Photos of readers

Today we continue with the series “Photos of readers”, and feature reader James Blilie, who sent two photos. His narrative is indented.

And please send in your photo and a few words, preferably of you doing something during lockdown.

Here goes.  Minor, temporary escapes from confinement.

I am able to get outside a bit during our stay-home order:  At least to my back yard. Here I am with early morning light on our pond. This is the view from my home office, pretty much. 30°F (-1°C) here this morning, hence the jacket.  I always wear a hat.  My usual #1 clipper all-over cut has grown shaggy.

I stocked up on lumber about a month ago, anticipating the stay-home order. I have a lot of home projects to work on.  One is refurbishing our lower deck: replacing 33-year old cedar deck boards with pressure-treated ones.  340 old, rusty, stuck screws to remove on my hands and knees, then 340 more to install.  So far.  Much more to go.

You can sort of see some of this work in the photo below.  You can see one of the old, rotted stair stringers, the railings gone, and some new deck boards.  (I replaced that door and the siding last fall due to water damage.)  This kind of physical work—very different from my paying engineering work—has been satisfying and distracts me from all the distressing news.

Due to lack of reader interest in Caturday Felid posts, they have been suspended for the time being.


  1. Janet
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, James, that is a gorgeous pond. What a beautiful place to be quarantined.

  2. Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Seems to lack a photograph of photographer Jamie! 🙂

    • Liz
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      In City Park New Orleans (next to a bird man statue), from 2018. (He’s the bird man himself.)

  3. BobTerrace
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    James Blilie, what part of the world are you stuck in with 30°F temperatures? Did you count the nails as you removed them?

    Here in south Florida it is a cooler day here at 82°F after a day of 93°F yesterday. I escaped by taking a solo ride on my golf cart around the community.

    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      St. Paul, Minnesota area. (I was not online all weekend.)

    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      We got 5 inches of snow yesterday. It’s still there, probably through Wednesday before it melts.

  4. eliz20108
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    How do you know lack of interest in Caturday Felids? I like them.

  5. CR
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Wait, what?? Suspending Caturday Felid posts?? Nooooooo. I always read those (and like others, sometimes just in the email, which doesn’t get recorded?). That’s probably the feature I forward to friends most often.
    Today I’ve watched the cartoons, contemplated who might want that new book…
    Please reconsider.

    • merilee
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink


    • Charles Jones
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      I ALWAYS look forward to the Caturday felids.

      I never comment on them because I never have anything to say that I think someone else might want to read.

      I often show the Caturday felids to my family. Today I showed both videos to my three daughters.

      I can understand quitting because you get tired of doing it, but I’d be surprised if there is a lack of interest among your readers. I ALWAYS look forward to the Caturday felids.

  6. Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I can see why some folks here don’t seem to mind confinement. They have huge spreads to roam. I am stuck in a townhouse in the city a small yard. However, PCC has it worse.

    To add to the misery, our elected officials have closed city parks and hiking trails in the mountains. Bureaucracy gone crazy. I hear many people grumbling, and they are not Republicans.

    Too bad about Caturday Felids. I read it but don’t comment because I have nothing to say.

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Is there space in your small yard for one of those nifty vertical planters? You would have fresh veggies at your fingertips!

      • Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        I have a small grocery store a block away with all the fresh produce I need. I wear a mask and take my chances. I calculate the risk as low—less than 1 in 20,000 of contracting coronavirus and less than 1 in 1,000,000 of dying per trip to the store.

        • Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          That’s great! I was thinking more along the lines of something to do out in the yard, but I now see you have no need to grow your own greens.

          • Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Every year my wife plants. Every year I calculate the cost of her plantings is greater than the value of the resulting produce. It is a labor of love for her, but I hate gardening.

            • Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

              I understand. Digging in the dirt is not for everyone. And yes, often it’s more economical to go and buy greens. My eldest brother is an avid gardener (my parents were and all my siblings are), but he just gives away the veggies. I like the exercise, fresh air, sunshine (and rain) and the zen-like state I sometimes reach, from losing myself in the foliage and the soil.

              • merilee
                Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

                The first digging of bare hands into warm earth in the Spring feels wonderful! Although I do end up stiffer than I usedta….

