“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It Goes On.”
Robert Frost

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Norwegian Forest Cats and Runestones

My kitty Guy is eight months old now. He has gone through quite a transformation as he has grown.  I am including a few new photos of him. He is getting to be a big Guy now.  He has turned fluffier as me move into the winter season and his tail is gorgeous. Here are a few photos of him after I woke him up from his nap.  We have been wondering what kind of cat he is ... because I have known and owned a lot of cats and I have never come across anything quite like him.

With my photo editing program, I turned this somewhat blurry photo of Guy into a "painting".

Guy relaxing
After doing some research as to what kind of cat he might be, I came upon three breeds that he is similar to. They are the Maine Coon Cat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Siberian Forest Cat.  Of course, he also has some plain old barn cat in him. I discovered that the full name of the 'Siberian' cat is the 'Siberian Forest Cat'. It  is an ancient breed that is now believed to be ancestral to all modern long-haired cats. The cat has similarities with the Norwegian Forest Cat, to which it is likely closely related.

The Norwegian Forest Cat is a breed that came from Northern Europe.  Maine Coon Cats are probably a combination of the older breeds of the Siberian or Norwegian forest cats. The Norwegian Forest Cats ancestors may have been long-haired Siberian and Turkish Angora cats brought to Norway by the Vikings around 1000 AD.

It is believed that the ancestors of the Norwegian Forest Cat served as mousers on Viking ships.  Since we all know that the Vikings visited Minnesota and left what is now known as the Kensington Runestone, around 1362 AD, I feel that Guys ancestors may have jumped ship and followed along. This is entirely possible if the Vikings came from Greenland via the Hudson Bay and the Nelson and Red Rivers or via the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. (My husband thinks they came via the Red River), most people don't realize it flows north. If you have never heard of the Kensington Runestone, click on the links above and check out the sites. I have been to the museum in Alexandria where the stone is kept and know people in the area and have visited that part of Minnesota quite a few times. It is a very interesting and special place. There is a place called Inspiration Peak that is really quite weird. Maybe next year I will do an in depth post about this. But, on with my cat story.... after the cats decided they had been cooped up the Vikings ship too long, I think they were ready for a new adventure.

 Kensington Runestone replica

                        The Kensington Runestone

Guy wondering why I woke him up.
I can just see a couple of strong, sturdy Norwegian Forest Cats heading off to explore the forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota and deciding to stay. Pretty soon there were forest cats all over the place and next thing you know (OK a few hundred years later), I have one in my living room.

I'm Watching You!!!

Siberian Forest Cat

norwegian forest kitten

Norwegian Forest Cat

From one of the sites I learned that when a black cat's fur is exposed to sunlight it turns a bit brown and is called 'rusting'.  The professionals who show pure bred cats use a special shampoo to keep their black cats black. I doubt they let them outside either. I personally love the brownish tone. Guy has what breeders call a 'black smoke' fur color, he is not pure black and has a lot of lighter fur on his sides and tail.

Guy's body is 12 inches long and his glorious tail is 12 inches long.

Why do I think Guy is a forest cat? Let me tell you. The Norwegian Forest Cat is strongly built and larger than an average cat. The breed has a long, sturdy body, long legs and a bushy tail. The tail is usually as long as the cats body. The long tail is useful in cold climates because it can curl over the shoulders and face. The coat consists of a long, glossy, thick and water-repellant top layer and a woolly undercoat and is thickest at the legs, chest and head. Remember the pictures when he was a kitten, and the weird fur.

Guy and his unusual fur.

Norwegian Forest cats generally have a quiet voice unless kept with a dog (he spent about a month in an animal shelter with dogs barking all the time). Maybe that explains the excessive cat talk! They are friendly and intelligent. They have almond shaped eyes, ear tufts, strong claws, long bushy tails and lots of energy. So that describes my cat.

We will never know for sure what kind of cat he is. So ....  I love the story of him being a descendant of some escaped Norwegian Forest cats who jump off a Viking ship over six hundred years ago and have been living in Minnesota all this time.

It's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

That In Between Season . . .

We are in that time when fall turns to winter. There are still a few leaves on the trees (barely) and the grass was green last week, now it has a crust of frosty snow over top.  Before I start the Christmas holiday festivities, I would like to look back of some of the wonderful images from my Pinterest boards that feature this transitional season. Join me as we say goodbye to Autumn and hello to Winter.

Source: 500px.com via CraveCute on Pinterest

Source: bhg.com via CraveCute on Pinterest

Winter Photography Tips
Some of the most beautiful bird photos are taken in the winter -- check out 
this site for the best tips from Birds and Blooms.

