Memories caught through my camera - the many faces and things I love.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Worms Crawl In.....Worms Crawl Out!

I've recently decided to raise meal worms to feed the birds and maybe even fish a little. Never thought in a thousand years I'd be a wormer, but it's actually easy and pretty cheap.

I started with some worms/beetles given to me by a resident where I work - he has been raising meal worms for years. I purchased some feed (bran oats mixture) from a local feed store. Cost about $7 for 5lbs which last me for probably 3 months.

You can feed them wheat bran, corn meal or uncooked oats purchased at a local grocery store, but I find the meal worm feed from Garr's is the best and probably the cheapest in the long run.

Originally, I kept them in a litterbox pan with a piece of poster board for a lid. I punched holes into the poster board for air circulation. I have since advanced to a plastic drawer system - which seems to be working well.

I feed them about a cup of feed once a week, place an apple or potato half in the drawers, along with a folded paper towel (for hiding and egg laying). Then I just wait and before long I have lot and lots of worms. Sometimes I have lots and lots of beetles - but that is good because they lay eggs and then I get worms.

Pictured below is an apple placed in the drawer - within approximately 10 minutes it was covered with worms.

Did you know that meal worms aren't really worms but the larva stage of a beetle, the Tenebrio Molitor or darkling beetle. There are four life stages of the darkling beetle - the egg, larva, pupa and adult (aka mealworm).

Chickadees, bluebirds, wrens and woodpeckers love meal worms. I really hope to get some great pictures of the birds enjoying these tasty treats!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Birthday

Today was my birthday and I spent it with friends who share my love for animals and rescue work. It was the best day ever!

I was honored to be able to go to Lorie's house and take picture of some of her kittens she is fostering for a local animal control. She has 9 kittens, ranging from 4 weeks to 5 weeks old. There is nothing more wonderful than playing with little kittens! All of these kittens are up for adoption and will be spayed or neutered before going to their forever homes!

This is Elsie Grace - a very beautiful white and grey tabby mix. She is a real pistol and loved posing for the camera. Here she is demonstrating her ability to do "kitty push ups".

This is Amelia - a beautiful tabbico (tabby calico mix). She is about 4 weeks old and is a real sweetheart.

Meet Daisy Mae - she is also a tabbico. She and her littermates are being foster by Lorie, a great friends and cat lover.

When Daisy Mae eats she still suck food but is learning how to "eat" food. Since she and her siblings were taken away from their mom so young they didn't get a chance to nurse very long, therefore, they are still sucking on food and blankets. They are so much fun to watch play and explore their surroundings.

Here is Elsie Mae (again) after some thing scared her. She bushed up her tail and arched her back (a little) but then went on playing and running around the porch.

Kittens need to be socialized when they are young so they learn to play and interact with people.

I hope everyone that reads my blog knows how important it is to spay and neuter your animals. There is such a major over-population of dogs and cats in the United States, especially in areas like the south where the laws are not enforced or in existence to help control this over population problem. Euthanasia is not the answer - spay and neuter is!

They will be healthier and happier because you love them enough to have them fixed!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Walk in the Woods

Today I decided to take a walk in the woods on Corp. property (US Corp of Engineers) located along the Cumberland River in Wilson County, Tennessee. This property was previously used as an girl scout camp but has recently been "returned" to its natural environment. It is a wonderful place to walk and converse with nature.

My adventure took me down many well taken paths and a few not so well taken. I ran across many interesting things - but what I had the most fun with was a Box Turtle (Terrapene Carolina), that I almost stepped on because he was camouflaged so well with the fallen leaves.

American Box Turtle are largely characterized by their dome shaped shell and hinge on the underside of the shell, which allows them to close their shell tightly to escape from predators. The average life span of a ABT is around 80 years in the wild, but some have been known to live for over 100 years. You can roughly tell the age of a ABT by counting the growth rings on the scutes (the bony external plate or scale.)

I think this guy is about 12 years old.

You can tell if its a male or female by looking at the underside of its shell. Females have flat or convex shells, where the male has a concave shell. The male turtles are usually longer and flatter and more colorful, with red eyes. The female has less vibrant color and usually have brown or yellowish eye.