              • Alexander
                Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

                My only experience with vegetable growing was when we rented a farmhouse in the middle of a vineyard at the foot of the Matese mountains North of Naples, in Italy. Early in the spring I found a patch that was not to rocky for digging up, and I planted two dozen of lettuce plants. I watered them regularly, and they grew op quite well. One day a local shepherd arrived with his dogs and a large flock of sheep that invaded the vineyard. Well, you can imagine what happened to my little plantation…

              • Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

                O sorrows! I can imagine how you felt. Lettuce can be easily grown in planters which you can try to elevate, away from pests. They like a spot where it’s a little cooler, rather than baking in hot sun all day.

              • Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

                Also tomatoes grow like weeds. Yummy!

              • alexander
                Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

                “O sorrows! I can imagine how you felt. ”

                We laughed, the sheep’s appreciation of the lettuce was quite clear, they finished it all in a few seconds. As we were out of wine that day, we invited the shepherd for a beer, outside, in front of the house. When he started drinking it, he choked and started coughing like mad, screaming, “This wine went bad!!” Apparently he had never drunk a beer in his life. A few weeks he came back with his sheep, and he brought a bottle of wine that he offered to us, saying “Don’t say anything to the owner about me coming here.”

              • Posted April 12, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

                That’s hilarious! An important gardening lesson I learned from way back was to ‘share’… that is, when sowing seeds, sow extra in a different spot in the yard, for the rabbits to munch on. 🙂

              • Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

                Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have slugs to destroy our crop rather than sheep.

              • Posted April 12, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

                Slug traps! (yeast and honey – or beer- and oil in a yogurt container with gaps cut around the lip for slug entry points, and then container sunk with lip to to ground level) Raising up planters can mitigate but not eliminate the damage. It must be a virtual losing battle out your way.

                Btw, I had brought up veggie growing in light of what I’ve surmised – that there’ll probably be rising produce prices, at least here in Canada. The farmers are reporting a shaky and late start to their season’s preparations, as they depend on migrant workers. Among other challenges to do with the req’d 14-quarantine on arrival here, many bunk houses (sorry as they are) are not geared for safe social distancing, and some currently can now accommodate only 3 workers where they used to sleep 40!

              • merilee
                Posted April 12, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

                Wow, are the workers even coming, or allowed to come?

              • Posted April 12, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

                I understand that they can come (let’s hope they don’t get turned away at the border), but they have to be quarantined, but I don’t know how they’ll be housed! Farmers are also hiring seasonal workers laid off from the oil and gas industry, so it’s not an utter disaster yet.

              • merilee
                Posted April 12, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

                Very complicated situation.

  7. Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Who says there’s a lack of interest in the Caturday Felid Trifecta? It’s one of the highlights of our week, especially here in the time of coronavirus!

    • Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      My vow was that the first time I posted a “continuing series” post, and there were no comments, I’d suspend it. That was the case today, and reader views are also very few.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Please reconsider.

        I look forward to Caturday Felids every week. Just because I don’t comment doesn’t mean I don’t read them.

        And, my life hasn’t really changed with the lockdown; I’m still doing the farm and the restaurant, so that doesn’t leave me much time to comment on anything.


      • Posted April 12, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        My understanding is that email subscribers are not reflected in stats. This website has a large number of email subscribers, so WordPress is undercounting views.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Very nice. I see you are still in recruitment for the painter.

    • Posted April 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s mostly (excepting a couple afternoons) too cold for painting yet.

      I will paint it all myself, later. Certain order: Walls first, then deck railings, then deck surface. That way the drips don’t matter too much.

  9. Ruthann Richards
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    What lack of interest in Caturday??? That is the main thing I read on Saturday. Since I read all of your posts on your website–not on the posts sent to me–I assume that doesn’t count in your tally? Like someone above, I don’t comment since they are generally wonderful and a highlight of my Saturday. Some are forwarded to friends almost every week; they will miss them as well. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE????

  10. GBJames
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I’m fascinated by the cap.

  11. Gerdien
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Caturday Felid posts are my regular reading on Saturday, I visit here several times to see whether the last version has already appeared. Why would one comment on those?

  12. Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    What? Huh? What makes you think people aren’t interested in Caturday Felic posts????

  13. rickflick
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking…I should have stocked up on wood.

  14. Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I love your pond, James. It’s breathtaking.

  15. Posted April 11, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    If you do what I used to do, and still sometimes slip into, and just read the posts in email, then I think you do not show up as a page view. So even if everybody reads a particular post in email, if you don’t click on the link,it doesn’t show as read. I’ve been clicking on every post to show readership even if I’ve done nothing more than to read it in email.

