Sunday, May 29, 2016

Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Depot

 This c. 1920 one story clapboard building has been covered with vinyl siding according to the National Register of Historic Places inventory for the Downtown Delhi Historic District.  It is described as
...low-key Colonial Revival detailing.  Modillions outline the roofline and gables of this long, rectangular building.  Each end is prominently articulated with gable end returns and a lunette shaped ventilator.  Located slightly off center on each of the long elevations is a gable also accented with end returns and modillions.
The Old Missouri Pacific RR caboose 13497 is displayed at the depot (  
Like many towns throughout Louisiana, Delhi owes its existence to the railroad.
First in operation as the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas, established in 1861, the line was dismantled by 1863 due to the war (  The Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific was incorporated on December 1, 1879 and operated until 1926 on the Vicksburg to Shreveport route (Mississippi Rails: Mississippi's Railroad History & Heritage).  The line was served by Illinois Central Railroad in 1966 (LSU Libraries Digital Collection), and is currently serviced by Kansas City Southern rail.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Have you heard the one about....?

...two "seasoned" women keeping a baby?
It gave new meaning to the phrase "I'm too old to do this."  This little 8-month old charmer is my great-great niece, and Sis and I took a road trip to spend a couple of days with her oldest daughter and family.  When I had first seen the baby at Christmas, she mostly screamed if I tried to interact with her or hold her.  Isn't it amazing the changes that come with a few months of development? 
Although we mostly hung out at the house and took care of baby niece, we ventured out one afternoon to the grocery store to pick up items so I could cook supper.  I recall taking my baby to the grocery store plenty of times during my mommy days, but wow!  It took Sis and I both and all hands to keep this little tyke in tow...and she does not even walk yet.
Aah, break time at last!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Torties

 I was getting worried, and trying not to worry.  One day I had come out and found all the kitties gone from the front porch.  I know feral cats need a "back door" and to stash the babies where predators cannot find them--at least, hopefully.  I had heard them mewing one day at 'suppertime' and spotted them amongst the leaves and vines that cover the fallen tree in the front yard.  Then the rains came.
It was a low lying area under the tree, and I feared they would drown if Mamas did not get them moved in time.  I need not have worried.  After the rain stopped, I went out to find them gone from the second home in their short lives.  I knew they were somewhere around the kudzu by J's parked car as the mamas would come from that direction to eat when I put out food, but I could not see them. 

Then came the day I spotted them...under the edge of the tire under my car shortly after I arrived home.  A stern lecture was delivered to mama cats and I moved them from under the car and back to the basket on the porch.  Before I even got the third kitten out from under the car, Mama was dragging one out of the basket and back that direction.  Frankly, she was having a hard time as the kitten was not at all cooperative over having been pulled out of a warm soft basket instead of under car on a rock driveway and now being dragged down a sidewalk.  Cats--were they raised in a barn or what?

I scooped it up (I know, I violated the non-interference with feral cats clause in the contract), put it in the basket with its other two siblings and moved the basket, which is inside the mesh and metal frame leaf bag from the lawnmower to provide better shelter and support from collapsing) over by J's car, next to the kudzu.  I figured if she was going to drag them all back, I could at least make it less traumatic.  (I know, I am thinking like a human, and not like a cat.)

Happily, all 3 mamas and all kittens seem to be satisfied with the basket near the kudzu, protected by a fence and a car, with 47 different escape routes.  Mamas rotate in and out of the basket to share nursing duties, groom kitties who venture out of the basket, and stand watch a few inches away.  Using the zoom lens, I was able to catch a brief glimpse of them late this afternoon.  Several days down and counting...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Elvis' first school

 East Tupelo Elementary constructed in 1936 on Lake Street.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Inter Mothering

 Among the feral cats who take shelter on our hillside are Mama Tortie and her two surviving daughters--Baby Tortie and Dilute.  Miss Jane Hathaway disappeared never to be seen again, although this morning I dreamt I saw her out on the front porch when I went to feed the cats.  Sadly, she was not there in reality.
 Mama Tortie had two babies about a month ago, but only one survived, a little gray dilute, although paler and more gray than her older sister Dilute.  Mama took up housing in the kitty basket.  One day when I went out to feed and water, Mama and Baby Tortie were in the basket together.  I said, "Well, what are you two both doing in there?"  Out they both walked, and there in the little nest were 3 more new kitties.  I noticed that Mama would nurse Baby's babies while Baby was out eating or taking care of kitty business.  I went to get another kitty basket, and moved Baby Tortie and her kittens into it, right next to Mama.  Baby looked at the kittens in the new basket, looked in her old basket with the older gray kitten, and promptly set about moving her kittens back into co-rooming with Mama and first kitty.  I learned then--don't mess with the cats.  They will work it out.
 Meanwhile, Dilute had her kittens--three little grays (that is Cousin Tortie in the back, Baby Tortie's kitty.  Yes, I know, getting a little complicated here.)  Mama and Baby helped Dilute clean up her kittens and herself.  Apparently, it is not uncommon for mother and daughter cats who have kittens at the same time to co-reside and co-mother.  It is particularly more common in feral cats, where the mother leaves the kittens alone to hunt for food.  Now while these cats are not truly feral, as in I feed them, and obviously give them shelter, they are in essence wild cats in that they are not house pets or especially loving sit-in-my-lap cats. 
A couple of days ago, I checked in on Dilute's babies and there were only 2 grays in the basket.  I thought one might have died, but when I looked in the other basket, there were now 5 kittens, and one of them was Dilute's.  But, I did not know the back story, so I did not act.  Could Dilute have not been able to make enough milk for 3 since she was the tiniest cat?  Did Mama take a baby to replace the one she lost early on?  Who moved Dilute's kitty?  Dilute walked up, looked in her basket and then looked in the other basket.  Then she hopped into her basket with the two kitties.

I confess, I worried about it, but also did not worry--thinking they would sort it out just like they had the other system.  Then Thursday while I was sitting out on the porch, I heard mewing sounds of distress.  Cousin Tortie was in the basket with all the other cats, but crying, and seemed to be weak.  All the other kitties were nursing except for Cousin, who just kept crying and sort of pushing herself around aimlessly.  I put her in the basket with the gray cousins, and she settled in with them and stopped crying and went to sleep.  Later, Dilute was nursing all 3 of them, and there Cousin Tortie has been ever since.

I find myself dwelling on it, thinking I should not interfere.  The cats seem perfectly capable of sorting it out and dealing with it.  Did Dilute wonder why they took her other kitten?  Did she wonder how Cousin Tortie ended up in her basket?  Did Baby Tortie realize her baby Tortie was in Dilute's basket?  So many questions, and yet, it seems to have stabilized for the moment and that human interference has not traumatized anyone.  They all three come up to jump up on the arm of the chair when I am on the porch, and two of them like to be scratched behind the ears, although Dilute will not tolerate touch.  I guess I will just see how it works itself out from this point, but one thing is clear--that one basket will not hold 2 adult cats and 4 kittens much longer.  Cousin Gray is already moving around enough that he was out of the basket yesterday, checking out the front porch.  The others will not be far behind.