Sunday, August 17, 2014

Caspian our Lovely Decor Cat -- 2003 to 2014

This morning we lost our sweet cat, Caspian, my oldest daughter's cat.  He looked like he was peacefully resting on the deck stair but had apparently passed away in his sleep.  He was peaceful and unmarked.  The summer we moved to our new neighborhood, this daughter was very sad to have left her old house (the parents were not so sad).  She met children in the neighborhood and discovered that a family nearby had a cat who had had kittens.  The kittens were adorable and our child would bring one particular kitten home to "visit."  After a few "visits" she let us know that she would be much more amenable to living in the new house if she had a kitten of her very own.  Never let it be said she knows nothing about sales!  And the beautiful and very soft kitten joined our family and was named Caspian (after Narnia stories).  We likely have some kitten photos somewhere, but the digital ones begin when the cat was three years old.  Following are a few photos of Caspian -- no particular time or order -- with a few comments here and there. 

Caspian was a great mouser and ratter (go at it boy!) and also caught a few birds (boo, hiss).  We will miss knowing that rodents are being eliminated in our yard.  The birds will breathe a sign of relief!  The dog will keep the squirrel out (sometimes).  It must be time for you to rest from your diligent cat labors!  Rest in peace, Caspian, little cat. 
 I often have animals all over my chair while I have devotions in the mornings.  This is Caspian close up and this particular day Duncan was at my feet and Baxter, the dog, was on my left.  Caspian loved to give me a "bath" and he had a very scratchy tongue resulting in hand exfoliation!
 Caspian enjoying the sun with me earlier this summer!
 In his earlier days, Caspian always seemed to be able to find the clean laundry and thought it was a perfect place to sleep.  Not so much my point of view! 
 Great markings on this cat!  And his fur was very, very soft.  About the softest cat I've ever petted.
 Caspian was always good for a nap.  Here he is sleeping away on his mom's bed -- the close-up is one of my favorites.   Below is the first photo taken on the way in, hoping he would stay asleep -- and he did!
  Trying out combinations for HS graduation photo
 Caspian in 2007
 A cat and his Mom!
 I know this seems like a funny photo here, but Caspian had Captain Jack Sparrow, the same daughter's pigeon, for breakfast one morning.  It was my own fault.  I let Cap'n Jack out during the afternoon but we were busy and I forgot to lock his cage up before I went to bed.  It appears that he went into his coop for the night, but likely flew out in the early morning and was pecking around in the grass.  Unfortunately, Caspian was out looking for an early snack.  Caspian won that round.  In the early morning I ran out to check on Cap'n Jack, but it was too late.  He was the last of the half dozen or so pigeons we had has pets due to our daughter having read the Night Flyers (I think it was) American Girl (dolls) History Book.  The story was about pigeons being messengers in war and our daughter's imagination was captured.  She even raised a baby pigeon from an egg by hand. 
 Caspian would often "help" me work from home.  He found the notes from which I was writing reports to be an irresistible place to lie down and relax. 
 When I could get him to sleep by the printer, things usually went better!  I can't believe he found this at all comfortable.
 Occasionally the two cats would get along.  In the photo above, Caspian is yawning, not getting ready to throw up!  Duncan is the barfing cat, alas!
 A peaceful afternoon for the two cats.  Duncan will likely be an even more lonely cat than in the past.  His mom's in the army, so he is stuck with only the (grand)parents and the herding dog who always keeps him in his place.  Duncan has always been an emotionally needy cat, and we imagine that will increase!
 Often when I would take time to sit on the bench near the fountain in the summer, Caspian would come and sit on my lap or next to me.
 Whenever it was meal time, this cat could drive you MAD meowing!  We called him Gitmo at these times, because we could tell from our experience of him that if we sent him to Guantanamo Bay, terrorists would divulge everything they knew, if only someone would MAKE THAT CAT QUIT MEOWING!!!!  He could have been a great asset there!
 A favorite trick of the cat, as you can see above and below, was to jump onto the edge of the bird bath and stare at me until I would run upstairs and open the slider door to let him in.   He would just wait patiently.  Of course, since he was sitting on the bird bath and right across from the hummingbird feeder, I often felt motivated to let him in soon so as not to put my small feathered friends at risk!
 "Well?" says Caspian, "I'm waiting." 
Best friends, mom and furry son.
   There you are at the top of the pile of my morning coffee and devotional friends last winter.  I'll miss your scrubbing little tongue baths, your loud contented purrs and the feel of your extraordinarily soft fur. Rest in peace little friend.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Cape Henry Lighthouse

