All posts filed under: ANIMALS

Pup hats from Horn Lake

Want to turn your pup into an adorable red fox or monkey? Buy him a knit hat from Horn Lake Etsy seller talk2thetrees. Mixed-media Artist Rachael Thomas also has a blog showcasing her work. She describes herself as a “random girl, inspired by nature, trees, fairy tales, mushrooms, cemeteries, dreams, antique bottles, tarot cards and palm reading,” among other things. Pup hats sell for $14 each. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save Advertisements

Mississippi grins and bears it

Ole Miss has a new mascot – the black bear. But does Mississippi have a bear population? Clarion-Ledger reporter Justin Fritscher tells us we do, and the number has grown from 40 to 120 bears in the last decade, most of which reside in the Delta and southwest part of the state. Fritscher says Mississippi once had a large bear population that lured President Theodore Roosevelt to Sharkey County in 1902 for a history-making bear hunt. The term “Teddy bear” was coined when the prez declined to shoot a black bear that his hosts captured and tied to a tree. Hunting and the spread of farmland in the 20th century caused the bear population to stagnate until there were few female bears left, but the girls eventually began to migrate back. Ole Miss isn’t the only evidence of the state’s black bear heritage. Mississippi hosts The Great Delta Bear Affair each year in Rolling Fork, a festival to increase awareness of bear protection. Last year’s theme was Just Another Day in Bearadise. The BEaR Education …

Kermit talks Mississippi

I recently had the privilege of interviewing the world famous Kermit the Frog for The Clarion-Ledger. As someone from Twitter stated earlier today: “DeNiro and Kermit . . . those are like the two most famous people ever.”  The interview is posted below. —— Kermit the Frog is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars on the planet and no stranger to Mississippi. His friend and creator, the late Jim Henson, was born in Greenville. There is no one better to share insight about Henson’s genius, so The Clarion-Ledger offers this exclusive interview with the legendary Muppet. Q: Are you a Mississippi native? The city of Leland Web site ( says Kermit’s native swamp was Deer Creek in Leland, Jim Henson’s boyhood home. Can you tell me about your Mississippi roots? A: I was born in Mississippi? That’s great. I always wondered if my swamp had a name. Y’see, we frogs don’t pay much attention to state lines and stuff like that. And when we talk about “roots,” we usually mean that big cypress tree where …

Ghost Cats of the South

This book was sent to us, and the cover gave me a chuckle. One Web site describes it as a “haunting and entertaining volume” that introduces the reader to “a helpful ghost cat in rural Kentucky who smells like soup” and “a hungry cat in Tunica, Miss., who will eat your face,” as well as other spirit felines. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Bugged by the weather

Last weekend it was snowing. This Saturday, it reached a high of 80 degrees. Does this make sense? Not really. Unless you’re a Mississippian. We know to keep both our winter coats and sandals handy for any given day. Since warmer weather “seems” to be headed our way, I stopped by the Ridgeland farmer’s market today to see what plants and vegetables they have for sale. That’s where I spotted this gigantic, metal, folk art grasshopper waiting for someone to take him to their garden. He’s about 3 feet tall. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Sweet little bird

I recently spotted this little fellow on the sidewalk in downtown Jackson, and my heart went out to him. I believe he may have fallen out of his nest. I was afraid to move him, but he let me get very close to take his picture — an indication something must have been wrong. He appears to be wearing a mask or some really cool shades. I looked him up to see what kind of bird he is, and he appears to be a cedar waxwing. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

The stained glass catfish chef

I visited a Jackson eatery on Highway 80 called The Country Fisherman today and noticed this stained glass catfish chef inside. He seemed to fit my blog theme. According to the Web site, the restaurant’s recipes were developed by Peggy Harris Tuma at the Prentiss location in 1988. They also have restaurants in Brookhaven, Laurel and Mendenhall. Check it out if you want to sample a great Southern food buffet. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Bird is still the word

