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Alligators In Our Yard!


You have to look real close, but the gator is resting behind the sago palm and the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I too these photos from inside the house and did not go out to get a closer inspection.

The Alligator Trapper caught “the big one” which was 12 foot plus.  Here he is taking him away in his little boat.  Hooray!


Ahhhh, the joys of living on the river, or is there danger lurking in the shallows?  Just thought ya’ll would find the attached photos interesting of our alligator visitors, yes, plural alligators.

There have always been gators floating and swimming past our yard and dock since we have been here, but they typically don’t bother anything or anyone.  However, recently a couple of our neighbor’s dogs were playing in the shallows off of our yard (our yard is not bulk headed like the ones on either side of us) as we were sitting down to watch the evening news when Bob spotted one of the gators (the large one) making a bee-line for the dogs and moving at a very past pace.  I ran out the back door and called to Missy, one of the dogs.  Luckily she is very obedient and came out of the water immediately and ran up on the yard.  The black dog from one street over followed her.  The gator came to a dead stop in the water, about 6 feet from where the dogs were playing.  We figure they had about a few seconds left before attack.

After contacting the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (on the Alligator Hotline), they issued us a case number then issued a permit to the alligator trapper assigned to our area.  He came out the next night and chased “the big one” from the end of our dock, across the river, and into the forest preserve, but couldn’t catch him.  We had gone to Jacksonville or Saturday for our anniversary and to do some shopping.  It just so happened that just as we arrived home, the gator trapper called to see if we had seen any sight of the gator.  As I was telling him that we had not seen him for a couple of days I looked out the window and lo and behold, a gator was sunning himself on our back lawn.  YIKES!

The trapper came about 30 minutes later but by then the gator had gone into the water.  He set a bait hook at the end of our dock and told me to keep an eye on it and call me when the bait had been taken.  YIKES again!  It is very interesting that they put a big hunk of chicken or turkey on a big hook suspended by a long metal pole off the dock.  Attached to the hook is a rope with plastic floaters, like a bait jug and liter bottles from soft drinks at intervals along the rope.  That way when the gator takes the bait and swims off, they just follow where the line of bottles are.  Think of the scene from “Jaws” where they attach the large yellow barrels to the harpoon that they try to catch the shark with.

The bait was still there at 9:00 that night from what I could see from the patio deck, but the trapper said not to come out at night with flashlights to check the trap, just in case the gator was lurking near by.  You think I would go out there at night?  NOOOOOOO!

But at early light at 6:30 the next morning I could see that the bait was gone and I called the trapper.  He came out ASAP and scoured the shoreline of the river in his boat then finally found the gator across the river deep in a cedar creek shoal.  He had to call in reinforcements as his boat was too small to drag him out.  I spoke to him by cell phone and he said the gator was already dead, apparently they swallow the hook and that’s all I will say about that.

The trapper was kind enough to bring the gator across the river so that I could get photos of it, but he had to hurry and get it to shore once it gets out in the sunlight.  The trapper said this was a 12 foot plus gator, and that this was “the big one” that he chased the other night, and the one that most probably came after the neighbor’s dogs.

Page 2 of the story:  The gator you see in the yard he said was only a 7 to 9 footer, based on the photos I took, but was feeling at home enough to come up on shore to relax and sun himself, so he would need to go as well.  I called the Alligator Hotline again and added one more gator to the permit, as the trapper said he was only allowed to catch the one gator on the permit.  So we will be gator hunting again very soon!

Well, so much for excitement in sunny Florida!

Back Again After a Short Break

Dear Family, Friends, Subscribers, and Visitors,

I’ve been remiss in not posting very much since Thanksgiving of 2011, and I know you have wondered where the “Hot Flashes in the Pan” videos have been.  You will be glad to know that I will be focused more on bringing all types of new information, articles, videos, photos, and a whole new array of projects in 2012.  I took  a short hiatus to work over at my Church, tend to our business of forensic work, went through the holidays, preparing the taxes for the IRS submission, etc.

Featured on my blog will be some of the projects I worked on at the Church which can be applied to all other situations & locations, including your home.  My husband and I also put together a website for the church which I think is pretty phenomenal, if I do say so myself.  It’s a tiny little church, about 80 members, but you just can’t imagine all the things that this little congregation does and gets accomplished.  If you would like, please go to the site:  www.sanmateopresbyterianchurch.com and see all the events, activities, projects, and everything that this church does.  The previous church that we were members of has over 1,200 members, and they don’t do or accomplish anywhere near what our little San Mateo church accomplishes.  Hope you enjoy seeing our “little” church.

I thank you for your patience and understanding while I was away, and really appreciate you keeping up with my blog.  So get ready for a New Year, 2012 will be an fun, exciting, & beautiful time for us all!

Yours very truly,


Shepherd in a Manger

Shepherd Dog in a Manger

Shepherd Dog in a Manger


Found on the Internet / Facebook:

A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard.
During the night, someone came across this.
An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort.
No one had the heart to send him away so he was there all night.
We should all have the good sense of this dog and curl up in Jesus’ lap from time to time.
This is too sweet not to share.
No one mentioned that the dog breed is a “shepherd!”

Tale of the Missing Socks

September 17, 2011 Critter Corner, Home Charms 1 Comment
Penelope Resting with her Socks & Toys

Penelope Resting with her Socks & Toys

My cat Penelope wears socks.  Yes, you heard correctly, socks.  She’s a little over 15 years old now and has arthritis in her back legs.  This causes her to be a little unsteady when using the litter box.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes after she tinkles she looses her balance and steps in the clump of wet litter.

