My Favorite Black Cat Photos of Skittle and Fontana

I take a lot of photos of my two black cats, Skittle and Fontana. Fontana has been living with me since 2010 when she and Richie (a crazy male cat who is now deceased) were adopted from a shelter in New Hampshire. Richie met an untimely end when he was killed by a fisher cat one early morning. Fisher cats are stocky, muscular beasts that hunt mostly at night so I kept my cats inside overnight.  Richie always wanted to go out very early in the morning to hunt and unfortunately a fisher cat was out hunting too.

You can see photos of Richie at my New England blog.  He had unique blotches of white on his face.

Fontana the Beauty

Whereas Richie was a hunter extraordinaire, Fontana was always one to sit and watch wildlife with big eyes and not try to kill everything that moves. She spent one night in my old house playing with a mouse in the kitchen, which she let get away to bother us another day.

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Fontana’s black coat

Fontana was, and is, a beautiful, medium long hair cat. Her fur was jet black, but now that she has spent lots of time outside in the Florida sun, she has turned chocolate brown.  Yup, she’s fading.

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Fontana’s fur has faded to brown in the Florida sun

Then, Along Came Skittle

Skittle became part of the family shortly after Richie had gone. My son and I went to the local shelter where a room held some free roaming kitties. The shelter manager told me to go in and visit with those cats and as I opened the door a little black cat bolted out into the main part of the shelter. We had to round her up and put her back.   My son decided that was the cat he wanted.  Of course, the troublemaker!

Her shelter name was “Love Bug” but before we left the parking lot my son said, “Lets call her Skittle”.   The name is perfect and she still does the “skittle out the door” maneuver very well.

Skittle is the kind of cat that makes her needs known one way or another. She drinks out of cups, knocks things off counters and tables, and races through the house to get attention. As soon as I go into the bathroom she is up on the counter wanting to drink from the faucet. She stays outside almost all day long, even in the terrible Florida heat. I am home and can let her in, but she prefers outdoors. She seems to be happier in this climate away from the snowy New England winters.

Cats are known to choose to sleep in some strange places.  Usually they choose a place that will bother the owner the most.  Right on a book that one is attempting to read, or on the desktop when one is trying to work.   The fact that Skittle thought the indoor woodpile would be a comfy place for a nap really confused me.  But she saw that I was using that wood to stoke the wood stove and probably decided she would be in the way.  It’s how her little mind works.

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I have some great photos of skittle, but none as funny as when she plopped her head down onto the fruit in my fruit bowl and made herself comfortable.  Did she think I would want some fruit and having her head in the way would annoy me?  Probably.


In my New Hampshire home, Skittle had perfected the art of letting me know she was ready to come inside. She stood on the deck railing and pawed at the window in the kitchen making as much noise as possible.  If the railing had snow or ice she would simply climb to the top of the screen on the sliding glass door and hang there hoping to annoy me enough to open the door.

When winter ended in NH and I began to go outside to do my gardening, Skittle was always somewhere close by.  She loved to have my company in the yard.  The photo below is one of my very favorites and was taken on one of those gardening days.  It captures her typical look which seems to be saying, “Come on, what’s next?  Lets get to it.”  Skittle is always ready for an adventure.

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If I didn’t get around to mowing the grass as much as I should, the cats didn’t mind. They both like to “hide” in the greenery.

One of their favorite things to do was to walk with me in the woods behind the house.  I had a big backyard forest area with rocks, water and downed trees to climb.  I miss being outside with them.  In Florida, I don’t go out much and there are no fun places to explore in my yard.

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Fontana in the grass

Just like siblings, cats can have radically different personalities. Anyone who doesn’t like cats probably hasn’t met a cat with the “right” personality match for them. Fontana and Skittle are very different from each other.

Skittle will sleep on my bed at night, but Fontana doesn’t.

Fontana will jump into my lap, but not Skittle.

Skittle comes when I call her, like a dog. Fontana usually ignores my calls.

Skittle catches lizards and then meows, while the poor thing dangles from her mouth, until I come see. Fontana ignores the lizards.

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Fontana is a beauty

The cats are weird, funny, sweet or annoying and they’ve wormed their way into our hearts, as all pets do.

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Window with a view

In the Yard End of December 2017

While the rest of the country is dealing with freezing temperatures (sorry), I was taking photos of my yard and garden in the December sunshine.

Yesterday, December 30th I decided to get some photos of happenings in the backyard. Because much of the northern part of the country is suffering with snow, ice and unbelievably cold temperatures (you have my sympathy), I felt lucky to be outside in the warm sunshine and 60 degree temps.

Today I wanted to write this short post to share what it’s like to be able to avoid winter and watch a garden grow literally year round. This is new for me and I am not trying to brag. I miss New England even though you must suffer through the bad winters. It’s beautiful there and quite boring and dull here in Florida – until the monotony is interrupted by a hurricane.

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Poinsettia 2017 leftover from 2016

I know that my poinsettia is not looking all that good, but who knew a poinsettia could grow in the ground and live from year to year? I discovered this by walking around my new neighborhood and checking out the plants in yards I passed. People were growing poinsettias. So after last Christmas, when I bought this odd looking one, I put it out back in the pot and continued to water it. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I planted it in the ground next to the hibiscus. I was able to bring it in last year when the coldest weather hit, so we’ll see how it fares in the ground. Because it’s next to the house I think it will do fine.

