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Smoky Sunset

We have been having wildfires in the Willamette Valley. While they are not all that close to where I live, the smoke has filled the valley, leaving us with red flag warnings because the air is so unhealthy to breathe. The smoke has left me feeling as though I have a horrid cold, but I wanted nothing more than to take some sunset photos, which I knew would be spectacular with the smoke in the air.

Interestingly, the second night, which seemed to balance smoke and clouds, turned out better than the first, which was just filled with hazy smoke.

Night 1: Evergreen Aviation nature path

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Night 2: A simple field close to home





Traveling Not So Light

I headed out of town for a very, very quick trip this weekend. When I returned, it became clear that Colby didn’t appreciate the fact that she was left behind.

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She seems to be saying, “See? I fit!” And yes, that IS my toothbrush right next to her. I have come to accept that I will never own anything that is not covered in animal hair.

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Taken with my iPhone … wish they were better!)

Tower o’ Fun, Day 2

Soooo … today, when I walked in the office to find that Zoey and Colby decided to share one of the beds on the new cat tree. Adorable, right?

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With the two munchkins on one level, that left the top bed free for Izzy climb into later. How do I know she climbed in later? Because when I was taking the pictures above, she was busy trying to steal a sandwich I had placed on my desk, not thinking that she would try to run off with it. Clearly, I was wrong.

I’m not entirely sure how she got up here, though. Zoey and Colby were on the lower level first, and Izzy is not really one who is known for jumping or climbing or … well … any sort of physical exertion. Still, she made it and she was happy … except when I was taking her picture.

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Izzy with her hero, Grumpy Cat, in the background

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And, because little Miss Zoey is just so darn photogenic, I can’t help but end with another pic of her.

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Tower o’ Fun

Over the weekend, I decided I needed to replace the shredded cat tree in my office with a new tower. While the tree served the animals well for five years, I was finding more and more bits of the furniture spread around the house.

Of course, bringing home a new tower is always a tough decision. Cats are notoriously picky and they get used to their smell on old furniture.

Yeah … with my animals, I shouldn’t have worried.

Within 5 minutes of bringing it through the door, all five of the beasts had sniffed, rubbed against and climbed on the new tower. Even Cooper thoroughly checked it out. Every day, I find a different mix of characters lounging in the beds.

Today, it was Zoey and Colby …

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The old tower in front of the new one. The animals do still like having the old tower around and will sleep on it, but they all like the new one.

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Zoey (bottom) and Colby in the new tower.

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I love to see these beauties so happy … now, I just have to figure out how to sneak the old tower out of the house without them realizing that it’s going away …

I’ve Created a Monster …

Yesterday, my baby kitty, Colby, tried to escape out the back door … and in fact, she managed to make it before I could grab her. She barely made it more than a dozen steps, too caught up in the wonder that was the warm ground under her feet and the bright light filling her world.

Today, I decided that since she was so curious about the outside world, I would find one of the two harnesses I have in the house and I would let her explore.

I wasn’t sure what to expect … clearly, neither was she …

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Colby, seeing the birdbath up close for the first time.

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This is the only picture I managed to snap of her crying. She cried the entire time she was outside the first trip.

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Had to check out the birdbath again … it could be out to get her, you know …

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Making peace with the bath …

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She basically spent the entire first trip around the yard letting the world know just how weird all of this was with a plaintive and continuous cry. I finally decided that she wasn’t enjoying herself, so I scooped her up and headed inside again.

Apparently, that was the wrong move …

As soon as she was inside and off the harness, she sat in front of the back door, crying over and over and over again. She clearly wanted nothing more than to be outside again, and she wasn’t about to let me forget it.

After about 20 minutes of listening to this, I grabbed the other harness (I wanted to see if it felt more comfortable to her) before heading back outside again. This time, she barely made a peep. Instead, she wandered the yard, taking in all the wonder that is the outdoors.

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She wasn’t happy to go back inside again, but I figured that we should take this slow. I don’t want her getting the idea that she can go outside whenever she wants or whenever she badgers me into it with her ongoing caterwauling.

A Few Reasons I Love Oregon

Not much I can add here. Just a few of the reasons I love living in Oregon … Do I really need to say more?

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The odd and random variations you get with dahlias

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Deer wandering through lawns …

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… and neighborhoods

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How roses can thrive after months of suffering through random weather, rust, black spot, aphids and thrips.

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And the overwhelming abundance of Oregon grape …


So These Things Happened Today

Well, this first one didn’t actually happen today, but it would have made the headline too long to say, “so two things happened today and one thing happened a couple of days ago.”

Soooo … the following happened two days ago. I was leaving my house in my car when I realized that a massive condor was feasting on a rodent in the middle of the street right in front of my home. I paused long enough to take a few pictures with my cell phone of the magnificent, but incredibly ugly bird.

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Honestly, the sight made me feel at least a little better. For the last several days, I have found the remains of rodents spread along my driveway. I couldn’t figure out what was on the murderous mouse rampage, but this might have given me a hint.

Although, given how thorough this bird was in cleaning the carcass, I’m still not sure it’s the culprit …

Now, onto the things that actually happened today:

First, while on a walk, I was greeted by a rafter of turkeys crossing the road (Yes, a rafter … as in the group name for turkeys. Who names a group a rafter??). While I couldn’t get too close because the hens were clearly trying to keep their chicks a safe distance from any humans, I managed to take a few pictures with my iPod.

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The turkeys settled in a spot that is often frequented by the deer herd that lives in my neighborhood. The same spot where I swear I have seen fresh tracks from Elmo the emu … or at least one of his offspring. Unfortunately, this area has been cordoned off and will soon be filled with new houses, meaning that our wildlife will be pushed farther and farther afield.

When I returned home, I encountered the second happening of the day: Colby stuck high up in the closet and looking for a little help.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise. Colby is my jumper/climber. Not only is she known to make leaps that take my breath away, she has figured out how to climb shelves like they are ladders. Unfortunately, she hasn’t figured out how to make it back down, hence her ending up stuck on the top shelf of my closet.

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She cried and cried at me until I grabbed the step stool and managed to coax her close enough to pull her into my arms and settle her safely on the bed. Of course, I had to take a few photos with my phone before I could let the opportunity slip away.

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Now, I just have to wonder what tomorrow could bring …


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