Before we discovered the “sock solution” she would get the clumping litter stuck on her foot, her fur, and between her toes.  Of course we were worried that she might lick the wet litter to clean herself and it would get clumped up in her stomach, but miraculously we did not see her do that.  She cleans herself everywhere else, but she did not seem to want to mess with that wet litter on her foot.

But of course we were also worried that the tinkle would infect her foot if we didn’t get it off right away.  So under the water spigot she would go, at least her foot would go, and of course she did not like that.  It was a two person job, myself and my husband, but if he wasn’t around, it was a real tough job to get that foot clean, but somehow we always prevailed.

One day an idea came to me to get baby socks and put them on her feet.  That way when a sock got soiled (she usually only soiled one at a time) we simply slipped it off and replaced it with a clean sock.  I measured her foot from toe to ankle, and then up her leg.  As luck would have it, Walmart had a package of cotton baby socks with the exact measurement!  A third of the package were white with little purple hearts, one third with purple stripes, and one third all purple.  It’s interesting that the heart socks fit perfectly, and the striped and purple socks seemed to be a bit larger, so they slip sometimes.  Therefore I try to keep the heart ones washed and ready to go.

Penelope's New Socks

Penelope's New Socks

Penelope took to them right away.  They didn’t seem to bother her, she didn’t try to shake them off, and she walks just the way she always has with them on.  Of course her walk is a little funny with that arthritis situation going on.

As I mentioned before, I try to use the heart ones, so after washing them I started to loose one at a time.  I knew how many I put in the washing machine, but when I took them out, one would be missing.  This happened 3 times.  I looked and looked, both in the washer and the dryer (they are both front loaders) and I couldn’t find where they could have been swallowed up by the washer.

After the loss of the 3rd sock, I realized that putting them loose in the washer was not going to work, and I didn’t want to loose any more of the heart socks because those are the ones that fit Penelope best.  Then I came across a small mesh zipper bag that I had in my hosiery drawer.  Since I don’t wear pantyhose very often anymore, I had completely forgotten about that little mesh bag.  Well, that did the trick.  By putting the little socks in the mesh bag, they would no longer get loose in the washer.  This is something ladies with babies might want to try also with their small washables, as I am sure you have probably found missing socks and so forth when they were put in loose into the washer.

The Socks the Washer Gobbled Up

The Socks the Washer Gobbled Up

One day a week or two back when I was pulling out the wash to put in the dryer, one of the socks fell on the floor, mingled in with the fresh wash.  Well it was totally gray with mold/mildew and we threw it in the trash.  But I looked again and the only place where there was an opening was where the water came out, and I couldn’t imagine how it would have gone in there.

Then today, after doing a load of towels, another sock fell to the floor, all grey with mold/mildew again.  This time I was determined to find where that missing sock came from.  I looked and looked then I leaned against the rubber casing that went around the outer rim of the door opening to the front loader.  I thought that rubber was attached to the metal housing that the drum fit into.  But it is NOT.  Upon pushing down further on the rubber gasket, I could see inside a rim that went around the drum housing, and there was the third sock!  Just lying there in all its glory!  Upon further inspection, I realize this must be some type of lint filter for the washer, as there was other fragments of lint mashed in along the side, which was easy to clean out, now that I know the rubber gasket opens up!  Of course we threw these two socks away also, since washing all the mildew might not all come out, and we wouldn’t want that to go onto Penelope’s feet.

So the moral of this story is, if you loose a small article of clothing in your front loading washer, then push down the rubber gasket around the door opening and look for that cavity below it, you might be surprised what you find.

Pets and the Joy They Bring

September 16, 2011 Critter Corner 1 Comment
Socks the Cat

Socks the Cat

Having a pet, be it a cat, dog, bird, fish, horse, pig, or whatever furry creature you relate to, is a positive and healthy experience.  Studies have proven that they can extend our lives, lower our blood pressure, and pretty much make us feel good all over because they give us unconditional love.

You may be surprised to learn that well over half of the United States households have at least one pet (studies show 63% or it may be even more).  A total of 75 million dogs and 85 million cats are owned in the United States (Cats Rule!)  And you can just imagine how many households around the world have not only one pet, but often times many more.

Studies have shown that pets help lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, reduce stress, fight depression, and lower health care costs for their owners.  It has been found that pet owners tend to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners.  The service animals provide an invaluable service to their human companions by helping to give them independence, warn them of seizures, and give them comfort in light of their trying times and disabilities.

Pets also help their owners by providing them with a greater psychological stability.  A pet’s affection helps its owner when facing trauma or adversity, and help to foster a sense of total security.

Our Beloved Little Gracie

Our Beloved Little Gracie

When my mother-in-law’s health was failing, we had gotten her a cat whose name was Gracie Allen Burns, Gracie for short.  Gracie would lay next to my mother-in-law purring softly and gently nudging up against her for hours at a time.  Gracie brought her so much comfort and joy all the way up to the end of her time.  My father-in-law then gave Gracie to my husband and me, and we loved her so very much.  Sadly she developed a very aggressive type of cancer a few years later.  The vet gave her treatments to try and save her, but her little body just couldn’t fight all the aggression the disease took from her, and we lost her a short time later.

Many nursing home, assisted living and other such facilities are now allowing animals such as cats and dogs to live among their residents, as it gives them peace and comfort.

