coffee type names because of his beautiful coloring - but none of them fit. We tried and tried to come up with names, but suddenly one day I knew his name as if he had told me - BUSTER. He is the most beautiful cat. He is officially a chocolate tabby, with ginger belly fur and chocolate brown "beans" on his paws. His toes are outlined in black fur and he has a brown-orange nose. In short, he is perfect, leonine, graceful, big and healthy. He is my husband's cat. My hubby picks Buster up so he is upside down and he loves it. He is totally relaxed and purring so loudly that it sounds like a truck idling. Buster talks with his eyes. Sometimes he tries so hard to talk that his head moves - he has no words except "Meow", which he knows is inadequate, so he uses his eyes and body language. My husband has taught him to shake hands. Buster gets up on the counter near where we keep the treats and he waits until someone wanders into the kitchen at night and flips on the light. There he is, at attention on the counter, talking as loudly as he can with those eyes and begging for treats. All my husband has to do is walk over to him and he sits, meows and then holds up his paw. Buster is a good natured cat, but he is the undisputed king, which is what has caused Neko to become angsty. Neko came back to live with us when my daughter moved again - and this time we kept him. But Buster was already here and Neko never forgot that at one time......HE was king. He and Buster bonded, though, and to this day they are more bonded with each other than either of the other two cats. When Buster misbehaves, my hubby calls him, "Buster Johnson" although our last name is not Johnson. Ordinarily, he is Buster MacBean with an emphasis on the Mac.
My daughter was living in an apartment in Jacksonville and she went to the Humane Society there and got little Squee, who is at least part Maine Coon. He has the fur, the tail and the disposition of a Maine Coon. They are lovable, playful and happy go lucky, which describes Squee completely. He is afraid of nothing. I can vacuum his fur and he just puts up with it. When the doorbell rings, the other three cats run for their lives to hide under our bed, but Squee stays in the hallway to see who or what is coming in. Our friends brought their dog to visit a few times and, while the other cats were deep in hiding, Squee sauntered into the living room and proceeded to sniff out the dog, hiss at him a few times, jump up on his platform and keep an eye on things. When the dog would get too close, a hiss and a swipe would restore the status quo. Squeebles (also called "Butros Butros Ghali - I love the way that name sounds) needs lots of love. He whines outside my computer room door, and he is the only cat allowed in there while the little lovebird is uncovered and flying around. (I have a large cockatoo and a lovebird which are best buddies and the lovebird hangs out in the cockatoo's cage all day). I only allow Squee in to sit in my lap when the lovebird (Mrs. Greenberg, although I have since discovered "she" is a "he") is out and about. As long as Squee is being rubbed - his belly, his head, his ears - he could care less about the bird. It would take too much effort to get the bird. Squee falls asleep in my lap and he is not small and he snores. He also has the adorable habit of sleeping with me. If I am napping or at night, when I go to bed, he lies in the crook of my arm when I am on my side. He looks for my arm and then he plants himself firmly against my chest below my arm, with his paws draped over my forearm. He will stay like this as long as I don't move. If I move, he gets up and realigns with whatever position change I've made. My daughter had him for a short time and then she moved back home. With him. I loved the "freckles" on his little face where his whiskers grow, and since I petted him more and demanded less of him - and I am also the FOOD LADY in my home, Squee moved his affections from my daughter to me, much to her chagrin. When she moved to Colorado, she left Squee with me and he is now officially mine and has been for years now. He loves to run around the house for no reason, making what I call "monkey noises" - little outbursts and barks, cat style. I've read that Maine Coons do this and that they love to "help" with whatever you are doing. This is true. While the other cats are napping, if I'm doing household tasks, Squee is right there in the middle of everything, often on top of everything, "helping". When Squee was little and he and my daughter came to live with us, Buster became his mentor. Squee was always with "Uncle Buster", sleeping next to or on top of him and following him around. Of course, by this time Neko was REALLY fed up. It was bad enough that we got Buster, but this idiot interloper who made funny noises - Neko began smoking cigarettes at this time (my husband made up this persona of Neko - that he paces and smokes when no one is looking...and that he is very nervous and sensitive). Squeebles is also fascinated by any computer printer. He watches raptly as the computer begins to make noises and things begin to move. He watches the paper go down into the machine, and then he slides his paw into the paper tray and "helps" it as it comes out. He will climb as far as he can into the paper tray if we let him. Nicknames for Squee? Raccoon-amus (like a Latin sounding ending), Maine Coon-amus, Squeeble-dude - and of course, as mentioned before, Butros Butros Ghali - don't ask....just don't ask.
When we first brought Junior Beans into the house - he was the last cat addition - Squee was the one who protested the most. He hissed, he growled - and within twenty four hours, Junior Beans was his BFF. Squee became "Uncle Squee" and Junior Beans' mentor. Junior Beans would groom Squee, lick his head and ears. At nap time, Junior Beans was always curled up on top of (forget "next to") Squee. They would wrestle - and they still do - and play and chase each other. Buster and Neko are still allies and brothers, and Junior Beans and Squeebles are allies and brothers. Neko and Junior Beans are arch enemies. They play door wars - one of them standing guard at a vital doorway to prevent the other from going through without a smack. Junior Beans LOVES to sneak up on Neko and goose him. At that time, no matter where we are in the house, my husband and I can hear a loud "SCREEE"!! and when we find Neko, his tail is so bushed out that it is three times it's normal size - and he is fumbling for his cigarettes. Junior Beans is usually ensconced on his perch, already folded neatly with his paws under him, eyes half open and quite unperturbed, as if he'd been there all afternoon - but we know better. Sometimes Neko gets Junior Beans and sometimes we catch either one of them getting ready for an ambush - and we break it up and prevent the squabble that ensues. When Junior Beans first arrived, Squee was Neko's arch enemy. Neko used to pick on Squee whenever he could. Once Junior Beans got bigger, he gained weight and heft and is now almost as big as Buster. He is certainly bigger, weight wise, than Neko. As soon as Junior Beans got big enough, he began to defend Squee against Neko. If Neko managed to ambush Squee, he could count on getting rolled or goosed by Junior Beans in the near future. Since Neko is a nervous cat, being goosed is the equivalent of a jumpy human having someone sneak up on them and yell, "boo". Talk about an adrenaline rush.....
Finally - a few back yard pictures to round out this lengthy post. I think the insect on the wood is a mayfly, fully grown. You probably recognize the other flowers, but the last one is the herb, Fennel. I have Fennel because one of the butterflies here use Fennel as their larval plant.