Monday, December 23, 2013

How the Christmas Cat Appropriated My Eyeglasses

Yesterday I was playing with my camera, experimenting with taking pictures of myself. I laid my glasses down nearby, on the piano top, because they were bouncing the camera's flash.

And quick as lightning, Thistle -- earlier nowhere in sight -- was beside them. At first he pretended that he was ignoring his intended prey.  Then he turned and delicately poked it.  Finally, he crouched down beside my only pair of glasses, as if to say: "I was only temporarily lending you this toy to wear on your face, and now that you've taken it off, I want it back!  And I dare you to try to reach for it.  So there."

I managed to get a couple of interesting, at least to me, shots of my face as I was observing this unwelcome behavior from my favorite pet and constant companion, before contesting his claim that my glasses belonged to him.  And I won, too.  (I usually win these arguments with him, though sometimes I just let him have whatever he's appropriated.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Berries on the Lipscomb Campus

Here are some photos I took on today's morning walk. The weather was gorgeously sunny, almost warm, with temperatures in the mid-50s, but the south wind felt quite chilly. I needed my scarf to keep my ears from aching, and I felt a bit cold whenever I was in a shady patch of sidewalk. The summery look of the blue sky in these pictures is deceptive.

Ornamental Flowering Crab Branches

Ornamental Flowering Crab Fruit

Ornamental Flowering Crab Tree

Avalon Hall. The little crab tree is in its side yard. 

Historical Marker Near Avalon Hall 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I missed seeing December's full moon rise yesterday evening, but I waked up early this morning and caught it as it was setting beyond my back fence, seemingly hanging from the bare branch of a small tree.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wind-blown holly twigs for Christmas

The recent storms have rained many beautiful little holly twigs, so glossy and bright, so festive with their red berries, all over my driveway. I took some photos and made one of them into my 2013 Christmas card.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thistle's Snow Day, Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Morning Manicure

Got it!

Pay attention!  This is my fish!

Too cold on the side porch. No birds there, either.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Only the Third December 10 Snowfall in Over 100 Years

The local news said tonight that the Nashville area got between one-half and one inch of measurable snowfall (in some areas ice fell ahead of the snow and in some all the precipitation was ice) in the early morning of December 10. The only other times since records have been kept that measurable snow has fallen on December 10 were in 1905 and again in 1944.

I made a few photos of my own yard and the street scene in front of my house about 7:30 this morning.  By 9:00 a.m. everything the sunbeams could reach had melted away, to become only a memory and a statistic in the record books.

But tonight as we drove home from Bellevue to Nashville, the roadsides that had been in the shade all day were sheets of ice still, and the layers of rock in the walls of the road cuts were iced in the ledges. And those ledges were hung with icicles in a few places.

Here are morning views from my yard and the street in front of my house.

Mayfair Avenue
Back Yard
My Shadow on the Driveway Under the Holly Trees

Hosta Leaves Weighed Down With Snow

Snow in the Forks of the Silver Maple

Thursday, December 5, 2013

More December Treasures

On this unseasonably warm December 5 -- it was 70 degrees F. at 7:00 a.m. -- I went for a walk between showers. Sycamore leaves were blowing across my yard, and the drenched cones that had fallen from the tall white pine across the street lay near several that had come to rest atop the general leaf litter in my yard.

Sycamore Leaf with White Pine Cone
Multiple Sycamore Leaves
The leaves of the sycamore tree slightly resemble those of the maple, but they are nearly twice as large, and the shape, when one looks closely, is noticeably different.

For comparison, here is a maple leaf that I photographed on December 3.
Maple Leaf
Sycamore Leaf

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Treasures

Despite the gray skies the day is wonderfully mild, and there was a dandelion showing its bright golden-yellow face by my mailbox, looking for the occasional gleam of sunlight that the shifting clouds let through.

Dogwood Buds

White Pine


Three-leaf Clover

Maple Leaf

Storm leftovers -- holly berries

Friday, November 1, 2013

My Morning Visitor: A Red-tailed Hawk

As I walked out into the early morning sunlight, a very large bird took flight from its perch on the low wall between my driveway and my sister's.  That concrete block wall is about shoulder high for me. I was not 10 feet from the bird when it flew. I had only a brief view of the pale underside of its wings as it soared leisurely away into the blue eastern sky.

Research at Wikipedia convinces me that it was almost certainly a red-tailed hawk.  I had not realized before how pale the feathers are on the underside of this beautiful bird.  This image from Wikimedia Commons  (Red tailed hawk saoring Maryland USA) is almost exactly what I saw, low but climbing with hardly a beat of its outstretched wings. My bird was slightly paler, almost white, and I did not register its brown back before it flew. At first I thought it might be an owl, but daylight was too far advanced for any owl to be out at that hour.

The image is by Badjoby (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons and is  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Badjoby requests at the site that someone fix the misspelling typo "saoring," since he doesn't know how -- but I don't know how to do that, either.  I am very grateful to him for granting the license to reproduce his beautiful photo.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just Before the Storm

Halloween festivities in Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, have been postponed to Friday, November 1, the "Day of the Dead."  That's because of the 100 per cent certainty of heavy precipitation and severe thunderstorms this afternoon, which would endanger the little trick-or-treaters  (and the big ones, too).  In NOAA's forecast there is also mention of the possibility of a few tornadoes. 

So yesterday I photographed the increasingly beautiful colors on the trees in my neighborhood, just in case the high winds should shake loose the rest of the leaves now dressed in their red and yellow Halloween costumes, carpeting the ground with them and leaving only the still preponderantly green foliage in the storm gusts' wake.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Bright Green, Dark Red

 The dogwood is still the only tree around here showing fall color. And it stands near a sparse carpet of fallen maple leaves beneath a tree that is mostly still green.  At the foot of the dogwood rest a few red leaves it has lost to the northwest wind. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dogwood in the Morning Sun

My neighbor's dogwood about 8:00 this morning.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunlit Bronze and Red

A different cultivar variety of dogwood from that in my sister's yard is in the front yard of my other next-door neighbor. It blooms earlier in the spring and changes leaf color earlier in the fall than does my sister's little tree.

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