Buds, Blossoms, and Blooms

I’ve not yet spent a year in my “new” house, but it’s been absolutely amazing to watch what each season brings with it. Being here and watching the greenery of Spring start to appear after a cold snowy winter has fascinated me. I don’t believe I’ve ever had the privilege of living around such biological diversity, from the native wildlife and plants, to the decadent flowers planted by humans. Early Spring brought these lovelies into view, and I can’t even identify all of them:

Fruit Tree Blossoms: I loved taking some of these photos on cloudy days just after a nice rain. Although the lighting may not have been perfect, the water glistening on the petals were so delicate and intriguing.

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Tree Blossom
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I’m not sure what kinds of bushes these are on, but when these bloomed, we had a sea of gold around the house. The flowers looked like as if they were full of sunshine.

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Tree Buds

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Wild Flowers

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Wysteria and Sweet Shrubs

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Sweet Shrubs: these give off a very sweet smell.

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Money Plants

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Blooms on a Bush

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Lovely Greenery

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Peach Blossoms

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Dandelions: I don’t like mowing these because our pollinators need them!

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Just some photos…

I love my girls…

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And my boys…

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Our “new” addition

Last year was a big year for me. Lots and lots happened. One of the best “happenings” of last year included a new bundle of joy. Meet my rescued rottie, Artemis.

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She looks imposing in that photo, no? She’s an absolute sweetheart with us.

I found her as a stray and she was in horrible shape. She was emaciated and suffered from heartworm and intestinal parasites. She had large wounds on her body and she reeked of urine and was caked in mud and probably other things. So my husband and I took her in. She’s been through surgery and heartworm treatment, and she’s finally all healed up!

She absolutely LOVES the snow and cold weather, so we had lots of fun with her in the recent snow storm. We sledded, and rolled around in the cold white fluff. She ran and played right along with us, and it was absolutely amazing. Enjoy these photos of our silly, loving, sweet little goofball!

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Time to play!!!

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She loves her toys. I’m so happy she has them.

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Throw it again!

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Hopping in the deep snow to go get the ball!

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Got it!

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Time for a snow snack break!

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She was watching us to see if we were going to throw the ball again.

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I love that sweet face.

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Peeking out of her house to make sure she’s not missing any excitement…

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This photo pretty much sums up our day!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

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Lots of new stuff coming guys…
Busy busy busy working on items for the free day at Mill Mountain Zoo on Sunday!! I’ll be a vendor with a variety of different goodies featuring your favorite animals! Hope you’re excited – I am!!!

In other exciting news…my online shop should be open VERY soon! Soon you’ll be able to order your favorite photo canvases, t-shirts, and other photo and design items right from the comfort of your own home!

Lots of exciting things to come – plus updates on this amazingly hectic, wonderfully bizarre, tragically beautiful year of mine! Hope to see you tomorrow at the zoo!

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My 2015 so far…

I feel awful that I haven’t updated my site in such a long time. It’s been a crazy several months with some major life changes. I got married last month! I married my absolute best friend and supporter. He’s the love of my life, and we got married the day before our ten year anniversary. It was an absolutely amazing day. My cousin is getting married next month and I am very excited for her! She also has a baby on the way due in August. And of course along with all the good also comes some bad and stressful times. So I feel a little like my head has been spinning for months. More changes are in the works, but hopefully things will settle down in about a month. I have SO many photos to post, and so much updating to do! Here’s a photo in the meantime! Who can resist a little Sanshine bean?


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More photos from 2014

This is Bali, snow leopard. He’s kind of a ham. He loves attention and loves to play with his enrichments and toys!

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This is Beatrix Kiddo, red panda. She was born at my zoo in June and is Archibald’s sister.

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She’s pretty adorable. She was just beginning to learn to mouth bamboo when I shot these photos.

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Momma, Nova, often checked on her little girl.

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But Beatrix likes to explore…

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Benjamin Bunny! Benjamin is a Flemish Giant Rabbit. He’s one of our education animals at the zoo. He’s extremely docile and relaxed. He’s great to work with.

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Bo Wolverine is a very special creature. He was born with a heart issue and was pulled for some medical tests shortly after he was born to see if he needed any treatments. When he was placed back with his family, I believe it was his father who rejected him. So he was hand raised and is very used to people.

