Siamese Twin Cats

The other morning I woke to the purring not of Siamese cats but Siamese twin cats. As they approached me on the bed, their two heads rubbed against one another and their tails were intertwined. I expected them to be identical twins, but to my surprise the twin on the right was an orange tabby and the twin on the left had black and white fur and golden eyes.

Having reached me they rubbed their heads against my own, my hands rising to scratch their heads and stroke their backs as if responding to some unspoken command. In that moment I was given the gift of healing and the conjoined twins split apart, but their bond proved too strong and they soon rejoined. My eyes played tricks in the pre-dawn light, for it seemed they were now joined on the opposite side as before.

Eventually their desires for affection were satiated and the twins finally separated for good, Sam departing for parts unknown and Scout curling up beside me to sleep.

White Spots

A female elk nuzzles her calf in Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park in July 2004

A mother nuzzles its white-spotted calf at sunrise near Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park. This was my first real visit to the park in the summer of 2004 and was taken on my last day in the park. Despite wanting to get up early every day during the visit, I only managed to do it on the last day. I also saw the most animals and got my best pictures, I lesson I didn’t forget. It seemed like Mother’s Day, as within a few minutes I saw mothers and young not only of elk but also bison, black bears, and moose.

Flower Child

Our cat Sam mostly hidden in the daisies in our garden

The daisies in the flower garden out front were getting too numerous, so a year or two ago I transplanted some of them to the backyard to give us some temporary flowers until we decide on landscaping. I planted two patches and they’ve both done really well. They lean over to get more sun and many of them eventually fall over since I usually forget to tie them up.

Sam likes to play in them, sometimes hiding under the flowers so he can surprise Scout or Emma (and sometimes knocking more down in the process). I let him wreak a little havoc in the daisies since they are so numerous and he enjoys it so, but I do try to keep him out of the coneflowers. Here he was sitting beside some of the daisies, I framed the picture so he was mostly hidden by the white flowers. The cats haven’t been able to go outside much this week either because I’ve been working late or had other stuff to do, so I’ll have to make sure they get some time out there this weekend.

I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Aphids

A seven-spotted ladybug on purple coneflower petals

I’ve mentioned before how it sometimes seems that everything you see is an invasive species, such as the cute little ladybugs in my yard that turned out to be an Asian species originally brought to America for pest control. But this little ladybug, fierce and ferocious (if you’re an aphid), is not the same species! Have I finally found one of our native ladybugs? Alas, no, it has two spots too few. The seven-spotted ladybug is closely related to its American cousin the nine-spotted ladybug, but the nine-spot is rarely seen these days. The seven-spot is native to Europe and, like the Asian beetles, was brought over to the States for pest control and then established itself in the wild.

This one established itself on the petals of my purple coneflower. But the aphids are on the roses! The roses! For the love of Sammy, the aphids are on the roses!

Ah well, I’ve gotten a little disoriented in foreign lands myself.

Fly High

Our cat Emma playing with a cat toy while lying on the hardwood floor

If you’re a bird that happens to find yourself in our house, I suspect you’ll have to evade Emma, but here’s a little advice: fly high. Unlike our other cats, Emma isn’t so enamored with high places and she isn’t much of a jumper. She’s been getting a lot more comfortable in her jumping since we brought her home, though, so I’m not sure how long the advice will hold.