Rusty Bed Springs

I am fascinated by shapes, patterns and texture.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Especially up close corroded rusty old things.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Oily railroad ties on working tracks.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Rotten railroad ties on abandoned tracks.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Old barns.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Rotten barn wood.

Rusty Springs 05

Rose rocks.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

The curly cues that hold grape vines to everything they come near.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Sea shells.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

Tree rings, tree bark, and pine cones.

Rusty Things by Jan Miller Stratton on Cottonmouth Creek

And rusty bed springs.



Posted in Photography | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Mysterious Wildcats

Source: Mysterious Wildcats by Joel Sartore

I’ve been watching Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark on PBS the past two weeks. There’s one more episode next week. Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer, is on a mission to capture studio portraits of more than 12,000 species and to date has photographed about 6,000. It’s a project he calls the Photo Ark. He says his goal is simply “to get the public to care and save species from extinction.

So after tonight’s episode I checked my email and found a notification from Flow Art Station featuring Mysterious Wildcats by Joel Sartore. One of the cats featured is the Iberian Lynx, which he photographed on tonight’s episode. It’s the world’s most endangered feline. In 2002 there were fewer than 100 Iberian Lynx, but conservation efforts have increased those numbers considerably and successfully released cats into the wild on the Iberian Peninsula. That’s Spain and Portugal in case it’s been awhile since you had a geography class.


So while there’s nothing mysterious about my cat Domino, I hope you’ll check out Mysterious Wildcats by Joel Sartore. It’s absolutely worth a few minutes of your time.

My favorites are the lynxes, specifically the Iberian and Eurasian. How about you?  Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below.


Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Show-Stopping Stargazer Lily

These Stargazer Lilies bloomed in June. All the lilies in the yard have now faded except the occasional stray daylily.

Stargazer Lily on Cottonmouth Creek

I think these Stargazers were an Easter gift to my mom many years ago. When the blooms faded the plant went into the ground and it has put on a nice show every spring since.

Stargazer Lily 1

It was planted behind the hostas and in front of a row of holly shrubs.

Stargazer Lily 2

But the hostas and the lilies are planted in each other’s spot. The hostas get too much sun and the lilies lean forward wanting more.

Stargazer Lily 3

The other day I trimmed the bottom branches of the holly and that’s where I’ll put the hostas when the weather cools off. Then I’ll move the lilies somewhere with full sun like I said a few days ago in my post Stunning Scarlet Lilies.

Stargazer Lily 4

Several articles mentioned the fragrance of these flowers, but I don’t remember them having a fragrance. I’ll make a point to check that out next year.

Stargazer Lily 5

There were a couple of warnings about these showy beauties.

First, while they make beautiful cut flowers, watch out for the pollen. Don’t get it on your hands or clothes because pollen will stain.

Stargazer Lily 7

The second warning is for your cats. The ASPCA reports the Stargazer is toxic to cats. It’s not a problem for dogs or horses or people, but can cause kidney failure in cats. There are a variety of other lilies that are toxic to cats and dogs that you might check out if your pets eat plants.

Stargazer Lily 8

I’ve had cats in the past who seemed to chomp on every leaf or blade of grass in sight. Fortunately, my Sundance cat is only interested in birds and not so much in my lilies.

Thanks for reading and checking out my photos. Let me know what you think.


Posted in Flowers, Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Teeny Tiny Starburst Blooms

This is a vine or a shrub or ground cover depending on how it’s trimmed and where you let it grow. Mid-summer, like right now, it’s covered with these starburst blooms. They’re about two or three inches in diameter and they’re made up of little bitty flowers.

Starburts Blooms 1

It starts with a cluster of little balls.

Starburst Blooms 2

And each one of those eventually bursts into a tiny flower.

Starburst Blooms 3

They’re not big and showy but they’re kind of interesting when you slow down to take a look.

Starbust Blooms 4

I thought I’d do a quick search for vine or shrub with starburst bloom and this would pop right up and I could tell you what it is.

Uh uh.

Seems like there are a lot of blooms described as starburst: lilies, lilacs, clematis, hydrangea, wisteria, daisy, honeysuckle… and lots more I recognize but can’t name. I’ll have to look again another day.

I’ve lived around this plant for years and this is the first time I noticed the blooms. I don’t know why it blooms at all since it spread like crazy through the root system.

Let me know if it looks familiar. And if anyone wants a cutting, we have plenty.




Posted in Flowers, Plants | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Hungry Caterpillar

This was a huge leaf on a grapevine and this little guy has made quick work of it.


But I think eating is all caterpillars do. And then they make a cocoon and become a butterfly or a moth.


