|Pierre the Great (and the Gray)|
Today is National Hug a Cat Day, which of course means that Pierre and Razzleberry are hiding. Can you tell they "love" hugs? (sarcasm intended.) Actually, Pierre is out on the front porch snoozing to get away from his pesky little 'brother' Razzleberry. The cats have been getting along well, but Razzleberry is three years younger than Pierre, and on some days it shows. Pierre remains an active cat but Razzleberry wants to play, and he doesn't seem to like playing with cat toys. Pierre can entertain himself for hours batting around stuffed mice or his favorite, the stuffed chicken toys with real tufts of feathers, but Razzleberry doesn't have much use for stuffed toys. He'd prefer to play with Pierre's tail. Then the fight is on, with plenty of growls, snarls, and jockeying for position to see which cat has the upper paw. Fortunately they are both lovers rather than fighters and aside from some nasty sounding growling and hissing, nobody gets hurt.
I love to hug my cats but they don't really appreciate hugs, do they? Now Shadow the dog would love a hug, but she smells like a pair of old gym socks left at the bottom of a locker, which makes her rather unpleasant to hug sometimes. There are the occasional ticks marching along her coat . I give her a hug anyway and try to avoid the ticks.
Life has been good, but busy. The garden is settling into its summertime beauty. We've had enough rains so that the flower garden is blooming abundantly. The Japanese beetles arrived two weeks ahead of schedule and are already drowning themselves en masse in the bird bath. I told John that we should just put out more bird baths - gives the birds a place to play and acts like a natural Japanese beetle lure.
We lost one dogwood tree very suddenly, and it makes me sad that the something attacked and killed this beautiful red dogwood. We had no warning signs that the tree was going to die. John noticed a sort of horizontal slash across the trunk, which we believe was made by an insect of some kind. A few days later all the leaves turned brown and now the four year old tree is dead. I will need to research what could cause death to a healthy dogwood tree that fast. I am almost certain it was an insect as we do not use any chemical sprays (so no chem damage) and there was no sign of fungus, virus or other infection. It was just like sudden death to the entire tree after that weird slash appeared on the trunk.
Today, by the way, marks the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. It's an amazingly rare occurrence. It happened in 2004 and now today and tomorrow in 2012, and then it won't happen again for centuries! Of course you cannot look directly at the sun without damaging your eyes, but NASA has information on how to see it. I'll wait for the photos. The transit of Venus has all sorts of astrological symbolism. I am not into astrology (it's kind of superstitious in my book and against both logic and Christian values) but I do find it fascinating that this occurrence won't happen again for another 100 or more years. The last time this happened was in 1882! Here is NASA's information on the 2004 and 2012 transit of Venus. Along with how much I love the natural world, the animals and plants, I love learning about the stars, planets and galaxies. Just as I've sat in awe in a lawn chair and watched meteor showers here so too I hope to see on the news more pictures of Venus moving across the face of the sun....it will not happen again in my lifetime. Another awe-some moment!