I’m a fan of the bird motif, and today I ran across this vintage-style pillow with blue birds made by Hattiesburg seller AvalonSewingCo. I also found this pillow featuring caged birds by Jackson seller CottonColors. Click here to read previous posts about bird and tree motifs. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.   Save

The Pink Dolphin

This is something you don’t see every day. The Telegraph reports that a cotton candy pink dolphin has been photographed in Lake Calcasieu in Louisiana. Experts say the color is a result of albinism. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Image: Caters News Save

Getting Kwigy with it

For $88, you can get this quilted nylon jacket for your pup at Kwigy-Bo, a New York-based company that sells dog apparel. The store’s merchandise looks a little like Old Navy for dogs. It’s been featured in several major magazines, and the parkas and jackets are some of their most unique items. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Who gives a hoot?

I am a fan of cute things, and sometimes you see something too cute not to get. Today, while looking around Target, I stumbled across this sleepshirt and decided that its level of cuteness was worthy of $16.99. Target carries a line of pajamas called Nick & Nora that features many whimsical, fun designs. This Nick & Nora style featuring funny owls is called “It’s a Hoot.” For a while now, I’ve noticed a reappearance of the owl motif that was popular in the ’60s and ’70s. I predict we’ll see more of it. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save


New York Times writer Olivia Judson predicted today that Darwinmania will erupt next month upon the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s premiere announcement of the discovery of natural selection. The following year will be the 200th anniversary of his Feb. 12 birth, as well as the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species. I have not finished reading The Origin of Species. (I have a habit of buying books, reading part of them, then buying more books.) But I decided to purchase it a while ago as a reference since Darwin’s theory still seems to be the subject of controversy, particularly in public schools where some argue that creationism and intelligent design should be offered in the science curriculum. I guess, because the theory has been controversial, I expected the book to be more philosophical when I began reading it, but it’s essentially a science text about natural selection. The word “evolution” sparks debate, but for some reason, most people seem to be OK with the term “natural selection.” “Natural selection” makes …

Naturally fashionable

I recently wrote about the current bird/tree fashion and art trend that may be influenced by the “going green” movement. Here’s our Clarion-Ledger page (left) on the subject, which also talks about eco-fashion. And click here to read a previous blog post about the many tree/bird items on the market. Today, while looking at trend sites, I ran across this pair of Prada shoes (above) with a leaf design. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

Designers go out on a limb

As I blogged earlier, birds and trees seem to be everywhere these days in fashion, jewelry and home furnishings. Here are a few items I found for sale online. 1. This tree pendant was created by Pennsylvania artist B.J. Antonik, a.k.a. seller AnnaLeahDesigns. It sells for $13. 2. The Jackson store Turkoyz sells these earthy tree pendants. The store manager said jewelry trends may be inspired by the environmentalism movement. 3. The Norwegian jewelry company Arts & Crafts sells this line of earrings called Bird Escape. 4. Mississippi Gulf Coast artist Kara Bachman creates nature-inspired jewelry like this Willow in Wind copper and peridot sculpture pendant necklace through her online store Meditations. It costs $42. Bachman, who lives in Diamondhead, said Mississippi serves as the artistic inspiration for much of her work. 5. Gump’s San Francisco sells these tree plates at The set of four costs $80. 6. seller redrubyrose, also known as British artist Rowena Dugdale, is an illustrator who specializes in collage and photomontage. She creates these nature-inspired clutches …

The black dog

Today, as I drove home from the Japanese restaurant over the reservoir, I noticed a black lab in the back of a black Chevrolet Silverado wearing an orange collar. As his owner drove, he ran back and forth on each side of the truck, stepping up and sticking his head out on each side to feel the cool breeze. His movement was repetitive. Over and over again, he moved to the left, then to the right. I guess he thought the wind felt better hitting his face the first time, so instead of standing still, he ran from side to side, creating a pause, before sticking his neck out into the air again. It was a funny sight, and since I have a habit of attaching meaning to the things I see, or stopping to ponder the possibilities of signs, I drove contemplating what the wind-loving black dog was trying to tell me. His movement was hypnotizing, like the swaying of a pocket watch held by a stereotypical psychiatrist. It reminded me of a clock …

