pet pictures

All creatures

pat_gibbons

For those who are reading the fox story for the first time – here are two links to my previous posts – Kindness and Fox News.

This spring, I got a word that Minnie, the six-years old vixen,  was pregnant. The only “suspect” was a two-year old male fox Henry, badly mauled by dogs in his yearly days and restored to health in Patsy’s care. Being very busy at that time, I didn’t come over to greet the cub and take pictures. I feel sad about that – I don’t think I will have another chance.  Now the cub is gone. Pat has too much on his hands  to accommodate one more fox, and a lady from Kilkenny was happy to give the little foxy a family and a little pup for a sibling to  grow together. I only hope for an interview in near future.

I didn’t take pictures of Henry. He was in a bad mood, and we left him in his den. I only can tell that he looks very grown up, and his injured eye is not as teary as it was last year.

I have got a new “fox picture”, this time with Minnie.

fox

Grainne and Minnie are full of character, and are visually different.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 170

fox1 189

Minnie is not angry in these photographs, or upset in any way.  She is just being herself, playing and watching if your attention is still on her 🙂  As you know from my previous post, Minnie doesn’t like walking and prefers being carried and cuddled, and talked to all the time. I think I performed all these tasks very well, and she expected me to carry on, but Patsy thought different and Minnie had to walk to the den on her own feet.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 291gauss

After the photo session, we all went to the garden. The weather improved, a lovely change.  All the creatures of the house joined us, and I was amazed with their friendliness and good humor: even a huge rooster didn’t mind to be photographed. Cats, chickens, dog Blackie  –  all of them relaxed and at ease with the strangers.

chicken

rooster

chicken

grumpy_chicken

dog

pat_gibbons

And of course we talked about foxes, how important they are to the environment. Their diet consists mostly of rats and mice; if they steal a chicken it only means that the chickens were not locked properly. Wild fox killed his ducks yet Pat doesn’t blame the fox but the hole in the fencing. While opposing the fox hunting, Pat doesn’t encourage people to take a fox cub home if it has been found alone. The cub is not abandoned. Foxes belong to the wild and they will survive in the wild. Pat wishes people would just leave them alone.

We were invited for a cup of tea. Pat’s brother showed us a photograph of their parents. Calm, intelligent, beautiful faces. They have raised their eleven children well.

As I have learned, Pat is famous not only because of his foxes. While attending a hurling game, he was spotted and taken a picture of for Kilkenny People newspaper. What has drawn the photographer’s attention? A hat. Pat’s sister is knitting these hats for the match goers, in county colors. Amber and black – Kilkenny colors. I asked Pat if he had another hat for a photograph, and he brought me a Red and White, a Cork one… Didn’t feel comfortable in it… 😉  I should have replaced the colors in Photoshop… 😉

pat_gibbons

On our way back home we took a few pictures in Thomastown.

thomastown

thomastown

A French tourism-oriented website recently posted a story about Pat and his foxes, and asked if they could use my photographs. I am delighted that more people will learn about this wonderful man and his beloved pets. They are already known in England, Scotland, and New Zealand, thanks to Grainne who is kind of a movie star, since she has several film and tourism commercial credits.

I hope you enjoyed the day with Pat Gibbons, and will visit with him in person on your next trip to Ireland.

Have a great week!

Durrow Scarecrow Festival: part I

scarecrow festival

Beautiful village of Durrow, Co Laois are hosting their annual Scarecrow Festival this week. It officially opened last Sunday afternoon, but a fantastic job of preparation and scarecrow making started long before the day. Colorful and happy looking scarecrows sitting on the perches, trees or simply on the ground follow you on your way through the village and promise a good time and lots of fun.

scarecrow festival

Oh, even the President and the First Lady are… wait… never mind…

The Scarecrow glorified by L. Frank Baum is one of the most loved characters in children’s literature. He is gentle and kind, honest and wise. Seeking to get a set of brains he still appreciates the straw he is stuffed with, and his logic is unbeatable:

Scarecrow: I haven’t got a brain… only straw. 
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain? 
Scarecrow: I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they? 
Dorothy: Yes, I guess you’re right.

I will try to not do an awful lot of talking. The pictures will talk by themselves.

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Scarecrow: Witch? Hmph, I’m not afraid of a witch. I’m not afraid of anything – except a lighted match.
Dorothy: I don’t blame you for that.

