Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Valentine from Mother Nature

I went out earlier this winter to photograph a hedge with interesting scraggy branches that had been revealed when the leaves fell away, and while standing there, chanced to look up and saw this heart in the tree branches overhanging the street. Isn't it sweet to get a message like that from our mother? When I took just a few steps from where I was standing the image was gone. It was a magical moment. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A belated happy Darwin Day

Charles Darwin's birthday is Feb. 12, and the international Darwin Day site would like to make a big deal of it, especially in a couple of years when it is (would be?) his 200th birthday, a year that is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species.. I think Darwin Day is a really cool idea but completely forgot about it this year. One year I was going to propose a homeschooler event, a Darwin Day potluck and science and art fair. I figured we could label the food we bring with the scientific names of the ingredients and also present art and science projects related to Darwin, biology, and/or evolution. But then I had this paranoia that some anti-Darwin types with an agenda would crash the party to present papers about creationism or whatever they call it now and decided I really didn't want to go there. So I wimped out. A completely unfounded fear, I might add, since my only experience of fellow homeschoolers at all ends of the political and religious spectrum has been one of mutual respect.

Anyway, here's a happy Darwin Day to you, just a little late. If you want to make some cool stickers of the image here, go to the Darwin has a Posse Web site at Swarthmore college. They even have a link to someone who is selling them readymade, so if you want a weather-resistant vinyl sticker for your car, you can buy one now!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Chamomile kitty

This is my cat Tres, so named because we already had two cats (still have them) when we got him, so he is cat number 3, or "tres" ("trace"). Here he is helping me with garden planning. He "helps" by pushing things off the table that he thinks I don't need, like pencils, for example.

Well, yesterday, Tres was not his usual pesky self. He slept all day (even more than usual for a cat!) and when Martin tried to pick him up Tres growled continuously; when Martin tried to sit and just offer him a lap, which he usually enjoys, Tres just continued to growl and grumble. Either he was hurting or he was very crabby.

So we figured Tres didn't feel well and decided to just leave him alone for a while. I felt his nose and it was cool and damp, so it didn't seem too worrysome. Then Nora checked him out (she once volunteered at a vet's office because she was going to be a vet). She said he must have an ear infection or something, one of his ears was quite hot, the other one was not.

That brought back memories of when my kids were little and we had to deal with earaches and the like, but instead of pumping them full of antibiotics and mess up their immune systems, I would study their symptoms and look it up on a chart in a book about homeopathy, give them the appropriate remedy, and they'd soon be on their merry way.

The "one hot ear, one cool ear" reminded me of the symptoms that would point to homeopathic chamomile -- only it would be one cheek red and hot, the other normal and cool. And the accompanying emotional symptom? Whiny crabbiness.

So I told Nora to give him chamomile tablets (little pellets), which she did, and later that evening he was pestering the other cats and making them mad. Aah, normalcy.