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He injured one of his eyes and there is some fluid build up in that eye causing it to look milky white.

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Even still, he seems full of energy and enthusiasm.

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And here is one of our Burmese pythons, whose eyes appear milky for a different reason. He’s getting ready to shed. When snakes shed their skin, they also shed the scale that covers each eye. As the snake gets close to shedding, that scale starts to detach and appears a milky color. The science of these animals is fascinating!

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More photos yet to come!

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Happy New Year!!

Over the next few days, I’m going to take a look back through some of my photos from 2014. Happy New Year!

Meet Archibald. He’s a red panda cub born at Mill Mountain Zoo in June 2014. He’s been hand-raised since he was just a couple days old because his mother favored her female cub and Archie wasn’t getting to eat.

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This handsome fellow is Azizi whose name means “precious one” in Swahili. He’s a Savannah Monitor Lizard and one of the zoo’s education animals.

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More photos to come over the next few days!

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Feral Fun

October 16 was National Feral Cat Day. I haven’t had a chance to share how I celebrated yet due to a number of life events which I will elaborate on later. I love my feral cats and so of course I also love celebrating National Feral Cat Day. This year, a few of my friends came over after work to munch on some noms, watch Ten Lives: A Feral Cat Odyssey, and discuss issues facing feral cats and potential solutions to these problems. We had a great time. One of my favorite things in the world is vegging out with my friends and discussing animals, and cats are a popular topic with me.

For anyone who doesn’t know, feral cats are domestic cats who have reverted back to a wild state. This happens when lost, stray or abandoned pet cats breed in the wild and have kittens who grow up without socialization to humans. Since they are fearful of humans, adult ferals do not make good pets. Kittens of feral cats can be socialized to humans and go on to make good pets if caught at an early age. Check out this video for more info on feral cats:

It is INCREDIBLY important to get your pets spayed and neutered to help prevent pet overpopulation and the potential for feral cats. I got involved because I’ve seen how quickly feral cats can get out of control without trap-neuter-return programs. So when I spotted two kittens on my way to work one day, I had to get involved. It took me a while to learn the ropes, and I’ll go over that process in this blog someday, but let’s go back to the beginning of National Feral Cat Day 2014. I started the day like I normally do. I woke up, got ready for work, took care of my own pets and then headed out to feed my wonderful feral kitties. I had special treats for them and I have to say, they are the best way to start a day. My ferals all know the feeding schedule and I have two sweet little girls at one location who have gotten used to me and actually rub all over me while I pet them. Sudden movements and anything out of the ordinary still startle them, but most of the time we have a routine where I sit down with the girls and I’m able to pet them as they rub all over me. After some lovey time, I give them fresh water, dry food, and canned food. I feed them in the morning and give them just a little more food than they can eat in one sitting so as not to attract wildlife to the feed site. I also stay with the girls as they eat to make sure nothing else scares them off.

This is Twilight:

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And this is her sister, Smoke:

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After feeding the girls, I go to my second feed site where my boys are located. I have trapped my ferals and had them spayed or neutered and vaccinated. It’s not always easy caring for feral cats, but for me, it’s worth it. At least I know that my ferals aren’t being euthanized in a shelter or pound. Nearly 100% of all feral cats in pounds and shelters are euthanized since they are not socialized with humans and cannot be adopted out as pets. I know for a fact that TNR or trap-neuter-return prevents unwanted litters of feral cats. I also provide winterized homes for my ferals.

Two of my boys have become the bestest of buddies. This is Bobcat…

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and this is Blue…

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Aren’t they handsome?

Bobcat showed up a couple years ago and always wanted a friend. He tried to make friends with another male feral, but it didn’t work. Blue started showing up towards the beginning of this year and was extremely shy. I only caught glimpses of him. He was like a ghost cat. Both Bobcat and Blue learned the feeding schedule and got a little more used to me and to each other when they came to eat in the mornings. They became absolutely inseparable almost overnight. They eat together, sleep together, cuddle together and wrestle and play together. They can barely walk a straight line because they rub on each other so much while walking.

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Surveying their territory together…

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One can’t go far without the other.

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You can see another of my male ferals in the background. That’s Mr. Gray.

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I love kitty bums!

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Taking care of ferals can be hard work physically and emotionally, but it is absolutely much more rewarding!

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The Science of Owls

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