as far as weekends go

saturday, weekend in london, london, photography, spring is here, tiny white flowers, look like pearls, white and blue, spring in the city, adventures in europe, an american in london, richmond park, deer park, wildlife, springtime bliss, watching me

i haven’t decided if i regret inviting the neighborhood pigeons to feast on my balcony. they came, they conquered, and my bird feeder was violated in such a way that it surely suffers from ptsd. it probably dreams of light sparrow pecks … Continue reading

smallholdings – my feathered future

mark hearld, st jude, smallholding, farm, sustainability, illustration, chickens

when searching the term “smallholding” on the internet, you come across these types of images:    basically, smallholding is homesteading is sustained living is getting back to the basics and feeding your family with the {pun intended} fruits of your … Continue reading

a mouse and his meal

black mouse, little black mouse, underground, london tube, tube mouse

i found a tiny, fluffy feather on the ground while at work today. a coworker told me she has seen quite a few recently which doesn’t make much sense because we work on the basement level of a busy shopping … Continue reading

feeding time – a tarantula and her prey

the ladys guide to adventure, tarantula, tarantula eating, afraid of spiders, fuzzy legs, beautiful girl, death and destruction, death to cricket, lunchtime, wildlife, nature, the circle of life, bugs have protein, attack, chupacabra, rosalie melin, my love, not a monster, beautiful creature

as i prepare to go mushroom-hunting on this cool, dewy day, i thought it might be nice to capture an event that is all-too-common for me and perhaps rare for many, many others: feeding time. i have had a chilean … Continue reading

a glimpse of a year

succulents, propagation, plants, nature, beautiful

i won’t be having the perfect new year’s. i’ll be coming straight from work to a local greek restaurant where my family and a band will be waiting, to bid the old year goodbye. most likely, i’ll slip on my … Continue reading

road full of promise and an owl

after eating myself silly in hampstead, i’m taking a moment to soak in some delicious rays. i guess everything is delicious right now, with that meal sitting comfortably in my belly – the tastes of it are still on my … Continue reading

a cat murder mystery

yesterday was a very strange day. i spent a good portion of it lying about, eating cereal, and watching hgtv. i then proceeded to skip my shower and run some very important errands. keep in mind, i hadn’t showered the day before so with lots of deodorant and a splash of baby powder [baby powder smells somewhat nice and dries up oily hair] i was on my way. the bank. a supermarket for bathroom things. then food. all the while, i was surprised that no one scowled upon my entrance to these public places. when i say my hair was oily, i mean that i could probably squeeze out enough of the stuff to saute some veggies with..
gross.
i was finally finished with the mundane tasks of the day so i left for home. upon my arrival, i got the strange urge to explore. all day, i had talked about this fantastically relaxing bubble bath that i had plans on taking the minute i got home but all of a sudden, exploring the wooded area that is the back of my mother’s property trumped any plans to clean myself. [yes, i am living at home with my mother to save for london and my future move – it’s just the way it is] my original thought was to do a little shed hunting and i set out on this adventure, one black cat in tow.

{so many greens}

{so many greens}

the wandering started off simply enough. binks was traveling with and tripping me every step of the way. there are a lot of strange things in those acres behind the house. a dilapidated red barn, some uber creepy white storage sheds, a dip in the land where the previous owners would dump garbage (?)

binks and i stumbled across deer tracks, a massive uprooted tree [a result of a tornado that killed at least a dozen people and destroyed lots of homes in town] and a shoe.

the lost lake in a dirty shoe

{the lost lake in a dirty shoe}

this cat reminds me of nero corleone, the star character from a children’s book by elke heidenreich. i have no idea where my parents found this little gem of a book but i never really appreciated it’s storyline and content until i became an adult. i have a weird obsession for unique objects, especially books, especially children’s books. and as for nero corleone . . .

Nero was still thinking about what Robert had said long after he returned to the farm. All the time the New Year’s Eve fireworks were blasting off down in the village, all the time he lay in the hay cuddling with Rosa while she licked and polished his fur as she did every night, that sentence of Robert’s lingered in Nero’s ears. Smelling of milk and pork sausage, he tried to give her hints of a better, more gracious life, a life that one could spend on soft carpets and in warm, cozy couch corners, a life where saucers were always full and people ready to admire one for being special, a wonderfully accomplished creature, instead of just an ordinary , barely tolerated farm cat.
Nero told in great detail of his visit to the German couple, what daring it had taken to jump up onto the couch of total strangers like that. News of it spread like wildfire, and soon everyone on the farm was calling him Lionheart. Cuore di leone is how you say it in Italian, or as a name, Corleone, Nero Corleone . . . “Preceded by Don” – which means “sir” — “if you please~” he requested, and so that became his name.

nero corleone

{my little nero. he showed up as a stray kitten and has found a new home with my mother and i}

to be precise, there are two black cats that showed up and both decided to stay. the cat food we purchased probably had a big effect on their decision. i had not seen the other, more skittish cat of the two for a few days, and even though they are more than capable of taking care of themselves outdoors, i admit that i had begun to get worried.

binks and i trampled about the overgrown scenery and i occasionally stopped to snap a photo.

