Sunday, July 31, 2011
'A usually fatal infectious disease of warm-blooded animals caused by a virus of the genus Lyssavirus that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, such as a dog or bat and can be prevented in humans by a vaccine.'
Dictionary.com: Science Dictionary
'An infectious disease of dogs, cats and other animals, transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected animal and usually fatal if prophylactic treatment is not administered: caused by an RNA virus of the rhabdovirus group; hydrophobia.' Dictionary. com
I decided to write on rabies after reading a disturbing article in the local newspaper. A stray pregnant cat was diagnosed with rabies. This particular feline was dropped off, which I find inexcusable on many levels. The cat obviously wasn't vaccinated or altered and subsequently abandoned. Whoever owned this cat put himself/herself, the animal, and all animals and humans the poor cat came in contact with at risk.
Currently, diagnosing rabies in animals is a fairly grisly process. The animal is euthanized, its head removed and sent to a lab for the brain tissue to be studied. One new testing technique uses blood and skin samples, but is not routinely used as of yet.
Incubation time for rabies in cats is two to six weeks. The virus spreads from the bite through the nerves to the brain. After the virus enters the brain it travels to the salivary glands where it can be transmitted through bites. After the virus reaches the brain it will go through any or all of the following stages.
In the prodromal stage, the animal exhibits nervous, anxious behavior and may run a fever. This phase lasts one to two days.
In the furious stage, the animal becomes restless, irritable and vicious.It will have seizures and eventually die.
The parayltic stage may occur after either of the above stages. The animal begins to salivate because it can't swallow. Other symptoms include labored breathing, choking sounds and a dropped jaw. This stage results in respiratory failure and death.
Prevention is simple, vaccinate your animal. If you don't feel you can afford a vet visit, vaccinations are usually available at your local animal shelter at an affordable price. If your local shelter doesn't offer this service, contact your local rescue and ask for assistance or the direction of a low cost clinic.
Vaccinate your senior cats. I have a seventeen year old house cat and given her age I didn't feel the need to put her through it since she wouldn't be exposed to the virus. I chatted with my vet tech about it and quickly changed my mind. She told me that many owners feel the same, but as cats age they get irritable and if a human is bitten by an animal that hasn't had its rabies vaccine its at great risk of being put down.
When a human is bitten by an animal that hasn't had a rabies shot, the animal is either immediately euthanized or placed in strict isolation for six weeks.
In summary, any warm blooded animal including man, can contract rabies. So please, for the well being of yourself and your pet, vaccinate.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
You can’t miss bracken fern. It has two fern-like fronds emerging from an upright single, frond-topped rigid stalk. When newly emerged, the fronds are soft and pliant. As they age, they toughen making a walk in shorts through a colony of bracken an unpleasant, scratchy experience. This large fern grows knee-high or taller, and is most often found in partial shade to sunny, dry locations. Matter of fact, you won’t find it in waterlogged soils or heavily shaded areas where you expect to find ferns.
Bracken is a pioneer plant. It can grow on many types of soils, and the soil’s acidity or alkalinity doesn’t seem to matter. Wind-born spores allow it to quickly inhabit newly disturbed soils. It will be one of the first to start growing after a fire has swept through an area. Its dried fronds cover the ground in fall. This dried material helps fuel incipient fires and insure bracken’s survival by burning away competition while its rhizome root enables it to survive the same fire. This rhizome also forms the stalk, which is not the hollow ‘stem’ of most herbaceous perennials plants.
During bracken’s long survival it has evolved methods to ensure its continued existence. These methods do not make it a garden friendly plant. It secretes chemicals into the soil that inhibit the growth of neighboring plants. Chemicals in its leaves kill or inhibit the growth of insects. The plant invades crop fields, competing for the soil’s nutrients and moisture. It can poison cows and horses grazing on its fronds. Research has shown eating bracken can produce tumors in animals; the only plant known to have this capability.
