Friday Felines

The cats are expert sleepers. Zoe can sleep anywhere, and usually does.

Zoe asleep in the living room. Beware the teeth.

Sylvester doesn’t want to be disturbed. And please turn the lights off when you leave.

Sylvester on our bed, lights out

Chloe used to sleep in the house, but not so much any more, since we got Sylvester and Smokey. She could really relax.

Chloe laid out downstairs, away from the crowds

Dusty never sleeps inside, but he can find some unusual places outside.

We left this tub outside and Dusty found it agreeable for a nap



Early mantises

Last August when we saw the praying mantis on the fern hanging just outside the front door, we didn’t think much more than, “Wow, a praying mantis!” We took a few photos. It climbed up the chain we hung the fern on and it was soon gone. And we forgot about it.

The mantis who visited our fern in August, apparently having found it a good nursery

Leah brought the fern inside to overwinter. She cut off some of the lower fronds and we put it in the room we use for our office. Today she called me in to ask about some bugs she had found. I expected to find ladybugs, since they’re trying to get inside to escape the cold weather now. But they weren’t ladybugs.

Praying mantis nymph trying to escape a large index finger

Unfortunately, they were the praying mantis nymphs emeging from the eggs our earlier visitor left in August. I saw around 10 dead and six or seven live ones. Several dead nymphs are lying just over my finger near the sliding glass door that apparently attracted them. I put this one and the others I found outside, but I doubt they will survive, since, as I understand it, they should emerge in the spring. Apparently the warm inside temperatures made them emerge early. I’m sorry about that. I like praying mantises, and not only because they eat other insects and are generally neat. They are visual hunters, which means they will interact with you when you get close enough. Even the babies watch as the finger of doom approaches. I slipped an envelope up next to them and managed to get them to climb on, but they tended to jump off as I moved them outside. They jump like they have springs in their legs.

I wished them well, but it’s a cold world out there right now.


We found a couple more nymphs perched at the tip of some fronds. I caught them and ended up releasing them outside. We checked into trying to raise them but it looks like it would be fairly intensive, and even if we succeeded, we would end up with adult mantises that couldn’t be released outside because it would be the middle of the winter.

Zeke and the leaves

Our dog Zeke and I took a walk Saturday afternoon along one of the old roads that criss-cross Lavender Mountain*, where we live. It was clear and mild. The leaves were just past their peak of color. Hickory trees provided the most color. They’re usually bright yellow. I believe they are pignut hickories. Maples are relatively rare, but they provide some of the best color. They are sometimes yellow but are usually bright red. Chestnut oaks are the most common hardwood. They sometimes have some nice yellow color, but their leaves are usually brown.

Fall scene on an old, abandoned road on Lavender Mountain
















Zeke is not the best dog for companionship on the trail. He likes to roam. Here he is just after I took him off the leash. The surface is almost completely covered with leaves, mostly from oaks.

Zeke on the trail

It’s entertaining to watch Zeke run through the woods, if you can catch a glimpse. I’m not sure of the best word to describe it, but reckless comes to mind. The mountain is pretty steep. I have seen him come running full speed down the side of the mountain, reach a rise in the slope where the ground drops off even more steeply just beyond, and just jump. There is no way he can see what he’s leaping into.

The old road we took for this walk goes all the way down into Texas Valley from Fouche Gap*. The current road crosses the gap just where this remnant starts. There appears to be the remnant of another road on the other side of the current road. I have wondered whether it’s the original road over the gap, but there are so many old roads on the mountain that I have no way of telling. The mountain has been logged, so some road were almost certainly cut for that purpose. I have been told that the area around our house was once an orchard, and some roads would have been cut for that, too. I have looked for evidence of an orchard, but there is nothing but the old roads. No stray peach trees hiding in the forest.

Zeke and I walked down the road all the way to the bottom, where logging has left the area looking like a war zone. There are a few stands of maples but it’s mostly bare earth and piles of weathered trees and limbs. Some blackberries have started to colonize. Zeke usually takes off when we reach the bottom, so I have to start back without him. I stop and call him occasionally and he usually comes panting up the path after a while. I put the leash back on to make sure he doesn’t take off again.

Zeke after his run, ready to go home

Zeke loves his runs, but he’s pretty good at relaxing, too.

Zeke relaxing on the front walk at home

* I have read that Lavender Mountain is actually named for a man and not a color. He apparently spelled his name Lavendar, but lavender has stuck for the mountain. Fouche Gap is the road that leads over the mountain from the western side of Rome into Texas Valley. I have heard it pronounced Foo-shay, Foosh (our GPS likes that pronunciation) and Foo-she.

Finally, a blog

After thinking about it for a long, long time, we have finally taken the plunge into blogworld, just about the time the rest of the world has been thinking about moving on to something else. No matter. This is as much for us as it is for anyone else. I do hope to have some interesting material to post later on. I saw something dramatic in the sky over Huntsville, Alabama, a few days ago. You might be interested. We have traveled to a few great places and have taken some pictures. I’ll show them to you. I would like to tell you about my father. And probably my dogs. And I probably will.

So, give me a little while and check in later.