hollow tree

{i have always appreciated my home, growing up in indiana. there is enough untouched land to keep me feeling close to the ground, and plenty of larger cities all around, to offer the escape i need from time to time}

{love him}

{love him}

eventually, we crossed an open field and were stopped by a wall of thorny bushes and overgrown shrubbery. this unkempt madness stretched down the entire side of our property; on the other side were neighbor’s houses. with a lot of time on our hands paws, we found enough of an opening to push aside some fallen trees and climb through to the rusty barbed wire fence that marked the property line. everything is quiet when you’re alone and in the woods. i got out my phone to take more pictures and suddenly, a bit of subconscious panic set in. i saw that a man was approaching the area where i was standing and so i slowly lowered myself down, rather uncomfortably, and hovered there for a while. to my horror, he threw a small black mass into the brush and it landed about ten feet away from me. at this moment, binks booked it out of there as though he’d been struck by lightning. i remained frozen (thoughts of dead cats floating in my head) until the man had turned and walked far enough away to be out of ear range to my scrambling sounds. it was impossible to see what had been tossed over the barbed fence, i tried to find a way but every path would have me bleeding from giant thorns. my first priority was finding nero binks and i crawled back through the hole i had come from, and ran to my house. the cat was nowhere to be seen but after some calling and pleading, i saw the little furball bounding towards me from a distant place.

there are some situations where you try to tell yourself that there is nothing to be worried about, that your imagination has gotten away from you. it’s the same situation when you see (what could be) someone’s lost pet walking dangerously close to a busy road. there are people who will immediately justify the precarious situation by telling themselves that the dog/cat probably lives close by and is in no harm. there are some people who will pull over as soon as they can to do some investigating, but personally, i think that those two types of people make up all of us. it’s a decision you make and to be honest, i wish that a passerby had made a different decision when they saw panda, the puppy we had in high school. she had gotten loose during christmas break when our family was in florida, and a friend went there to let the dogs out for a walk. we cut our vacation short to look for her. after searching absolutely everywhere and every day for hours, a week after our return home, we saw her lying on the side of a road close to our house. she had been hit by a car and was no longer breathing. i think of her every time i see a wandering animal and it helps me make the right choice. to investigate.

thorns

i tried to tell myself that i had not seen what i had thought i had seen, but binks had been so fearful all of a sudden and i realized there was no way i could go about the rest of my day, not knowing exactly what i had witnessed. at that point, i grabbed a thick walking / bush-beating stick and traveled back to where i had just come from, this time a bit fearful but very, very determined. after some surveying, i found that there was an opening in the old wire fence about ten feet in the opposite direction from where the “it” had been thrown. i climbed through it, frantically looking around me for signs of another human being, and eventually was standing in the exact place that the man had been. i don’t mind getting a little dirty from time to time but i had enough sense to realize that, halfway up on the barbed fence, i should definitely not risk climbing any higher. instead, i peeked through one of it’s large gaps and that was when my stomach dropped. although far away enough, the black furry mound filled me with a number of emotions. fear. anger. sadness. and hate. i couldn’t climb the fence but the thorn bushes were no longer as big of an opposition as they had been before. i hacked at them with my walking stick, occasionally watching my back, and all the while, daydreaming of every thing i would say to this evil man and to the authorities. ten minutes later, with sticks in my hair and scratches on my cheeks, i was hovering over the scene of the crime. to my shock and confusion, although the mound was not my cat, it was an animal. a matted black chicken that looked as though it had met it’s demise many days before. law enforcement did not need to be called. there are plenty of coyotes in the area and that was a likely answer to the situation, considering the condition of the bird.

dead chicken

{i know this isn’t a pleasant picture, but you have to see why i thought this could be a cat from far enough away}

as i was taking the picture above, i realized that work was calling me. another employee had not come in and i was needed to cover the shift. “twenty-five minutes,” i said, and rushed back to the house, a lightness in my step, to throw on some work-appropriate clothing. i wondered about the real whereabouts of missing black cat #2, and lovingly said goodbye to binks. he had been a great accomplice until his desertion in the time of fear. but cats are cats. and dogs are dogs. i am the one that has the responsibility to stay and investigate. it’s my job and yours to make the right choices because the creatures around us do not have a voice. we are their voices.

and so i left for work, having not taken my bath. if you can’t imagine my filth before the day’s adventure, i hope you can picture me with debris in my hair, thorns in my clothes, and dirt on my face. i am sure that my manager regretted calling me as soon as i entered that building.

the loves i am leaving behind and why not to get a turtle

this post is for my critters. and for you, so that you can get to know an intimate part of my life! i am the luckiest person in the world that i have a mother who is not only willing, but eager to help watch over my little darlings while i am in london! [and my plants, the woman is a saint!] what can i say?
we’re both huge animal-loving freaks. so, here it goes. . .

meet, the boys.