  16. scruffycookie
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Susan Davies
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    No, no, don’t stop with the Caturday posts! I love them and always forward them to several friends who look forward to receiving them. Also, It’s 8am Sunday here in Australia as I write this and I have only just gotten out of bed and downloaded my email, so it would not be possible for me or anyone west of me to see your post until at least 14 hours or so after you posted it.
    I promise to always leave a comment from now on if you just keep posting Caturday!!

    • Steven in Tokyo
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      I second this comment. I didn’t see the Caturday post until this morning (Sunday morning), and I would miss them, especially at this time. I don’t, and really can’t, have a cat, and the Caturday posts help fill a void in my life. That said, it is of course PCC’s decision, and I will abide by it if necessary.

  18. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t you also a luthier or did I imagine that?

    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      You did not imagine that. My website is easy to find. If you search on my name + guitar.

  19. GBJames
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink


    You’re not here to serve us. Write the Caterday posts only if you enjoy it. Much as I hate the thought, that goes for the rest of WEIT.

    As much as it means to all of us, you should not feel obligated. Lord knows (whoever that is) few if any of the rest of us can even imagine generating as much interesting content as you do here. We would miss it enormously. But you don’t owe it to any of us.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Well said, I was thinking along the same lines. (Though like many readers have expressed, I do enjoy the Caturday posts.)

  20. nay
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    NO! NO! NO! NO! (Mama Mia, Mama Mia!) Please don’t stop Caturday Felids! I love them more than Duck Reports – and I Love Duck Reports. More even than I love Food Reports – and I Love Love Food Reports! More than Wildlife-Insects-Plant pix, Science News and Words-Trump-Free Speech Rants. That’s pretty much everything you do, isn’t it? So Please Don’t Stop!
    We’re all stuck at home and under curfew now – how could even think of denying us the Felids?!

  21. Mark R.
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Nice cap! Yes, working with your hands and doing something productive is a good way to pass the time and get out of the mind. I’m busy with gardening (I have a couple greenhouses so I start early) and other household projects. Looks like you’re doing a great job fixing the effects of entropy.

    That’s a nice sized pond. Do you have any turtles or fish inhabiting it?

    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      We have many turtles and fish. Ours is the smallest part of the pond system. (Officially, it is Ramsey County Drainage Ditch #7; but when you sell your house, it’s: Kerry Lake.)

      My son has caught many 3-4 pound bass and one 26-inch northern pike, plus myriads of sunfish and bullheads. He caught the largest bluegill sunfish I’ve ever seen: 10 inches.

      We have snapping turtles and painted turtles. The are old “grandma” snappers in the pond that are at least 18 long on the carapace and about 13-15 inches wide. Huge.

      He’s a normal sized adult female laying eggs in our front garden:

      Hatchling snapper and tadpoles:

  22. Posted April 11, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink


    I LOVE Caturday! I look forward to it everyweek. It made me smile today, in the middle of a virus-augmented deep depression.

    Please please please don’t end it!

  23. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted April 11, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I like all things cat and read through all cat related stuff.
    I don’t comment as, as others have said, I have nothing to say and are commenting less in general.
    I don’t get emails, I just go to my computer, when I wake up and have my coffee, and head to your website through either Chrome or Edge ( I mix it up to undermine the might of Google).
    I do this daily and skim through everything.

    I don’t see how you could determine whether I read Caturday or not as everything comes up as I scroll through the days post. So maybe the figures aren’t accurate.
    I would be happy to leave a comment if you wish to try again.

    James Billie’s place looks nice. I am lucky enough to be in nature to, and I sometimes have kangaroos in my backyard. No pond though.

    Thanks for all your hard work Mr Coyne.

  24. Filippo
    Posted April 12, 2020 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    “This kind of physical work—very different from my paying engineering work—has been satisfying and distracts me from all the distressing news.”

    I gather that the satisfaction at least in part comes from seeing immediate results from your efforts. Plus, there’s no one looking over your shoulder questioning your every move.

    • Posted April 13, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Exactly: Immediate, tangible results. (Sometimes my wife questions my results; but not often!)

  25. Susan Davies
    Posted April 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, why don’t you conduct a poll and see just how many people appreciate Caturday posts? It would be a simple thing to do yes? Then you can decide whether or not you want to keep it up.

  26. Andrea Kenner
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I totally appreciate the Caturday posts. They help me get through the day. I hope you were just kidding about that… or trying to gauge reactions.

%d bloggers like this: