BenTha'er-Horizons

Animal Kingdom

Scooby Doo

We adopted a rambunctious new kitten from Cat Adoption Team the day after Thanksgiving. He is living in the office for now. He does love to play and also be held and loved.IMG_0349
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Cat Beds

We came home from the cat show with two soft flannel/microfiber pillow beds for the cats. One thought was to have this washable soft piece for Oscar besides the towel and our blanket. He seems to have taken well to this pillow bed and I wish we had gotten more.

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Oscar the Reader

What with our luggage getting soaked on the outside last night, Bob was unpacking and one of our new books he had taken on the trip got wet around the edges. As we sat it out in the sunlight to dry, Oscar decided he needed a good read.
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Frederik the Great Horse

There is a Friesian stallion named Frederik the Great, who is the most striking horse around. He looks like a beautiful statue with a long, flowing mane. This is one for the horse books for sure. He has been compared to Fabio due to his awesome mane of hair and looks. The details can be found here.

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Unusual Toxic Animals

We often know which snakes and other animals are deadly if they bite humans or other animals. I came across this article about some lesser known animals that have toxic qualities.
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A New Species

Shows how little I know and keep up with currently and in the past. It appears the wolf and coyote have mixed their genes and there is a species called the "coy wolf". The species is spreading in the Eastern U.S. A description of the animal is found here.
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Millenials Love Cats

Well, evidently the younger generation loves cats or at least cat related images and stories. I say why wouldn't they. Cats are so uniquely wonderful. A stress reliever in a small furry package. Just what I need. Otherwise here is the cat loving story.
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Nice Rack

The camera card showed a number of deer photos again. We have a buck out there with a nice rack of horns and another young buck with just nubs showing up around.
Here is the older buck.
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A Buck A Day

The trail camera caught this great photo of an older buck on a sunlit day. His rack of antlers seem to frame the picture well.
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Elk at Night

The trail camera captured a few night time photos again. This time it was a cow elk again moving past the camera. Here is a picture of one of our local herd.
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Dog Shelter

Bob had to assist as a CERT member over at the Linn County Dog Control shelter for a Family Day. There were a couple of dogs they had that we could have been interested in. I believe they went to other homes which is best. We want to make a more deliberative decision if we can to add another dog as a pet.
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Motion

Another assignment was to do motion. The bee from last week was also caught in motion between lavender sprigs. A bit of a fun picture.
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Turkey In The Act

Even our wild turkeys like to get in the act around the camera. Surprising it is just one and not the flock which wanders around the area. There are lots of them.
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Closer Elk Viewing

Here is another view of the elk as they try to get a better look at the camera area.
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The Elk

We looked at the trail camera memory card today and there was a lot of activity on the card………..deer, a turkey, and part of the elk herd went by. See one of the photos.
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Ladybugs

We see them all over the house and outdoors. People will say, "Don't harm the Ladybugs". They really are not a bug and are of the beetle family. They live on aphids which can harm crops.The belief is that the name Ladybug is so from a specific lady—the Virgin Mary. Why? No one knows for sure. the red shell for the red cloak? More can be found here.
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A Cougar on the Loose

We also had a cougar venture through almost 24 hours after the elk did. Stalking a potential kill?
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Elk in the Neighborhood

Got a night shot of a recent cow elk moving through our property and triggered the Trail Camera.cow-elk
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Real Jurassic Park

So will we really try to do a version of Jurassic Park some day in the near future. It appears they are looking at bringing back different extinct species through using samples of their DNA, De-extinction they call it. More can be found here.

Jurassic Park has a lot to answer for. It made the idea seem so simple. Take the DNA from a microscopic drop of dinosaur blood, preserved for 65 million years in the gut of a mosquito trapped in fossilised amber. Carry out a bit of jiggery-pokery involving chaos theory and Jeff Goldblum. Insert the dino DNA into the yolk of a crocodile’s egg and leave to incubate. Soon you’ll have a thriving menagerie of once-extinct beasts roaming the jungles of someone’s private theme park. The 1993 Hollywood blockbuster and Michael Crichton novel of the same name may not have invented the idea of “de-extinction” but they certainly put it out there as a concept. And like all good works of science fiction, it showed what goes wrong when scientists get above themselves. A rampant T-rex is, after all, the ultimate invasive species.
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Ready For The Closeup

We captured some more photos from our Trail Camera of the local deer herd. One seemed to be saying, "Ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMIlle".IMG_0050
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"We Have Worms"

As Bob and I were driving back home from having breakfast in town today, I saw a sign along Highway 20 in front of a small store that stated, "We Have Worms". Now I would have preferred it said, "We sell worms". It brought back memories of the days that my grandparents raised and sold earthworms to fishermen who went up into the mountains to fish along the Santiam River or were going over to Central Oregon to boat and fish on the lakes there. They had a lucrative business and their worms were big and lively, so therefore well sought after by people who drove by. At that time they lived also along Highway 20 (or S. Santiam Hwy) were the Citgo Gas Station is now located. With that said, do fish really like earthworms? Check out the facts here.
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Ili Pika

I came across an article showing an adorable looking creature called an Ili Pika. They were first discovered about 20 years ago and were recently photographed again in the Tianshan Mountains of northwestern China. This species is rare and considered vulnerable to extinction. More can be found here.
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National Geographic Photo of an Ili Pika
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The Nature of Calico Cats

As a veterinarian, I know why calico cats are almost always female. I did come across early in my career a male calico cat. He was more black than white background with orange and white areas. He probably was fertile and I had to neuter him. It would have made him a better cat. Since I am much older, this kitty has long gone to use all of his nine lives. To learn more about calico cats, go here.
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Island for Cats

"Aoshima Island is one of about a dozen "cat islands" around Japan, small places where there are significantly more feline residents than people. In Aoshima more than a hundred cats prowl the island, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in the quiet fishing village. Cats outnumber humans six to one on the island. Recently becoming popular online, tiny Aoshima has seen a steep rise in tourist visits, overwhelming the handful of permanent residents."