Have you ever read the book “Making Rounds with Oscar” by David Dosa, M.D.  It is the story of “the extraordinary gift of an ordinary cat” that was the resident of a nursing care / hospice facility.  Oscar brought much comfort to the residents and was always a friend when someone needed that extra purr.  The unusual thing about Oscar is that he knew when it was someone’s time to leave this earth and travel on to their heavenly place with God.  Oscar would go to the patient’s room and stay with that person until the end.  Many would think this would be a scary thing, having Oscar show up, but the families sited in the book said it brought them comfort knowing their loved one was not alone at that special time.

Sweet Penelope

Sweet Penelope

The companion of a pet usually helps people feel better about themselves, reducing feeling of stress, anxiety, and loneliness.  Pets also improve our health by promoting a more active lifestyle.  We not only receive the health benefits from walking or running with a pet (Most likely a dog, but I have seen people walking their cats on a leash.  Mine however would never cooperate with this effort, unless I carried them or rode them around in their stroller.  Yes, I did say their stroller).  We also put forth energy while we feed, groom, and care for our pets.  I know our cats certainly have my husband and myself trained very well in these efforts.

There is significant evidence that pets help develop stronger social skills in children.  Often, a child will turn to its pet for comfort in stressful situations.  Children usually speak to and interact with their pets, helping them develop the skills needed for interactions with other children.  Sharing in the necessary everday responsibilities of caring for a pet has proven to raise self-esteem and feelings of competence in children of all ages.

Take for instance all the work that is done with autistic children and other children that are disabled or are high risk individuals and horses and other farm animals.  There are many programs around the country that are very successful in bringing out the true love of a child and an animal, and the relationship they feel when being around and caring for that animal.  I saw a news article on TV the other night that focused on a group out west somewhere that took in abused horses, then they had children who had also been abused who came out and helped care for the horses.  It was a win-win situation in that both the horse and the child both felt better not only physically but emotionally as well.

Silly Yoda Cat

Silly Yoda Cat

There are so many animals, however, that are discarded like yesterday’s news.  And in a country as caring and helpful as we are, this should not be.  So if you are thinking of getting a pet of your own, or getting a furry friend for the pet or pets you already have, please consider adopting from a shelter.  There are many shelters out there:  all cities and towns would have a Humane Society shelter, and you can find many “no kill” shelters out there as well.  If you are looking for a specific breed, check the internet and there are breed rescue groups all over the country, just type in the breed you are looking for with animal rescue group.  This will lead you to several sites, many of which can pinpoint the rescue group in your area by simply typing in your zip code.  Also check your local pet store such as Petco and Pet Supermarket as they will typically be working with no kill shelters and rescue groups and have animal adoption days sometimes every Saturday, or at least once a month, and some even keep some of the animals available for adoption at their store full time.  So get on the internet and look to see what is most available to you, visit your local animal shelter or pet adoption event and find that perfect furry companion.  You will save a life of not only the animal, but quite possibly even your own.  You won’t regret it!

Marineland, St. Augustine, FL

Marineland of Florida

From Wikipedia, the free enclyclopedia.
(We live about 45 minutes from this fascinating place, but have only recently had the opportunity to visit.  This article printed from Wikipedia tells about the history of the original Marineland.  No it is not the flashy Disney World mega attraction, but a quiet, peaceful retreat to see the beautiful dolphins and learn a lot about them as well as other sea creatures, a bit of “Old Florida”.  Marineland teaches conservation and educates the public on the world of the sea and the magnificent creatures that inhabit that part of our globe.  Hope you too get to visit one day.) 
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)
Marine Studios

Marineland of Florida is located in Florida



Location: Marineland, Florida
Coordinates: 29°40′6″N 81°12′46″W / 29.66833°N 81.21278°W / 29.66833; -81.21278Coordinates: 29°40′6″N 81°12′46″W / 29.66833°N 81.21278°W / 29.66833; -81.21278
Built: 1937[2]
Architect: John Walter Wood and M.F. Hasbrouch[2]
Architectural style: Moderne style[2]
Governing body: Georgia Aquarium
NRHP Reference#: 86000831[1]
Added to NRHP: 01986-04-14 April 14, 1986

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show

Dolphin Show

Marineland of Florida (usually just called Marineland), one of Florida‘s first marine mammal parks, is billed as “the world’s first oceanarium“. Marineland functions as an entertainment and swim-with-the-dolphins facility, and re-opened to the public on March 4, 2006 (charging the original 1938 admission price of one dollar).

On the first day of 2011, the park was purchased by the Georgia Aquarium for a reported 9.1 million dollars.[3] The seller was Jim Jacoby, an Atlanta developer and member of the Georgia Aquarium board of directors, who bought the park in 2004 and redeveloped it.


Marineland was first conceived by W. Douglas Burden, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Sherman Pratt and Ilya Tolstoy as an oceanarium that could be used to film marine life. A site was selected on the Atlantic Ocean south of St. Augustine, eventually known as the town of Marineland. The site of Marineland is within a 20,000-acre (81 km2) grant given to London barrister Levett Blackborne in 1767. The well-connected Blackborne, grandson of Sir Richard Levett, Lord Mayor of London, never settled his grant (nor even visited Florida), and eventually Blackborne’s plantation was regranted to John Graham, a Georgia Loyalist fleeing the Revolutionary War.[4] Ultimately, the land that is today Marineland was broken up over the years into smaller parcels.

