Thursday, September 9, 2010

What a Beautiful Berry

Isn't this the prettiest berry you've ever seen?

It's the American Beautyberry, a native plant. At our other house, we spent good money at a plant nursery to buy some of these after we saw them growing wild at Jekyll Island, Georgia. Unfortunately, what we bought was the (unlabelled) 'rare' white Beautyberry. When we moved to this house, we had planned to buy some of the purple ones but didn't get around to it that first spring. That August, we started seeing the purple berries everywhere, and found it grows wild by our pond.

I can't imagine why these aren't more popular.

I went to take the picture below, and didn't see the spider until I was right up on it.

These spiders grow wild down by the pond too. They freaked me out a little that first summer, but now I think they're gorgeous.

As long as they Stay. Out. Of. My. House.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Morning Snakes Are No Fun

I'm not really a morning person, but even if I were, this is not what I want to see in my living room first thing...

Actually, I don't want it in my living room at any time but I apparently don't get that choice. I get up before my husband does, and normally get ready and creep out for work without turning on lights. This morning I nearly beaned myself on the bedroom door doing that, so when I got to the living room, I turned on the light at a low level, just in time to keep myself from stepping on this (fortunately) harmless but quite impressive-looking Scarlet Kingsnake.

I can't be positive how it got into our living room, but I think this next picture may be a clue.

I could tell the snake was alive because it was twitching its tail, but I wasn't sure how easy it would be to pick up until our two very excited cats started wrestling with each other and rolled right over it. It didn't move, so I scooped it up with a dustpan and put it in the flower bed outside the front door.

It was gone from that spot by the time my husband got up, so I'm hoping it was just playing dead and managed to get away.

And that some annoying young cats won't be bringing it back through the cat door tonight...and into the bedroom to show us what fine hunters they are.

Hmmm...maybe we'll sleep with the bedroom door shut tonight.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010


We've been observing some strange interactions among the goats, cats, and ducks recently. When we go walking down by the pond, they all tend to hover around. I'd love to think it was our magnetic personalities, but I'm afraid it might have more to do with the way food magically appears when we're around.

The other day, Arlene the goat was walking peacefully nearby when a small female duck, T.O., ran up and nipped her in the hind leg for no apparent reason. Arlene looked back, surprised, then just walked on, as if she gets nipped every day by small, ill-tempered ducks.

Of course I didn't have a camera with me that day, so this is a picture of Irving the cat wondering what I'm doing, with goats Arlene and Emma in the background, and large, clawed duck Corky hanging out to the side.

After I took that picture, Halley, our small white cat, came down to see what was going on. She wound up in between Corky and Arlene. As we watched, Corky moved menacingly toward her, so she turned to run -- have I mentioned he has claws? -- and found herself face to face with Arlene, who lowered her head, and horns, and charged...playfully? Who knows? Halley wisely turned and ran.

Of course I didn't get a picture of that either, just one of Halley wondering why everyone's so irritable tonight.

I did have my camera when Arlene decided it was time for me to pet her. She leaned against my leg while I scratched behind her ears. She loves that.

She loves that so much that when I decided it was time to resume taking pictures, she reminded me that it was petting time by pulling on my shorts' leg insistently. Like an idiot, I taught her that works by petting her again. I never learn.

Seriously, though, could you resist that?

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