Read the article and see the stunningly beautiful photos of the cats. Very striking in color and similarity…….likely grouping of the gene pool.
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Elk Viewing

The weather has been beautiful lately, sunny and warmer days, for Oregon this time of year. We could see our local herd of elk out sunning themselves yesterday afternoon in one of the grass fields across the way. It is close to a small creek draw with trees that they can hide in when they need it without being bothered by people. We hope they will come up our way and cross in front of the trail camera. Wouldn't that be neat?
So here we have the elk will often cross the roadway next to our little barn (seen on the home page). Would having elk crossing signs help? We have deer crossing signs down near one curve where the deer are known to frequently travel. They do seem to take similar paths as they travel. But do the deer crossing signs help? See if so here.
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Coyote Checking It Out

Here is another photo from the trail camera's photos from the last group of pictures. In this one the coyote is sniffing around where the three deer had been 20 minutes before. He is checking on his prey I would assume.
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Coyote picture

A two week check on our trail camera. No night shots this time, only day photos with some deer and one coyote who is following the deer track. Interesting photo.
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What The Deer Think

Now I will show what the deer think and how they show off for the camera. Interesting how it gives the time and temperature. BRRRR for 34 degrees at around 6:40 in the morning.
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Trail Camera

Scott and Melissa got us a motion detecting Trail Camera for the Christmas holiday. We finally got it put up about 10 days ago. Bob brought the memory card in to load anything on the computer. First we do have the main wildlife in this family checking out the camera to see how it is working.
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Dep Thoughts from Cats

Here is a web page with a lot of fun photos to laugh at "cat thoughts". Enjoy!
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A Funny Fish Habit

I came across one of the "Today I Found Out" trivia pieces and had a real chuckle at the title about fish that "Talk with Farts". I didn't realize that herring had such an interesting aspect to their makeup. Gee, I wonder what people would be like if they moved around in schools directed by how they passed gas.
Check it out here.
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Doggie Transport

Adder enjoys his rides around the farm property when he can ride on the tractor or be hauled in the back of one of our trailers. Here he is waiting to follow the tractor another day.
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Fat Cat

One week ago we all had a great Thanksgiving meal at David and Renee’s home. One always seems to feel stuffed with food at the end. I would have to say that I felt like the following picture after all was eaten.
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Cat Cafe

Well, the craze started overseas and now has come to the United States. There was a recent article in the local paper about a cat cafe opened in Oakland, CA. Now someone is opening one in Portland. It had to happen and it probably would be a hoot to visit. Part of me would love to start one but worrying about all the business headaches that go with it would not be fun. I wonder what all regulations the Health Dept. has developed for these. Read it here.
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Story of Arthur the Dog

Time to read one of the most heart warming stories you might ever come across. This has to be the luckiest and most determined dog you could ever find. That determination though (and desperation) is what allowed Arthur to be a lucky dog. Along with kind-hearted people.Tough enough to live in Ecuador trying to find a meal, even harder to keep up with an extreme sports team in the Amazon. Read about Arthur here.
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Perfectly Round Cat

There is a picture someone took of their fluffy white cat which came out looking like the cat was perfectly round. Very cute photo. People have been having fun photoshopping the picture into many other scenes and photos. Which one can be the most outrageous round cat.
Check it all out here.
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A Dog's Life

While running errands around town I noticed a couple of lazy, comfortable pooches on the back end of a truck. One dog was curious and watching his surroundings, the other one took time to curl up and take it easy on top of a tire. Oh, the dog’s life it is.
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Controlling Cats

A good picture of what we can expect our cats to demand of us at anytime.

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Winn Sponsored Talks

Winn’s sponsored speaker started today in his lectures. Here is Dr. Webb with Dr. Peter Mundschenk, a friend. Peter is moderating the session. Dr. Webb highlighted Winn and Winn’s research where people really sat up and took notice. Very good talk and a lot of interest. I was able to get a podcast done with Dr. Webb and it went well!
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The New Winn Website Has Launched

The new Winn Feline Foundation website has launched today. It has been a wish for at least three years and a definite for the past year. It certainly has consumed my time and my life for the past weeks to months. It looks great. I feel like we should take a big bottle of champagne and break it over something much like they do with a ship launching. Though that is a waste of good champagne and be fund drinking it slowly. Check out the new website.
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Cats and Babies

Being a cat lover, I was enamored with this cute video of a cat getting along with a new baby. What a pair! It is enjoyable items like this that prove to me why I love cats. For your viewing pleasure.
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Cat Friendly

I went last week to visit where my friend, Marybeth Rymer, works. She gave Bob and I a tour of their hospital. They have set the hospital up to be Cat Friendly. They have tried to set aside a portion of their waiting area for the cats and cat owners. Here is an example of what is being done to be Cat Friendly at a dog/cat practice.
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Stained Glass Cats

Here was one of my favorite parts of the practice. I remember when I had the fellow from Russia who was an artist in mosaics and stained glass. I commissioned him to do this piece to replace the glass side window at the entrance. It is an original and a very nice piece. I wish I still owned it.
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Civic Feline Clinic Waiting Room