Financing and construction presented challenges as Marineland was the first attempt at capturing and sustaining sea creatures. These challenges were overcome. Construction and engineering was carried out Arthur Franklin Perry Co. of Jacksonville. On June 23, 1938, “Marine Studios” (the name “Marineland of Florida” would later be adopted) began operations with its main attraction as a bottlenose dolphin. Unexpectedly, over 20,000 tourists clogged Highway A1A to visit the new attraction. For many decades Marineland consisted of not only the oceanariums but several amenities including a motel (Marine Village Court, Marineland Motel and Quality Inn/Marineland); Dolphin Restaurant and Moby Dick Lounge; Periwinkle Snack Bar and Sandpiper Snack Bar; Marineland Marina; plus fruit shop and gift shop; and a pier at the north end of the facility. A Texaco service station was adjacent to the Periwinkle Snack Bar and Greyhound Bus Lines stopped regularly during its St. Augustine to Daytona Beach run.

The total property area consisted of 125 acres sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. Originally planned for the St. Augustine area, residents of that community did not look favorably on the attraction being located there; thus the new site south of Matanzas Inlet was chosen.

Having the grandson of Leo Tolstoy involved in the project helped Marineland become a very fashionable destination in its early days, prompting writers Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, John Dos Passos, and Ernest Hemingway to visit Moby Dick’s Bar located there. Ms. Rawlings was married to Norton Baskin who at one time (1950s/early 1960s) was the operator/manager of the Dolphin Restaurant/Moby Dick Lounge. The park’s facilities were very popular with tourists and also used for numerous movies, including Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Revenge of the Creature (1955). Trained dolphins became an additional attraction in the early 1950s as Marineland became one of Florida’s major attractions, attracting over 900,000 visitors per year with peak attendance in the mid-1970s The opening of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971 giving a major boost to the attraction’s annual attendance. However, Sea World’s entry into the Florida market eventually had a very negative impact on Marineland from the late 1970s through the 2009. Many publications unfortunately note the peak attendance at 300,000 which is erroneous. The break-even admission point was 400,000 even during the 1950s.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney who was the major stockholder of the private company opted to sell the marine park in the mid-1980s to a group of St. Augustine businessmen. With declining attendance the norm, the group was unable to meet its loan payments and the attraction was again put on the market. Ownership change was the norm from that point.

Eventually, the maintenance demands of the old park became too costly for the real estate investment group who owned it at that time. The facility began to sink into disrepair as the owners desperately sought a buyer. Finally, through a convoluted deal involving junk bonds, the property was sold. The buyers planned to build time-share condominiums on most of the ocean hammock land but were unable to bring the plan to fruition. This effort resulted in bankruptcy for the buyers. In addition, the already-strapped oceanarium had been reconfigured as a non-profit foundation as part of the sale and was responsible for its own sustenance as well as repayment of the bond issue. Needed monies were not invested in repairs, and the shabby condition of the park offended even the most loyal fans. With no direct ownership, no funding, and the financial burden of bond interest payments, employees were left to cope with equipment failures, no marketing, loss of credit, bounced paychecks, government inspections and the custodianship of the marine mammals, fish and birds. During this era, many devoted individuals and businesses contributed materials and services to help employees keep the place going. In the end, the foundation repaid the bondholders pennies on the dollar, a large part of Marineland’s dolphin population was sold off to Orlando, and the current owner came in and picked up the pieces.

Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and re-opened on March 4, 2006.

During the renovations the original 1938 Circular Oceanarium (400,000 gallons) and Rectangular Oceanarium (450,000 gallons) were demolished. The age of the Dolphin Show at Marineland is now over as the park reopened as a hands on educational facility. Future plans for the area include a condo development on former park lands. The rest of the old Marineland property wound up in the hands of Flagler County and now make up the River to the Sea Preserve one of the County’s many parks.

With a gift from Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney of slightly more than 3 acres (1.2 ha) of land together his donation of about half of the total constructions costs, on January 30, 1974, the University of Florida opened the Whitney Marine Laboratory adjacent to Marineland. This laboratory’s purpose was the experimental study of marine animals but was separate from the lab that was once operated by Marineland. Marine Studios through its Research Facility contributed greatly to the understanding of porpoises from 1938 thanks to Arthur McBride, Forrest Woods and other marine biologists. The staff at Marineland was a “first responder” for hundreds of whale strandings along the southeastern Atlantic Coast during its existence.

Marineland had three bottlenose dolphins born at the newly constructed Dolphin Conservation center in July 2008. Two of them were males and one was female. The calves were named in November 2008.

In January 2011, Marineland was sold yet again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of the Georgia Aquarium.


  1. ^ “National Register of Historical Places – Florida (Fla.), Flagler County”. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 1986. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/FL/Flagler/state.html. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c “Marine Studios”. Florida Heritage Tourism Interactive Catalog. Florida’s Office of Cultural and Historical Programs. http://www.flheritage.com/services/sites/fht/record_t.cfm?ID=272&type=c&index=18. Retrieved 17 August 2007. [dead link]
  3. ^ Ruggieri, Melissa (3 January 2011). “Georgia Aquarium buys Florida’s Marineland”. ajc.com. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. http://www.ajc.com/business/georgia-aquarium-buys-floridas-794147.html. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  4. ^ “Town of Marineland Sustainable Tourism Comprehensive Plan Element”. law.ufl.edu. University of Florida Conservation Clinic. http://www.law.ufl.edu/conservation/pdf/marineland.pdf. Retrieved 4 January 2010.

