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"Excuse me while I touch the sky..." This
shows all but the most recent kitty grave on the hill behind our little
house. It is just to the right. I wanted these with a breath of snow
and got that. There are no kitty spirits here; we believe
the same God who breathed life into us is big enough to take care of
the Creation He loves. Those spirits are in a place special and unknown
This is a hermit thrush, the only thrush to winter over in the USA. Last year was the first to show here and we also found one dead on our front deck. When this bird showed up this year, it was a nice surprise. The winter birds have plenty of feed and suet here.
Not quite a year ago three cats were rescued and moved in. The first was a tortiseshell female who had been living in a barn at a farm. The farm house was being maintained but the barns were essentially storage for anything wanted at least partially out of the rain. Not being a working farm, the cat was in a line of other cats who had lived and sometimes passed on there. A kind lady gave us the cat and we took the tortie right to the vets to be checked over, vaccinated and checked for parasites. She had a name but was renamed to Callie, a name more suited to this gentle and somewhat skittish little girl cat.
Tortiseshell refers to the coloration of the coat, variegated like the shells of certain sea turtles which are now legally protected. The highest percent of tortie cats are female. Having lived with much time to herself and likely harassed by larger and more predatory animals such as coyotes, we found Callie liked to stay to herself and would only venture around the home, near the walls, in very definite areas where furniture and such provided a quick place to hide. We got the impression this quite gentle kitty with a very soft and beautiful fur coat felt insecure without a ready place to hide. She had not learned that she was safe her new home.
The Photograph- Her eye and coat colors are very close to accurate as seen on my calibrated monitor. Does she often pose like this? No, she does not. This photo is the result of her tolerating a camera in her face for several shots, most of which were not good because of her squirming out of frame just as the shutter was pushed.
She Now Feels at Home-She is comfortable in this home now and has learned that fears she may have faced living in the barn are not present in this home. She has become used to the other cats and plays running and toy games with them. She is not a lap kitty but once in a while will jump up on the sofa to warm your legs for a moment...it must be her choice at the moment. SURPRISE, OTHER KITTIES SAW THE SIGN We joke that there is a sign visible to homeless cats somewhere leading to our front porch. Cats see this "vacancy" light set to "yes" and come up to hang around until noticed. We lost a precious cat to a fate of illness far before her time in December of 2012. Barely 4 years old, she had come here as a rescue and had the best medical treatment to take care of conditions normally reserved for very elderly cats. Her loss was difficult and even if we are not ready for more kitties when one is buried and their God given spirit is taken to new life beyond birth, life, death and decay...that is when the light saying "vacancy" appears to be turned on. This is just what happened...we received Callie early in 2013. As she just reached the the front porch in the carrier, coming back from the vet and ready to move in, two little young gray cats ran up the steps and sat one step down, watching intently. They were still kittens/young cats and perhaps slightly younger than Callie.
What is this! More cats? Well, weather was turning bad as it seems to do when you find a stray cat on the front porch. "They will leave and have a home in the neighborhood even if they are too small to be out like this and should be inside anyway...", I thought, hoping at the time it was so and they had not been cast out with no home. The second day they were given a box and blanket for warmth on an adjoining deck. By week's end, they were the vets to be checked out, neutered and vaccinated. Because of parasites they were housed in a large crate (cage) in the garage with heat and cover. Several weeks went by before they were free of persistent problems. The health issues did pass and the two boys were then introduced to the other cats in the home, including Callie who kept her distance. Our eldest kitty took to them quickly and was a friend and companion. Lizzie died in the arms of my wife in the fall of 2013 and our hearts still cry for her, with fond memories of 20 years of joy from a stocky little black and white long-haired girl kitty. The totally neat part is how the blue* boy cats stayed with her the night she died. Apparently it was a stroke and she seemed confused for a moment then lost ability to use her right side. Somehow, she made it to the food dishes and while trying to walk upright, one of the new boys stood directly beside her, holding her up from falling and they moved in unison to a feeding dish. Within 2 hours and sleeping in the arms of my wife, this little girl simply went limp and did not wake up. She had reached that wonderful goal: A long life, death and passing to a new world while in her sleep, apparently with no pain at all. This story tells something about the boys who saw that "vacancy" sign. They have no papers and brought none with them. However, they carry the undeniable characteristics of Russian Blue cats. Only a few gray cats are Russian Blue and to rescue one from a shelter or in the wild is quite unusual. These do fit the checklist in most ways we can determine. Even personality is right for that wonderful breed. A photo of one of the blue boys is below. Eye color is still developing.
When it comes down to it, almost all of the many cats who have had a home with us were rescues. We are not particular about breed but are concerned with the cats having a good home. To have these two blue brothers is a special joy simply because of their wonderful personalities and active spirits.
So, there is the story of a new kitty and her two new friends. All are members of this home for slightly less than a year and were rescued in early 2013. *Blue
is used to describe the color of a particular gray fur in cats. These
kitties have that color and the silvery blue of the dual layer coat of
the Russian Blue breed.For information particular to the breed, go here
If interested in photography of your pets in their own environment, please do contact me.This blog is not my professional photography website. Rates are reasonable and most photos are done where the pet lives or at a place of your choice. We work out of Clinton, Tennessee and within a reasonable driving distance. Thomas Haynes Photoshoot is the professional/commercial site for our business.
More of our photography may be seen at the website used for client galleries, here.
Pickett State Park above Jamestown, Tennessee is a relatively easy day trip from the Knoxville area. From the southeast, take the road up to Jamestown to avoid a section of very steep and curvy cutbacks at the base of Big South Fork National Park. Big South Fork is a wonder in itself and should be given added time in the woods and rough and tumble mountains.
Just west of Big South Fork and north of Jamestown, the smaller Pickett State Park is a worthwhile day trip from the Knoxville area or places of similar distances. We skirted Big South Fork, managed the steep curves and did not smoke the brakes. This way from I75 is about 1 1/2 hour drive time. Coming back through Jamestown was definitely a longer but easier drive.
Once in Pickett Park, the trails are relatively easy and go to pleasing small wonders such as the natural bridge in the photos below. The sandstone of the area has given nature a sculptor's paradise and rock formations are both beautiful and enticing. We cannot assure you the tree with the tiny base is still standing! The photo was shot in mid-fall of 2013, showing apparent woodpecker work on the tree base down to hardwood core. This treewas spotted aside the Natural Bridge trail.
Is this tree still standing since mid fall 2013?
High dynamic range photograph of stream and woodland, mid fall, 2013
Trail to natural bridge is an easy walk.
Furrows in sandstone, natures carvings
Colors in sandstone under natural bridge
The natural bridge: Take secondary trail to cross bridge or go up rocky steps at base of the formation
Mountain laurel along a stream: This view is easily accessed on foot or vehicle
We hope you enjoyed these few photos of a beautiful state park in Tennessee.