Saturday, August 28, 2010


My husband John, still attempts - futilely - to get the kittens to understand that "not" said loudly and strongly means that they should stop doing whatever it is they are doing and behave themselves.

Pictured is Samantha (Sammie) engaged in her favorite activity -- whaling the tar out of a roll of paper towels and redecorating the house with thousands of little white pieces of paper towel. She was told "not" repeatedly, but it goes in one of those great big ears and out the other one!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

lovely late summer day

It was the way it ought to be in the Kentucky mountains at the end of August--warm but not hot--as the sun shot out golden rays before dipping below the crest of the hills.

My tomatoes are also doing just as they should, plump and red. These will be ready for picking tomorrow most likely.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Katrina Remembrance

Professional photographer Virginia Hart (a high school friend from California) took photographs of conditions on the Gulf coast in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina for the Red Cross. Below is a collection of moving images to mark the fifth anniversary this August 29th.

YouTube - Katrina Remembrance

Please watch!

virgin's bower

Yesterday I did my big "shop" over the hill into Virginia. For ten miles, from the Kentucky border to Wise, VA, the steep banks on either side of the road were laden in creamy vanilla virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana) my favorite late summer wildflower. The photos above and below are from our own yard, where virgin's bower has taken over portions of both the front and back banks. It's a very opportunistic vine, and will twine itself over bushes, trees, and other vines (like blackberry).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

an ancient and venerable cat

Our elderly cats have been disgruntled by the intrusion of four lively kittens into their staid and familiar world. Oscar in particular has looked with impassive disdain upon all the kittens' wild gymnastics.

Oscar is a cat of indeterminate age. He was already an adult who had fathered at least one summer's worth of kittens, and probably more than that, when we arrived here in Kentucky in the summer of 1996. [The second orange cat in the background is one of Oscar's daughters that we adopted.] So we figure him to be at the very least 15 years old, but probably more like 16 or 17. He was the "neighborhood" cat, and was fed by several folks, including me. Though I was the only one who took him for veterinary care.

In 2001, an encounter with a vehicle of some kind broke his hip, and we took him in and made him a house cat. He never once showed any interest in trying to go back outside. Oscar has became the undisputed king of the household. Even Rosie the dog bows down to his eminence. And "his majesty" as John calls him gets to eat his meals any where he pleases -- we let him pick!

Friday, August 13, 2010

a prosaic post

What could be more mundane than a couch, and a decades old couch at that. But today I got brand new cushions for my twenty-four year old couch, to replace the ones that have had coffee, orange juice, milk, beer, and cat puke spilled on them for twenty-four years.

Of course as soon as John and I had admired the new cushions, and sat on them for a few minutes, it was time to put the red flannel sheet back over them so that the newest generation of cats won't throw up hair balls on these fine pillows. Two of said kittens (Sammie and Tippecanoe) wouldn't lay on the new pillows until we covered them back up with the red flannel sheet.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

today while the flowers still cling to the vine...

The first line of my favorite song from childhood "Today" performed by the New Christy Minstrels. Through the power of my iPod, I took a wonderful mental trip back through childhood, while enjoying the mountain scenery on my hour plus drive to and from in-service this morning.

Songs recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, the New Christy Minstrels and Pete Seeger, that my brothers and I sang in the car on family trips, like "If I Had a Hammer," and "Little Houses made of Ticky Tacky," and "Michael Row the Boat Ashore." The version of that song on my iPod is from a live album, and features hundreds of audience voices joining the performers on repeated verses. And I was transported for a moment, to a day, when United Air Lines celebrating their first jet passenger planes from McDonnell-Douglas, had invited all San Francisco Maintenance Base employees and their families to a huge party in a cavernous hanger, with music by the New Christy Minstrels. I tell you, you have not heard anything until you hear 5,000 people, young and old, singing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" inside the acoustic miracle of a jet hanger. It was, and continues to be the most awesome musical experience of my entire life.

the early bird catches the fog

Today was back to work day, the first day of in-service meetings for faculty and staff, which began with a breakfast at 8:30 AM. The breakfast was held at a location near our main campus, more than an hour's drive from my home. The trip takes me over Pine Mountain, a huge, ancient block thrust fault that separates the Cumberland Plateau of southeast Kentucky (visible in the photos) from the folded corrugated mountains and valleys of southwest Virginia.

Many of my friends have taken spectacular photos of morning fog from this vantage point on Pine Mountain's northern face (just below the summit), but I'd never had the favorable coincidence of time and fog and a camera on hand before.

The photos sweep from northeast to north to northwest from top to below. Tiny Whitesburg is hidden under the fluffy white folds of the center photo.