Breakfast on the River

Here are some photos of the assortment of water birds that come for breakfast in the morning on the dock.





Pet Parade in Palatka!

Oh Boy, lots of things that I like!

Oh Boy, lots of things that I like!

Only in Palatka would you expect to see a Pet Parade inside a Tractor Supply store!

Oh Boy, a bag full of goodies!

Oh Boy, a bag full of goodies!

OK, you've been a good girl!

OK, you've been a good girl!

Can I have that please Momma?

Can I have that please Momma?

When my husband and I arrived at the Humane Society of Northeast Florida Pet Event this past Saturday, we knew there was to be a Pet Parade.  We saw several dogs and puppies, and one goat dressed as a ballerina.  We also saw 2 magnificent horses giving folks a ride down a tree-lined shady grassy area, as it was extremely hot that day. 

Imagine our surprise when the parade coordinator started to line up the animals and the 2 horses got right into place, the beautiful paint leading the parade, and the wonderful brown bringing up the rear (pardon the pun).  The goat was second in the procession, prancing proudly in her pink tutu outfit.  The puppies and dogs followed.  The parade entered the store and proceeded down the right hand main aisle all the way back to the rear of the store, went over a couple of aisles and returned back to the front by the left hand main aisle.  It was a real treat for those who came to see the event, and for the shoppers that were in for a big surprise to be shopping along side a horse!  The paint really seemed to be in her element leading the parade, the brown however looked a bit aprhensive about what all the hoopla was about.

Anniversary for Socks the Cat

August 7, 2011 Critter Corner No Comments

Today, August 7th, 2011, marks the 1 year anniversary since we lost our beloved cat Socks.  In his memory, I am posting his obit (which I don’t think I did last year) so that you can see what a special little guy he was:

“Socks” – A Barnyard Cat Who Came Into Our Hearts Forever

Here's Looking at You Kid

Here's Looking at You Kid

Socks was born in 1998 or 1999 and crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on August 7, 2010. He was 11-12 years old, as best we can figure. Socks has been with us since May 2003. Socks was a beautiful, energetic, and attention getting male Maine Coon cat; tabby & white with 4 white paws, hence the name “Socks”. We refer to him as the “Ultimate Fluffball”. His siblings/friends are Penelope (15 year old Maine Coon) and Yoda (black cat about same age as Socks, who came with him from Missouri via way of Texas).

Socks has lived in Missouri, Texas, South Florida, Central Florida, Louisiana, then back to North Florida. Socks was the barn yard cat of a friend of ours uncle in Missouri. When our friend adopted Socks, he moved to Texas, then to Florida. Our friend lived with us for several months while he was getting situated with a job and place to live in Florida. He brought Socks & Yoda along, and of course we fell in love with them both immediately.  We had recently lost Gracie, the half-sister of Penelope to cancer, so Socks

A Little to the Left Bob

A Little to the Left Bob

and Yoda helped to fill the emptiness in our hearts. When our friend moved to a small condo and accepted a job that entailed a lot of travel, he asked us to “baby sit” Socks & Yoda. After 2 years, he said the cats were officially ours and of course, we agreed!

We moved to Louisiana temporarily for a few months in 2009, and of course, all our kitties came with us. Then it was back to Florida.

Socks liked to ride in the car and check out everyone in the cars that passed by. He also liked to look at the birds and the sky as it passed by in an ever changing view for him.

We used to live at a private airport community and Socks loved to go for a ride in the kitty stroller on the taxiways to watch the dogs, cats, birds, people, and planes. He also liked to ride in the golf cart and the electric Think car. His favorite place was on the dashboard

Socks in a Majestic Pose

Socks in a Majestic Pose

with a big fluffy towel as padding. That way he got the full panoramic view, and we would sit next to the runway and watch the planes take off and land. He seemed to wonder how the planes could do that. He enjoyed smiling at the other people and dogs & cats in the other golf carts.


Socks has eaten a diet of Hill’s Science Diet since we had him, a mixture of Hairball Control, Oral Care, Sensitive Skin, and Sensitive Stomach. At the end of his time on earth, he had moved “upscale” and liked grilled tilapia and salmon.

Socks’ favorite napping place was a white sheepskin rug in the living room in the evening when we watched TV. That way he could nap, but yet keep his little eyes cracked open to be sure he didn’t miss anything. He prepared his sleeping spot by

Socks Says "Welcome"

Socks Says "Welcome"

“kneading biscuits” to get his spot in the center “just right”.

Socks loved to help us in the office. We are self employed and work from home. We each have office space in our home, and Socks takes turns with each of us sitting at the computer, on the desk, or in a chair nearby, although he seems to favor Bob’s desk as he has more monitors and keyboards to be intrigued by and lay up against. He does like to go out on the screen porch or patio, but he seems to find as his primary responsibility to help in the office instead.

We used to live in a home with a separate 2 story hangar building on the property where we had our offices. In the morning we would say “time to go to work” and he would bolt out the patio door, hop across the patio, and wait for us to open the office door. He would always beat us there. No lizard or squirrel could side track him from his self appointed

Socks Ready to Work

Socks Ready to Work

duties. He would catapult up the stairs, stop at the landing midway, look to see if you were giving him an audience, then catapult himself up the remaining set of stairs. When we were done for the day, we would just say “Socks, time to close the office” and he would get down from where ever he was perched and hop down the stairs, hippity-hop across the patio and into the house ready for dinner. For some reason, maybe because of his size, he would hop like a bunny rather than run like a cheetah. I think we will remember him most for that.

