Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flora the kitten whisperer

Flora is all smiles with her little buddy, Iggy.

After 2 days of settling in, we slowly introduced Flora to the foster kittens. ALL four of them immediately walked over to her, completely unfazed by her larger than life appearance. They were so curious and brave. They were pretty much like "oh HI!" I don't think Flora knew how to react to that!

Iggy was the first brave boy -- he went right up and sniffed her nose. She gently brought her face down to meet his. He did not flinch of hiss. She got this huge smile on her face and then the other 3 came trotting over to say hello. She laid down on the floor and Glamour (the smallest of the litter) slowly approached her nose. Flora remained very still and Glamour gave her a bunch of little sniffs. She backed away and then approached another time from the side. She climbed up Flora's side and sniffed her ears and eyes. Flora stayed very still and had a squinty smile on her face. It was SO CUTE!!

"ever get that feeling that you're being watched..."

"Are you my mommy?"

We allowed Flora to mingle with the kittens every day. She gets so happy when they approach her. Bowie (the tuxy boy) started to groom Flora. He also buts his little paws around her legs and hugs them. Flora just closes her eyes and starts to smile.

Bowie nuzzles


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fostering kittens: a fun, life-saving job

Tiny kittens need extra special care that foster families can easily provide.

Living in a house with two animal-loving human children (ages 8 and 10), many weekends consist of going to the Best Friends Animal Society visitor center in Kanab (where we live) to see the latest arrivals to the kitten room. Saturday mornings is Kittens and Coffee -- so kids get kitten fix, and mom gets caffeine :) A couple weekends ago, when we arrived at the kitten room, there was a poster hanging up on the wall that was advertising for foster homes. Well of course my 8 year old, JJ, saw the sign and with pleading puppy dog eyes, asked if we could foster a litter of kittens. It went something like "please!! please please!!! PLEASE!!! I will take care of them! They can live in my room! please!!!!" (well -- of course I couldn't say NO!)

JJ and Bowie

Little Ms. Glamorous

Iggy and Bowie -- "leave us alone -- we sleepy."

The cutest, happiest little sprite in the world!

It really didn't take long for us to all decide as a family that we should foster a litter of kittens. After all, fostering kittens would be a win-win for everyone. The kittens would have a safe, fun place to live until they were big enough to be spayed/neuter (and ultimately adopted), this would free up room in the kitten nursery for more at-risk kitties, and it would also teach my boys a lot about responsibility (not just in the caring/feeding/socializing aspect -- but why it's important to spay/neuter to prevent a whole lot of kittens -- in the most PG rated version of things. At their young ages, we've instilled in them the importance of rescue work -- and that by fostering kittens -- they would be preparing these little fuzzballs for a happy and bright future.

Harry takes his job as kitten papa very seriously

kids can learn a lot of good values by fostering kittens!

This is Roxy. She is so sweet and teeny.
We got the ball rolling right away -- I emailed the foster coordinator that very day -- and by the evening we were "in waiting" for more detailed instructions on our furry arrivals. We got the kitten room (otherwise known as JJ's room) all ready to go -- made sure there were no tiny pieces of toys laying round, lots of comfy cat beds and blankets, water bowls and cat toys all placed strategically for the new little kids. This would be our first time fostering kittens, so we wanted to make sure we had everything in order!

The very next day were were bringing home Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour. 10 week old bundles of adorableness. Equal parts of playful, curious, naughty and nice. We asked the foster coordinator if we should allow them to meet our cat-friendly pooch, knowing that exposure (and acceptance) to dogs can up the chance of a kitten getting adopted. We got the green light, and were anxious to see how the kittens would react to Flora.

you're gonna be ok, wee one.. we gotcha covered :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

House on Fire Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Resting at House on Fire
Before I was a desert dweller, I lived in a busy little suburb outside Philly -- a life filled with lots of rushing around and being overly stressed about things that just don't matter. I remember seeing a picture of this crazy looking ruin, built right into the side of a cliff with what looked like flames shooting out from the top of it. That image stuck in my brain... and now many many years and lifetimes later I am here. I am sitting RIGHT HERE. That's called winning :)