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Ladybug on Eggplant Flower

I caught this pretty little ladybug crawling over an eggplant flower and decided to try to capture it on my iPhone. The blinding sun made it difficult to see as I took pictures, but finally I got into a good position where the shade wasn’t a problem. Then I took a bunch of photos as the sweet little bug crawled around the backside of this purple flower.
Ladybugs are the best. They are a gardener’s friend. But don’t try to eat them, they don’t taste good at all. I accidentally had one in my mouth once – and yuk.

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December 30th – My eggplant tree

The Eggplant plant is still going strong. I’ve eaten one eggplant from it. The leaves are truly gorgeous and I photographed them in hopes of doing a drawing one day soon.

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Green pepper plant in December

Never in my life have I been able to grow my own green peppers. But this fall I have eaten many from this plant. I also have a smaller plant which currently has white flowers on it (below). And I’ve used some hot jalapeño peppers occasionally too. I’m used to pulling up my vegetable plants by fall, but now I guess I will just let them keep growing and see what happens.

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December – buds on the green pepper plant

Here in central Florida we are expecting some cold weather next week. I know, I know… I’ll get no sympathy for temps in the 30’s when many people don’t see anything above single digits, with wind chills well below zero. BUT… this is Florida and our plants are still growing and not accustomed to freezing.
We will have to bring inside what we can and cover the rest.

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Lime tree – buds and new growth in December

One tree I will be moving indoors is my Persian Lime. I’ve eaten limes for weeks now – in October and November – and now I see there is new growth and buds on the tree!

Learning to garden and grow fruit in Florida is new to me, but I am open to learning new things. This blog is a journal of sorts to reference because I forget quickly what was blooming and when.

Happy New Year!

Remembering Life in New England

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My Backyard – Long Ago

This winter photography recently sold in my Zazzle store as a postcard. It seems fitting as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Since I am no longer living in the northeastern U.S., and back down in the humidity of Florida, this scene makes me a bit sad.  I was born in New England, and I love it there.

I took this winter photo back in 2007, and it reminds me of great hope and huge loss. After spending 27 years in the humid, bug-infested south, I was back home in New England and loving every moment of my first winter with snow in years. I took pictures every day I think. This is a scene from my back yard after a nice storm had passed. I say “nice” because it dropped a bunch of that sparkling white stuff I had been longing to play in and witness. I wanted a white Christmas, and New Hampshire nearly always cooperated in the eleven years I lived there.  I love the change of seasons and winter is part of it.  It’s a long season, but we are all in it together, and somehow get through the worst ones.

We had moved together as a family, but ultimately I ended up alone, with a son dependent upon me to provide a decent life. I couldn’t take a little boy away from his father, no matter how much that father lacked the qualities to actually be a father. So I stuck it out until my son graduated and wanted to move away. Then it was his choice. I did my part. But it wasn’t easy getting by alone in a place known for it’s costly living expenses. By the time I left my New Hampshire home, I had moved 5 times, finally settling into a little fixer-upper for my final years there.

The beautiful snow had lost it’s charm after the hellish winter of 2014-15. And my final winter had very little drama – or snow. It was okay with me.

I’ll never live in New England again, short of winning the lottery. I have some pictures left that remind me of the great hope in my heart when I moved there. The opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place one last time, is what I will be thankful for. And I’ll visit when I can. But I may never see such a beautiful winter scene in person again. Nor will I walk in the deep snow and enjoy the silence of snowy woods. But I did it once. And that was good.

Where to Find Beautiful and FREE Nature Pictures

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Find this free image at Pixabay
Anyone needing to use some beautiful pictures of nature that are free, pay attention. There are many stock photo sites out there where you will find some awesome pictures that are supposedly “free”, but not all of them really are. In fact “royalty free images” will cost you something and you have to buy points in order to download them from the sites. It can be confusing.
I have nothing against purchasing someones photos or designs. The stock places carry a wide array of very usable items. Those people are trying to make a living selling their images, and who could blame them. I get very irritated when I find that someone has helped themself to one of my blog images. Some people are clueless when it comes to that sort of thing.

But there is a place where you can download beautiful images and it really will cost you nothing. That place is called Pixabay. The Pixabay people are quite picky when it comes to what photos they will approve. I’ve had many declined. I’m not surprised, as I am not a fabulous photographer. And after browsing the Pixabay site, I have seen that there are others who definitely are.

You’ll find lots of nature photos and splendid macros of insects and flowers. Also graphics and clipart which is generously offered. Seasons, mountains, buildings, wildlife and so much more will grab your attention. And they can be used commercially free of charge! (Not all images can be used this way because of trademarks / brands.)

I use Pixabay for my work, and whenever I need an image for a post that I don’t have myself. Pixabay is a relatively new site so they don’t always have what I am looking for, but people are contributing from all over the world, and the landscape photos are stunning.
They occasionally hold contests for contributors, and give out awards to the deserving. It might be a place you will enjoy visiting.