After walking around on the trails a little longer, I returned to Mr. B - he was again hiding in the leaves hoping I would not notice him. But I had to get a few more picture of this young male and then left him to continue my stroll in the woods. I think he was very glad to say good-bye and think he might have waved at me as I headed down the path far far away from him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How I spend my Sunday mornings...

Many people get up and go to church on Sunday to worship and share fellowship with friends and family. I spend my Sunday mornings at the local PetSmart caring for the cats and kittens that are up for adoption through PetSmart Charities and New Leash on Life animal welfare organization. This is one of the ways I worship, express my love for God and life.

All of these kitties need furever homes and until they find those homes I, along with other cat team members, care for this homeless babies - cleaning, feeding and loving on them as much as we can, or they will allow - because we know cats can get attitudes and CATS RULE!

I almost always take my camera with me to try and capture the special personalities of these sweet souls so I can remember them and so others can see how wonderful and different they all are!

This is Levi - he is a 5 month old red tabby. He and his brother Calvin have been at the adoption center since they were very very young - maybe 5 weeks old. They are the only two left from their litter and are wonderful, loving kittens. Levi is quite a character - he tries to get himself into the smallest of places - like between his bar door and the litter box - which is about an inch wide space! Once he realizes that he is just not going to fit he goes and curles up in the window and watches his brother watch me! He is so funny and so sweet!

This is Calvin - a 5 month old neutered red/cream colored tabby. He is very attentive to everything I do while cleaning and follows me around the room (from his condo) trying to figure out how he can get out and help!

Calvin has the biggest orange eyes that just look at you with such interest and desire to understand what you are doing! As I clean his condo windows (from the outside) he is chasing my hand and the rag - knowing he can't catch either but he doesn't give up!

But this is my favorites of the kittens we have at PetSmart right now - meet Aero. He is 5 mths old and boy does he love to get attention. He rolls on his back and looks at you upside down and then rolls over and gives your hand a "head butt" telling you he wants you to pet him!

He is solid black with this tiny bit of white on his belly - so tiny that I didn't notice it until today when he was rolling around on the condo floor!

My dream is that all of these sweet babies find homes quickly so they can know the love and freedom of being part of a family. These kittens, and all of the kittens and cat at New Leash on Life, deserve the best and we are so lucky to have loving and caring people who are adopting them and making them part of their family!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Wildlife on Old Hickory Lake

This hybrid male duck is just amazing. His colors are very vivid with a combination of white, tan, brown, dark green and black.

I am sure he is part mallard but not sure what else. We have many hybrid ducks on the water.

This female mallard had 9 babies this year. I was able to watch them grow all summer. They love posing for the camera, especially since I had food to throw at them.

We are also very luck to have lots and lots of turtles. This painted turtle baby was one of a dozen I saw this spring. They really enjoy sunning on logs and grasses in the water.

I remember as a child we used to get baby turtles from the pet store and raise them on a little glass bowl, feeding them "turtle" food.

Now as an adult, I realize how important it is for them to live in the wild, in nature and not in a glass bowl in my living room.

Here kitty kitty kitty!

Here are some of my pictures of the cats at PetSmart in Mt. Juliet, TN. These cats were all looking for forever homes. I am a volunteer on the Cat Team with New Leash on Life, a non-profit animal welfare organization located in Lebanon, TN. We have an awesome cat team and love caring for these sweet babies before they are adopted into their new forever homes!

This is Bullseye - a major cut up and ham. He loves to roll around and play and demands attention - but the good kind of attention, with lots of head butts and meows to tell you he wants to play. He was adopted in January of 2010.

Meet Sugarfoot - what a ham. She was adopted in April. Sugarfoot stole my heart the minute I saw her and it was everything I could do to keep from adopting her myself. Her face just expressed so much love and catitude!

Gonzo is a very handsome, 2 year old neutered male tuxedo cat. He was quite a lover and would let you love on him forever. He found his forever home on February 22, 2010