Bob and I stopped by Civic Feline Clinic to say hello. We were able to see Teri, Michele, Angela and also Dr. Ellis. It was fun to be in the old stomping grounds. I miss the feel of owning the practice and seeing it grow. I don’t miss the stress. Here is the waiting room with one of the hospital cats.
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Genetics and Dr. Leslie Lyons

While at the conference, I was able to do a podcast interview with Dr. Leslie Lyons. She is a renowned geneticist who is now located at the University of Missouri. She has done amazing work in the genetics field of cats. Her lab has found a number of important mutations that they have developed genetic tests to find these mutations. Here is Dr. Lyons talking about some of the early genomic work to sequence the cat genome. Winn Feline Foundation has been active in supporting this area.
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Dr. Niels Pedersen's Retirement

Part of the weekend at the International Cat Conference was to participate in the retirement party of Dr. Niels Pedersen who led the Center for Companion Animal Health at UC-Davis. He has a long history in feline medicine and was very much a pioneer in viral research in cats. Here he is listening to a scientific presentation during the conference.
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Winn Feline Foundation at UC-Davis

Here is Bob in his nice green shirt with the Winn logo. Our Winn Feline Foundation table all set up at the International Cat Conference at UC-Davis.
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Abandoning Military Canines

It is very upsetting to read that a number of the military canines have been abandoned to shelters overseas instead of being brought home. This is not right. The dogs have been trained by us and many have saved soldiers’ lives. They deserve better treatment from this country and more should be done to bring them home to homes here when they retire. Read about it here.
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Get Your Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit

For all the cat lovers out there, get your Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit......crazy_cat_lady_box
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Tug of War

Ryan was having fun tonight and almost 15 months old he is getting pretty playful. He enjoys a bit of silliness. David caught him in this picture having a back and forth tug-of-war with Dervish’s frisbee toy. I understand it was quite hilarious to watch.
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A Single Democrat

Here is a photo of one of the grabbier, aggressive “Democrats” of the group. This one made sure it got plenty of the bread from dinner the night before.
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The Democrats

One should be able to detect that I am not a fan of the modern Democratic Party and what they stand for. I am very anti- when it comes down to it. Our friend Tim has labeled the six masked critters who come begging for handouts, “The Democrats”. How apt. They are looking for free dry pet kibble. I must admit they are cute to view but I am sure not too friendly if you got close. They stay hidden in the trees and shrubs until they can skulk out and grab their goodies.
BTW, we were headed home from the South today. Our plane trip was good and all on time.
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Re-Homing Cats

A day of helping others find a home for two lovely Abyssinian female cats who just lost their owner to cancer. These two girls sound pretty stressed and in need of a forever loving home. It sounds like both may have that place in a home up in Washington State. A good thing if all works out well.
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Kids, Books and Cats

I wish they had this type of reading program when I was a kid and went to the Lebanon Library. I love to read and certainly enjoy being around animals, especially cats. It would have been close to heaven to be able to go and spend time with cats at a shelter and read to them while there. This is a fun article and I can just feel the tension leave just reading and looking at the pictures. Please check it out here.
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Crazy Cat Cake

I am not into Facebook. I most likely will need to do so as I take on this new job. Too many things to keep track of if I do though it is expected of a person more and more.
A lot of the rest of the family does like Facebook and our daughter-in-law had a post awhile ago showing this fun cake that would be perfect for crazy cat ladies or people. This could be one for my next birthday. Happy
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Animals in World War l

The Atlantic Magazine has another edition of the World War l in photos. This edition is focused on the animals as part of the war effort. Primarily dogs and horses. The photos can be found here. Due to this was war and “war is hell”, I caution that some of the photos are more graphic in nature and some may not want to view them.

“But the need for constant resupply, movement of new heavy weaponry, and the transport of troops demanded horse power on a massive scale -- automobiles, tractors, and trucks were relatively new inventions and somewhat rare. British and French forces imported horses from colonies and allies around the world, a near-constant flow of hundreds of thousands of animals across the oceans, headed for war. One estimate places the number of horses killed during the four years of warfare at nearly 8 million. Other animals proved their usefulness as well: Dogs became messengers, sentries, rescuers, and small beasts of burden. Pigeons acted as messenger carriers, and even (experimentally) as aerial reconnaissance platforms. Mules and camels were drafted into use in various war theatres, and many soldiers brought along mascots to help boost morale.”
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Cats and Voices

Do cats recognize the voices of their owners? Cats have an almost 10,000 year history of cohabiting with humans. Have they learned the ability to pick up on communication from the people they know? See the abstract here.

“Of the 20 cats, 15 demonstrated a lower response magnitude to the third voice than to the first voice. These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners’ voices. This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.”
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Babies, dogs and balls

Our dog, Dervish, loves his ball. He loves chasing his ball, especially if thrown by a family member. Dogs also seem to think that if someone has the ball, it is meant to be shared, to be thrown. Ryan thinks the ball is for chewing with his new teeth. Both believe the ball then is meant for their use though sharing can occur. One can see from the following picture how this can be done.
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The Most Deadly Animal in the World

What is considered the most deadly animal in the world? I am sure there would be a lot of different choices picked by people. The anarchists in the world would vote for the human race. Well, the Gates Foundation has pointed to the “lowly” mosquito. The reason is that the mosquito is a vector or carrier for so many deadly diseases--malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis. I guess that explains why I don’t like them and any mosquito bite on me creates a “big reaction”. Big swollen lump and itching. Read more here about the deadly “little fly’s” effect on the world’s population.
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Goat Boss

