Last night, Bonnie the Beloved Scottish Terrier of myth and legend, did not feel well. She was shivering and could not seem to find a comfortable position. When we gave her a careful looking over, she was all puffed up, like a blowfish about to pop. I had known for a few days that she was a bit constipated, something I thought might be related to the leftover New Year’s Eve rosemary roast potatoes. It might have been the potatoes — or for that matter, the rosemary — but Bonnie was an unhappy pup. Which made us unhappy dog parents.


These things never happen during veterinary business hours. I had no way to know if it was a genuine (potentially deadly) blockage or bloat (though bloat is uncommon in small dogs) … or just a normal backup during her digestive rush hour. After considerable soul-searching, we decided better safe than sorry and packed her off to the Doggy ER, about 20 miles away through some of the most labyrinthine and unlit roads in the commonwealth.

Night vision isn’t one of the things that improves with age. There aren’t many things that do improve with age, but vision in general is definitely not one of them and night vision in particular. I don’t like driving at all anymore and Garry is only slightly happier about it. But he will do it because he is Garry and he does what he has to do. It’s a thing.


Floating flakes

This was a job for the GPS. However, the GPS is a Garmin, made in Germany, and it is not at it’s best in rural areas where its internal maps seem to believe roads exist in places where they are not. But these illusory roads are on a map, somewhere, and Garmin will send us there. This can be funny, but at night, with a sick dog in the car and limited visibility, not so funny.

It was snowing very lightly. Big, soft flakes floating slowly and gently to the ground. Not enough to make the road disappear. Not heavy enough to be of much concern, but not a big help in navigation, either. We did eventually find the hospital. Find the ER. Get Bonnie in. And then, we waited. Like a human ER, the most serious cases go first, and Bonnie seemed stable and in fact, was apparently a really big hit with the doctors, who popped out periodically to tell us she was doing fine and what a charming girl!

Floating clouds

Floating clouds

Yes, indeed. By the end of the waiting, it was nearly two in morning. Bonnie was beginning to look downright chipper. She had been given some doggy Sennacot, an x-ray, a gentle probing, and some basic blood work because her liver is a bit big. They also found that at some point, she was shot. With a bee-bee, clearly visible under her skin. Not infected or anything. Just … there. No idea who shot her or when, but I suspect the nasty neighbors.

When we came out, finally, it had snowed a little. Mostly, it had snowed over the hospital parking lot because there was no snow anywhere else. When we finally crawled out of be this morning, it had snowed here too. Less than an inch. Nothing worth shoveling or plowing, especially in view of a prediction more snow tonight into tomorrow. Thus far, the big ones have been up in the hills, or down on the coast, giving us the “miss.” I do not expect this pattern will last, but I can hope.

These are pictures I took this morning as the flakes were floating down. Pretty. I wish I could appreciate the beauty without dreading the shoveling and plowing and slipping and sliding.

Bonnie is just fine, thank you. And they gave us six months to pay off the bill.


Siberian Tiger Français : Tigre de sibérie Ita...

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I continue to hope that we will come to our senses and save our wild creatures. That being said, I have serious doubts that anything larger than a squirrel will survive in the wild.

I believe that all Earth’s large animals are doomed in their native habitats. Some  will be gone soon. We will see the last of them in our lifetime.  The remaining species will succumb eventually. Tigers, wolves, lions, jaguars — all the big cats — as well as other large land animals, like elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, apes and most monkeys and many more will no longer have a home on this planet.

There will be no wild places.

Humans will, for a while, maintain controlled populations of various species in zoos and special habitats, as if that could make up for their disappearance. As if warehousing is the same as having a wild kingdom. We’ll see the end of tigers and elephants in less than a decade. It’s possible the rhinoceroses are already gone. If wolves are removed from endangered species status, they will be hunted to extinction in no time flat.


Want to know why? Really? It isn’t the long complicated explanation you will get from environmentalists or public talking heads. Let’s skip past statistical analyses and the convoluted nonsense spouted by government officials and corporate stooges.

It’s simpler than that.

The animals will disappear because they are in our way. Animals don’t fit with human civilization. They are untidy. They eat cattle, goats, chickens, sheep. They trample fields, demolish gardens. They take up space that could be more profitably used for shopping malls and suburban subdivisions. They are more valuable dead than alive — and ever so much fun to kill.

Predators and large animals are inconvenient.

When humans finds something — anything — inconvenient, we eliminate it. Kill it. Demolish it. Whether it’s a species, a river, or a mountain. If it’s in our way, we make it disappear.

There’s a moral to the story. We should all take care because we can be eliminated too. If we don’t watch our step, we will eliminate ourselves.

Lions and tigers and bears? Bye bye.

P.S. If you think I’m exaggerating, please check out the Durell Wildlife Foundation, which is one of many organizations desperately trying to save what is left of our wild creatures. Durrell is my favorite, probably because Gerald Durrell who founded it was the writer whose work first got me interested in wildlife and saving it.



Only one tree grows naturally in the great Sonoran desert that fills much of Arizona and continues down into Mexico. The dominant site throughout the desert is, of course, the huge Saguaro cacti.



Now that they are protected, they are everywhere, including dominating well-tailored back and front yards of suburban homes in and around Phoenix. You can’t cut them down, so no matter how well you plan your garden, nothing prevents a cactus from decided to take root there.




The ironwood is not a cactus, but a tree. It can live in the hottest, driest possible growing condition. It is the only tree that will survive in that environment without human intervention.


An old, gnarled ironwood tree is a true symbol of the North American west. Resilient doesn’t cover it. This is ultimate survival.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


Photo Challenge | Path

The thing about paths is that they contain a mystery. You are on the path, but you cannot see your destination. Over the hill or around the next curve lies the unknown.

Sunny autumn day in Vermont

As we continue up over the hill or deeper into the woods, atavistic memories of fairy tales and myths assault us. The “little people” — are they watching? We will discover that other dimension that runs parallel to our own? It could happen. Anything could happen when you are on the path.


Who can resist a path? Who can say no when the unknown beckons?


I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016


A Photo a Week Challenge: Dark Green

It was a very dark green day by the river. The trees were so dark, they reflected in the water and turned it dark green, too. And then … the geese came to visit. Picked at the grass awhile, and then neatly, as if on signal walked into the water and in a straight line, paddled away.


It’s getting cold in Connecticut. The winter is late in coming this year, but now it’s definitely here. My husband is mourning the end of the warm weather. He is also missing his boat, which we just took out of the water to be shrink wrapped for winter.

On the other hand, I’ve just happily switched my closet from summer to winter clothes. I’m actually looking forward to wearing my favorite sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.


I love the variety of clothing the seasons provide. I’d get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once you put on your beautiful outerwear, you’re not cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas! Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.


I have to confess that I am not a heat lover. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by removing layers of clothing. I can only go down to tee-shirt, shorts, or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed.

But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I dislike the heat and can stay warm in cold weather.

What else do I like about the seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I been through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees, and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter all year any more than I’d want to live in summer full-time.


For the three months winter lasts, I appreciate it. We love the fires in the hearth on winter nights. Tom and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out in the winter, maybe because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer. Like playing golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, and all that outdoorsy stuff.

I’m also lucky because I love where I live. I don’t dream of moving somewhere else. If I did, it would probably be to another place with four seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange in Autumn. I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly burst out on trees. Every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same year in and year out.

I’m happy dealing with a world that changes. And now, it is changing again. Winter has arrived … with the promise of spring to come.



But then, there’s:

adjective: lim·i·nal

Definition of liminal
1: of or relating to a sensory threshold
2: barely perceptible
3: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional <in the liminal state between life and death — Deborah Jowitt>

Given a choice? I’ll go with the lakes. I like lakes. I’m not sure about the other thing.