ksmith: (hawk)

…of a squirrel, that barely missed becoming breakfast for a hawk.

Morning walk with Gaby. We had just entered the park when I saw the swoop-and-flurry. Squirrel dashing across open space and walkway toward safety of tree while hawk pursued and squirrel’s buddy brought up the rear, chattering and in general trying to disrupt the proceedings. It worked–hawk had to veer off to avoid hitting the tree, and the squirrel buddies dashed up into the safety of the dense leaves. They were still chittering when Gaby and I passed.

Made a circuit of the park and neighborhood. Spotted the hawk on the way back. It landed in a large oak and tried to settle in, but a couple of smaller birds drove it off and forced it to a different branch. Looked as though it hadn’t found breakfast yet. Rough morning.

It’s hotter than I thought it would be, and muggy. Showered after we got home. Straightened the kitchen. Time to work now.

Talked to neighbor on the way back. He had promised me fresh peaches a couple of months ago–today he said they’re getting close.

A fresh peach. Yanno, I don’t think I’ve ever had one. If he gives me enough, I may look up a tart recipe. Maybe chutney. Then of course, there are the ripe ones that you eat whilst standing over the sink because they’re so damn juicy.

In other news, Gaby got skunked the other night. That makes three times this summer. The groomer said that it’s been the Summer of the Skunk–she’s had 7-8 deskunkings in the last two weeks.

This skunk was eating the bird seed that had fallen out of the feeder. It didn’t return last night, so I am hoping that all the ruckus of being barked at and chased off will make it think twice about coming back. Depends how hungry it gets, I suppose.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

Finally cool enough to sit outside. The next few days are expected to be blistering, so no playcare for Gaby. I don’t want her running around in 85F+, and she doesn’t like heat anyway so it’s all good.

Passed the small pond during the morning’s walk in the park–the regular park, not the preserve–and saw that the singleton snow goose was still part of the flock of Canadas that inhabits the place. Glad to see it was still around, even though it makes me a little sad that it’s not with other snow geese. How did it wind up here? Did it lose its way? Get injured? Was it abandoned as a gosling and adopted? Oh well, it seems fine–it was swimming in the midst of the Canadas and feeding, just like one of the gang, so it looks like it’s well-integrated.

Going to stay outside until I see Venus, and keep an eye out for bats. They’ve been scarce lately, I think because of the lack of rain and subsequent mosquito shortage. I’m sure there are other bugs for them to eat, but they must not be around here. Lately if I see one or two over the course of 15 minutes, I’m doing well.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (gaby1)

Saw one of these during the morning walk. I need to take my camera on these jaunts.

Herself got skunked last night. A minor assault, as these things go, but enough to make her rub her face in the grass for a few minutes. Luckily, I had bought a bottle of Nature’s Miracle after friends raved about it. Managed to get rid of the worst of the stink. I will still try to get her to the groomers this week, though. There’s always that last bit of whiffage that I can’t get out no matter what I do.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (Default)

Saw what looked like a clod of dirt on the edge of the road on the way to work this morning. Then, as I passed it, I saw it move. It was a small turtle, attempting to cross the 4-lane road. Other cars passed too close to it, with no one slowing down. I figured it would never make it to the other side, so I turned around and went back for it.

By the time I got there, it was in the middle of the far right lane, and cars were passing right over it. I found a place to park and went to retrieve the beastie, who as it turned out really didn’t like the idea of being picked up. Got a good look at a hooked beak/bill/whatever and a nice pink mouth. I carefully got it off the road and onto the grass, then went back to my car to get something to hold it with. Sacrificed a grocery bag to the cause. Dropped it off at my vet’s office because they are on the other side of the road and back onto some woods that might serve as a good dropping-off point.

Looked like a snapping turtle.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (seal of approval)

…bouncing otters!

You’re welcome.

(h/t to Diane Duane on Tumblr)

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Bees

May. 19th, 2013 11:37 am
ksmith: (me)

They’re everywhere, which is a good thing. Some have the yellow-and-black striped body I’m familiar with, but others are shiny black. Did a quick search and found a page describing all the different markings. Never realized there were so many.

