Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This is Jack.

Here he is enjoying a treat of corn cob silk. He and our other rabbits love the silk and the husks from the ears of corn - too bad this wasn't available year around in New England.

Jack is a handsome grey male (buck) Holland Lop rabbit. He was named by our daughter Emilie after a day care classmate of hers.

We bought Jack from a young kid a few towns over from us. We saw his, "Rabbits for Sale" sign at the end of his driveway and pulled in. We were in need of a Holland Lop buck, as our previous buck had passed away a couple months earlier. As fate (I guess) would have it he had only one Lop and it turned out to be a breeding age buck, Jack. It's funny how that stuff works...

We've had Jack now for about 18 months now. He has a great personality and a friendly disposition AND he knows his away around the bedroom, if you know what I mean wink, wink. He'll get to strut his stuff with the ladies come the first of the year, as we'll be breeding the doe's in preparation of Easter.

We now have 4 rabbits; Jack and three Holland Lop females (doe's). We just relocated all 4 from their outside cages to their inside cages in our garage. Although it's still chilly in the garage they're fine. The biggest concern with keeping rabbits outside during the winter is not necessarily the cold but rather the wind. With them being inside it's easier for us to take care of them and the get more attention and lovin.

Here is a picture of Jack's babies from his first litter. These 4 adorable bunnies were born Tuesday, April 4, 2006. They all went to nice homes and are doing great today!

The American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. is loaded with a wealth of information on rabbits

Monday, October 23, 2006


Meet Crackers

Here she is, being resourceful, on or actually in the bird bath getting a drink.

Crackers is a 16+ year old cat. She was one of two pairs of twins; one set siamese in color and markings and the other set all black. We kept her and found homes for the other three. One of the black kittens was taken by a close neighbor and is still alive today too. I don't recall who took the other two, so I am not sure if they're still alive.

She's an outside cat and very low maintenance. She isn't the friendliest and never has been more standoffish and skittish (she's no Doodle). She's a good cat too, as far as good cats go. Actually, I gotta admit I'm not really sure what a good cat is. Sadly, I saw one dead in the road (road kill) not too long ago and I was thinking, 'now that's a good cat' but that's prolly a mean thing.

Her mother was a good cat - no not the road kill kind! Booger was her name, not too lady like I admit... She was named after Dudley 'Booger' Dawson (Curtis Armstrong) a character in the movie Revenge of the Nerds. She was black with splashes of tan, yellow and white and had long hair but not too long. I found her at a local animal feed store and took her home - I don't remember how long ago that was but it's safe to say it well over 16 years. She was a kitten at the time and must have been around 2ish when she had her litter, so we're talking about 18 - 20 years ago, YIKES! She was an outside cat just like her daughter but she had a great personality and was always looking for lovin and attention. We don't know what happened to her, she just disappeared one day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


The pictures here are of a little guy we found hangin around our butterfly and dahlia garden. As you can see from the second picture he's one tough dude to spot. If you didn't know he was there you'd miss him 10 times out of 10 and you'd go hungry. Oh by the way, our dahlia's were fantastic this year, as you can see here!

KATYDID common name of certain large, singing, winged insects related to the grasshopper and cricket family (Tettigoniidae). Katydids are typically green or, occasionally, pink and range in size from 1 1/4 to 5 in. long. Katydids are nocturnal and arboreal; they sing in the evening. The males have song-producing, or stridulating, organs located on their front wings. The females chirp in response to the shrill song of the males, which supposedly sounds like "katy did, katy didn't," hence the name. The song serves a function in courtship, which occurs in late summer. The female lays eggs in the ground or in plant tissue; the eggs hatch in spring. Newly hatched katydids resemble the adults except for their smaller size and lack of wings. Katydids are common in the Eastern United States and are also found in the tropics.

There are some 4,000 species of katydids in the world. They feed on the leaves, stems, flowers and fruits of a variety of plants. They also form an important part of the diet of many animals higher up in the food chain.

The true katydids of Eastern North America are considered great singers; each species has its own repetitive song, which is produced only at night. Many species resemble leaves, which aid in there ability to hide from predators. They are powerful jumpers; many species do not fly but merely flutter their wings during leaps.

Do you see him?!

How bout now, anything?

Look closer. He's there; I wouldn't tease you like that...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mr. Eastern American Toad

The Eastern American Toad ((B. a. americanus) is a common species of toad found throughout the eastern United States and Canada.

Here are a couple picture of one that I caught at work, during lunch just the other day. He spent the afternoon in my desk drawer, in a styrofoam cup until I got home. Once again, we kept her for the day and released her in the back yard. Here she is sitting on a Sedum plant. She had no problems posing for pictures, just look at her boasting full of confidence...

One of the benefits of having these amphibians hangin in your back yards is that they eat a variety of invertebrates, especially ants, beetles, slugs, spiders and mites. The eating of the 'slugs' is what I am most grateful of. We have too many slugs in our yard, more often found on my hosta plants and raspberries plants and a general nuisance causing more damage then good.

Some people call these common creatures "hop toads", and they do indeed move about in short hops rather than long leaps. Most toads are brown, but their colour can range from grey-brown to red-brown. Breeding males have a black throat and are smaller than females. Toads emerge from hibernation and fill the night air with long, trilling calls in May and June. Strings of 6 to 12 thousand eggs are laid in warm shallows; the small dark polliwogs develop rapidly and transform into miniature toads by September. Toads are among the last amphibians to hibernate each fall, and may be seen into late November.

Toads have a dry, "warty" skin. The "warts" are glands that contain a white sticky substance intended to turn away predators biting the toad. Handling toads will not cause warts in people. Some people say toads have the most "character" of all the amphibians. They are the most commonly seen frog in towns because they frequent backyard gardens and front lawns, often staying in one area all summer. Their hind feet have special small knobs for shoving soil aside so they gradually sink and bury themselves.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Abutilon (Ab yew til on)

Here are a couple pictures of plant given to us from our farmer friend Tim called Abutilon. I believe this guy is a Parlor Maple 'Souvenir de Bonn'. Originally we over-wintered this plant, and one other, at our house last winter at the request of Tim. In the Spring he took one back to his place and gave us this guy. A year ago this plant was small, no more than 12 to 15 inches tall. However, once transplanted to a larger pot, some TLC and the Summer spent outside by the pool has done wonders for this guy. It's now approximately 4+ feet tall and flowering like crazy! With the approaching cold weather, we've relocated this guy indoors to the kitchen where we can enjoy it and it us.

Abutilon is a genus of about 150 species and many more varieties, with common names like; Flowering Maple, Indian Mallow, Parlor Maple 'Souvenir de Bonn'. Flowering Maples are handsome tropical shrubs in the mallow family with large, maple-like leaves. They have a continuous display, April through November, of pendant, waxy, bell-shaped flowers. In climates with mild winters abutilons can become large shrubs, quickly growing to 4'-8' tall. They are excellent plants for containers, where they typically grow 3'-4' high. In colder climates they can be brought indoors for the winter. Abutilons are indispensable for attracting hummingbirds. In areas with hot summers abutilons require some shade and regular watering.

Abutilon pictum 'Souvenir de Bonn' has pretty orange flowers, but the main feature of this variety is its cream-edged leaves. It is a vigorous, erect small tree to perhaps 10' in all dimensions. Typically evergreen, with all or nearly all the leaves showing the variegation. Flowers are pendant, bowl-shaped, and soft orange with green striations. 'Souvenir de Bonn' needs a zone 9 or 10 climate, or shelter indoors during the cold months. It does well in a pot when pruned back heavily.