Resistant to many herbicides, the only reliable way to eradicate bracken from an area is to repeated cut the above ground growth. This weakens the rhizome and eventually kills it.
An important crop used to thatch roofs and fuel a quick fire in Medieval Europe, today bracken is a human food crop. The emerging tightly curled fronds or fiddleheads are considered a delicacy raw, cooked, salted or pickled. It has been used as an ingredient of beer, the ground rhizome dried and ground for flour, and it is still used in parts of the world as an herbal remedy. Yes, despite the carcinogenic results of tests on lab animals and ties to leukemia and cancers of various digestive organs in humans.
To its credit, with its poisonous traits, bracken may become the source for new insecticides.
Their rhizomes extract phosphorus and transmute it into a type more readily available to plants, so the presence of bracken can indicate a nutrient rich soil. The fronds are sensitive to acid rain and act as an indicator of air pollution.
Long ago someone thought this upright, triangular arrangement of fronds made this fern look like an eagle. Bracken’s botanical name Pteridium aquilinum reflects this, aquilinum meaning ‘eagle-like.’ The genus name ‘Pteridium,’ derives from the Greek word for fern, and bracken comes down from Old English for any fern, but the word applied in particular to this fern. Its survival is more certain than that of its namesake.
Friday, July 29, 2011
“How do you do that?” You ask.
It’s collaboration between author and artist. The book is your baby and you’ve been nurturing this ball of words for a long time. You know the characters down to the twinkle in the heroine’s Cal Poly Pomona green eyes. Uh, say again? You know what that color looks like but I certainly don’t.
Now the work begins as emails fly between us as we create your book cover. You, as the author, want a backdrop of say…the inside of a circus tent with the heroine swinging from a trapeze and the hero, his long blonde hair over his right shoulder standing on the other side watching her. The thing is; I’m not sure I can find pictures of this. You see, I have to go online to my favorite stock photo websites and buy the artwork. Or I can use my own photographs taken with a digital camera. The author and artist have to come up with something that will work to give the feel, or mood of the book.
Bev Haynes writing as Chloe Reeder
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
No Jake today, I'm on my own. The stickers and foxtails are too thick for him to hike at our favorite wilderness park so he's at a play date instead.
Today I ran into a total of two people, both as I was returning along a trail on the far side of the park. As long as I arrive after 8 a.m., I never worry. Even before 8, the only thing I really need to worry about is running into a mountain lion and that's mostly in the winter months. But that's also why I want the dog with me.
It never fails to amaze me how many women I run into who are hiking or running alone, wearing a hat pulled low over their eyes, dark glasses and ear buds in their ears. They're looking down at their feet instead of ahead at the trail. Here they are, in this isolated, beautiful, wild place, filled with birdsong and the occasional hazard, but they aren't attending to their surroundings
Why does this bother me so much? Because you have to pay attention. Not only do you run into the occasional creepy guy...yes, it does happen...even though you don't see a mountain lion, that doesn't mean they aren't there. Not to mention the fact that the trail is easily eroded in the dry summer months and you can make a misstep and turn an ankle.
I just think it's so weird that it's always women and we are the ones who really need to pay attention. The only thing decoration I might see on a guy is a baseball cap.
Besides, when you're listening to music and looking at your feet, you miss the most fantastic sights! A golden eagle perched in an oak next to the trail. A flock of wild turkeys. Song birds of all types. The gray fox that has a den near the fallen bay laurel. The twin bucks always seem to be bedded down on the hillside overlooking the meadow.
When I'm driving my car, I'll put on a CD and blast out some rock and roll, but when I'm hiking I guess I'm just plain old hiking.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
The American Bobtail is one of the few cats that doesn't have a long tail to chase.
This beautiful creature is reminiscent of his wild counterpart. But unlike the bobcat these lovely creatures are people-pleasers. They love nothing better than belonging to a loving family. They are gentle which makes them good kitties for a family that has children or dogs.
