|PBJ (at top) and Lil Red Buttons|
The cats are so enjoying their new -- and their very first -- cat tree.
I've always hesitated to buy a cat tree because I've known cats to topple them over, and given the way Lil Red Buttons and her mom race around, I felt sure this would be a bad idea.
But then Lil Red was diagnosed with idiopathic cystitis, which can apparently be sparked by stress. While her life is not stressful, she's more anxious than most cats I know. She's very in tune with her surroundings ... and has a super-sharp sense of sight and hearing. While these qualities makes her a great hunter (if only in the house) they also seem to put her on edge sometimes. It's as if she hears things louder than the rest of us hear them, whether it's the crinkle of a plastic bag, ice being put in a cup or the much-dreaded sound of the vacuum cleaner in another room. She's also a worrier.
Her vet suggested some lifestyle changes that might help make her feel calmer. The recommendations included a special prescription diet, a Feliway diffuser and a cat tree. We've now successfully incorporated all of these things, though scoping out a topple-proof tree sturdy took time. (I'm a worrier, much like Ms. Buttons).
Lil Red's cystitis, which lasted three-four weeks (even with medications), has finally ceased and Lil Red's feeling much better and much calmer. As you can see, she and PBJ are loving their new tree created by Molly and Friends.
I spent hours exploring insects in the ephemeral wetland habitat of Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center today and spotted a few I've never before seen.
Florida Entomology Group helped me identify the ones above. The first photo, a member advised, is an ant mimic bug that seems to be in the Alydidae family of broadheaded bugs, while the third is in the same family and likely a Hyalymenus longispinus (also a bug that mimics ants).
I've already begun reading about these ant impostors and am looking forward to learning more about them. Meanwhile, here are a few more sightings -- insects and otherwise -- from my visit to Long Key.
Notice how the grasshopper looks like a blade of grass. I am so in awe of insects today.
Today I beat my not-so-hard-to-beat record for the most grasshoppers seen in one day. There were so many babies that it was like a grasshopper population explosion. When it was really quiet, I could hear the grasshoppers eating.
A thin-lined passionvine beetle crossing a bridge over The Land of the Tiny Grasshoppers.
The Shining (a flower fly).
This is a Palmetto Tortoise Beetle. There were about five of them on this saw palmetto. What's not apparent in this photo is their yellow antennas. A Facebook friend said these small beetles look like the pugs of the beetle world, and I can see that, Until you get really close-up, they don't even look like insects ... They just look like little black spots. But once you zoom in on then, they're really quite beautiful.
Not everything is about insects. Here's one of many turtles swimming through the reflections of clouds, as viewed from the bridge behind Long Key Nature Center.
Here is one of the many pond lilies that can also be viewed from that bridge.
While walking through the ephemeral wetland habitat at Long Key Natural Area and Nature Center, I spotted some webs that had been made atop the grass. I noticed them because the dew drops on the webs were glistening in the sunlight.
I could not find the spider who made this web but did spot a winged creature that may have been destined to become that spider's next meal.
For years, I've been seeing shiny green bees that hover like a hummingbird and quickly dart from one flower to another. I've always hoped that one day I would be able to observe one up close -- when it's wings weren't in constant motion. Today I spotted one who, much like me, was chilling out in a quiet and out-of-the-way spot at Flamingo Gardens in Davie.
These are a few of the photos I took of the green orchid bee (Euglossa dilemma). While the bee did fly from one place to another during my visit, it seemed to be having a lazy afternoon and was still hanging out when I left.
I have since spent a little more time reading about this bee, it's relationship to orchids and some of its characteristic including tongues "roughly two thirds as long as their bodies."
Here is a link to some interesting facts about them, along with an explanation of how they likely arrived here in South Florida.
No matter how big Ms. Lil Red Buttons gets, her mom continues to love to take care of her ... not that Lil Red always lets her. Ms. Buttons is a bit of a bully, but today she seemed happy to be getting some extra attention from PBJ (aka Jaysterina the Ballerina).
This is the most recent of my ongoing efforts to bring the outdoors in, while still allowing for it to thrive and inspire. This time I experimented with larger (6x6-inch) tiles for a freshly painted yellow room ... all using photographs I've taken of beautiful flowers.
This is PBJ this morning, after a night of really loud fireworks followed by a ridiculously loud nearby outdoor party (with a DJ) that went on till about 4 a.m.
Before the morning nap (pictured here) PBJ and Lil Red had a fine breakfast and afterwards, they watched some bird and squirrel movies on their new favorite YouTube nature channel.
Now they're sacked out, probably until morning -- and are likely dreaming about their new cat tree. : ) Such is the life of kitties.
Before discarding things, I ask myself whether there's anything better I could do with these items. Often, there is.
I have five square vases that I received flowers in over the years. Though I didn't imagine what I would do with the vases once the flowers died, I couldn't bear to throw them away so I put them it in a high cupboard over the fridge. Recently, I was in cleaning/organization mode and spotted these square glass vases and began thinking about the little pass-through window between the kitchen and the dining nook.
Despite the traditional name of this little window in the wall, I never actually pass anything through it ... but it's nice to have something to see on that little shelf. Having said that, the shelf is between two rooms so if you place things there, you can see the front of the items from one room and the back of them from the other. So not just anything works there.
The square containers, I thought, could be perfect for this space. I sealed one of my nature photos onto each of the four sides, so now I can just turn each of the five cubes occasionally to create different displays. I like the idea of bringing nature indoors.
I can also use the cubes as containers for something ... though I'm not quite sure what yet.
I don't think I would be going out on a limb to say that many people -- myself included -- are feeling a little anxious recently. Sometimes I feel like nature is one of the few things that help to balance the reality of life. So I am sharing another meditative Nature Moment.