Animals

Aja Dreaming

Aja Dreaming

Aja Dreaming

Aja, our beautiful Cornish Rex cat likes to sit on the top of a speaker by the woodstove, apparently dreaming. Obviously she likes it there because it’s nice and warm, but I can’t imagine it’s very comfortable. Do you want to see who she’s dreaming about? Here he is!

Boz is Aja’s grandson and all being well will come to his new home early in December. Something for us all to dream about!

All the Cats in all the Barns

All the Cats in all the Barns

All the Cats in all the Barns

When I was a little girl, I spent my happiest days in this barn, listening to the sounds of the cows and the milking machines, smelling the sweet hay and the molasses sweetened feed, helping to feed the calves and playing with the wild kittens that roamed freely about. These were fattened on mice and good rich Jersey milk, doing a noble job needed on every farm. We took the time, on our way home from a teaching trip in 2013, to visit the farm, (now sold) and my then retired dairy farmer uncle, Al. He was one of my favourite people in the whole world but he has since died, sadly. The barn was in a terrible state of disrepair but I took some photographs of it to remind me of better times. As I rounded a corner, I saw this cat behind the old, dirty window. She stared at me as she sat there, as though recollecting a meeting in our distant past. I managed to snap the shutter three times before she vanished. She seemed to me to represent the spirit of all the cats that have passed through all the barns in all the world.

Remembering Rupert

Rupert as a kitten, photograph by Steven Kennard 2002

Our first sight of Rupert was when he was tiny and barely had his eyes open. We had gone looking for a kitten and we were very clear about what we wanted: female, brown or black, solid colour. Perhaps there were females, brown or black, solid colours in that litter, I don’t remember. All I remember seeing that day was a tiny striped orange male tiger and we looked at him and each other and said “that’s our boy”.

Rupert, aged about 1 year, 2002 – Photo by Steven Kennard

And now…

Now it’s time. Time to feature our lovely cat Rupert once more by way of ending a chapter and beginning another. We are preparing to welcome a new Cornish Rex resident to our home, so this is the time to remember Rupert and reminisce.

Rupert - "I think leather suits me, do you?" - Ellie Kennard 2012
Rupert – “I think leather suits me, do you?” – Ellie Kennard 2012

He was our last Cornish Rex cat, who died in the fall of 2019 at over 17 years old. As he aged and became weaker, he became very needy and, if possible, even more affectionate. While caring for him, I was remembering all the times we have had with this wonderful character. To the end he was still the same personality, still sought the comfort of Steven’s arms (or mine) whenever we sat still for a minute. Pictured next you will see some of the things he liked to do. Read on…

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Quince Blossoms and Hummingbirds

Japonica blossom
Japonica blossom

One of the sights that brings me a lot of joy is when a hummingbird visits our flowers. We used to put out feeders for them, but stopped a few years ago. Instead we have a fair amount of early Spring flowers that seem to have the same attraction, including two large and prolific japonica (quince) bushes. Although I read that these sweet little birds prefer a flower with a trumpet shape, they don’t seem to mind any of the shapes we have, whether from these blossoms or the frilly skirted fuchsias we have in hanging baskets. About a week ago I looked out of the kitchen window and I was rewarded with my first sighting of a hummingbird drinking nectar from these. The sight of them never fails to give me a thrill. For a special treat today we get 2 closeups of these little birds, in the photographs below. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. A flower a Day #253 

This little chap is about to take off from being rescued by Steven from being caught in a spider’s web! Which reminded me of the saying… A bird in the hand….

About to Take Off
Rescued and about to Take Off from Steven’s hand

Is worth 2 in the bush! (Photo below taken by Steven Kennard)

Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Male Ruby Throated Hummingbird by Steven Kennard

To view the info and gallery…

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Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

Some birds are more ungainly than beautiful, like this pileated woodpecker who is certainly striking (literally and metaphorically). It was demolishing my bird pie the other day, when normally it will be destroying the trunks of half dead trees, looking for insects and other delicious edibles. Below you see one doing just that. Their beaks may be designed to be bashed into trees, but the tip of the beak on this bird looks as if it is rather the worse for wear compared to the one below. I wonder what caused the damage.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

And here you can see the results of steady assault by these voracious birds.

