Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mice can sing - Who knew?

In experiments to test how male mice responded to sex pheromones found in the urine of female mice, neurobiologists at Washington University in St. Louis, Tim Holy and Zhongsheng Guo, recorded male mice as they sniffed a cotton ball soaked in a female mouse’s urine. Within seconds of smelling the urine of a female who is ready to mate, the male mice broke into song, inaudible to the human ear. The male mice were genetically identical and were all the same age. Surprisingly, each mouse sang his own individual song. It isn’t certain if the best singers win the most desirable females as is often the case with birds.

This link takes you to a recording of a mouse singing.
It has been lowered four octaves but left at the original speed. The singing sounds like birds twittering. It brings to my mind an imagine of birds and mice, perched side by side in the tree tops, twittering.

At this link the recording has been lowered four octaves and also slowed down sixteen-fold. This sounds more like whistling. Notes seem to be repeated to make a melody.

The researchers didn’t check to see if the female mice sing. Wouldn’t that be interesting to know?
Information from “National Geographic News” - November 1, 2005
Mouse.John Good .NPS Photo.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Variations

Obviously, the azalea photo in the top left is the original. This shows how wild you can be using filters and colors changes. I am thinking about printing some of these onto fabric. Doing research on the internet, I found a product called "Bubble Jet" that lets you adhere fabric to paper so it will go through a printer. Another suggestion I found was to iron the fabric onto freezer paper, then print. The flower print could be a pocket on a skirt or on a bag. Or with borders it could be made into a bag. This project may have to wait until gardening slows down.


This is an example of how you can change a photo. The original is on the bottom and for the variation above, I used Adobe Photo Elements, Ink outline.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Photograping my Collections

Photography is another hobby of mine. Isn't digital wonderful? When you had to buy film and have it developed at great expense, you couldn't really play around with the camera. I like to gather my collections and antiques and photograph them. Unfortunately, I can't paint, but by putting a filter on my photos I can make them look like a painting. This photo is done using my five year old Sony camera, Photo Shop Elements, and the filter is Dry Brush, all done on a Mac computer.

Crazy Cat

We are all creative. More so than we give ourselves credit for. Don't be afraid to try something. If it looks a little odd - just call it "Art."

Creating things has been a hobby of mine for many years. I don't work from a pattern unless it is one I make myself. Usually I don't bother with making a pattern but just start right in on the project. Crazy Cat was made from a nice herringbone fabric. His eyes and nose are buttons. His ears contain a tuft of wool and his tail tip is rabbit fur. I save everything because it might come in handy - and it usually does. I am cursed with being able to see possibilities in everything! It makes it hard to throw things away! I am lucky to have a craft room, but I always wish it were larger. Leave me a comment about what you create!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Spring in Virginia

I have been transplanting ferns from the woods (where they grow abundantly) into my shady yard. Having already gone over my budget for plants this spring, this is a good way to fill in areas with plants that thrive in poor soil and can survive our hot dry summers. Besides, I love ferns. They look so cool and delicate.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brookgreen Gardens

In March, we took a trip with our friends, Margie and Dan, to Myrtle Beach. Ten miles down the road is a lovely place, Murriels Inlet. Bob and I spent a day there at Brookgreen Gardens ( It is a sculpture garden and more! Just to see the huge oak trees is worth the trip.

I love this sculpture! He looks noble!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden Assistant

What do you think of my garden assistant? My husband provides cool drinks but not company when I work in the yard, thus the assistant.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hammock - just waiting

Here is a close up of my empty hammock. In the background you can barely see the creek. Notice the hummingbird feeder in the upper right. How lovely it is to doze in the hammock and hear the whirr of hummingbird wings. They love fuchsias so I'll hang one there this summer.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


When trimming some bushes, I thought it a shame to discard all the pretty clippings. But in looking for a vase I couldn't find one the right size, so I took a can out of the recycling bin. Now I can enjoy this arrangement for a while then toss out the foliage and recycle the can. Doesn't the foliage pick up the colors on my mantle?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lake View Cottage

I can't help myself. I remodel every house I live in! For some reason I love houses! In studying my family history I have found wonderful houses that my ancestors owned in Pennsylvania (1750) in South Carolina (1600's) and Georgia (1700 & 1800's) so maybe it is in my blood. But instead of the huge mansions of my ancestors, I live in a cottage by the lake. It was built as a summer house in the 1970's. We finished the daylight basement and turned it into a craft room, two bedrooms, bathroom and laundry. When we moved in there was no basement entry from inside the house so I had to go down the outside stairs to get to the washer, trailing laundry as I went.

This is the creek we see from our house. Ducks and geese like that spot and so do the fishermen. The water is beautifully clear in the creek.

Here is the view from our living room door. That is Paws wanting to come in. When the leaves are out, we only see a glimmer of the lake, but we can still see the creek! Spending time in the hammock is one of my favorite activities. My cat, Sylvie, likes to lie in the hammock with me and swing. And she likes to share salty snacks!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Garden Gate

This is my garden at my log cabin in Pennsylvania. My neighbor, Joan, and I often chatted "over the garden gate."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Preparation for Planting

Welcome to my first post! I want to share with you my interest of the moment which is gardening. And of course I love to take pictures of my garden!

My husband and I have recently closed our business, Sweetwater Country Home, (in Gordonsville and Luray, VA) where we sold classic county furniture and accessories. Now I have time for other things. After doing lots of work on our house (more on that later), I am turning my attention to the garden. When we moved from our log cabin in Pennsylvania, I left behind the dream garden I had created and the white picket fence I had always wanted. Now I am starting over and trying to create a cottage garden in one growing season! My yard is on a hillside and there are lots of tall trees. Only the center of the front yard gets much sun, so I have two large beds there.

This Virginia is soil is heavy, brick-red clay. It takes lots of digging to loosen the soil and to work in some organic matter. Hefting forty pound bags of cow manure/humus is more entertaining than going to the gym! But it has taken ten bags so far, and more will be needed. My sore muscles could use a rest!