My one goal for this little mini summer road trip was to find House on Fire ruins, an iconic rock "house" built thousands of years ago with red and orange striped rocks flanking the tops of the alcove that the little ruin is built inside of. House on Fire is just one of thousands of archeological sites found in Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Posing -- super tourist-mode
You'd think with the fierce debate surrounding this National Monument we'd see a whole lot of tourists and hikers out on the trails. Not even. We saw maybe a handful of awe-inspired, nature-loving outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying a summer morning surrounded by lizards and yucca and blue skies. * Bears Ears was designated by Obama in December 2016. The monument grants federal protection to the twin geological formations that rise above the horizon, or the “Bears Ears”. It also protects the more than 2,000 square miles of desert and canyons.*

Really, really old hand prints. These were tough to see!
After many pictures were taken, we moved on through Mule Canyon to a few more ruins (there are even more if you keep hiking for about 5 miles one way -- but the summer temps were creeping up near 100 and it was probably best to come back in the fall).

We climbed up to these fragile dwellings, just past House on Fire

This very complex structure has multiple rooms and stairs! Really awesome!

multi-room dwelling nestled high into the cliffs
There are many things in life that take my breath away. Most of them live in the desert. This hike ranks up there as one of those moments where I have to stop and remember that we have such a special and beautiful planet Earth -- and that we need to protect her, fiercely.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Butler Wash Petroglyphs and Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Ruins built into the wall of Butler Wash

Sometimes the best getaways are not planned -- that's kinda how this trip to Bears Ears National Monument happened. Steve and I had a couple of days without the kiddos and our short list of options required 1) Somewhere we've never been 2) Escape the heat of southern Utah.

We looked at maps and forecasts and decided to roadtrip up to Bears Ears, the newly designated National Monument under Obama. There are nearly 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites found in this southeastern corner of Utah.

Waving guy. I like him.

Gorgeous panel of petroglyphs, created with such precision.

close up of ruins -- lots of pottery and grinding stones nearby

My favorite panel -- cranes and ducks. And infuriatingly present are bullet holes by some Yay-hoo loser.

More petroglyphs -- you could find art nearly every flat wall we explored.

More faded glyphs

hmmmm some non-legit but equally interesting art

I love liberal tree-hugging Utahns

Not really part of our "escape the heat" plan -- but we did see some cool stuff
All of these ruins and glyphs were within 1 mile of our parking spot, literally right off of the highway. If it wasn't 1000000 degrees we could have hiked down the wash for miles. I can't wait to go back! Such a special place -- thankful for the protection it now has and deserves.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Raven's Crack and Basket Site in Cane Beds, AZ

We set out to find a crap-ton of petroglyphs in Cane Beds, AZ.

ON DAY ONE: (read about that trip here) we found a bunch of cool glyphs and panels, but we didn't find the elusive Duck Head person who is kinda a big deal in ancient folklore. (read about the Duck person)

DAY TWO: Oh man. I feel like we hit the lottery. We set out to find a really cool panel of glyphs and ultimately found 3 rock art sites and a very awesome ruin.

This might be my favorite -- a deer with internal organs

Main panel at the Basket Site

I'm kinda excited :) Part of same Basket Site panel

backside of panel
More cool glyphs -- ghostly, amazing.

Harry hoofed it up the mountain to check this out. He was very impressed.

In an ancient ruin. Being very careful not to touch/disturb.

Cool guys

First duck head guy (another to come later)

funny cartoonish person?(?)

This was on the ceiling... a basket?
Next was on to find the elusive "Raven's Crack" site. There's an upper and lower crack. I just wanted to find the Duck dude. :) Down the road we drove -- and then took a left hand turn onto a very, very sandy track to the end. Basically we headed straight towards a gigantic crack in the mountains.

Here's what we found!

JJ in the crack

JJ be all like "IT'S THE DUCK PERSON!!!!!!!"

Sand angels and glyphs

Come cool deers and sheep

My fav -- Indian Paintbrush
A very, very exhilarating and humbling weekend. It's pretty amazing to try and wrap your brain around all of the people living here thousands of years ago -- what they must have thought and how tough and brave they were to live in the desert --- it's very special to visit these sites and have a glimpse into their lives.


Keep on exploring!