Too close for comfort!

Shortly after getting home from work, Mom looked our our front window and saw this!

smoke rising from house fireShe called the emergency number (911) and they already had reports of a house fire. She put me in the bedroom so she’d know where I was, then hopped on her bicycle to go around the corner to see what was happening. The neighbors were gathered around making sure everyone was safe, so she immediately came home. Hearing one of the neighbors say the natural gas line could explode put a little extra oomph in her peddling!

The fire department helicopter was already circling overhead, and she could hear sirens of the emergency response crews. From our house, she kept an eye on the smoke and direction of the wind. Fires travel fast, and it’s hot, dry, and many homes in our neighborhood (including ours) have wood shake roof that can easily catch fire. As the crow flies, the fire is only about 500 feet from us (three houses between us).

Dad is out on his bicycle ride so it’s just us at home. Her only thought was keeping me safe. Mom had already decided that she would just grab me, get in the car, and drive a few blocks away. Literally, grab and go – no carrier, no purse, no nothing!

We’re hoping everyone and all the pets are safe.

Mom here – When I saw that the smoke was lessening, I had time to think about our emergency plan. We are very prepared to weather a storm or power outage, but I don’t have a “grab bag” of emergency supplies. Sounds like I have some work to do, and maybe some ideas to share in a future post.

I already know something I’d do differently. Instead of putting Raven in the bedroom where she could get under the bed, I should have put her in the bathroom where it would be easier to grab her.

Update: The local news says two houses were involved and no reports of injuries. It’s been a little over an hour so we went to the corner to take a look. They closed the road and there are at least 25 big fire trucks up & down the entire street. The fire department must be concerned about something to have so many trucks here (engines, hook & ladder…. the entire fleet). I’ve never seen so many fire trucks in one place. 

Posted in Random musings | 14 Comments

Caturday Art with Blueberries

Raven has a swirly tail for today’s Caturday Art hop with Athena. If you compare it to yesterday’s photo, it makes it look like she has some sort of tail.

Raven with an art-swirled rump

This is completely off-topic, but we’re excited about our first picking of blueberries. We nearly filled a 9-inch pie plate.

A few weeks ago I showed the enclosure we built to keep the birds from eating the berries.

I expect we’ll be able to pick two or three more batches of berries and the birds won’t get to eat any!

And here they are swirly.

Posted in Blogging Fun, Garden | 18 Comments

Making “secret” text display on your photos

I’ve seen some questions about how to get “secret” messages to show up on your photos. Different blogging tools allow you to do it differently, but if you can view your blog post HTML, you can see how it’s done and edit it to your liking.

Here’s a photo of Raven that I’ve used for some Caturday art.

I haven’t added any text that will display when you hover your mouse over the image.

Using ALT text

In the next picture,  I’ve added ALT  text. You still don’t see any text when you hover your mouse over the image.

Here’s a snippet of the HTML code that describes the image. I’ve shortened and grayed out the stuff you can ignore, and highlighted the alt information.

alt tag code snippetA photo of my black cat Raven

The ALT text used by assistive technology to help users with disabilities use and understand a website. This is referred to as having an “accessible” website. For example, people who are visually impaired use screen reader software that reads the website to them so they can hear what is on the page. When the screen reader encounters an image, it doesn’t know what to tell the user unless you provide ALT text .  In this case, a person using a screen reader would hear that the image is “A photo of my black cat Raven”.  There are lots of rules about how to make a website accessible, but I’m not going to get into that.

Using TITLE text

For the next image, I use both ALT and TITLE text.  I highlighted the title information in the snippet of HTML.

title tag code snippet

A photo of my black cat Raven

The TITLE text is used by web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari) to display text when you hover over the image.

The ALT text still says “A photo of my black cat Raven” and this is what a visually impaired user would hear through their screen reading software.

The TITLE text says “Raven is a beautiful cat.”  This is the text you see if you hover over the image.

Different software tools may handle these elements a bit differently, but now you have an idea of how to do this on your blog.

Posted in Random musings | 10 Comments

Wee little birdie rescue

When Dad came home from his bicycle ride he saw a young Mourning Dove fly away as our neighbor cat Jackie was stalking it. About an hour later, Dad saw the bird sitting on the driveway with Jackie watching it.  Mom knew that wasn’t right, so she went out to check on the bird. Birdie tried to flutter away, but it couldn’t fly. Jackie ran up and tried to pounce, but Mom intercepted her!

Dad kept hold of Jackie while Mom rescued the little bird and put it in our hamster carrier. After letting the bird rest for a while, Mom gave it a quick once over. She used to work with birds so she knows how to handle them. It’s wings didn’t appear to be broken, but it has a shallow bite wound on it’s side. It could have some broken ribs or something else that’s preventing it from flying so Mom couldn’t set it free.

We’ll keep the little feathered critter in our garage overnight where it can rest and stay warm. That’s the best we can do until we can take it to the local wildlife rescue tomorrow.

Raven looking at caged Mourning Dove

Mom let me look at the bird for a minute, then said I had to let it have privacy. I wasn’t going to hurt it, I just wanted to look at it and smell it. I was a bit taken aback by the little critter. I’ve never seen a bird up close.

Close up of caged Mourning Dove

Sleep tight little critter.

Raven here: You should have seen Mom intercept Jackie. Jackie was in a low, stalking run and tried to get past mom to get the bird. Mom scooped up Jackie mid-stride and whisked her off the ground and up into her arms while doing a half-turn to absorb Jackie’s momentum. It was like watching a ballet. Jackie meowed her displeasure at Mom. Mom told Jackie what she could do with her cattitude. Only Jackie’s pride was harmed, and Mom didn’t get even a scratch.

Posted in Random musings | 13 Comments