Category Archives: Animals – especially dogs

Fur and Feathers on a Snowy Day

Last night it snowed, and we got enough—several inches—so that the plow has roared past our house. A true sign of winter. Here is a picture of our house tucked in the snow, and it always looks so cozy to me. (For supper, Clif is making Snowy Day Potato, Cabbage Soup, a perfect meal for a cold day.)

I always like the sight of dried plants—in this case, ferns—against the white snow.

The remaining garden ornaments take on a different look.

The backyard, with its feeders, draws in woodland creatures with fur and feathers.

One of my favorites is the chickadee, a jaunty little bird.

My friend Barbara, who passed away thirteen years ago, once noted that while chickadees might be plentiful, they are never common. How right she was! I recently learned that in the fall, the brains of chickadees increase in size so that they can remember where they cache seeds. And in the spring, when the chickadees no longer need to remember, their brains shrink in size. Here is a link for the Audubon site for more information about the incredible brains of chickadees.

What a wonder nature is!

And British blogging friends, do you think chickadees resemble coal tits? I know I sure do.


Sharing Our Horizon by Xenia Tran

One of the great pleasures of blogging is the wonderful, creative people I have met, not only in this country but also around the world. I always start my day reading posts from my blogging friends, and no matter what is happening in this country, I come away feeling better.  And that is  no small thing.

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that one of my blogging friends, Xenia Tran of Whippet Wisdom, has published a book of poems and images featuring her adorable whippets in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, where they live. Here is the book:

Xenia writes: “We will donate 60% of our net profits to animal rehoming shelters. The more books we sell, the more charities we will be able to help. The remaining 40% will be invested in future fundraising projects….Our book is now available in paperback and can be ordered from your local bookstore, online bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Fishpond and any other store connected to the Ingram Spark Global network….For further details on where to order, please visit ‘Our Book page.”

The Scottish Highlands, dogs, lovely poetry, a wonderful cause. I just ordered my own copy and can’t wait to get it.

Good luck, Xenia. I hope you sell a lot of books.

Kit, Dogs, and Kids Leave

This morning, Shannon and Mike packed the dogs and the cat into the car to begin the long trip back to North Carolina. While there has been flooding in their area, the waters have receded, and their town house, on a hill, remained dry. Other people in North Carolina have not been so lucky, and I expect it will be a long time before some areas recover. How terrible it must be to have your home severely damaged or destroyed, and I always feel so sorry for those who have endured such a loss.

On a happier note…we had a wonderful week with Mike and Shannon. The best part was just sitting on the patio and talking. We are lucky indeed to have a daughter and son-in-law who love books, movies, and art as much as we do. So much to discuss! Also, when it comes to politics, we are like minded, and that is another plus.

Yesterday, as a farewell breakfast, we went to Forage Market in Lewiston, and Shannon and Mike were very impressed with the food. Holy cats, those bagels are good. I bought extra for us to have this morning, and the day-old bagels were still pretty tasty.

The house is quiet now, and as always after our children leave, we feel let down and blue. Fortunately, we have a little something to keep us busy.

The cover for my upcoming fantasy novel, Library Lost, is nearly ready, and how exciting it was to see the proof.  I am thrilled with the cover, which will be a perfect complement to Maya and the Book of Everything.

As soon as Library Lost’s cover is ready, I’ll be posting it on this blog for everyone to see.

And next week, I will return to reading blogs and commenting. This week, with all the talking, eating, and having fun, I just didn’t have the time to keep up with everyone.

Kit, Dogs, Sacks, and Kids Have Arrived

Yesterday, ahead of the storm, ahead of the floods, under bright blue skies, the kids—Mike and Shannon—arrived in Maine with the kit—Penny—and the dogs—Holly and Somara. The dogs haven’t been here for two years, but they remembered everything, from the backyard to the the bulkhead down cellar, the main way they go in and out. The dogs have settled in nicely and have also remembered who is the soft touch when it comes to treats. (That would be me.)

