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Quite Interesting

I found this little piece and thought it was quite interesting  :)  I love hedgehogs, though ours here in Australia are a little different and are called "echidnas".  They have sharp spines and eat ants.

Today's advent image
According to Wikipedia:

Echidnas (play /ɪˈkɪdnə/), also known as spiny anteaters,[2] belong to the familyTachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. There are four extantPlatypus, are the only surviving members of that order and are the only extant mammals that lay eggs.[3] Although their diet consists largely of ants and termites, they are only distantly related to the true anteaters of the Americas. They live in New Guinea and Australia. The echidnas are named after a monster in ancient Greek mythology

Echidnas are small mammals that are covered with coarse hair and spines. Superficially they resemble the anteaters of South America and other spiny mammals like hedgehogs and porcupines. They have snouts which have the functiοns of both mouth and nose. Their snouts are elongated and slender. They have very short, strong limbs with large claws and are powerful diggers. Echidnas have a tiny mouth and a toothless jaw. They feed by tearing open soft logs, anthills and the like, and use their long, sticky tongue, which protrudes from their snout, to collect their prey. The Short-beaked Echidna's diet consists largely of ants and termites, while the Zaglossus species typically eat worms and insect larvae.[4]

The long-beaked echidnas have tiny spines on their tongues that help capture their prey.[4]
Echidnas and the Platypus are the only egg-laying mammals, known as monotremes. The female lays a single soft-shelled, leathery egg twenty-two days after mating and deposits it directly into her pouch. Hatching takes place after ten days; the young echidna, called a puggle, then sucks milk from the pores of the two milk patches (monotremes have no nipples) and remains in the pouch for forty-five to fifty-five days, at which time it starts to develop spines. The mother digs a nursery burrow and deposits the puggle, returning every five days to suckle it until it is weaned at seven months. The average wild echidna can grow as old as 16 years.
Male echidnas have a four-headed penis. During mating, the heads on one side "shut down" and do not grow in size; the other two are used to release semen into the female's two-branched reproductive tract. The heads used are swapped each time the mammal copulates.
Contrary to previous research, the echidna does enter REM sleep, albeit only when the ambient temperature is around 25°C. At temperatures of 15°C and 28°C REM sleep is suppressed.
Echidna anatomy in a nutshell

 Baby echidna, known as a puggle. 

Adult echidna

I find, however, that I prefer the look of hedgehogs overall; I think they are much, much cuter, so play the video above and I'm sure you'll be as captivated as I was!  :)  I just love their  little paws and sweet faces...Peace out!!!  Go Anteaters!!!

~~ Penelope ~~


Christmas Memories

Another year, another Christmas!  A strange one for me, this year...Sid has been quite ill, though home from hospital now, plus most of my State is under water with cyclone generated rain!  I'm not alone in thinking maybe I should grow fins and swim about instead of walking  :)  The ducks are in heaven, though, LOL

Going through some old pictures, I found one of my darling niece Lynne and me sitting on Santa's knee.  It is very old and a black and white, but I still recall clearly the dresses each of us we were wearing.  Mine was pale blue with white flower sprigs and Lynne's was light brown with little yellow ducks around the hem.  I was about ten and Lynnie was two...such innocence, though Lynnie looks a trifle overwhelmed  :)  She is now a mother to three grown sons!

These next two pix I had to share; the two decorations were made by my clever sister, Beverley, who is a craftswoman to her bones!   She does wonderful needlework, and designed and stitched the bootee and the diamond.  Not bad for an eighty year old!  I have had some lovely pieces from her over the years.

I loved the colours she chose and her technique is flawless to my eyes. You can zoom in in the pictures to better see the fine detail in her work.  I must get around to photographing some more of her pieces and post them to share with you.  I need to take lessons from Yael and Uri on the best ways to photograph craft.  A Happy Holiday Season to you and may 2011 be full of kindness and love...

~ Penelope ~


Pix of my Princess

The weather here is becoming very summery: humid and warm with occasional storms and showers, and the heat is getting to my dear little girl, who spends most of her days asleep in my bedroom  or lying on the floor by the computer when I am using it.   

Tiggy is so sweet and I am very lucky to have such a gentle, yielding girl to share my days...The ceiling fan is on in the two main rooms most days and Rusty, my canine companion hides away from the breezes under a favourite chair.

 Not so my Princess; she, when not napping, is always beside me, sharing my time, her voice asking for attention now and then in the kindest of manners.  I just love her!

