04 December 2009

kitty & doggy cams

I just read an article on data collected on what cats do during the day when their owners are at work.  Friskies people had collar cameras attached to 50 cats.  The cameras took a photo every 15 minutes, and interestingly enough, the data found cats don't sleep all day.  In fact the cats only spent 6% of their time sleeping.

It kinda makes me wonder what my pets are doing when I'm not home, but I'm fairly certain it doesn't involve hours of sleeping.

Sometimes it's fairly obvious.  You know, such as when I walk in the living room and there is pillow stuffing strewn wall to wall, on table tops, under tables, hanging from the ceiling fan – well you get the picture.  Or when I discover knick knacks or papers that were on shelves or counters when I left for work are now squirreled away under the kitchen table or the recliner in the living room.

The incredible exploding pillows along with furniture covers that suddenly develop HUGE gaping holes in them, I'm 99.9% sure is attributable to the dogs.  Doe, Willa, and Izzy are more the curl up on, in, or under pillows and blanket types, rather than the MUST KILL PILLOW/BLANKET NOW! type.

The dogs have also taken to playing with the cat toys.  Well, playing may not be entirely accurate.  More like dismember.

Funny story...
     On walking into the living room I saw Fallon chewing on something that didn't resemble any of the dog toys, so I scooped it up.  It was what had at one time been a cute little giraffe cat toy.  It had a cute little head and cute little body and cute little feet that had been attached to the body with thick bits of thread, which were the "legs."  Sadly, the little giraffe was missing a couple of feet, but I figured they'd probably appear in the back yard at some point in the next 12 - 24 hours if you get my drift.
     Cut to a couple of hours later...
      On the floor, I see what looks to my trained eye something that suspiciously resembles cat turds.  I heave a huge sigh and prepare to do the EWWWW!!! chore, and head over with paper towels and carpet cleaner.  As I lean over to do the dreaded deed, I realize it's not cat turds after all!  It's the cute little feet off the cat toy.
       Now why it didn't occur to me that it might be something other than cat turds is beyond me, since my cats have NEVER used anything but their cat box for their bodily functions.

Everyday when I get home, I'm greeted by five *starving* pets.  The overzealous reaction when I walk in the door, I know, is not their happines at seeing me, so much as knowing food is forthcoming.  The cats have kibble out for them all the time, so I'm not sure what their story is.  I *know* they aren't starving!  In fact, this is another clue they haven't been sleeping all day, because generally the full bowls of kibble are now empty.  Unless the dogs are getting on the couch and climbing over the bar onto the kitchen counters (which while not completely out of the realm of possibility, is highly unlikely,) the cats are the ones who have noshed to their heart's content.

So, even without a camera attached to Doe's, Willa's, Izzy's, Kyna's, or Fallon's collar, I can say with great certainty there isn't an all day sleepfest happening while I'm at work.

It would be kinda fun to have the camera - maybe even one of those live web cams, so that I can watch them while at work.  It would even be more fun to have some sort of speaker system rigged up so that if I see one of my little darlings doing something illicit, my voice would resonate throughout the house, "NO!  STOP THAT NOW!"

Hmmm....I might have to consider this some more...

30 November 2009

Books, books, books - On Yellowstone National Park

I just finished a book titled, Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park by Tom Cahill.  This is the first book of Mr. Cahill's that I've read, and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to reading some more.

He describes some of his explorations in the park in a very humorous, yet sensible voice.  He makes no apologies that his book is not a guide to the park or a book on hiking trails.  His stories are amusing and made me laugh out loud at times.  It's a relatively short book and a quick read, but I suspect it will be one of those I go back to again and again.

I knew I was going to like the book when in the introduction Mr. Cahill describes a conversation with one of his hiking/exploring partners and well known Yellowstone photographer, Tom Murphy.  Mr. Cahill asks Mr. Murphy if he had ever been lost in Yellowstone, and Mr. Murphy responded, "No, but there were times I didn't know exactly where I was."

This is my kinda guy!  In all of my life, I've never been lost.  Off track maybe, but not lost!

Reading this book got me to thinking of all the books I've acquired over the years on Yellowstone and surprisingly enough many of the books I own are on his list of books he suggests as great resources on the park.  Either this means I'm really good at picking out resources on Yellowstone, or he and I both have the same tastes and reading style.   I suppose it could be both.

Other books I've read on Yellowstone are Death In Yellowstone Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey.  This book describes all manner of stupidity that visitors to Yellowstone display.  I have firsthand experience in witnessing this stupidity.  It amazes me how many people just don't get that Yellowstone is  wilderness area and it's not some Disney adventure park.

Some of the deaths described in the book are truly horrific.  For instance the man who dove head first into Celestine Pool to rescue his friend's dog that had escaped the vehicle.  Celestine Pool, according to the book, measured at 202° F.  The man suffered third degree burns over 100% of his body and died the next day.  Sadly, the dog did not survive either.  Apparently the literature the two men were given upon entering the park extolling the dangers they could possibly encounter was still in their vehicle.  Unread.

My advice to anyone heading to Yellowstone for the first time, would be to read this book.  If you learn something from reading it, then head on to the park and enjoy all the wonders Yellowstone has to offer.  If you think it's a bunch of malarkey and the rules don't apply to you, then please stay home and spare the rest of us your stupidity.

Another book Mr. Whittlesey is a contributing author on is The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery.  This book is very informative (and has some great photography) that describes many of Yellowstone's waterfalls and even directs people on where and how to find the various falls.  The authors took many years to explore the park looking for waterfalls and do advise the reader on the level of difficulty to get to each of the falls, as well as whether it is even prudent to attempt to reach some of the falls.  Now, I've done a few of the hikes to see some of the falls, and I'm smart enough to know that if the three men who undertook this endeavor, and for all intents and purposes, are "experts" in the field of surviving in the wilderness, say "don't go there," then I'm not going there.  Unfortunately, there are some folks who don't have the desire to see another waterfall on another day, and will attempt getting to the most difficult to access falls.  Maybe one day, they will be chronicled in Death in Yellowstone Vol. II.

Other books I would recommend on Yellowstone are:

Best Easy Day Hikes Yellowstone by Bill Schneider

Peterson Field Guides: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

And just because if there's poop to be found, I *will* find it, I include, Who Pooped in the Park?  Yellowstone National Park by Gary D. Robson and Elijah Brady Clark