The ones I’ve seen look solid black, which means they could be one of the Cuckoo varieties. But to be honest, they were all moving at the time of observation and I was reluctant to get too close because, well, BEE! They could also be part of Color Group 1. I’m just glad to see them buzzing around all the apple blossoms, the hanging basket petunias, the tiny holly flowers.

It is warm. Cool breeze, but the sun is making its presence felt. Last week, I wore a heavy sweatshirt when I took Gaby for her walk, and had to keep wiping my eyes because the chill breeze made them tear. Today, I wore a light t-shirt under a light jacket, and was glad I did because halfway through I took off said jacket and tied it around my waist. Even Gaby ran out of gas, which is a first. We made it as far as the lake. Saw a few boats, a yacht and a couple of smaller cabin cruisers. A speed boat. There was a haze over the water. Not much wave.

Out on the deck now, under the brollie, with iced lemon water close at hand. The hardwoods are finally starting to leaf out. The honey locust. After a short nap and some water, Gaby is alternating dashing about the yard and lying beside my chair and resting up in preparation for more dashing. A dog of her weight and approximate age–almost 6 1/2 we think–she is supposed to be around 42 in human years, but I don’t see it.

It’s the first summer without King. He hated buzzing–flies, bees–and would either try to snap the offending insect out of the air or tuck tail and seek shelter in the deck Dogloo. Once all was clear, he would lie by the gate and watch the street. The guardian.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Saturday

Apr. 20th, 2013 03:35 pm
ksmith: (me)

It’s going too fast, but that’s life in general, isn’t it?

The house smells good. I had dug some round and flank steak out of the freezer and threw together some not-quite-beef-bourguignon. Sort of followed this recipe–I just lacked carrots, button mushrooms, or pearl onions, and I was supposed to use chuck, not round or flank. But I did have dried porcini mushrooms. So I soaked them in beef broth and added them.

Verdict? To a complete lack of surprise to some of you, I’m sure, the meat came out dry. There’s a reason one needs a stew-friendly, fatty cut of beef for this recipe. Lesson learned. At least I have plenty of sauce left–if I mince the meat and add barley, I’ll have a decent soup.

Had it with some leftover not-quite-colcannon, which consisted of halved Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes fried with lotsa onion and a little fresh thyme. That came out surprisingly well. Tasted good cold or warm, especially earlier this week when added to tuna, wilted spinach, and mustard-caper vinaigrette for a not-really-salad-nicoise.

Yes, I do often make it up as I go along. And sometimes, like today, I pay a price.

Sunny this morning, but chilly. High 30s. Long walk with Herself along the wooded trail. Signs of the week’s heavy rains abound. Mushy ground. Standing water. Grooves cut into the ground by fast-flowing water. Much of the water flowed east, toward the wetlands, which was a great place for it. Marsh life may do well this year as a result. I have seen cranes fly over. Heard them, too. Honk, honk.

There’s a different sort of goose hanging with the Canadas that congregate at the nearby park . Not a swan. Looked a little like these guys. Snow goose? Whatever it is, I hope that it finds some of its own. The Canadas seem to have accepted having it around, but come breeding time it may find life a little lonely.

On the way home, Gabster and I walked through the neighborhood. A couple of homes had deer figurines, large and tiny, in their front yards. Gaby would stiffen as soon as she saw one, and try to approach it until the stillness or lack of smell or something told her that they weren’t real deer. Such a huntress.

Looking forward to a long weekend in the city next week. I will drop by C2E2 for one day, my first comicon. A massage and tea at the Drake may also happen, though not at the same time. Got a little black dress for tea. Big girl shoes, which I will carry in my purse and put on in the lobby because they are about as stable as a toothpick bridge in a gale. They’re not even that high–kitten heels. 2 inches, maybe? It’s the style. Shoes made for sitting and sipping.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (gaby1)

For the third year in a row, King and Gaby are among the pets featured in this great calendar (they’re shown in September). Balloon Juice is a political/current events blog run by John Cole, and we of the commentariat have submitted many a photo of many a dog/cat/occasional other for inclusion. Proceeds go to MARC, Marion Animal Resource Connection, which helps Marion County (TN) residents find safe places for strays, dumped, and unwanted animals.