When he sat on Agnes’ desk, there was a different configuration. So he would sit along side her atop the desk and rest his paw on her arm, as if he was guiding her typing on the keyboard.


Socks Thinks He's Invisible

Socks Thinks He's Invisible

His favorite toy is the Cosmic Country Catnip pouch. He loved to lay on top of the Cosmic Catnip when he was “off duty” and not at work.

Out of all the cats we have had over the years, Socks had the most vibrant personality of them all, almost human-like. Where our other cats chose to sleep most of the day, Socks would be awake, following us around and helping in the office. At lunch or dinner he would quietly sit in the chair between us waiting for his opportunity to go back to work or watch TV. He liked to watch the Nascar and Indy race cars, not just watch but he got involved with the race.

Another quirk Socks had was he liked to see his reflection. He knew he was special. We had a stove with a black glass oven front that he would sit at for long periods looking at his handsome reflection. And chasing sunbeams was another pleasure of his. We had sheer curtains that would flutter with the breeze and would make the sunbeams dance

Socks Guarding His Turf

Socks Guarding His Turf

on the floor. He tried his best to catch them, and when he thought he had one, he would lay down, proud of his capture.

Another place he liked to help was in the bathroom, whether you were taking a shower or taking care of your private business. It simply did not matter what you were doing, he would be there to supervise.

We love him and will miss him dearly. Even though he did not make a lot of noise meowing and such, he had a huge presence with a dynamic and magnetic personality. His absence has left a huge void and a silence in the house that only his warmth and charm could fill.

He is at peace now, no longer in pain, and no longer having to take his medications which he was not happy about. He is at peace in Kitty Heaven, and getting to know his

Socks Waiting for Santa

Socks Waiting for Santa

“sister” Gracie.

We love him so much and will miss him forever.

The Lady with 700 Cats

July 30, 2011 Critter Corner No Comments

by Diane Herbst

the lady with 700 cats Cat House on the Kings is a very special and unique no-kill cat rescue/clinic/retirement home for cats in California. So you shouldn’t miss National Geographic’s special about it and the woman who behind it all called The Lady with 700 Cats. “I’m not crazy. What I do is crazy,” says Lynea Lattanzio, Cat House on the Kings’ founder.

The Lady with 700 Cats Cat House on the Kings special will air on Nat Geo Wild (NGW) at 10 p.m. ET on July 30.

Tune in and watch this amazing story.  For more information and to watch the amazing video clip please go to this link:  http://halopets.com/freekibble/donation18.php

Florida State Panther

July 28, 2011 Critter Corner No Comments
Florida Panther

The official state animal for Florida is the Florida Panther.  The following information is from the Florida Division of Historical Resources website:

The most endangered of all Florida’s symbols is its state animal, the panther (Felis concolor coryi) which was chosen in 1982 by a vote of students throughout the state.

The Florida Panther is a large, long-tailed, pale brown cat that grows to six feet or longer. Its habitat is usually the same as that of the white-tailed deer, which is the mainstay of its diet.

Much folklore surrounds these seldom-seen cats, sometimes called “catamounts” or “painters,” and they have been persecuted out of fear and misunderstanding of the role these large predators play in the natural ecosystem. Human population growth has been the primary threat to the panther’s range and continues to diminish the quality of existing habitats.

The Panther has been protected from legal hunting in Florida since 1958. It has been on the federal endangered species list since 1967 and on the state’s endangered list since 1973. The future of this large animal depends entirely on the management decisions that are made today on its behalf. The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission is responsible for management and preservation of this endangered State Animal, but only with your support will the Florida Panther remain a part of our unique wildlife community.

All God’s Creatures, Great and Small

February 8, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments

This article came to me from several of my friends who have pets.  It has been circulated around the internet several times, and the Author is Unknown.  If only we humans could learn from our animal friends how to be so compassionate.  Enjoy!

A True Story.

In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog.  The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned..  It was dirty and malnourished, and had quite clearly been abused.  In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.Jasmine Greyhound 1

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust.  It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.  They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.  Jasmine, however, had other ideas.  No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary.  It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal.  Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick..

Geoff relates one of the early incidents.  “We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line.  One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross.  They were tiny when they arrived at the centre, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee.  Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”Jasmine Greyhound 3

“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits.  She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings.  She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.” Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born.  The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits – and one roe deer fawn.Jasmine Greyhound 4Jasmine Greyhound 5

Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field..  Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role.  Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted.  “They are inseparable,” says Geoff.  “Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other.  They walk together round the sanctuary.  It’s a real treat to see them.”  Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life.  When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely.  She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.

Pictured from the left are: “Toby”, a stray Lakeland dog; “Bramble”, orphaned roe deer; “Buster”, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; “Sky”, an injured barn owl; and “Jasmine”, with a mother’s heart doing best what a caring mother would do…and such is the order of God’s Creation. And, just in case you wondered, Snopes.com has verified the truth of this wonderful story and the reality of these photographs which accompany the story – so you can pass this story on, and help make someone else’s day to be just a little brighter!Jasmine Greyhound 6

Pet Rules for the Home

January 29, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments

This is an article sent to me by a friend with 2 cats, Dog & Catvia email, it has circulated around the internet, and I think you will find it quite humorous.  Those of us with cats or dogs will surely be able to relate to these rules and comments:

PET RULES –  To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door – nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate does not stake a claim for it, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been using the bathroom for years — canine or feline attendance is not required. … Continue Reading

How to Give Your Cat a Pill in Twenty Easy Steps

January 29, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments

Funny CatThis humorous article was sent to me by a friend with several cats.  It has been circulated around on the internet via email, and the Author is Unknown.  I’m sure it has found it’s way into several veterinarian’s offices and posted for their feline clients’ humans:

1.  Sit on sofa.  Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your elbow as though you were going to give a bottle to a baby. Talk softly to it.