Of course, the most fun thing out there in the farm animal world is the goat. They always seem to want to be on top of things, on top of the world. One funny scene I viewed driving into town was a goat standing on the back of a horse while the horse was resting. I couldn’t get the photo since the goat saw me stop and then it moved. Here is a “Goat Boss” at the AgFest the other day. Overseeing all the other goats’ activities.
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Sleeping Dervish

The dogs go along with Bob as he works in the woods. They play in the trees and try to race the tractor home, especially Dervish. This is hard work for dogs and it catches up to them like it does us. Just see this picture from last night with Dervish sleeping below our feet. It is a dog’s life.
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Cats and Egyptian History

Were cats domesticated in Egypt much earlier than we previously knew? New bones of kittens excavated in Egypt say so. Read about it here.

“The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.

The bones come from a cemetery for the wealthy in Hierakonpolis, which served as the capital of Upper Egypt in the era before the pharaohs. The cemetery was the resting place not just for human bones, but also for animals, which perhaps were buried as part of religious rituals or sacrifices. Archaeologists searching the burial grounds have found everything from baboons to leopards to hippopotamuses.

The new find includes two adult cats and four kittens from at least two litters. The size of the bones and timing of the litters hints that humans may have kept the cats. The bones date back to between 3600 B.C. and 3800 B.C., which would be 2,000 years before the earliest known evidence of cat domestication in Egypt, archaeologists report in the May issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.”
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De-Extinction

Culture leads current life experiences? Books and movies may predict what we may eventually do? Do we think that Jurassic Park was just a movie? Just because we can do something, does that mean we should? I ask these questions because there is a long article discussing how the new technology in genetics means we very possibly can bring extinct species back from extinction. Work has started on bringing back the Woolly Mammoth. The article in question addresses a more current extinction and interest, return of the Passenger Pigeon, the most populous bird in our history that went extinct within the matter of decades. Unbelievable, yet read about it here.Passenger Pigeon
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Home Catification

Have you ever thought of catifying your home? Your cat probably did for you. They may even have the plans drawn up. All cats believe they deserve the best. Don’t they? Certainly the 18 cats in this home in Santa Barbara must have had a long talk with the owner and builder to get the catified home they deserved. It is aMAZEing.
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Animal Photo Bombs

It is great to get a good laugh with animal photos. One of the big things shared on the internet are what are called “photo bombs”. Someone or something unexpectedly shows up in part of a photo that should be a normal photo that displays a “visitor” in the picture. Most of the photo bombs are with people. Someone put together a group of photos where animals are photo bombing the scenes. I suspect some are photo edited. They still are fun to view. Here is one where the cat steals the march on the dog from the background. The photo is an image saved down from this website.animal-photobombs-23
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Beach Dog Ball

Following up on the photo of the two dogs romping on the beach, I did get a photo of one of them running and playing with a yellow ball, much like the one Dervish has. It is fun to watch dogs have a great time at play. This was taken at the beach in the center part of Lincoln City.
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Dogs Having Beach Fun

The beach near the D River and the Shearwater Inn seems to collect a lot of beach goers, animals, and kite flyers. I was able to catch a couple of dogs having fun running along the beach, into the waves, and playing catch with a yellow-green ball like our dogs. The dogs here enjoy their beach run, for some reason our dogs don’t seem to enjoy it like their romps in the trees and pastures here.
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Neanderthals and Humans

I read an interesting science article discussing where Neanderthals and Humans were close in sharing genetic material and more detail on where the divergence most likely happened. They believe that the level of shared genes is at about 2%, more found in non-African people and essentially very little relationship with African people to Neanderthals. Some of the alleles that control addiction to smoking, Type II Diabetes, and some other diseases appear to have some coverage between the groups. They believe any interbreeding between Humans and Neanderthals occurred near the end of our divergence. One can find more details in the article found here.
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Why Do Birds Fly in V Formation

Scientists have been looking into further the reason why birds often fly in a V formation. There has been a lot of speculation and theory though not a lot to substantiate the reason. Certainly, airplanes flying in the military will mimic that V. It is felt that it adds in air flow to those flying behind and to the side and is more fuel efficient. Here is an article that explains it in more depth.

“Just as aerodynamic estimates would predict, the birds positioned themselves to fly just behind and to the side of the bird in front, timing their wing beats to catch the uplifting eddies. When a bird flew directly behind another, the timing of the flapping reversed so that it could minimize the effects of the downdraft coming off the back of the bird’s body. “We didn’t think this was possible,” Usherwood says, considering that the feat requires careful flight and incredible awareness of one’s neighbors. “Perhaps these big V formation birds can be thought of quite like an airplane with wings that go up and down.” “
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Cats Can Play

Some person must really love a bit of architecture and also love their cats. Through another cat veterinarian I know, I saw a link to a page in My Modern Metropolis. The page was filled with wonderful pictures of a home, an apartment, that was filled with indoor cat structures. The cats here should not feel much indoor environmental stress since their space if full of enrichment. See here what we humans are missing for our own playhouse.
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Cougars in America

No, I don’t mean the “Older Women who seek younger men” type of cougars. The four-legged cat like type of cougars. We have a number of them in Linn County and even on and around our property. A cougar killed a goat at the home on the property next door. They had a recent map online showing how cougars have spread from their usual habitat out West to the middle and eastern parts of the country. You can see the map here. Cougars can range over many miles
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A Cat's View of the World

One artist is trying to offer a rendition of how a cat’s vision works as it views different parts of its surroundings. They operate and view items differently than human. They have more rods than cones in the center of their retina so they can see better in very dim light though they do not have the clarity and color vision that people do.