This cat is known for its intelligence, adaptability and dog-like traits which include walking on a leash and playing fetch. Ladies, watch your jewelry. They love shiny objects and if an opportunity arises, they are likely to 'borrow' it. They are friendly with strangers and have no problems at all being the family's 'door greeter'.
This versatile kitty has been used to keep truck drivers company on long hauls and also as a therapy cat.
Bobtails get their name from the length of their tails which are anywhere from one to four inches long. They are a stocky-built, medium to large-sized cat. You can find bobtails that are short-haired and bobtails with medium-lengthed fur. Their coat is water resistant and on the thick side. Their feet are large and round. These kitties take two to three years to reach maturity.
The tale in the cat world is that this fascinating feline was the product of a domestic tabby, wooed by a bobcat. True or false its an interesting theory.
Last Sunday's contest winner is.......Ruth. Congrats to Ruth for winning toys for her babies. I emailed Ruth and asked for pictures of the winners. Aren't they darling?
Akasha is a pretty little calico cat who, along with two of her kittens, has drowned and passed on to Catarau. Now she must journey back to earth to save the kitten left behind.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I've loved dragons ever since playing with my first snapdragon. They encourage imagination, but at one time these snapping dragons were believed to ward witches from the garden premises.
Antirrhinum majus, the annual flowering snapdragon, remains a popular mainstay of many gardeners. Actually, Antirrhinum are perennial plants from the Mediterranean region. In zone five and warmer growing areas, they often over winter, especially if mulched. They are easy to grow from seed sown directly in the garden or started indoors in late February. However, snapdragons are readily available in flats of blooming plants from every nursery, so why wait for the seeds to grow to blooming size in the garden?
Snapdragons bloom in racemes, or clusters of flowers running up a main stalk. They form loose spikes of color in the garden, or perform as great cut flowers in an arrangement. Flower colors come in a range from white to black (deep crimson red), including yellow, pink, crimson, lavender, rose and bronze, plus bi-color forms mixing two colors in the same flower.
There are three sizes of snapdragon to choose from. Tall forms grow three to four, sometimes five feet. ‘Madam Butterfly,’ Panorama Mix and Rocket series are common cultivars found in this size. The tall flower stalks of these large forms will often need staking to remain upright. Intermediate forms grow eighteen to thirty inches, and the short forms grow six to eighteen inches. The two shorter sizes are most commonly found in bedding plant selections. There are probably a hundred hybrid cultivars series, separated by the colors produced in the mix and size.
When shopping for snapdragons, look for rust resistant types. Rust is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves and turns them rusty brown in late summer. Mildew turns the leaves grayish-white. You can help prevent both rust and mildew by spacing plants to allow good air circulation after they are full grown. This might make them look a little sparse when first planted, but they quickly fill-in. Growing snapdragons in a different part of the garden every year or rotating types of annuals grown each year helps prevent many soil born diseases.
Aphids may attack your snapdragons, but an insecticidal soap spray will kill the critters.
Snapdragons should be planted in full sun in neutral to slightly alkaline soil that drains sharply. Removing spent flower spikes encourages continued blooming. This is the perfect excuse to cut flowers to enjoy indoors, if you need one. Most snapdragons bloom until the first hard frost. The plants like cool summers nights, and while they are not drought tolerant, constantly wet soil will quickly kill them.
If you have children or grandchildren and haven’t grown snapdragons, it might be time to put some dragons in your garden.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
We were serial home buyers. Back before the real estate market tanked. We kept moving up, selling off one house, pulling the equity for the downpayment on a newer, shiner model. Our last move was different. We actually moved further away from the city and into a smaller, less snazy house. Purpose: To pull out the equity to prepay into our state college tuition program. We fully funded two four year public college funds for each kid. My son fully used his share, and is paying for his ahem, fifth year himself. Daughter is delaying her degree, she wants career training first.