Coming out of their shell

I had posted part of this earlier, but I took it down, thinking someone might decide to be mean and bother my birds. Here is the rest of their story: About three days ago, they hatched. They woke me up screaming in the middle of the night, and I knew they had come out of their shells. I have never been a fan of repetitive sounds, and they were so loud I had to stuff toilet paper in my ears to sleep. The noise made me start to worry. If I’m plugging my ears, will the neighbors complain? Will they tell the apartment office about them and make someone remove my little birds? I dreamed that happened. I hear them chirp every morning before sunrise, the newborn sound of spring, although they have gotten quieter. They were the loudest when they first emerged, unsure of their surroundings and unaware that they live in a flower pot. They chirp when their mother leaves them briefly to retrieve food. One morning I caught her in the act …

Little bird safe after storm

I was so worried about my little bird today. As usual, another tornado blew its way through the area doing damage, and when I saw the gray clouds and strong winds blowing outside the window, I started worrying about my little bird. I was sure I was going to come home and find the flower pot that she’s residing in blown over, eggs smashed and all. And if I had, after spending an hour on the road trying to slowly make it back to my apartment with rain pouring down and traffic lights knocked out, I was sure the sight of such would make me lose all faith. Luckily the flower pot was heavy enough to withstand the storm, and my little bird was still sitting on her nest. She ruffled her feathers to shake off the rain, but she wasn’t about to let a tornado keep her from her babies. Mother Nature is on her side. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

My beautiful little bird

First there was the unicycle-riding banana, then the forks in the road (or plastic forks scattered on the ground), and let’s not forget the mysterious wizard. Now a bird has taken up residence on my porch, and I believe it must also be a sign. I discovered it one morning when I went outside to sit on my balcony. I was talking on my cell phone, and when I turned around, there was a bird two feet from me sitting in a dried up flower pot. At first, I thought it couldn’t be real. Why didn’t it fly away? I was sitting right beside it and staring right at it. Then I realized she was nesting and wasn’t about to leave her babies. So now I stand at the door and watch her every day. It’s a nice gift to be able to watch a wild creature so closely, and pretty soon they’ll be more than one. I looked her up online, and apparently she’s a mourning dove who is expected to lay two eggs …

The impact of the ‘going green’ movement

I guess the environmentalism movement is influencing art and fashion. Two recurring themes I’ve noticed lately are trees and birds. The desire to be one with nature may have popularized these two images. I’ve seen many handmade products listed on Etsy with both themes. The $25 “Tree on the Lake” glass necklace above is one example. The seller took the picture herself and created jewelry with it. And this sweet little bird necklace by New Mexico jewelry artist Lauren Tobey of Meltdown Studio costs $88. Etsy seller Hollyhawk has sold out of this tree-printed cuff bracelet, but she has others. This one-of-a-kind $88 bird necklace made of a recycled locket and wood carving (center) also appears to have been snatched as soon as it was posted, but you can still buy this $55 stainless steel Polli Elm Pendant at Doe. Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save

A big trap

I like most animals, but there are a few I’m not crazy about. They include centipedes, any snake that is near me and not behind glass at a zoo, creepy armadillos and opossums. So I’m glad I wasn’t around millions of years ago when a giant rat species called Josephoartigasia monesi roamed the earth. Scientists recently discovered the one-ton “fossil rat” in South America, and according to National Geographic, the prehistoric, bull-size creature is the world’s largest recorded rodent. They estimate he weighed 2,200 pounds, a lot more than the world’s largest living rodent, the capybara, also found in South America. I wonder how much cheese he could put away. . . Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker. Save