 ~God Bless All Cats ~
 Especially Tiggy!
Even when she snores!

OOPS!  I've been found sitting at the computer!  LOL
"Can I have some attention now?"
So polite she is  :)


The thing about extinction...

 If you are, like me, a lover of animals, and wonder with concern about their futures in the wild, then go to this link and have a quiet read.  It won't take you long, and may even give you an insight on the plight of the many species that face extinction every single is one of several sites thatdemonstrates concern for the marvellous animals that co-populate our small blue planet.   Will these amazing creatures survive for our grandchildren and their children to see?  I wonder.....

~ Baby orangutan photos taken at Melbourne Zoo by Penelope...Bono and Suma ~

Cat Talk

MiaowFeed me.

MeeowPet me.

MroowwrrrrI love you.

Miioo-oo-ooI am in love and must meet my betrothed outside beneath the hedge. Don't wait up.

Mrowlll! I feel like making noise.

Rrrow-mawwwPlease, the time has come to tidy the litter box

Rrrow-miawwwI have remedied the cat box untidiness by shoveling the contents as far out of the box as was practical.

MiaowmiaowPlay with me

MiaowmioawHave you noticed the shortage of available cat toys in this room?

MioawmioawSince I can find nothing better to play with, I shall see what happens when I sharpen my claws on this handy piece of furniture

RaowwwwwI think I shall now spend time licking the most private parts of my anatomy.

MrowwwwwI am now recalling, with sorrow, that some of my private parts did not return with me from that visit to the vet.

Roww-maww-rowwI am so glad to see that you have returned home with both arms full of groceries. I will now rub myself against your legs and attempt to trip you as you walk towards the kitchen.

Gakk-ak-akMy digestive passages seem to have formed a hairball. Wherever could this have come from? I shall leave it here upon the carpeting.

MowwwwwwwwrrrrSnuggling is a good idea.

MowwmShedding is pretty good too

Mowww!I was enjoying snuggling and shedding in the warm clean laundry until you removed me so unkindly.

Miaow! Miaow!I have discovered that, although one may be able to wedge her body through the gap behind the stove and into that little drawer filled with pots and pans, the reverse path is slightly more difficult to navigate.

Mraakk!Oh, small bird! Please come over here.

SsssRoww!I believe that I have found a mouse or similar animal.

MmmrowmmmIt is certain that the best tasting fish is one you have caught yourself.

MmmmmmmIf I sit in the sunshine for another hour or so, I think I shall be satisfied.

MreoawPlease ask room service to send up another can of tuna fish.

MreeeowDo you serve catnip with that?

MroowI have forced my body into a tiny space in order to look cute. 
 How am I doing?

Miaooww! Mriaow!




waits upon my brother
dancing light
amidst the silver of his hair

once a mountain
Now a bird
so frail beneath my hand
yet splendid still

Star of my heart

If were blind 
and yet you lived
I still could see your smile within my eyes
and feel its warmth 
upon my cheek

If I were deaf 
and yet you lived
I still could hear your voice within my heart
and know its joy...

If you but lived...

My heaven
Pure and healing silver light
Lend shelter

where would you be 
without a sky to travel

Star of my heart

If I were mute 
and yet you lived
you would be my words and voice
and tell of how I felt...

If all my limbs were withered 
yet you lived
all the joy of movement
would dance on in other parts of me...

If you but lived...



Home and Loved

On Thursday, Sid and I went out for lunch and to shop for a birthday gift for my sister Beverley, whos'e special celebration is in a couple of weeks.  Our pets were left "Home Alone" for the duration: Sid's plump little Jamie, my lovely Siamese girl Tiggy and of course my faithful Rusty.  Whenever they are left to their own devices for any length of time - be it 10 minutes or 4 hours! - there are always very enthusiastic greetings by the three amigos upon our arrival home.  Note the pink tongue and Sid's rapturous expression.....

Jamie felt the need to give Sid big kisses......

 ...and more big kisses....


before collapsing, exhausted by his efforts, on Sid's ample tummy!

 Not to be outdone, Tiggy jumped onto my knees and gazed questioningly into my eyes for several moments, trying to keep out of the boys' way....she, at nearly eleven, finds the jostling and general canine roughhousing hard to take and prefers the safety of my lap.  Sweet girl!