Because of the various photoreceptors parked in cats’ retinas, they kick our asses at seeing in dim light. Instead of the color-resolving, detail-loving cone cells that populate the center of human retinas, cats (and dogs) have many more rod cells, which excel in dim light and are responsible for night-vision capability. The rod cells also refresh more quickly, which lets cats pick up very rapid movements — like, for example, the quickly shifting path a marauding laser dot might trace.

With this description, I think they would be great security sensors in a Zombie Apocalypse. They could sense zombie movement at night much quicker that we could. Right? Read about how their vision differs here.
Human View
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Cat View
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New Thoughts on Our DNA

A recent article talks about some newer thoughts on DNA and the fact that some people may have more than one set of DNA in their body. Chimerism. It offers a puzzle and thought that if this is true for people, could this also be true in other animal species? Is this why we may not find a mutation in some cases when researchers look and don’t locate what they expect? Fascinating and very curious.
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Hornet's Nest

Well, when a person claims they landed in a hornet’s nest, one could say Bob came close to it today. He went to clean out the fountain just outside the family room window. As he was working, he got stung 3 times on his arms. On close observation, he found that the stings were from hornets coming from this nest at the bottom of a lilac bush next to the fountain. They did not like his increased activity near their home. I must say this well-built HUGE nest would go well in the book I have called Animal Architecture.
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Whales and Dolphins

There was an amazing story with photos on the internet of a killer whale stalking and then eventually capturing a dolphin for the kill. The photos are amazing in detail. While I would not relish seeing such animalistic behavior, I would LOVE to be able to get photos that are so striking as these in this article.
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Dervish

Right around one year ago, a black lab was running loose on Berlin Rd. A person could hear the car horns blare as people would honk as they dodged this frightened dog. He was unneutered and had a poor hair coat. Bob was fortunate to finally catch him and rescue him from car dodge ball. Dervish lucked out and has come to be a fixture in the household. He likes his food, his ball, his walks, and his time indoors snuggled up against the recliner. One can see what a dog’s life is like at this house by viewing Dervish on our cushy front porch chair.
Dervish
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Doggie Driver

Stopping in Colfax WA as we set out to leave the Palouse Hills, this canine (doggie) driver seemed to be settled in to say “Goodbye” to the Thayers. I hope he shares the controls with his owners or it will be a “dog fight”. I hope the owner of this vehicle can “CoExist” with this dog.
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Dog Wants a Kitty

How can you not have a good smile on your face when a goofy dog “speaks” about how he is looking forward to adopting a kitty? This video was very cleverly put together and I salute their creativity!
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The Cat that Walked by Himself

In exploring more of the reading site of Rudyard Kipling poems, books, and short stories, I came across this short story about The Cat that Walked by Himself. It is definitely a demonstration of what the cat thinks of himself versus what man and the great canine enemy think of cats. It is just a fun example of Kipling’s style of writing and imagination. Read it here.
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GPS Your Cat

There is a book out where a cat owner put a GPS unit on her traveling cat to see where this particular feline visited in their area.
The article is found in The Atlantic and can be found here. One point determined was that the cat liked to visit about three homes and look at their image in the window. Just like a cat……………how do we look today and will you feed me?

The cat came back.

But why? And what was he doing while he was gone?

These questions plague cat owners across the world, and they form the backbone of the new book, Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology. As author Caroline Paul and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton chart their discoveries in the feline world, they unfurl an uncommonly charming and wise tale.

The narrative centers on Paul's two cats, Fibula and Tibia, and what happens when the latter mysteriously leaves home for six weeks -- and then returns. Paul becomes fixated on discovering where he'd gone (and where she suspects he continues to go) with the aid of technology. MacNaughton, Paul's partner, rides shotgun on the quest, documenting the trip in a series of improbably hilarious and profound drawings. There are so many good jokes and cute kitties, you can almost miss the terror of loving something (or someone) that provides the book's depth.

There are twists and turns along the way (including a brilliant setpiece in an animal communication class), but a sly allegory emerges from all the drawing and writing: Technology can do many amazing things, but no GPS unit or CatCam can tell us what questions we should be asking in the first place.

To be optimistic, though, the human process of piecing together the tech's failures and successes can build towards the kind of realization that Paul comes to at the end of the book. "I didn't need to turn on the computer and re-analyze the maps. I didn't need to scour the photos. I didn't need to have an animal-human conversation," Paul writes. "Clear and bright as the pink of a kitty trail on a satellite map was this final truth: Tibby had just not wanted to be at home."
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Dogs and Tractors

I found in one of my computer photos this picture of Black Adder riding in the John Deere riding mower trailer following along behind Bob. One of this dog’s favorite things to do in this world and one of the fun things in life to watch.

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De-Extinction

Is Jurassic Park right around the corner? Will they be able to bring back the Passenger Pigeon? Maybe we won’t have to angst over the loss of the Snail Darter after all? Scientists feel that they are on the verge of using DNA to revive old species who have become extinct. Check out more details here. As they say, bringing back the saber-toothed tiger might not be a good idea……..getting too close to a Sci Fi saturday night movie then.

“Genomic technology and techniques are advancing rapidly. It is becoming feasible to reconstitute the genomes of vanished species in living form, using genetic material from preserved specimens and archaeological artifacts. Some extinct species may be revivable. Ecological enrichment through species revival. …”

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A Lion at Heart?