If you are looking for a gift for the animal lover(s) on your list, or could use a 2013 calendar yourself, please consider this one. Many a critter will thank you.

Wall Calendar The Pets of Balloon Juice 2013 calendar Balloon Juice Online Store.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (seal of approval)

It’s the little legs that make me go awwwwwwwwww

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (Default)
I've had some scary moments with my two pups, and I'm lucky to have insurance for them. Even so, the bills mount so quickly. But you'll pay anything, because you just want them to be okay again.

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] harnessphoto at Signal Boost: Project Save Annabelle
I don't normally re-post these things, but I'm seeing this one everywhere and I would hope people would help me out if it ever came to life or death with Herbie or Ozzy. I donated and just $5 from everyone would go a long way. Help if you can. Re-post if you think other people you know might be inclined to do the same. Great Dane in need )
ksmith: (lightning)

Spam message of the day: Lofty bye, considerate friend . Sometimes the garbling takes it to new levels of internet incoherence.

Recipes of the weekend #1: Cheap cornbread mix, the small box that fills one 8×8-inch pan. Added one tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, two tablespoons chopped fresh chives, and a few twists of pepper from the mill. Sprinkled a spice blend on top–chili powder, ground rosemary, etc. Subtle. Thyme works well in cornbread.

Recipes of the weekend #2: grilled salmon that I marinated using the following:

For 2 4-6 oz steaks:

1/8 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 scallions, chopped (2 green onions)
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Except…I didn’t have scallions, so I used a small shallot instead. And I didn’t have fresh ginger, so I used a half-teaspoon of the ground stuff. The trick to this was mounting the chopped garlic and shallot atop the salmon when it was on the grill, so that when I turned the salmon over for the last 4 minutes of cooking, the garlic and shallot cooked through until they became brown and crispy. The garlic was actually borderline burnt but still good, but the shallot tasted great. Went really well with the salmon.

Thunderstorms are moving through now, which means restless King which means not much else getting done. For various reasons, the Sunday afternoon crankies have struck early. A bottle of wine may be opened soon. And Season 2 of Sherlock begins on WTTW tonight, so I’ve that to look forward to. Ben Cumberbatch. My Favorite High-Functioning Sociopath.

I’m sick of the cold and the rain. We had that taste of early summer in March, and it’s been crap ever since. I do think I spotted birds I’d never seen before. Gray catbirds–slate gray with black caps. I didn’t see the red patches under their tails, but in other respects they looked just like the pictures.

Oh well, back to whatever else the day holds. Grumpgrumpgrump….

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Clark Kent

Apr. 19th, 2012 06:58 pm
ksmith: (sean_smile)

Some time ago over on my LJ, I posted updates about Clark Kent, a cat that almost died due to the neglect, and who was rescued by a good Samaritan and the good folks at City Kitties and The Cat Doctor (Facebook links). But the last update didn’t contain the best news. Doctors found a slow-growing bone cancer in his mouth. Given his many other medical issues, the decision was made not to put Clark through another surgery and/or radiation. Instead (and here comes the good news!), Clark was placed in a new home where he could live out the rest of his days in peace and comfort.

Well, another update has been released, and Clark is doing great. His weight is steady, and his labs are more normal. He’s sleeping on the bed–human or kitty, not sure which–and runs through the house with his sisters–kitty, I assume.

Good news on a dreary day. Long may you wave, CK!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Friday

Apr. 6th, 2012 11:34 pm
ksmith: (war kittens)

The thing is, I have suffered from cat allergies for much of my life. Asthma attacks. Red, itchy welts where the dander touched my skin.  But my allergies overall seem to have settled down a bit over the last few years, so I was hoping that I wouldn’t have much of a problem when I visited my friends D&D and their 2 pups and 6 cats.