Penny, on the other hand, was fairly traumatized when she got here and bolted directly under the bed in the room where Mike and Shannon are staying. However Penny ate and did other things she needed to do. She also came out when Mike and Shannon went to bed.

So everyone is here, and we are loving it.

The doors at the end of the hall are working beautifully. So far, no cat fights. In fact, I don’t think our cats even know there is another cat in the house.

Behind our house, there are trails in the cool, green woods, and this morning Shannon and Mike took Holly and Somara there for a walk, where they could both run off-leash. Here they are coming back from their romp.

And here are Holly and Somara resting  in my room as I write. Shannon and Mike have gone to visit a friend, and we are dog sitting.

I must admit I am in seventh heaven to have two dogs in the house.


Hurricane and Instant Pot Update

The bad news is that Hurricane Florence has strengthened into a category 4 hurricane and might even reach category 5 before it hits landfall.  And the damage won’t be done as Florence loses steam. Weakened, Florence is still dangerous. The forecast predicts that Florence will stall over land in North Carolina and could bring up to two feet of rain to an already saturated state. This, in turn, will bring floods, toppled trees, and massive power outages.

But for our little family, the good news is that kids, dogs, and kit have left Dodge, as it were, well ahead of Hurricane Florence. They will be with us sometime late tomorrow night, and how good it will be to see them.

Now for the Instant Pot. It worked exactly the way it should. Within an hour, we had a very tasty vegetable soup for our dinner, and most of that time involved cutting up the vegetables. We couldn’t believe that the five minute cooking time of the recipe was correct—that was after everything had come up to temperature—and so we cooked the soup for fourteen minutes. While the vegetables were good, they were too soft, and we were thinking that perhaps five minutes wasn’t so far off after all.


Fourteen minutes later:

This particular soup recipe called for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast in the bowls once the soup was done.  We substituted soy sauce, and the soup was tasty. But I am now intrigued about nutritional yeast, which I have never used. (I know, I know. I am behind on this one.) I plan on picking some up soon to use on vegetable soups and perhaps other dishes.

So all in all, a good day, but my thoughts are with those who must evacuate and don’t have family up north to stay with.

And I certainly hope that the aid to the Carolinas is better than what Puerto Rico got last year after Hurricane Maria. Three thousand dead. Some people without power and adequate housing for nearly a year.

A national disgrace.

And So It Begins: Editing, Hurricane Florence, and a Full House

As fall makes a tentative appearance with weather so cool that it actually feels brisk—going from 95° to 60° in less than a week—the tempo at our house has gone from busy to out straight.

Dee has finished editing my YA fantasy novel, Library Lost. For new blog readers, this is the second book in my Great Library Series, the sequel to Maya and the Book of Everything. Now comes the hard work of copy editing. Only basic housework will be done. Meals will be very, very simple. The book must be edited! I am so glad I now follow my blogging friend Jason’s lead and no longer cut back perennials in the fall. Instead, I wait until spring. (Jason’s wonderful blog is Garden in a City.)

To add to the merry chaos, our daughter Shannon, her husband Mike, their dogs Holly and Somara, and their cat Penny will be coming for a visit the end of this week. That’s right, even the cat. Hurricane Florence, a most unwelcome guest, will be pounding North Carolina, where Mike and Shannon live, just after they leave for Maine. Mike and Shannon are afraid that flooding will make it impossible for their pet sitter to tend Penny.

So when Shannon asked about bringing Penny, I immediately said, “Yes.”

The complicating factor, of course, is that we have two cats who just barely tolerate the two dogs, whom they know. As for a cat they’ve never met…well, I’m sure you can picture the results. A lot of hissing and fighting.

But never fear! We have come up with a solution. We had folding doors in our basement, and Clif has brought them upstairs to put at the end of the hall so that Penny will have her own little suite of a bedroom, a reading room, and a half bath. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? I hope she likes our selection of books.

I probably won’t be blogging much in the next few weeks, and if I do, most likely it will be a picture along with a few lines.

So onward, ho, to editing and dogs and cats and sacks and wives.