Are some of our cat’s behaviors much like their cousins in the wild? Could that rubbing along your leg applying a scent marking or lurking high above you on their cat perch be some of what we are speaking of? Read about it here.

Have you ever wondered why your pet cat rubs up against your legs, kneads your thighs with its forepaws or sleeps on top of a wardrobe? These, and many other behaviours, can be attributed to the tiger lurking within your pet tigger.

A recent report conducted by feline experts Whiskas has established close links between domestic cat behaviour and behaviours exhibited by their wild big cat cousins.
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Zodiac Cats

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, yet I am featuring Zodiac cats. Someone has taken a photo of cats in different funky costumes to match the sign of the Zodiac. No little leprechaun cats here. They are quite adorable as cats can only be.
Check out your cat sign here.
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No Sweet Tooth for Cats

Cats lack a sweet tooth. Boy, they don’t know what they are missing. They have a broken gene that makes them unable to detect sweet tastes. So in spite of thinking they want your ice cream, they really are just beggars. Here is the article about how this happened. I wonder what grumpy cat, Tardar Sauce, thinks about that.

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Cats on a Map

Someone has developed an interactive map to put “Cats on a Map”. One can see a little cat face icon especially over the European continent. Check out the story and links to the map here.

A Cat Map pinpointing the exact locations of all of the world’s housecats is now live courtesy of the Zoological Society of London.

Well, actually, it doesn’t include all of the world’s cats…yet. There are just over 3,000 on the map now, but that number will surely grow. While the Zoological Society initially put out a call for Londoners to add their cats to the map, kitty lovers from around the globe are also welcome to submit photos and a few bits of info about their felines for inclusion.

The new map is searchable, so if, say, you are interested in checking out adult male tabbies, you can simply input that request into the search engine, and up pops a map full of adorable cat faces indicating the whereabouts of known tabbies, and some quick-hit info about them.
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Cats as Train Masters

Tama, the calico cat became the train master for the Wakayama Railroad in Japan. The railroad was about to fail until they found that Tama made a great mascot for the railroad. Cats are a popular symbol and they seem to have been able to recoup due to Tama’s popularity. Check out the calico cat.

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Cats and Traps

Cat humor is some of the most viewed and funniest (especially if you are a cat lover) stuff on the internet. ICanHasCheezburger is one spot and CatsLOL is great also. They just seem to blithely and elegantly do things we least expect them to. Could we sit in boxes with such dignity as if this was our throne? Put out a box or a paper bag and the cat most likely will be there. If one wishes to consider them a trap, not severely so, just a way to humor us and our cat friends.

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Cats With Eyebrows

The newest cat sensation on the internet has black eyebrows on white. Too bad so much of this internet experience was not available when I was taking photos of patients. You can see Sam at two sites, Instagram and his own website. Someone is having fun taking photos of their cat.
So do you think this innocent looking cat, Sam, would be part of a tribe of bird and small mammal killers.
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Eradicate Cats?

Some fellow wants the people of New Zealand to make their current cat their last one. It is to protect the birds and native habitat. He is also fine with euthanizing them. I do not believe I will put him on my Christmas card list. You can read about this cat hater here.
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Smart Cat

I like to believe that people know how smart cats are. They just don’t like to rub it in and let us in on the secret. This webpage shows how smart one cat is in the shell game. We should send this cat to a baseball game and let it pick the right “shell” when this is done on the Jumbotron. I also went through the 10 videos of cats opening doors. I liked the one where all the little dogs stood around eager to have a door opened and can’t do it, while the cat present finally does it for them. See, they know how to show their value when it is necessary.
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Cats and Women

This study is from 2011, though I only noticed it in a blog article today. Anything that relates to how cats and humans interact is of interest, especially even better if related to women. This article is about how cats adore and manipulate their female owners. Now who would say that!

While cats have plenty of male admirers, and vice versa, this study and others reveal that women tend to interact with their cats — be they male or female felines — more than men do.

“In response, the cats approach female owners more frequently, and initiate contact more frequently (such as jumping on laps) than they do with male owners,” co-author Manuela Wedl of the University of Vienna told Discovery News, adding that “female owners have more intense relationships with their cats than do male owners.”


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Grumpy Cat

This is a day of trying to finish up some items and learn some new tricks on the internet, etc.

I must say though the day started off quite cute with this story about a Grumpy Cat, called Tardar Sauce. It is a cute story and I love Tardar Sauce. With social media, people are taking the average funny looking pet and making a marketing project out of it. I say, Go For It. If you can develop a brand, good for you. I would buy a Tardar Sauce T-shirt and I don’t like T-shirts. To read about adorable Tardar Sauce, go here.

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An Owl

I will have to try some photo editing at another time to see if I can lighten this picture to get detail. I think this is a Barn Owl. I don’t want to label it as The Owl, my barred owl photo is special and is The One. Though I don’t like thinking Bob’s theory is correct (where its current forest habitat being gone now with section of trees logged nearby), I do hope we will see more of it. They seem so imperturbable. There was a gunshot close by and while I could see the owl turn its head, it did not fly away. The photo is a bit interesting in that the owl is in silhouette with almost a dark tree against light fog effect.