Pileated tree
Pileated tree

Spirea Japonica

Spirea Japonica
Spirea Japonica

Our neighbourhood holds so many hidden delights. This lovely Spirea was hiding behind a rose bush across the road from me (next to the marshmallow). As I was photographing it for A Flower a Day, a tiny visitor climbed over the top of one of the flower heads and went about her business. She seemed to be totally unaware that her colour should have clashed with the pink. But in the end I didn’t mind either. It was so lovely just to see a hint of normality going on in the natural world. I hope this helps to cheer your day, my friends. Clicking on the image below will take you to the Tiny Wildlife Gallery where there are many such little delights if you have time to take a look.

Spirea Japonica with ladybird
Spirea Japonica with ladybird

The Flower a Day Gallery with current content is below. Each day a new photo will be added. With today’s post there are now 31 to view. Click or tap to view full size.

If you wish to you can subscribe here if you have not already, to be sure to get my daily flowers in your inbox!

Jennie’s Cat

Domestic Cat - Ellie Kennard 2016
Domestic Cat – Ellie Kennard 2016

A theme today is “Domestic Cat”. Is any cat ever, really domestic? Almost certainly not, though they might pretend they are, at least while it works to their advantage. The domesticity is rather on the side of the family members they command …

Because everyone needs a photo of a cat now and again in their email or browser, here is “Domestic Cat”. Happy Thursday!

Halfway Down the Stairs

Halfway down the stairs - Ellie Kennard 2012
Halfway down the stairs – Ellie Kennard 2012

7 years on from this post we now are without Molly and Rupert is almost 18. This poem seems to have been written for cats. Have a wonderful day everyone, keep warm if the weather is stormy as it is here.

Original Post: January 16, 2012 – “Halfway down the stairs is a stair where i sit.”

“Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where i sit.
there isn’t any
other stair
quite like
it.
i’m not at the bottom,
i’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
where
I always
stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn’t really
Anywhere!
It’s somewhere else
Instead!” – a.a. milne

We have two Cornish Rex cats – Rupert and Molly who have curly fur. Like all cats, they migrate around the house depending on where the sun is shining. In the morning it shines through onto the stairs. I was struck this morning by the wavy shadows of the stair balusters next to the curly cats, so caught this. Rupert is a golden colour, Molly is black. The image was better in black and white.

Highland Mother and Baby

Highland Cattle - Ellie Kennard 2012
Highland Cattle – Ellie Kennard 2012

This is a photo I took 6 years ago and just found again with the original post text. The close protectiveness of the mother to the baby is particularly moving. They are no different from human mothers in caring for their offspring.

Now, I feel differently towards these lovely creatures, from what is written in the post below. I no longer wish to be responsible for any harm or suffering to come to them in any way, as in raising them for food. But that is now and this post below was how I felt then. And it was just as valid, though I have now changed.


Original Post: : October 21, 2012 – 294/366 – *Highland Cattle in the Evening Light

This weekend was one of discovery of our local area. We spent the days out and about taking photographs and basically drinking in the sights. For the first time since we moved here, over 15 years ago, I had the same exhilerated feeling that I got when we first moved to that wonderful place in France: “We LIVE here!” We discovered beaches, coves and roads that we had never seen, all within 15 minutes drive of our house. The colours, of course, were out of this world. It is the best year for leaves that I can remember.

But today’s image is one that has more depth and meaning to me (not to knock the colour, which I just love and I know would be more popular). As we were driving back towards home, we passed a small farm, with a farmer working among his animals. He had pigs outdoors, geese and ducks were honking and quacking in his fields and farmyard. The highland cattle you see here were in a field with a young Jersey heifer. I could have walked up his drive and started doing the farm chores that I used to do in our place in France. It was so much like home in the atmosphere of the place it was unsettling. This is a very unusual sight in Nova Scotia which made it all the more memorable and appealing.

So today I have these cattle in black and white photographed against the evening sunlight which lit their outlines so nicely. Noble beasts, harking back to ancient and not so ancient farmyards from lands across the seas.