Winter is just around the corner, this site has some great car care tips.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments last week. I have finally recovered from the turkey trance, brought on by too much food and too little activity! If you celebrated Thanksgiving, hope you had a good one too!

Monday, November 19, 2012

By and By the Harvest . . .

I found the image above somewhere on a public domain site and thought it was perfect for my Thanksgiving post. Way back in the olden days, this was what my ancestors did. I have traced them back many generations and quite a few were farmers. Maybe that is why I love the land and my gardens so much. "We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves" ....

Nevertheless, bringing in the sheaves is not something we do by hand much anymore. The harvest has become so mechanized people from the time the song was written would barely recognize it as the same activity. 

I used to watch a show from the BBC called Lark Rise to Candleford. The show was an adaptation of Flora Thompson's memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood, set in the small village of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town, Candleford, at the end of the 19th Century. The last episode was about when they brought in a newly invented "harvesting machine" to harvest the crops.  The town was split on whether this was a good thing or not. Many thought it would mean the end of them. Obviously the amount of laborers needed would be less, so what were the rest of these unskilled people to do? Alas the show was never able to settle this argument because it was canceled. In real life, I guess we do know how it was settled. Time moves on and technology advances. People lose jobs and new jobs are created, and so it goes.

The things that don't change are our need for a home. A place to feel safe and comforted and warm.
A place to enjoy the good things in life. We need a home to share with our loved ones and our pets. Home is where we invite our friends to entertain them and to share a meal. In my own home I try to create a sense of whimsy and fun. I also want my home to feel cozy and warm.

I decorated my old sideboard with faux pumpkin and faux turkey and some cute little pilgrim chipmunk candle holders. This is my way of making my home cute and cozy. 
Music is also a part of my home and I listen to some everyday.

Chipmunks with their Pilgrim outfits. They are headed for my table upstairs. 

This cute squirrel light has an battery operated candle inside  
and looks very nice in a darkened room.

I have had the turkey for years. When I bought him he was plain pale brown. I painted him with watercolors to closer resemble the real thing. I also painted the pumpkin a more rosy tone. 
Warning: I will paint anything that doesn't move.

As time goes on some things lose their importance, fads come and go. Technology brings us more distractions than we can even comprehend.  What we always need is a home. I have always been lucky, I have never been without one. I feel bad for those who have never known one. I feel sad for those who because of hurricanes, fires and bad circumstances are not in their homes right now.

So please join me in a collective prayer, or good thought, or strong vibe and send it out there to anyone you know, or just to a complete stranger. Send a thought of comfort, joy and love to all those who are home-less at this Thanksgiving time. Or better yet, pick up the phone or go on the web and find a charity that will help someone feel a little less sad and alone as we celebrate our own Thanksgiving bounty. I've put my donations in the mail this week and I hope they will do some good.

I also want to Thank all of You, my good bloggy friends who always leave the most wonderful comments and make me smile every day. I'll be taking a few days off from the blogasphere to be 
with family and friends. I will see you all back here soon.
Thank you... I am truly blessed! ~~~ Diane ~~~

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Golden Almanac . . .

This is one of the cutest books ever! This wonderful book was written by Dorothy Bennett and illustrated by Masha. It was published in  1944 this is the second printing of the book (March 1946). It is in remarkable shape for it's age (66 years).  I listed it in my shop a while back and retook some of the pictures recently. I had to go back and verify the age of the book because I thought the art work looked so modern. In doing so, I decided this book was worthy of a post.

Dorothy Bennett lived and traveled throughout the United States her entire life. At one time she was the Assistant Curator at the American Museum of Natural History. This explains the expert detailing in her explanations and stories within the book. I found it interesting that she had a Minnesota connection, in the bio below I see that she received her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of MN in 1930.

Dorothy Agnes Bennett (1909 -1999), anthropologist, archeologist, astronomer, editor, teacher. Interviewed in 1994by Fauno Cordes. One audiotape and transcript (copyright Society of Women Geographers). BA, University of Minnesota, 1930. Diploma from the Institute of Archaeology in London. Bennett was the senior anthropologist with the Museum of Anthropology, University of California. Director of Epoch at Berkeley. Organized a Junior Astronomy Club at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York. Published the first Star Explorer, a revolving chart displaying more than 500 visible stars. Edited the Golden Books series for children, including the Golden Almanac (1944) and the Golden Nature Guide Books (1950). Astronomy took her to Peru and various locations in the Pacific. Member of the American Astronomy Association, American Archaeological Association, American Mentor Association, honorary member of the Geological Society of Peru, and a Fellow of the American Geological Society. Joined SWG in 1945.*

Masha illustrates the nativity scene for Christmas.
Masha was a mystery illustrator of children's books back in the ’40s.  There is little information about her other than her real name, (Maria Simchow Stern) and that she illustrated the very first Little Golden Book, Three Little Kittens in 1942.  The book jacket gives a little more information about her. Masha's Russian name came from Russian parents, but she was born in the U.S.A. She also illustrated the book Merry Christmas under the name of Natasha Simkhovitch.

