Another cat food thief

Faithful readers might remember that we have had problems with foxes eating the cat food that Leah puts out in the driveway. Possums and raccoons have also treated the cat food as their own, personal buffet. Now we have another type of wildlife eating the cat food.

daddy longlegs

Daddy longlegs (opiliones) are an interesting arachnid. This one was eating a single piece of cat food that had spilled from the tray. Click on the image for a larger view where you can tell the daddy longlegs’ body from the piece of cat food. This one fed for quite a while, but at least it didn’t eat much.

Dark clouds

It seems like we see some of the most dramatic skies when we’re on our way home from the grocery store. Unfortunately, there are not many place where we can get a really good, unobstructed view of the sky. We managed to get these with my iPhone Friday night.

Crossing the railroad tracks

Crossing the railroad tracks

The area in the photo below was logged a few months ago in preparation for putting it on the market, so it’s fairly open. This is the same dark cloud.

black cloud

This cloud looked like a smoke plume. It was dark because it was so low. The clouds behind it are much higher and are still illuminated by the sun.

The area in the shot below is open because Georgia Power is dumping fly ash from the nearby coal-fired power plant. It’s near where Fouche Gap Road meets Huffaker Road. This is a panorama. Click for a bigger view

Untitled_Panorama3If you look carefully (or maybe not so carefully)  you can see some artifacts of the stitching. I use Photoshop Elements, which does a pretty good job of stitching shots together, but the shots need to be done carefully. I tilted my phone to avoid some chain link fencing in the foreground, so I had to let PE do some stretching and filling to get a rectangular image. I had a third shot with the moon, but PE wasn’t able to do a decent job stitching all three images together. That was my fault.

Dogs dogs dogs

Leah and I have lost count of the number of dogs that have been abandoned on the mountain since we moved here. We have managed to get almost all of them adopted, but we still worry about the next time. Wednesday morning we thought it was the next time. At about 5 AM we heard some strange noises outside, right about the time Zeke jumped up and started barking. I went to the kitchen window and heard what I thought was some kind of hound baying not too far behind our neighbors’ house. Then I heard what sounded like a clumsy deer crashing through the yard. I caught a glimpse of a black and white dog running across the driveway, but he disappeared into the night. We went back to bed, hoping he or they would have found their way home by the time we got up. No such luck. When I took the dogs out for their walk a few hours later, this is what we saw.

dogsdogsdogs

There are actually three basset hounds, two females and a male, although it’s hard to see all of them here. The younger female looked like she had given birth recently. I figured the male, who was unfixed, was the father. The other female had gray hair on her muzzle, so maybe she is grandma. They were friendly, the younger female especially. Zeke is typically frantic to get to any person or dog who comes to the gate, but he was not too bad this time.

I opened the gate to check the dogs out. The female jumped up on my legs, but by the time I was able to get a photo, she was already on her way back to Earth, ears flying.

flyingears

None of them was wearing a collar, of course. Leah and I were dreading the process of finding the owner, if he was not responsible for dumping them, or a new owner if he was.

We thought we should check with our neighbors down on Fouche Gap Road, since that seemed to be the direction they had come from. I wanted to walk our dogs down there anyway, but I didn’t want three hounds running along with us and possibly getting hit. I was relieved when they didn’t seem interested in following us, but before we had gone far, the younger female appeared behind us. She was apparently the pack leader, because the other two soon followed.

It turned out to be a good thing in the end. Our neighbor said they were, indeed, missing three dogs, and I turned around to point them out just as they were coming down the driveway to their house.

Our neighbors had found the three wandering a few miles away near some commercial buildings. There was an ad about the dogs in the local newspaper’s lost-and-found section. According to our neighbor, the owner said that the dog I thought had given birth was actually still pregnant.

In any event, the three bassets should soon be heading home, and I hope the owner takes better care of them in the future.

Sunset skies

As I have mentioned before, we don’t have a clear view of the west, so we have to look at what the sunset is doing to other parts of the sky. We saw this a few days ago.

redclouds

This is looking down Wildlife Trail next to our driveway towards Rome.

We also saw this.

blue beam

I don’t know exactly what caused this since we couldn’t see the sky behind us, where the sun was setting, but I have to assume there were clouds that cast shadows across the sky and clouds that we could see. I’m going to make another assumption that the two shadows were caused by different clouds or different parts of the same cloud, since they appear to be different widths and shadowing different parts of the sky. It’s odd-looking, almost like a blue beam shooting across the sky. I have seen this phenomenon before, but never with a good view to the west to actually see what’s causing it.