red-eared sliders, turtles, my loves, pets

actually, they are probably female. i have just always referred to them as boys and even gave them masculine names:

samwise william
&
nostradamus augustus

red-eared sliders, sliders, turtles, nostradamus and samwise william

{they both have extremely unique personalities – samwise (above) is definitely the more friendly of the two! also, check out nos’ hitler stache! (below) they both swim towards me when i walk through the room}

i know that they are heart-melting and gorgeous and playful and seemingly ideal, but be warned. i purchased these guys when they were the size of quarters from a smoke shop [next to the bongs, jeez oh pete- i should have known] in florida. as it turns out, red-eared sliders are nonnative to the united states and due to a colorful history involving their invasive natures into our lakes and ponds & salmonella-related deaths [usually children], they are illegal to sell/possess/release into the wild. this confuses me. i already have them [the laws vary by state but mainly apply to turtles that are less than four inches, which mine are not] but i am essentially being told that i can’t release them nor can i keep them. what? i would like to hear what i am “supposed” to do that doesn’t involve killing them – i swear, these people don’t think these things through.
anyway, i have never had a desire to release them. although they have the lifespan of vampires and grow to be the size of trash can lids [am i exaggerating? umm, probably not] i am not the type of person that views pets as playthings or fashion accessories. i have learned, after caring for samwise and nos for five years, that they require a lot of work, a large semi-aquatic [expensive] habitat, and they will likely still be around well after i begin to have children.
unfortunately, not everyone takes on that kind of responsibility and the sad story continues. . . parents buy their children cute, little turtles and when their kids are [obviously] incapable of caring for them properly, or get sick from them, they are either killed or released into the lakes and cause a massive disrupt to the ecosystem.

{remember seeing these little habitats with the palm trees? red eared sliders were once known as the dime-store turtle and sold like crazy in the 60's and 70's - click photo for original source}

{remember seeing these little habitats with the palm trees? red eared sliders were once known as the dime-store turtle and sold like crazy in the 60’s and 70’s – click photo for original source}

i will admit, i did not do my research before getting my own sliders, but nothing infuriates me more than people’s disregard for animal-life and the exploitation of them for profit. the little plastic habitat above is practically uninhabitable- even for a baby this small. the best i can do, after realizing the error of my youthful ways, is give my animals the best possible care until the day they die and inform others of my mistake- in order to prevent this from happening again. if you are, however, willing and capable of helping a turtle that has already gone through the nightmare of pet stores, cramped living spaces, and being abandoned, there are options!

turtle adoption exists and there are sites and locations popping up all over the u.s. – just make sure to research these facilities and get references. remember, never pay for turtles. receiving some sort of payment only makes the cycle continue. here is an example of one of these adoption sites. i can’t give them my stamp of approval because i have never worked with them nor spoken to any references, but their site is reassuring and looks legit. here is another link to show you the magnitude of the problem —> turtle adoption forums.

alright, i hope i haven’t sounded preachy! this was not where i wanted to go with this post but it is so important for me to spread the word and keep you informed!
we shall now continue with “the loves i’m leaving behind
[and it’s not just turtles!]

followers,
meet,
chupacabra!

tarantula, chupacabra, love, my pet

{chupacabra was given to me by one of my closest friends, who now lives in memphis}

 

 

chupacabra, tarantula

{she is a chilean rose-hair tarantula and is my most beautiful possession}

 

 

 

chupacabra, tarantula

{rose hairs are both nonvenomous and, like many eight-legged creatures, are deeply misunderstood. i have had chupa for six years and am hoping for many more. she is sometimes the tool i use to open my friends’ eyes to how lovely “spiders” really are, and how much good they do for our environment}

 

 

{kristin, the friend who gave me her on my birthday, also gave her the name "chupacabra" - it is a monster of sorts, a mexican urban legend and translates into "goat sucker," my mexican friends especially find her name to be hilarious}

{kristin, the friend who gave me chupa on my birthday, also gave her the name “chupacabra” – it is a monster of sorts, a mexican urban legend, and translates into “goat sucker” – my mexican friends especially find her name to be hilarious}

{this does seem to be kind of montrous. extraterrestrial, no doubt. this is what tarantulas do in order to get larger - it's called molting, and this is the only time in six years, that i have been a witness}

{this does seem to be kind of montrous. extraterrestrial, no doubt. this is what tarantulas do in order to get larger – it’s called molting, and this is the only time in six years that i have been a witness}

 

 

{brand spanking new! look at her gorgeous color!}

{brand spanking new! look at her gorgeous color!}

 

 

i hope you have enjoyed this little gallery of some of the creatures that i find most fascinating – my own pets. i will include a few more photos of my “boys” [probably girls] because they are cute and wonderful.

red eared sliders, turtles

{when they were tiny babies – i had to capture this because they are mirroring themselves in my favorite “superman” basking pose}

{i blinked and they had gotten so much bigger!}

{i blinked and they had gotten so much bigger!}

{nostradamus augustus - the shy turtle with the hitler stache}

{nostradamus augustus – the shy turtle with the hitler stache}

{samwise william - the lively turtle who had a severe vitamin a deficiency in the first year of his life and almost didn't make it}

{samwise william – the lively turtle who had a severe vitamin a deficiency in the first year of his life and almost didn’t make it}

uninformed as it may have been,
i will never regret the decision to bring these guys home with me!