Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gentling Ginger III Contact!


We did it. Ginger was pussyfooting in the door, out the door, couldn’t make up his/her mind. I got down and enticed—to no avail, but then Buddy Bob gave her a chance. It only lasted about 5 seconds—long enough for a picture. But we’ve made contact. This kitty is about to trust us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Adopt a tree

Several years ago, I journeyed up to the botanical gardens in Atlanta to take a class on drawing trees. It was a wonderful experience. I didn’t produce a masterpiece, but I had a wonderful day outside. Plus, I learned lots about looking. There are many ways to see a tree.

The instructor suggested we adopt a tree for a year. She didn’t mean we should dig up a tree and take it home. No, she suggested we pick a tree in our own yard or somewhere that we were regularly and study it. Draw it. Look at it from all directions and different times of day for the year.

Know the tree.

I propose to do that only with photographs instead of drawing. I’ve picked my tree. I didn’t choose one of our towering pines—more about them another time, nor did I choose a fine live oak. I’ve picked a little tree near the curb in my front yard. A persimmon tree.

When we first moved in, I had no idea what the somewhat scrawny tree was. The first year we were here it produced exactly one persimmon, and a bird ate it. Now twenty years later we had a hugely abundant harvest. We gave fruit away, we mailed fruit across the country to friends. We munched on persimmons for breakfast and dinner. What bounty. Now that we have had some frost the fruit is gone. What we did not pick to eat or share, the birds made sure did not go to waste. This afternoon the tree was bare save for one lonely, last piece of fruit.

Gentling Ginger II

Ginger is coming along. She’s let Bob touch her. It was brief, but it was a touch. We’re encouraged. We enticed her into the back door with the lure of breakfast and warm after a cold night, but mostly she/he (we still haven’t solved that mystery) keeps her distance watching us from the edge of the porch or from under the Jeep.

She explored around the sunroom for a little while and then encountered the resident cat, Dolley. A spat ensued, but Ginger retreated outside and Dolley recovered nicely on her favorite resting place, the sheepskin.

I’d worried about Ginger on the cold nights, and then I discovered that her pal Bob had moved some bricks. She’s been warm and cozy under the house.

I’m leaving tomorrow for about ten days in Texas. I expect by the time I return that Ginger and Bob will be best buddies.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Gentling Ginger I

For a year, maybe more, this orange (I call it ginger) cat has been hanging around our house. It (we haven’t settled the he/she issue) strolled the front porch, peaked in the kitchen window, hid under the Jeep (scary) and meowed pitifully from under the azaleas.

We agreed on one thing. No more cats. Resident cat Dolly felt strongly about this.

“Shoo! Scat! You go on home where you belong.” Each time we saw it, we ran him/her off. It came back. We ran it off. It came back.

Around Thanksgiving, I don’t know, maybe it was the holiday spirit, I began to mellow. I sneaked a little dry cat food out under the azaleas. I didn’t tell Bob or Dolley. The next morning it was gone. Then I sneaked a little more. Bob caught me.

I didn’t stop. Bob gave up, next thing you know he’s joined the campaign.

“Here, Ginger, Ginger, Ginger. Want a little snack?” Once you name an animal there’s no going back.
Ginger will come up on the porch to eat, even meow to call for his/her breakfast if we aren't early enough. But there's no touching. She/he's had a hard life, it's clear from the chewed-on ear and the darting eyes. I suspect that human treatment hasn't been much better than what's come from other cats and few dogs. Now we're determined, we will gentle Ginger and bring a new member to our family. (It's hard to avoid those pronouns.)

Here’s Dolley regarding Ginger through the kitchen window. She’s not on the welcome committee--yet!

I'll keep you posted on the gentling of Ginger.

Blooming Bainbridge

It’s warmer today and Sunday, a perfect day for an after-lunch-and-too-many-political shows walk. Here at the end of January after a week unseasonably cold weather, guess what?
Bainbridge is in bloom! Here are some examples. Trees like this first one must blossom all over America. They flourish in front of houses with high school scholars inside. (That’s a Bainbridge Bearcat sign in the background.) Here are the toilet paper flowers on a “wrapped” tree after a couple of days of rain.
It looks lots like this natural beauty. A nearby Japanese magnolia(on the right) has bravely put out its natural and much more beautiful blossoms. I don’t know how they survived the 27 degrees we had the other night. I’m mighty glad they did! Made me smile to see these trees looking so much alike from a distance and so different close up. Like a lot of things in life
This nearby fruit tree (I think it’s a cherry) adds color to the January day.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cold winter day

Count me wrong. That sabbatical stretched way out beyond the trip to Texas, right on through the summer, the fall, the holidays, and now, here I am back again.
Midwinter in South Georgia. Usually we’re bragging about blooming camellias like these, mild days, walks in the park.

Not this year, we are cold, and today we’re wet. You’ll hear no complaints around here. After the driest year in ages, we welcome every drop—warm, cold. We’d love it if it were white.
Not much chance. In twenty-one years, we’ve seen snow about four times. Came close the other morning, though. With the thoughtlessness that accompanies a frost-free life, we forgot to turn off our sprinkler system the night last week that the temperature fell to 27 degrees. Brrrrr. We woke to white stuff. Although it wasn’t the ‘real thing,’ it was fun.
Now today is cold, tonight is forecast to be colder. (We’ll be sure to turn off the water.) It’s a good day to stay in and read, or revisit a long neglected blog.
I’ll willing to bet I’ll be back. I’ve got a great incentive. Next week is the fourth Stories from the Heart conference sponsored by Story Circle Network in Austin. I’m on the panel that’s discussing blogging—and I haven’t since May. Oh! Oh Dear! I’m going to make up for lost time this week. Then, I hope, I’ll be back in the habit. I have a project in mind that will get me on once a week. More about that tomorrow.
Meanwhile, learn more about the conference by visiting

Welcome back to South Georgia.