When we purchased this home, we never ever figured we'd be here this close to the 10 year ARM point of annual recalculation. But the market tanked, everyone that has to move rents out their homes, none sell easily.
It's been bugging me that here we are, preparing to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and still are looking at 22 years left on a mortgage.
One call to our current lender put a new spin on all that. At no cost to us, totally free, we have refinanced to a fixed rate mortgage and will own our home in ten years! The rate is almost two percentage points lower than we had been paying. They waived the appraisal, so nobody tramped through our home with a tape measure and clip board. The documents were over-nighted to us, we took them to a local notary public, executed them and overnighted them back. No cost to us. They even sent us a pen.
So, what are you waiting for?
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade without further introduction~Mark Twain
Ragdolls are a long standing favorite among cat lovers. The breed originated from a non- pedigreed white angora female named Josephine who shared her favors with a seal mitted male and a black cat.
The main draw of ragdolls is their wonderful docile personality and the way they go limp when you hold them, which makes them perfect to cuddle with when you're reading. The 'I'm big boned not fat' cliche applies to ragdolls. These cats are big. Some get up to thirty-five pounds. They take four years to reach physical maturity. They are very laid back and gentle. A good kitty for families with children in the house.
Their coat is medium length and has a rabbit-like texture that doesn't require a lot of attention.You can run a damp cloth across it to pick up any shedding. Brushing or combing once a week with a steel comb is recommended, with special attention to their leg pits.They have the Siamese point markings--unless they are mitted or bi point--along with beautiful blue eyes.
These cats have few health issues.
For an opportunity to win a package of soft toy mice for your cat just leave a comment. I'll announce the winner next Sunday.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Walking along the red, white and blue garden next to the driveway, I noticed a couple daylily stems minus the blossoms that would have bloomed firecracker red today. The cat mint is in full of glorious blue spikes, the 'Icicles' milkweed wears charming white disks. The burgundy-red heads of the grass 'Karl Foerster' is stunning, but I've been waiting for the hot red of my daylilies to complete the scene. A closer look showed not just one, but all the flower stems eaten.They'd already eaten all my lily blossoms two weeks ago, so I was mad. Going into the vegetable garden that has deer fencing, I found my sunflowers decimated--leafless stalks sticking out of the ground. The cabbages and kohlerabi were eaten down to nothing, some pulled out of the ground, the lettuce gone. How did they get in the garden? Right now I have a keen empathy for Elmer J. Fudd.
At this time of year I swear I will learn to shoot, get a license and take care of the problem, but the logical portion of my mind know that won't end the deer attacks. We have a young doe with twin fawns cavorting in the field around the vegetable garden every dawn. And I've stood on the back deck yelling at another perfectly placid doe who calmly ate bread thrown out for the birds while staring up at me as if asking, "What's your problem?"
Are there cures? Short of staying up 24/7 with noise makers or guns? Not inexpensive ones, and who wants their garden to end up looking like a armed fortress encircled with 8' wire fencing? Experience tells me that the only one getting caught in one of those revolving water canons set off by an electronic eye would be me.
Are there detriments? A few. Deer fencing actually will work as deer do not like to jump into confined spaces, but once deer learn a way to thwart the fence, the gardener needs to use another way to stop them. Deer sprays can work, unless the deer have made a habit of eating that particular plant, then nothing stops them. Sprays have to be periodically reapplied. Dogs can help, but mine always wanted in the house at night, plus I mentioned coyotes and bear? There are plants that are deer resistant, and I've used them to encircle the ones labeled deer candy, but it's no sure cure. Deer are persistent and creatures of habit. So am I, and I don't want to stop feeding the birds, and I will plant whatever I like, not just plants deer hate.
Gardeners are constantly at war with varmints. So, I'll suck up my disappointment, enjoy watching the fawns running and jumping in the field (I won't relay my current imaginings at such a sight), and appreciate the flowers that do bloom in my garden while I get back to work on varmint prevention techniques.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Looking forward to normalcy - as soon as the vet calls me back! Nice pictures next week!