I guess you could say I didn’t have a problem:

Singer is an Empathy Cat. I had a few rough moments related to some phone calls from back at the homestead, and was feeling a little tense. Worried. This was about the time that Singer decided that my lap was the place upon which to spend extended stretches of the evening and even parts of the afternoon. Stroking him made it all better.

My throat didn’t even itch. Didn’t sneeze. Sort of amazing, actually.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (Default)
Go ahead. Cry. You know you want to.

If the cowering doesn't get you, the happy tail will.

Here's a tissue.

It's OK. I won't tell.
***********************
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] sandramcdonald at Fiona the blind dog
I probably shouldn't have watched this 3 times before bedtime, because my dreams were full of abandoned animals living in shelters and trying to pick out just 1 to save.  But it's a beautiful video and it makes me happy/sad - happy she was rescued, sad so many of our animals live in such horrible circumstances.



And really, I don't understand how so many people can empathize with a dog but not, say, a cow: life is life, life just wants to live, and we have the ability to make ethical choices like vegetarianism.
ksmith: (me)

This would be such a cool thing to see in person.

I used to see dolphins when I lived in Florida, but only one or two at a time. Nothing like this.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (sadness)
Good news and bad news:

We have good news and bad news about our friend Clark Kent. First, the bad news: following his dental surgery to remove some teeth, a biopsy revealed that Clark has a rare, slow-growing bone cancer in his mouth (calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor). The consulting pathologist from UPenn gave him a "fair" prognosis. Given his many other medical issues, we decided not to put Clark through another surgery and/or radiation. Instead (and here comes the good news!), Clark found an amazing home where he can live out the rest of his days in peace and comfort--however long that may be.

The rest of the story here.

Poor kitty. He has other medical conditions that preclude vigorous treatment of his cancer. I hope he beats the odds and lives a long, full life.

Update: Last year, the vets estimated CK's age maybe 2 years, but it appears he could be as old as 10. Still. Without his issues, he could have had another 5-8 more years, and I can't help but think that mistreatment damaged his health. Poor thing.

Clark Kent

Jan. 11th, 2012 08:53 pm
ksmith: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy at Clark Kent

For those of you following the Clark Kent story - he's doing well in a foster home after a blood transfusion and surgery to remove metal from his stomach.

City Kitties reported today that his former "owner" didn't show up in court today and was convicted, in abstentia, of animal cruelty and was sentenced to the maximum penalty: she's not allowed to own another animal for 90 days.

Seems a bit anemic to me. But Clark's doing well and full of love.

More info:

http://t.co/zkM3Jn89

(for those of you not following the story, just look a few entries back in ye blogge.)

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

ksmith: (me)

A worrying tale, if it proves out. And a horrendous fate for infected bees…which frankly has ZOMBIE written all over it.

There are many possible causes of this “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). These include various viruses, a single-celled parasite called Nosema apis, a dramatically named mite called Varroa destructor, exposure to pesticides, or a combination of all of the above. Any or all of these factors could explain why the bees die, but why do the workers abandon the hive?

Andrew Core from San Francisco State University has a possible answer, and a new suspect for CCD. He has shown that a parasitic fly, usually known for attacking bumblebees, also targets honeybees. The fly, Apocephalus borealis, lays up to a dozen eggs in bee workers. Its grubs eventually eat the bees from the inside-out. And the infected workers, for whatever reason, abandon their hives to die.

There are hundreds of species of Apocephalus flies, and they’re best known for decapitating ants from the inside. The larvae, laid within an ant, migrate to the head and devour the tissue inside. The brainless ant wanders aimlessly for weeks, before the larvae release an enzyme that dissolves the connection between the ant’s head and body. The head falls off, and adult flies emerge from it.

Follow the link below for the rest of the story:

Parasitic fly spotted in honeybees, causes workers to abandon colonies.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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