I can’t tell you what kind this one is right now. I’m determined to post something on one of my blogs every day, even if the day runs past midnight, so I’m not doing the research I’d normally do for my critter pix.

These were taken with my old Olympus and as a point-and-shoot automatic thing it was very hard to get the focal point where I wanted it.  I have no idea how many images I trashed to find these two that are still only middling to fair.


Hope you enjoy.


PS – my other blogs are  When I’m not taking pictures I’m sewing or crocheting or crafting something and that’s where I share those things. is my family history. It’s very random, but I’m doing my best to share with my family what I’m learning about our ancestors.  We were some of the first settlers of the New World all along the eastern seaboard. No one is interested right now, but I expect someday somebody will wonder where we came from.  

Posted in Bugs | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Stunning Scarlet Lilies

These lilies bloomed in early May. The scarlet color is stunning.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

There are five or six in an old-fashioned concrete planter. They’ve been there a few years.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

They usually grow about 18–20 inches tall, but this year they barely made it a foot. I think they need more space and fresh dirt.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

This is one of about four different kinds of lilies in the yard.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

I’ve discovered lilies really like full sun. I have some in the front that are shaded by the eaves of the house part of the day. They grow at about a 45 degree angle, reaching for the sun.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

When the weather cools off I’m going to dig up all the lilies and cluster them together for a more dramatic presentation.  They bloom on a different schedule so we should have lilies from early May through the summer.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

I want to find a place so we can see them from inside. There’s a big patch of monkey grass that’s in a good spot. However, the dogs and cat have decided it’s a nice cool place to lay in the heat of the day. Monkey grass is not easy to kill, but the middle is turning yellow and dying.

Stunning Scarlet Lilies on Cottonmouth Creek

That would be the perfect place for a patch of lilies. Then there’s a chance the pets won’t care and plop right down on top of them too. Maybe I’ll put one of each out there and see how they fare and put the rest of them someplace safer.

I’ll keep you posted. With pictures, of course.






Posted in Flowers, Plants, Summer | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Bad Cat!

The trouble with cats is that many of them can not ignore a pretty bird. Or even just a regular old backyard bird who gets too close.


While this mockingbird did not fall victim, others have not been so lucky.

Bird Feathers Cottonmouth Creek

So sad.

Although, to be fair, those feathers belonged to the victim of a hawk, not my cat.

Sundance 1

Last summer Sundance discovered the joys of bird hunting and I began to find bird feathers and other bird parts around the patio and in the yard.

Sundance 2

While Sundance is a sweetheart, he is deadly to naive little birds who forage too close to his hiding place.

He was killing a bird almost every day.

The first thing I did was to trim all the undergrowth around the shrubs he hangs out under.

Then I added bells to his collar.

But to no avail. Almost every day  I was still picking up bird parts and putting them in the trash.

His partner in crime is Zeus, this little Chihuahua.


Zeus does his best to dispose of the evidence. and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t play a part in the murder, although I never caught him in the act.

But Zeus is not quiet enough or stealthy enough to do the deed.  That’s all on Sundance.

With his golden gray tabby coat, Sundance is perfectly colored to slink really close to his prey and I wondered if it would help if I put a bright colorful collar on him.


DSCN1234 (2)

I did some research on “How to stop cats from killing birds” and came across that very kind of contraption. It’s called Birdbesafe and they’ve done research on how successful it is.

I didn’t have time to order something, birds were “falling like flies” on a daily basis. I do, however, have a lot of bright fabric. A piece of yellow cotton was handy so I got busy and cut it into strips to make a big fluffy collar.

Sundance with Collar

Sundance is a huge cat, and with his long hair, he looks even bigger. I had to make a collar that would be bigger than his fluffy coat.

And lo and behold, it works.

Sundance 4

Immediately I stopped finding dead birds.

Sundance on the prowl

He can look, but he can’t get there before the birds see him and fly to safety.

Sundance 3

Evidently bird’s eyes are made to see bright colors in low light conditions so by adding bright to my dark cat the birds can see him coming.

After a few months the collar gets dingy and loses its fullness. I was concerned it might not do the job and I was right.

One morning I found a bird on the patio. And before I could make a replacement there was a second bird to dispose of.

Sundance 6

So now I know to keep his collar fresh and bright.

Bright collar = no dead birds. This is 100% effective on my cat.

I know it would be best for the birds, and the cat, to keep him inside, but that’s not possible right now. And I don’t know his history, he just showed up and adopted me one day, but he likes to be outside. He’s closed in the garage at night with the dogs, and spends much of the day sprawled on a metal patio chair since his hiding place isn’t such a secret anymore.

Anyone else have killer cats?





Posted in Birds, Pets | Tagged , , | 6 Comments