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An interesting recipe to make for feeding the wild birds.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS (FOR FEEDING BIRDS)
2 CUPS LARD
1 CUP CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER
2 CUPS QUICK OATS
2 CUPS CORNMEAL
1 CUP FLOUR
1/3 CUP SUGAR
1 CUP RAISINS
1 CUP WILD BIRD SEED

MELT LARD AND PEANUT BUTTER TOGETHER OVER LOW HEAT. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND STIR IN REMAINING INGREDIENTS. POUR INTO COOKIE SHEET WITH SIDES OR MOLDS. LET COOL AND FEED.
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Jacklynn Cat

This Tuesday I will speak for the fourth year in a row to the first year veterinary students at Oregon State University. I have my powerpoint presentation almost complete. I did have Scott film a seven minute video of performing a physical examination on a cat using Jacklynn as my subject. She was pretty good though had her moments of “I am gone” and “I know you are going to kill me”. Here is our darling Jacklynn resting in one of her favorite spots near the wood stove.
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Cats and Bear Dogs Together

Paleontologists have found that saber-toothed cats and bear dogs lived in a shared living space in the woodlands of central Spain 9 million years ago. From the article, here is a short paragraph on their description. They competed for the same type of prey, horses and wild boar.

Inside the pits, the team found three late-Miocene Period predators: the leopard-sized saber-toothed cat Promegantereon ogygia, the much larger, lion-sized Machairodus aphanistus, and the bear dog Magericyon anceps. Neither bear nor domestic dog, bear dogs were large prehistoric predators with teeth like a dog and a body like a bear. Their physiology suggests that they moved with a lumbering gait and were capable of short bursts of speed.

So when the movies joke about “cats and dogs living together”! It did happen.
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Coats of Many Colors

Ah, cats. They are a thoroughly intriguing species. Especially if you count our relationship with them. I know that from working with them and enjoying them as a companion and patient, I do have some beliefs about coat color and their “nature”. Consider the recent period of Halloween we just experienced and the myth of black cats being unlucky. Black cats are often less likely to be adopted from shelters due to this type of myth. In the long run, it is the individual cat that counts. That is what is so wonderful about them, they are all different and fit whatever corners of our personalities needing to be filled. Someone who does not like cats truly does not know what they are missing! For some insight into how our beliefs on coat colors of cats may be “colored”, read here. A Flickr image by its owner from the article of a calico/tortoiseshell.
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Revelations

In this economic environment, it is not easy to operate a profitable veterinary practice. I came to the revelation through some discussion with an individual about another practice that I had built a fairly well managed veterinary practice. We certainly went through some recessions and economic challenges though probably not as severe as the most recent recession and lack of significant economic recovery.
Definitely, the current thinking about what makes a profitable practice and one that has some value to sell is very different than past years. Even different from what was thought 10 years ago. It is amazing what we learn from experience or that we even learn at all from life’s lessons.

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25th Anniversary Photo Collage of Civic Feline Clinic

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Vicki and her former business partner, Dr. Josie Thompson. Civic Feline Clinic’s waiting room and stained glass cat entry.
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Art For Cat's Sake

Karen has her booth set up and is selling the cat art in a mad fashion. Bob has turned into super assistant and salesman. He is upselling and writing up tickets as fast as he can write. A true business person.

One of the artists is Laura Seeley from Orange County, CA. She has a lot of lovely pendants, tiles, posters, etc. She is a great and gung ho artist and super find for Karen to have at the booth. Here is Laura with Karen and I at Lola’s Restaurant.

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Meeting Up With Friends

The ABVP portion of the meeting was held this afternoon. Bob, Karen and Tim Becnel, and I went to Lola’s Restaurant to eat with Joanna Guglielmino. Joanna has been a long time, good friend to us. It was great to see her and break some bread, as they say. Here are the Three Amigos at Lola’s.IMG_4069
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IACD Day

Traveled last night up to Seattle for 5 days of veterinary conferences. Last evening I took some time to do 2 podcasts with Dr. Jessica Quimby of Colorado State University. The podcasts will be used to generate interest in Winn’s research.

Today will be spent in lectures with 12 other veterinarians listening to Dr. Quimby lecture and also hearing about Onsior and Atopica as products from Novartis. I will be podcasting the talks to share with the IACD group (International Association of Cat Doctors). It will be great to see the group and hear all the new information available.

Bob and Tim Becnel were able to go to a Seattle Mariners baseball game. Here is the manager, Buck Showalter, with one of his assistants at the game.

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Awards

It was special to be able to attend two hours of Conflict Competency with a group session lead by Jeff Thoren and Sally Stamp. I am pleased to call them friends and want to thank them for coaching me to learn more about myself and how to use conversation and coaching tools. It was interesting to see that the people I listened to in the group and in our small sessions had much the same issues as I do. What we can learn from each other!

Later, I enjoyed attending the AVMA Awards Luncheon. I had a chance to meet and interact with a number of people I know and like. Networking is rewarding and getting to know my colleagues is special. Here is a look at the “Winnie”, crystal cat award, that will go to Dr. Niels Pedersen for his awesome research work with cats. (VT)

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Seeing Old and New Friends

It was not easy getting up and around after some travel the day before. The convention center is about 4 blocks away and Petco Field is just 2 blocks. Baseball would be so much more fun than sitting in lectures. It was so nice to enjoy the ambience of San Diego. Lots of restaurants around our hotel, Hotel Solamar, in the Gaslamp quarter.

Bob took off on a rented bike to visit Balboa Park and have Vietnamese food for lunch. He said there are a lot of empty businesses and changes north of the trolley line. The vibrancy, activity, and tourist areas seem to have moved to the Gaslamp area and away from Horton Plaza and spots north of that.