 Rusty, having  also taken part in the supreme licking and overall dampness that big doggie lovin' produces,

...then also collapsed and went to sleep on the sofa between Sid and I.  The whole thing took a good twenty minutes and then there were naps all round to recover from the exertion!  They were too tired to even start their dinner!  A minor miracle considering it was chicken!  I am so proud and happy to be so well loved by our pets.  I must be doing something right  :)


Vale: Sandy

It is with great sadness and a sense of loss that I pay tribute to the  beautiful quarter horse mare Sandy.  Tragically, on Tuesday last, Sandy became gravely ill and had to be put to sleep, much to the grief of her owner and companion, Gay.  

Sandy had colic, a simple sounding ailment, but actually quite involved.  There is little that can be done in a veterinary except to relieve the excruciating pain, so Gay took the only road open to her, and Sandy now lies at peace beneath the gum trees on the property she called home.  Sandy was fourteen years old and a champion.  I and all who knew her loved her gentle nature, her sweet disposition and her undoubted abilities under saddle. 

My friend Gay is bereft and deeply sad at the loss of her lovely chestnut girl.  I can but walk beside her at this very sad time and share her deep sense of loss.  I think you will agree that Sandy was a pretty horse; this soft natured girl loved her apples and carrots and was completely safe to be around Gay's granddaughter who is only two.  Erin will miss those big brown eyes and velvety muzzle, as will we all.

To know Sandy was to love her.  Requiescat in pace, beautiful girl; you will never be forgotten.  

(Photos by me in happier times.................)


Zen Proverb

Before enlightenment
chopping wood
carrying water

After enlightenment
chopping wood
carrying water

Founded in China in the sixth century and widespread in Japan by the twelveth century, Zen Buddhism emphasises achieving Enlightenment by the most direct possible means. I love the simplicity of its concept that nothing actually changes; you just see things differently.  So simple, so true and so very hard to do!



lying beside the way
Pick it up
turn its smoothness
 in your hand


Warming just a little
the press of your hand

Nice enough 
to keep
take it home

lying forgotten in a bag

take it out
turn its smoothness
in your hand


Scratched just a little
its life in the bag

Nice enough 
to keep
perhaps a little longer

lying on a shelf

Lift it down
turn its smoothness
in your hand
(don't mind the dust)


Dulled just a little
mediocrity and neglect

Nice enough
to keep
but perhaps a little boring...

lying thrown in a garden

Leave it there
ignore its smoothness
as it leaves your hand


Moistened just a little
the dampness of your touch

Not nice enough
to keep
Who needs it?




Moon sleeps
garden hushed
soaking rain
gentle breezes

of thought
and wonder
nearly spent

The clock
ticks slow
a steady beat
beside my heart

Ripples ride
the surface
of dark water
reeds dance
soft and supple



A Blessing

A friend sent me this lovely blessing  this morning and I thought I'd share it with you...

"May  there be peace within today and always.

May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."
  I wish for all of you, always, to know love, laughter, joy, peace and abundance.  To dance freely, with a happy heart, is to dance with God's angels. 


Birthday Of A Scorpio

It’s October already and I can barely believe it!  Each year now, the months seem to visit me closer together, with fewer days and less getting done in my not so busy life.  I love all the seasons, though summer could be much cooler and a lot less humid and I wouldn’t complain :) 

October is special to me though, not just because it’s the middle of Spring, but because it is the month I got to meet, after a forever of waiting, my beautiful baby boy.  It will be thirty six years ago this month that we were formally introduced as mother and son, though we had known each other, somehow; informally, intrinsically, during those months he took to grow himself inside me with his characteristic enthusiasm and the  joie de vivre I would come to know and love more with each passing day.  Something like osmosis…

I didn’t think I could feel anywhere near the depth of emotion and deepest love that burned into my soul and my heart as I held his small body protectively close to mine in those instants that followed his birth.  For a brief second as our eyes locked, secrets were shared between us from a thousand lifetimes, and time stood still, until each of us went quietly about beginning life as mother and babe.  It was a magical and mystical time for me and each year I get to relive the anticipation and excitement I felt then, as his birthday draws nearer and nearer.

I am not unique, just another mum who loves their child…but having him was my greatest achievement ever; of that I am certain.  I wish him eons of happiness, a plethora of people to love him and care about him and myriad amazing birth anniversaries. 

I have yet to finalize his birthday gift for 2010, but just the sound of his voice gives me more joy and delight  than I can ever put into words. How do I match that?  With more love than I thought it possible to feel for another human being would be a start....