Monday, July 11, 2011
While one part of me admires this, another wonders why they put themselves in a position where they are obligated to play under such adverse conditions.
"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same" which is part of Rudyard Kipling's poem 'If'.
Why do I bring this up? Because I am writing this blog on a basic back-up laptop because my treasured and trusty PC friend had itself a 'heart attack' last week and is away for two weeks for repairs.
What with one thing and another, recently, I was sorely tempted to pass this week, then remembered the motto -- I really must print it out ans stick it on the wall in front of me LOL --
So I took ten minutes of 'me-time' to settle to the basic breath meditation and now I feel calmer and grounded, and while not quite ready to admit 'all is well with my world' I am ready to 'get stuck in' and move on (If only I could get used to this keyboard!).
So what am I really rabbiting on about? The importance of going back to basics in times of adversity. In the case of meditation this means the breath meditation. If it does nothing else for you, it gives you those essential seconds/minutes to take stock before you respond with all guns blazing. :-)
Have I lost all my files? Fortunately no. I usually back up every Sunday, so yes, I've lost s few files, the details of which, in some cases, I can't even rememebr! My excuse is the stress of the moment. LOL.
The breath meditation forces us to focus on the issue at hand (counting our breaths) while at the same time gifting us the space to hone our response to that adversity in the best way we can.
If you are using a journal, over a period it willl become clear how far you've traveled from your first attempt at the breath meditation and where you are now. It will also reveal how many diverse situations the breath meditation can help you with, whether you use it for ten seconds or ten minutes.
You don't need to wait for times of adversity for this meditation, use it as and when you feel like it and have fun with it.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Abyssinians, or Abys as they are known by their fans, are another short hair whose looks hark back to their wild ancestry. There is some confusion on whether Abys originated in Ethiopia or in Egypt. Regardless they're beautiful, fascinating creatures. These cats have a ticked coat. i.e. lighter at the root and darker at the tip. Some folks claim that wild Abyssinians can still be found in North Africa.
These cats come in different colors including Fawn, Silver, Sorrel, Blue, Lilac, Tortieshell, Chocolate, Red, Cream and the ever popular original Ruddy: a brownish-red with black tipping and black feet. The kittens are born with dark coats that lighten as they get older.(Note the picture on the right.)
Abys have long muscular bodies with long tails, wedge-shaped heads, almond-shaped eyes, large ears and petite feet. The dark marking on their foreheads is shaped like the letter M.
If you want a couch-potato this probably isn't the cat for you. These cats are very active and when they aren't playing demand attention. They like their toys. They are also extremely affectionate. They love people and are gentle. If you don't keep them active and give them a lot of time and love they can become depressed. They are highly intelligent and can often be taught basic commands, such as fetching.
They are tolerant of other cats but prefer dogs.
These cats are prone to retinal atrophy.
Their average life expectancy is anywhere from nine to fifteen plus years.
Shardai is a large sleek cat with attitude. He has the courage of a tiger and the disdain of a king. The fearless feline has only one weakness...his guardian. He would do anything for her, even come back from the afterlife.
On sale at Smashwords for 2.99
Saturday, July 9, 2011
|Not all Dianthus are scented but many like these are.|
Gardens are mostly visual creations. People are drawn to them for the inherent invitation in a garden path, an eye-drawing plant arrangement, or a welcoming spot of color. Alluring gardens draw by the other senses. The sound of fountains or wind chimes, the feel of lamb’s ear or an Astilbe's flower spike, the movement of tall ornamental grasses, the whiff of roses or crushed mint, all add tantalizing dimensions to any garden’s enjoyment.