2.  With right hand, position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand (be patient).  As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth.  Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.  Drop pill into mouth.  Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

3.  Pick the pill up off the floor and go get the cat from behind sofa.  Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.  Sit on floor in kitchen, wrap arm around cat as before, drop pill in mouth.  Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

4.  Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.  Scoot across floor to pick up pill, and go find the cat.  Bring it back into the kitchen. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand.  Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger.  Hold mouth shut for a count of ten. Drop pill into mouth. … Continue Reading

Lessons We Learn From Animals

January 27, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments

This touching news story was sent to me by a friend that has 2 cats.  It had been sent around several times on the internet, and the author is unknown as well as the rescue people in the photos.  If only we humans could be so compassionate, friendly, and peaceful.  Enjoy!

After the tornado – Greensburg , KS

Tornado Dog 1Tornado Dog 2Tornado Dog 3The story begins with the rescuers finding this poor little guy they named Ralphie.  Someone had already taken him under their wing but weren’t equipped to adopt; Ralphie,  scared and starved, joined his rescuers…I wouldn’t think anything could live through this…but we were wrong.

Tornado Dog 6Tornado Dog 5Tornado Dog 4

This little lady also survived that wreckage.  Here she is just placed in the car – scared, but safe.  and then…they are no longer alone!  Instant  friends, they comforted each other while in the car.  Add  two more beagles found after that…the more, the merrier

Tornado Dog 7Tornado Dog 8Tornado Dog 9

Oh  boy, a new traveler to add to the mix… (note:  the cat coming over the seat needing shelter…) now just how is this  going to work??? – and remember they are all strange to one another.  It’s going to work just fine, thank you very much!

Tornado Dog 10Tornado Dog 11

Wow!  The things we learn from our animal friends…  If only all of mankind could learn such valuable  lessons as  this.  Lessons of instant friendship.  Of peace and  harmony by way of respect for one another — no matter one’s color or creed.  These animals tell you… ‘It’s just good to be alive and with others.’  Yes, it surely is.

So…  Live, Love Laugh.  ‘Life’s  a Gift… Unwrap It!’

Louisiana State Bird

PelicanThe Louisiana state bird is the Eastern Brown Pelican.  Found from South Carolina all the way to Brazil, it is famous for its large bill.  The bottom part of its bill has a pouch that can be greatly enlarged.  This is useful because when they go to catch a fish to eat they scoop up the water the fish is swimming in, making it easier to catch.  Provided by the Louisiana State Legislature, Office of Public Information

Ricochet the Surfing Dog Raises Thousands of Dollars for People in Need

January 20, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments

Golden Retreiver ArtClick on the link to read an amazing story and see the coordinating YouTube video about an amazing Golden Retriever who originally was being trained to be a service dog, but turned into an amazing surfing dog to help those with disabilities, in particular, a 15-year-old quadriplegic who loved to ride the California waves, named Patrick Ivison.  Not only does Ricochet surf with Patrick, but has helped to raise funds for his therapy.  A truly inspiring story that will bring tears to your eyes:  http://www.peoplepets.com/news/hero/ricochet-the-surfing-dog-raises-thousands-of-dollars-for-people-in-need/1.

Louisiana’s State Reptile

Louisiana AlligatorIf you go to the lowlands and waters of Louisiana you might bump into the state’s reptile, the alligator.  Found in the southeast portion of the U.S., the alligator’s colors range from dull gray to dark olive.  Despite its vicious reputation, this large “lizard” takes better care of its young than other reptiles do.  However, if you see one you’d better stay out of its way because grown males can weigh up to 550 pounds and grow to 12 feet in length.  Provided by the Louisiana State Legislature, Office of Public Information

Louisiana’s State Crustacean

Crawfish PlateCalled “crawdads” and “mudbugs” in other parts of the U.S., crawfish are Louisiana’s state crustaceans.  There are so many in Southern Louisiana that this region is commonly referred to as the crawfish capital of the world.  Although may crawfishermen still use swamps and marshes as their main hunting grounds for these small, lobster look-a-likes, the crawfish industry has become so big in Louisiana people have developed crawfish farms.  Provided by the Louisiana State Legislature, Office of Public Information

Wiley Coyote

January 4, 2010 Critter Corner No Comments
Wiley Coyote 1

Wiley Coyote 1

This article came to me via email from several people:

This does make me think of Wiley Coyote from Roadrunner cartoons. He falls off cliffs and anvils are always dropping on his head etc and yet… he lives!

Meet the wiliest of all coyotes: Hit by a car at 75mph, embedded in the fender, road for 600 miles – and SURVIVED!