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Who is the famous Scarecrow’s of Oz predecessor? It must be a Feathertop, the main character of the short story of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne,  first published in 1852. It is an almost Kafka-esque, thought-provoking story.

“Poor Feathertop,” Mother Rigby said, looking at the heap on the floor. “He was too good to be a scarecrow. And he was too good to be a man. But he will be happier, standing near the corn all summer and protecting it from the birds. So I will make him a scarecrow again.”

scarecrow festival

There is a long forgotten, but nevertheless brilliant movie Scarecrow (1983) directed by Jerry Schatzberg. It is a drama starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.  I was sure there is a comedy related to scarecrows, and  I did find a 1920 short comedy The Scarecrow. You can watch it here on Youtube it is just a few minutes of laugh 🙂

When did scarecrows become the horror icons? Some say that it all started with the 1981 horror mystery thriller Dark Night of the Scarecrow, directed by Frank De Felitta. I haven’t seen the movie, and to be honest, I haven’t seen ANY scarecrow horror movie. I would be terrified, I hate creepy things like murderous clowns and scarecrows. I’d better stay with this cute Snow White 🙂

scarecrow festival

There is so much to see in Durrow this week. Humans are watching the scarecrows ( you never know…) and…

scarecrow festival

..Scarecrows are watching humans…

scarecrow festival

There is even a local war going on!

Cowardly Lion: Come on, get up and fight, ya shivering junkyard! Put your hands up, ya lopsided bag o’ hay!
Scarecrow: Now that’s getting personal, Lion!

scarecrow festival

Children are actually very quiet here. I cannot blame them: the real and the surreal are tangled and unclear 🙂

scarecrow festival

Watching the performance I thought  I would take a picture of these fire red hair owners.

scarecrow festival

Suddenly all three of them turned back 🙂

scarecrow festival

That’s all for today. More pictures coming Friday.

I want to share a short fun video courtesy of Hattie Wilcox (the video is on this page of her website). It is filmed in Ireland, it is about the scarecrows, so it is quite relevant.

Hattie Wilcox is a terrifically talented composer, singer, poet, songwriter, photographer, and most humble and hard working  person. Please check out her website and blog.

Photography tip of the day: Use the White balance feature of your camera. Take pictures with different settings and chose the result you are happy with.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!

FOX NEWS

Pat Gibbons foxes

It is my second blog post about Patsy Gibbons and his foxes. In early April, almost 4 months ago, I went live with a blog post KINDNESS, amazed with my own boldness, and having a very little knowledge about blogging rules and ethics. Still learning.

That time Pat invited us to come again in summer when the foxes look gorgeous on the green meadow. Two weeks ago a friend of mine arranged a visit, but when he rang to confirm it Pat told him that he is in the hospital waiting for admission. They kept him in from Monday to Thursday; Pat’s brother fed the foxes, but they had to stay in their den all this time, and they also missed their bath – a day when they all walk to the pond to get bathed. Needless to say, the foxes were upset, Pat wasn’t feeling well either, so this visit was short, and I left sad and worried .

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Gráinne. She is an easy going, clever and curious lady, devoted to her master. Back in 2007 Pat’s brother-in-law Eugene was working in a storeroom and getting the cardboard boxes ready for shredding.  To his surprise he found a fox cub inside a box, malnourished, almost dead: it could be there some 10 days without food or water. Eugene brought the cub to Pat who had helped the troubled creatures before. It is how the story started. Pat consulted with a local vet, and the cub was estimated as a 5-7 weeks old, and weighed 1 pound. It was not easy to nurse the little miracle back to life and health, but they did it! The cub got a lovely name: Gráinne.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Average life span of a wild fox is 2-3 years although a fox can live 10 years. Gráinne is in her senior age, but you would never guess it. She looks very healthy and happy on her rescuer’s shoulders; she has had a long life of mutual love, adventures and little pleasures.  Gráinne run away twice, but was back for dinner the same day. How did she run away? She just snapped the leather leash when at walk. That easy, so if she wanted she could run away any time.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Minnie. Minnie is a bit of a drama queen. When we came into the den, she was whimpering and howling, and putting on these funny faces, so that she had to be petted and rubbed and hugged all the way. Minnie is 5 years old. A woman from next village brought her to Pat when she was a month-old cub.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Henry, he is named after Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin. A man  brought him to Pat a year ago after his dogs attacked and mauled him. Pat thought he would have to put him down, so bad he was. His ligaments were cut, his head was severe injured, especially his bottom jaw and left eye. Pat nursed him back to health, but it took a while. Henry is a gentle and affectionate creature. Pat calls his female foxes “girls”, but Henry he calls “son”.

