25 February 2007

Expanding the family?

We're contemplating adding a new furball to the family and took at look at the cats available for adoption from a local shelter. Felix has been an only kitty for a few months now, and I know he's enjoying all the time he gets to spend snuggling with us, but I can't help think he would also enjoy a kitty sibling to do kitty things with. We humans just can't run, play, snuggle, and communicate with Felix the way another cat would. Felix adored his little sister Smokey, got along well with Barney, and enjoyed a good boys' romp with Ed. So I think he'd enjoy the company of another cat. I'm leaning towards a female kitten so he's not threatened by anyone trying to take over "top cat" position.

Neighborhood wildife

The rainy weather hasn't bothered the local bird life. A few weeks ago the neighbor's front yard was occupied by four egrets. They are common in the creeks and agricultural fields around the area, but this is the first time I've seen them in the neighborhood. It's not uncommon to see Mallard ducks waddling along the lawns, but the egrets were a nice surprise. They are such elegant birds.

Today while sitting at the back window I watched a white-tailed kite hovering and flying around. The light mist of rain quickly turned into a cloud-burst of strong rain, but it sat atop a tall tree with it's wings spread wide and enjoyed a rain bath. A quartet of crows eventually annoyed it enough that it flew off. Hopefully it will return. They are amazing flyers and it's always fun to watch a bird that is able to do a true hover.

Speaking of hovering, the hummingbirds are frequenting the yard and feeder. I never tire of watching their amazing speed, agility, and hovering. And their vibrant colors help brighten a dreary winter day.

I took this photo at the end of the season last year, and the poor butterfly looks a bit tattered, but it was fun to see our Butterfly Bush actually attracting a butterfly! Hopefully this year we'll get a few more colorful visitors.

06 February 2007

California Living

My sympathies to all friends and family who are trying to get through the freezing or sub-zero temperatures. We usually have unpleasant rainy, windy, chilly storms here this time of year but we've had the driest January in 100-something years, with the past week's daytime temperatures in the mid 60s. Everyone is hoping for rain to finally arrive so we can turn off the sprinklers and get some much-needed snow in the Sierras.

We may have lost a few 1st year plants to the strong freeze of a few weeks ago, but we're waiting until spring to see if they sprout some new growth.

The purple hyacinth bulbs have broken ground and should be blooming soon. The blooms remind me of Smokey, who loved to hang out in the yard and looked gorgeous against a purple background.