I got to see some old friends who I have not spoken with in a few years and met knew ones that night while visiting Joan Miller at her condo near the Convention Center. What a view and a neat show of fireworks over the harbor and past the Marriott hotel. (VT)

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"Whales of Canso"

One of the biggest dilemmas of our trip was whether to take a day to go whale watching when it had not been one of our plans. Whale watching excursions are a big thing on Nova Scotia for tourists and many go out from Digby Neck at the tip. It sounded really fun especially after we heard Bob and Susan had gone out the day before on a Zodiac boat and got to see a whale calf playing up close to its mother.

Some of the issue was that it would take some planning to get there on time and have tickets. There was at least 2 ferries and about 50 miles to get to the boat. Bob and Susan said their boat had to go out a long ways, maybe 30 miles or so to find the whale pod where there was no sight of land at all around. Somewhat disconcerting. We also wanted to spend some time seeing the Acadian coastline toward Yarmouth. In the end, we did go wine tasting and saw the wonderful churches down the coast.

It was disappointing to pass on possibly seeing whales because I always seem to miss getting a glimpse. We have been whale watching over New Year’s time when they set up whale watching stations along the Oregon Coast. I think it is often serendipity to be able to see wildlife. You see them when they let you see them and when you least expect them. It was with total surprise and pleasure to see this group of whales frolic near the shore. What a show, and free at that! Watching the “Whales of Canso” you can feel that sense of freedom, joy, and play and want to join in. (VT)
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Goodbye to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia

As I was writing the blog for last night, the fog quickly rolled in from the ocean and covered the surrounding area. It was eerie and I felt a bit like being in a scene from the movie, “The Fog” with Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh. “Stay away from the fog, don’t go into the fog!” It was still foggy in the morning though cleared up quickly away from Louisbourg. We headed off along the southern scenic shore of Bras d’Or Lake along Highway 4 to head to the PEI ferry. This lake is a huge saltwater lake that practically divides Cape Breton Island in half.

As we started across the Canso Causeway to leave Cape Breton Island, Bob looked to our right and noticed a large number of people along a short promontory jutting into the water of the Causeway. Bob started going “Oh My, Oh My”. What was capturing his attention and everyone else’s was a pod of 10 plus whales near the shore that were diving and playing in the water. We turned around as quick as we could do it safely and came back to that location. The following picture is one of several we got of some of the whales. We also got some video of them and the people watching. People were calling friends--“You have got to get over here to see this!”. Everyone was so excited and it was such a show, a free one at that. We felt the whales were giving us “The Wave” as they frolicked to say Goodbye to Cape Breton for us.

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After this wondrous enjoyment, we headed again for our ferry. Our luck was not holding and we just missed it. So, we had to wait at the ferry terminal for the next one. It was a beautiful trip across the Northumberland Strait to PEI. We had music from two musicians and it was sunny and warm. We had heard great things about PEI and how beautiful it is. Red soil, white houses and fences, neat fields of potatoes, and green lawns. It all was true. It is a delightful area. The farming area reminds me at times of the rolling agricultural area between Stayton and Silverton, though with potatoes.

We have ended up staying the night in Charlottetown. Victoria Park near the harbour is beautiful and has a lovely walkway around the water.

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Cape Breton Island, Day One

Today started off early with a 7 a.m. departure to Cape Breton Island. Our goal was to make the 11:30 a.m. Cailidh in Judique at the Celtic Music Cultural Centre. Both of us love Celtic music and have many albums. This area is the birthplace of Natalie MacMaster, Ashley MacIsaac, and the Rankins for just a small number.

We made the Cailidh with a little time to spare. “Failte” (fell-cha) greets us as we enter. “Failte” is “Welcome” in Gaelic. The Director of the Centre is Kinnon Beaton and he will play the fiddle for about one hour over the lunch period. We listen to music while eating a lovely seafood chowder full of scallops, crab, and lobster which is then topped off with a bread pudding with caramel sauce. The music is toe-tapping wonderful and we got some video of the different songs played. Here is Kinnon Beaton with Dewars playing piano. We even had an example of “Close to the Ground” Cape Breton step dancing.

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They have an exhibit area at the Centre where one can learn about jigs, reels, slow airs, and Strathspeys. They even have video to show you how to play a few notes of the fiddle and to do step dancing too.

We headed on further up the left coast of Cape Breton to our destination of St. Joseph du Moine, just south of Cheticamp. Our B and B is the Pilot Whale at St. Joseph. Not far from there, Bob saw a Bald Eagle just off the road and he was able to get a few photos of this magnificent bird. (A host at our B and B stated a moose was spotted a few days ago in a local bog. Not a common sight if you go looking for them).

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We headed into Cheticamp for dinner time. The outstanding structure is the Catholic church of Eglise Saint-Pierre. It had an beautiful interior as the other churches we saw on the Acadian coast.

IMG_3640Eglise Saint-Pierre at Cheticamp N.S.

Shortly after visiting the church, we drove out to the lighthouse at the entrance to the Cheticamp harbour. It is active and the light was going for all boats and ships at sea.

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It is fascinating as we travel across Nova Scotia. There are areas of more English influence such as near Halifax. As we traveled into the Cailidh Trail such as with Judique and Mabou, the signs are in English with Gaelic underneath. In the areas where the Acadians are more present, such as in Cheticamp, Grand Pre, and Saint Bernard, all the signs are first in French, then in English (the reverse is true in other areas of Canada). What an interesting culture and impact they have on their surrounding communities. (VT)
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