Pat Gibbons foxes

The foxes have a clean den with three separate compartments for privacy. Every fox has their favorite place on the shelves. In the evening they are brought into the cottage ( they are house-trained) along with Pat’s two dogs, and enjoy the time together watching TV or listening to Pat playing his harmonica. The foxes and the dogs are cuddling together, and actually the foxes feel more at ease when they go for a walk together with the dogs. Sometimes they get a snack – a biscuit or a wine gum. They adore the wine gums.

Pat Gibbons foxes

“You all right, son?” Patsy would ask and hug his little boy.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Henry’s left eye is still sore and probably will never get better. He is enjoying a few minutes in the sun and then Pat takes him back to the den. Now it is the girls’ turn to go outside but Minnie has her drama moment 🙂

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie actually needs some extra exercises for her good, but she stalls and refuses to walk.

Pat Gibbons foxes

In the middle of this drama a car stops and people start taking pictures of Pat. It happens on a regular basic but Pat doesn’t like it. He would rather they stop, get out of their car, have a small talk and then take the pictures.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie gets her way.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy is getting his girls ready for the portrait:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Look at Minnie’s face:) Drama in progress.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy has a kind heart and angelic patience. Minnie is getting all his attention:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

We had a good chat, but look at Minnie’s eyes 🙂 Her face expression speaks for itself. Pat says that he should better take the foxes back to their den.

I wish them many happy years together.

PS  I have found an article which says that a spokeswoman with Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland has criticised the media for writing about Pat Gibbons and his foxes thus promoting a dangerous and irresponsible attitude towards the wild animals.  What do you think about it?

***

A blogger friend Aquileana, inspiring mythology expert and a lovely person has nominated me for a Versatile blogger award. I am very honored and grateful for the nomination, especially from Aquileana who is such a great example of knowledge and personal charisma.

versatile-blogger1

Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Versatile blogger Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Here are the bloggers I nominate for this award. Please visit their blogs!

http://indahs.com/

http://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/

http://thebluepolarbear.wordpress.com/

http://kmihran.wordpress.com/

http://allizzwell.net/

http://anotherdaysomeday2013.wordpress.com/

http://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

http://dorisbolliger.wordpress.com/

http://sarbjitsinghkhaira.wordpress.com/

http://happendonthisday.wordpress.com/

http://yadadarcyyada.com/

Keep great work going!

Photography tip of the day: Karl Taylor’s  10 minutes video.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

Birds of River Suir

stonechat

Looking into the viewfinder I spotted a tiny bird flitting about in the waist-high vegetation before it landed on top of the cement pole.

stonechat

The bird looked like a young female, and later I learned it was a European stonechat. It was flipping from one pole to another, and finally settled so I could take these pictures. After about a minute of chirping there came a male stonechat.

stonechat

I don’t know if they were a couple; they rather looked like a dad and a teenage daughter.

stonechat stonechat

stonechat

Dad? Dad?????!!!!!

stonechat

Your pole looks nicer. Can I come over?

stonechat

No way. Stay where you are!

stonechat

Didn’t you hear me? Don’t even try!

But she already took off and landed almost on top of his head.

stonechat

Daddy! Wait!

I walked about a mile and sat on a bench to rest and enjoy the evening light. A Grey heron was standing in the middle of the river, quiet and patient skinny bird looking grave and funny at the same time. I thought I might stay and wait for him to catch a fish.

heron

No such luck. He changes position, striking at imaginary prey.

heron

heron

heron

heron

heron

heron

Maintaining his dignity he takes off and departs. So do I.

heron

heron

Another half an hour back to the parking lot. Stress management: accomplished 🙂

river suir

Photography tip of the day: There is a link to the page where professional photographers share their advice. I have noticed ( and not only in this article) that the younger photographers often use the word “confidence” . Their older colleagues don’t seem to care:)

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!