It is fun to have an opportunity to write about a recent visit to the Cape Henry Lighthouse.   As you are aware, the name of this blog is The-Light-Keeper.   I began the blog because of our love for lighthouses and all the times we have been keepers at the New Dungeness Lighthouse.   At least seven or eight times we were keepers at NDSL for a week, giving tours, painting, doing chores and relaxing.  The first time we went our girls were in kindergarten and the last time I think they were in high school.  It is an amazing place to stay for a week.  My favorite memories are of sitting on the porch in the evening breeze, quilting and sipping a latte. There is nothing like being at the end of a six mile sand spit and having it all to yourselves!  I went back and looked at this blog and in 2006 in March we last stayed there.   Now our daughters are grown and one is in the Army at Fort Story, Virginia.  She lives only a five minute walk from the Cape Henry Lighthouses, Old and New and spends hours each week on the beach there.  The first evening we were there we took a walk down the boardwalk to the beach.  We came across a cute little guy below on our way to the beach and shortly after seeing him took the photo above where Dad and daughter added interest to the lighthouses. 
The first Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1791 and '92 and went into service in 1792.  It was the first lighthouse built by the new Congress of the United States.  On the tour we learned that even President Washington was involved in getting this lighthouse authorized and built.
  In the late 1800's the new Fresnel lens technology resulted in a light that was too large for the original lighthouse and so the new one was built.  The old light was decommissioned and the new light went into service. 
We took the opportunity while she was working to visit the older lighthouse.  The new one is operating and remains under the management of the US Coast Guard and so is not usually available for tours.  We got in line to pay the visitor fee of $8 and a woman behind us in line had an extra pre-paid ticket and so offered to cover one of our admissions!  So Vera, thank you very much should you come across this blog!  Here is Vera and her son posing in front of the  stairs to the entry of the  lighthouse for my "thank you" photo! 
Originally the sand went to almost the top of the steps now, just two white bricks showed above the sand.  We were also told that the foundation went about as far below as the white part is above.  In addition, the original stones that were delivered slowly sank into the sand and the builder knew it would take too much effort to dig them out again so they actually provide a secondary foundation below the formal one.
This is the top of the lighthouse where previously the light would have been.  From the top looking down we see the last ladder and the landing before the final ladder. 
 The blue plaque notes that this is the remaining original wall to the lighthouse that can be seen and admonishes us not to touch it!
The tight spiral stairs of a lighthouse evokes so many wonderful associations from our lighthouse visits around the country.
Out of the windows at the top of the old Cape Henry Lighthouse one can see the new Cape Henry Lighthouse, the beach where sail the ships of the world, and our daughter's abode in the distance.
 The beach right here is named Cape Henry because this is where the men and women of the first Jamestown settlement came ashore and thanked God for a safe journey across the fearsome Atlantic Ocean.  A few days later they moved on to establish Jamestown.  Cape Henry was named for Henry, Prince of Wales at the time.   
 Home sweet home for one of our family!  And I am happy to say not me!
The photo of the new Cape Henry Lighthouse above is taken from the top of the old light.  The photos below are taken from the ground. 
 The "new" Cape Henry Lighthouse
 The active Coast Guard area on Fort Story.  Note the year of 1889 above the door on the entrance to the lighthouse when it was commissioned and it is still in operation.
I forget how many miles the old Cape Henry light could be seen -- I think it was either 15 or 17 miles visibility.  Through the glass window you can see the first order Fresnel lens that shines 20+ miles out to sea and which was too large to operate at the top of the old lighthouse. 
After leaving the light houses, we joined up with our daughter and again spent some time at the beach and then visited the memorial to the landing of the James town settlers and looked out over the beach from the park.   
Here we are at the end of a fun day visiting the Cape Henry light.  And of course, being the well trained former Coastie and current soldier that they are, they both immediately stopped as required by protocol when the colors were being lowered for the day.
God bless America!
And as the evening darkens, the light shines out bringing comfort to families whose loved ones sail the seas and leading those loved ones safely home.