The book was obviously cared for very well because it is in very good to excellent condition. It even has it's dust jacket. The author Dorothy Bennett uses the book to guide children through the months and seasons. It contains all sorts of interesting facts and tidbits along the way. The book also includes songs, games and stories.

"From snowflakes to maypoles, from rainbows to baby bears.. The Golden Almanac describes and explains what happens in the world of nature throughout the seasons. It is full of squirrels and scarecrows,maypoles and tadpoles, holidays and famous birthdays."

In the picture above you see an illustration of President Abraham Lincoln on the left and rhymes that accompany the illustrated months on the right. The verse for November and December are apt.

"Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast."

"Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire and Christmas treat."

Colorful and fun illustrations.

Meteors, comets, and shooting stars are explained....

As well as the fantasy life of a hedgehog named Spiky.

Halloween by Masha

The holidays are all delightfully illustrated as in the Halloween scene above  and the Christmas skating scene below.

The simple and colorful way she illustrated these books definitely stands the test of time. The action in the illustration above has such life and depth to it. The images draw me in to take a closer look and once there, I get the pleasure of traveling off to a magical place, if only for a moment. 

If you would like the magic to continue, this book is available for sale in my Etsy shop CraveCute. 

              Did I mention I'm shipping to Canada now too?

Have a great weekend!

*notes - taken from the dust jacket of The Golden Almanac
              biography of Dorothy Bennett from  SWG.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day November 11

The Eagle rests on a gravestone at Fort Snelling National Cemetery which is located in Minneapolis Minnesota.  This is a beautiful, sad and symbolic photo that has come to mean so much to so many.

Thank You All Veterans

"It was a crow that first caught Frank Glick's attention. It was flying around erratically, so Glick got out his Nikon camera and followed it. It was around 6 a.m. on a hazy spring day and he was driving through Fort Snelling National Cemetery because he was early for a training meeting at Delta Airlines, where he works.

Glick is an amateur photographer, but he always carries his camera, just in case. So he followed the crow, in some cultures a symbol of good luck and magic, until he saw it: a huge eagle perched on a tombstone, its eyes alert, its head craned, looking for prey. In the foreground, dew glistened on the grass.

Glick got his shot."
 Excerpt from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Mist and All . . .

This poem couldn't describe our weather here any better! It has been misty and gray for the past two days. I can't complain. It is getting me into the fall-winter spirit of things. As I sip my hot tea and look out at the misty, bare branches on the trees, I've been thinking...  I like the fall...

The Mist and All by Dixie Willson from Poems for Boys and Girls, illustrated by Lois Maloy

I have been thinking about the fact that it seems as though I just took down the Christmas tree a couple of months ago. I am also wondering how to tie the tree to the entertainment center so Guy doesn't topple the whole thing over.  I've been thinking that I need to buy Christmas cards because I used up my stash last year. I'm thinking we need to haul some wood closer to the house so I don't have to trudge through the snow drifts that I hope will be here after Thanksgiving. Oh yes, I like the 'gray November day, and bare dead boughs that gently sway against my pane, I like the rain.'

Sometimes I just enjoy days like this where I can just stop and take note of all the things that have happened and new events soon to come. I am a planner so when I don't have time to plan I start to feel very disconnected and out of control. Days like this are great times to slow down and just think and plan and write.

So for now I think I'll just 'tend my cozy fire a bit. I like the fall -- the mist and all.'

I hope you all have a pleasant week ahead!
Continued thoughts and prayers for the people 
in the East Coast states.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Every Leaf....

Welcome November! This morning the new month began by softly gliding in like a falling leaf.  Long before dawn November came gently drifting down from the tall maple trees and came to rest on the still green grass. After the boisterous celebration of Hallows Eve, let us start November on a calmer note. I have some lovely images I would like to share with you all today.  Enjoy!

We keep our friends and fellow bloggers on the east coast in our thoughts and prayers as they start the long process of recovery from the awful storm.  Thank you all for visiting. ~ Diane ~