Fragrance is how our minds interpret the chemical composition of inhaled essences. Norman Taylor, in his 1988 book, Fragrance in the Garden, claimed garden plants have only six distinct types of (pleasant) fragrance. These scents, captured in essential oils, are the basis of the perfume industry.
The first scent type Taylor identifies is that of pears, hawthornes, spireas. This scent is found in few annuals and perennials such as fragrant tulips.Think fruity scents.
Heavy scents are the second type. These include the extremely sweet, heady, fragrances of jasmine, lilac, honeysuckle, and some lilies. I used Casa Blanca lilies in an arrangement once, and believe me, the scent can be overwhelming, even to the point of bringing on a migraine. Many people find this scent unpleasant as the syrupy sweetness contains a hint of decay. Taylor says all these plants include various amounts of indol, a scent identified with the ‘end products of animal putrification.’ They are also the most sensual of fragrances. Madonna lilies (Lilium candidum), Narcissus such as ‘Thalia’ or the poet’s narcissus (Narcissus poeticus) add this fragrance to your garden.
Flowers like clove pinks, hyacinth, crocus, primrose, heliotrope, Nicotiana, and many herbs such as lavender are included in third group of spicy scents similar to cinnamon or clove. These scents are not so cloying sweet as the heavy scents.
Taylor claims the last three scents are violet, rose and lemon types. Most violets grown in the United States are near scentless so to introduce this fragrance into your garden is almost impossible. Only the spring-blooming bulb plant Leucojum vernum (snowflakes) contains the violet essential oil irone. Orris root, the dried and pulverized root of Iris germanica var. florentine is said to contain this scent. I have some, but my nose hasn’t detected the elusive scent of violets.
Rose scent is available among those iris, peonies and roses still containing fragrance. Lemon scent is found in four-o’clocks, lemon verbena leaves and many herbs such as lemon balm and French sorrel.
You probably already have scented plants in your garden, but after a hot afternoon of sweaty weeding, it’s nice to know where to go to get a fresh, sweet scent.
If you can find a copy of Taylor's book, Fragrance in the Garden, you will find it fascinating reading.
Friday, July 8, 2011
In addition, organizations find it easier to hold their conferences during a cruise than to locate a hotel, cater the food, and manage a hundred details. FRW chapters took us on two lovely cruises and now EPICON will host their 2012 conference on a cruise that will leave from Jacksonville.
During our last cruise, we met a woman in her seventies who lives ten months a year on a cruise ship.
Seth, the evil god of storm, killed his brother Osiris, chopped him into fourteen pieces and flung them all over Egypt. Isis, goddess of family, has always loved Osiris and reassembles thirteen of his body parts. Since she couldn’t find his supernatural male member where his godly power is stored, she reattaches a human one to make him whole.
I wrote this story after visiting Egypt and cruising along the Nile River in April 2010, and I brought back a large collection of pictures and brochures of the ancient monuments.
The ebook is on sale for $5.24.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Why not do it a little bit at a time? Spread it out over a couple weeks if you need to. Each day, set your kitchen timer (on the microwave or range or whatever timer you have) for 15 minutes. Pick a zone on the list and work at it until the timer goes off. Finish early? Start on another task. Your cabinets and drawers will probably take longer than 15 minutes. Just pick a starting cabinet and keep going, one cabinet and drawer at a time until you run out of time. Pick back up where you left off the next day.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
I came up with a solution which I'm sure isn't original, but works. I put small foundations in place where I can always place my pots or sculptures and know they are level and at the height I want them. For ground level you can use concrete stepping stones, or if your want to adjust the height, get a concrete pier like the one pictured. These are available at most do-it-yourself box stores. Turn it over and there is a nice flat surface on which to place garden objects.
The tools you need are a shovel (or trowel for a stepping stone) and a level. Place the pier, level it, and it is ready to use. The piers can take an amazing amount of weight without changing location of without tilting. Plants often grow to cover the pier, but when raised six inches above the soil line, the piers make an attractive structural base for just about anything placed on them.