Wiley Coyote 2

Wiley Coyote 2

When a brother and sister struck a coyote at 75mph they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on. They didn’t realize this was the toughest creature ever to survive a hit-and-run. Eight hours, two fuel stops, and 600 miles later they found the wild animal embedded in their front fender and very much alive. The brother and sister were Daniel and Tevyn East driving at night along Interstate 80 near the Nevada-Utah border when they noticed a pack of coyotes near the roadside on October 12. When one of the animals ran in front of the car, the impact sounded fatal so the siblings thought there no point in stopping. ‘Right off the bat, we knew it was bad,’ Daniel explained. ‘We thought the story was over.’ After the incident around 1 am, they continued their 600 mile drive to North San Juan – even

Wiley Coyote 3

Wiley Coyote 3

stopping for fuel at least twice. But it was only when they finally reached their destination at 9 am did they take time to examine what damage they may have sustained. At first it looked as though it was going to be quite gruesome. ‘Daniel saw fur and the body inside the grill,’ Tevyn East said. ‘I was trying to keep some distance. Our assumption was it was part of the coyote – it didn’t register it was the whole animal.’

Daniel East got a broom to try and pry the remains out of the bumper and got the shock of his life. ‘It flinched,’ Tevyn East said. ‘It was a huge surprise – he got a little freaked out.’

Wiley Coyote 4

Wiley Coyote 4

Tevyn East, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender.  What Mr. East spotted as he bent down to inspect the damage to his car – the body of the coyote poking out through the radiator!  The animal’s head can be seen as rescuers took apart the front fender to save it after it was struck by the car at 75mph!

As the animal struggled, wildlife protection officials put a loop around its neck to prevent it from further injuring itself.  The front of the car is completely taken apart as the coyote begins to wriggle free.

Wiley Coyote 5

Wiley Coyote 5

And voila!  Tricky the toughest coyote ever rests in a cage after its ordeal – which it survived with just some scrapes to its paw!

Christmas Kitties 2006

December 21, 2009 Critter Corner No Comments

Here are our kitties:  Penelope, Socks, and Yoda enjoying the Christmas Spirit during Christmas 2006!

Socks and Yoda Are Mystified

Socks and Yoda Are Mystified

Socks Under the Tree

Socks Under the Tree

Penelope Says "Bah Humbug"

Penelope Says "Bah Humbug"

Socks Is One Tired Kitty

Socks Is One Tired Kitty

Molly the 3 Legged Horse

October 20, 2009 Critter Corner No Comments
Molly the 3 Legged Horse

Molly the 3 Legged Horse

You gotta meet Molly… Meet Molly.  She’s a grey speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Hurricane Katrina hit southern Louisiana.  She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled.  While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier and almost died.  Her gnawed right front leg became infected, and her vet went to LSU for help, but LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case.  You know how that goes.

But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind.  He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn’t seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her.  She protected her injured leg.  She constantly shifted her weight and didn’t overload her good leg.  She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee, and a temporary artificial limb was built.  Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

‘This was the right horse and the right owner,’ Moore insists.  Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient.  She’s tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain.  She made it obvious she understood that she was in trouble.  The other important factor, according to Moore, is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse. … Continue Reading


September 26, 2009 Critter Corner No Comments


Single HummingbirdThey are here right now on their way south.  The hummingbirds number about 2 dozen at any given time.  You can get right close up to them, as they are focused on nourishing on the nectar in the feeders.

Hello World!

September 25, 2009 Critter Corner 1 Comment
Hello World!

Welcome to La-Di-Da Ladies.  Meet Socks, one of our three cats.  He’s a rescue cat, previously a barnyard mouser, but now enjoys a luxurious lifestyle as an indoor cat.  Here he is on an outing in the yard, enjoying the green grass.  I’m not sure if he is squinting because the sun is in his eyes, or if he is just enjoying me scratching the back of his neck and purring.  He loves everyone, and he loves to be loved.  We will keep up with Socks as he has more memorable experiences.

Socks Head Scratch

Hot Flashes in the Pan YouTube Videos

Hot Flashes in the Pan YouTube Videos

Critter Corner

Alligators In Our Yard!

July 17, 2012

  You have to look real close, but the gator is resting behind the sago palm and the water’s edge.  Needless to say, I too these photos from inside the house and did not go out to get a closer inspection. The Alligator Trapper caught “the big one” which was 12 foot plus.  Here he […]

Back Again After a Short Break

February 2, 2012

Dear Family, Friends, Subscribers, and Visitors, I’ve been remiss in not posting very much since Thanksgiving of 2011, and I know you have wondered where the “Hot Flashes in the Pan” videos have been.  You will be glad to know that I will be focused more on bringing all types of new information, articles, videos, […]

Shepherd in a Manger

November 20, 2011

  Found on the Internet / Facebook: A Nativity Scene was erected in a church yard. During the night, someone came across this. An abandoned dog was looking for a comfortable, protected place to sleep. He chose baby Jesus as his comfort. No one had the heart to send him away so he was there […]

Tale of the Missing Socks

September 17, 2011

My cat Penelope wears socks.  Yes, you heard correctly, socks.  She’s a little over 15 years old now and has arthritis in her back legs.  This causes her to be a little unsteady when using the litter box.  Sometimes, not always, but sometimes after she tinkles she looses her balance and steps in the clump of […]

Pets and the Joy They Bring

September 16, 2011

Having a pet, be it a cat, dog, bird, fish, horse, pig, or whatever furry creature you relate to, is a positive and healthy experience.  Studies have proven that they can extend our lives, lower our blood pressure, and pretty much make us feel good all over because they give us unconditional love. You may […]