Monthly Archives: May 2014

Iris

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Leo the Stray Cat

Our cat, Salem, is very territorial. Accompanied by Bella, her bodyguard and muscle, Salem patrols her territory each day, allowing entry only to prey (i.e. bunnies and birds).

Salem on Patrol

Salem on Patrol

Bella: The Queen's Bodyguard and Muscle

Bella: The Queen’s Bodyguard and Muscle

But for the past year or so, there’s been one exception. A stray black cat has been allowed into the yard. When we put cat food and water out for him, she allowed him to come up on the porch to eat and drink without a hint of hostility. He spent the winter in the rafters of our garden shed, coming out to have a bowl of cat food on the porch, but finally, this spring, Salem allowed him to come into the house. At this point, he had to have some sort of name other than “that stray black cat.” I thought he looked rather like Albert Einstein with his long fur sticking out in all directions, but “Albert” was outvoted and “Leo” won. It was close: 2 to 1. I haven’t been able to get a decent picture of Leo yet; like all black cats, his fur seems to either suck up light like a black hole or reflect it back like he’s wearing a clear vinyl raincoat.

Leo

Leo

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Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal Enjoy a Dinner for Two

Cardinals at the feeder

Cardinals at the feeder

Bob and Claire filled the bird feeder with sunflower seeds yesterday and then lay in wait with their cameras.

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Southern Blue Ridge – Late Spring Blooms

Rhododendron vaseyi

Rhododendron vaseyi

There are a lot of varieties of rhododendron along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but at the southern end, vaseyi is pretty much it. There’s a profusion of these growing along the roadway in various stages of blooming, depending, I think, upon the elevation.

Rhododendron vaseyi

Rhododendron vaseyi

Identifying this thing was a pain. Apparently, it’s entire natural range is within Western North Carolina. I found lots of photos of it captioned “flowers” or “flowering shrub.” I finally found a bloom schedule on the Blue Ridge Parkway Association’s website (http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/v.php?pg=77) and worked backwards. This site is a good resource for anyone planning a drive along the Parkway.

The groundsel is in full bloom and forms carpets of bright yellow in open areas along the roadway.

Golden groundsel

Golden groundsel

The tiny white flowers of the hawthorn shrubs are easy to miss.

Copenhagen hawthorn

Copenhagen hawthorn

They grow among the rhododendrons and you only notice them when you’re up close.

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Green

We had a couple of days of drenching rain last week and now everything is so green it seems to glow.

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Even the Blue Ridge, which usually tends to look… well, blue, is quite green:

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