Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen – Three at the Bridge

Three sleeping PBGVs (Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen) from left to right, Tinker, Griffin, and Pagan. Now at the Bridge. I hope you have the comfiest sofas for your naps.

Once upon a time, we had three furry noisy smelly hounds called PBGVs, or Petites … or, correctly, Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen. Shaggy long-backed short-legged French rabbit hounds. They were funny and smart and had the most musical … and loud … voices I’ve ever heard. Tinker was insanely destructive till the day she passed. Griffin was a cuddly and always ready to entertain you. He loved to make you laugh. Pagan was the sweetest dog I’ve ever known. They’ve all passed on … Pagan way too early for causes unknown, the other two in their time. The house is cleaner and quieter, but no dog will ever make me laugh like Griffin the clown could make me laugh, or be as totally weird as Tinker was, or as passionate about nap time as Pagan was. We’ll always miss them and never forget them.


Like many photographers, I’ve experimented with manipulating images to look like paintings, posters, line drawing, and other art forms.  These three came out nicely, I think. I don’t know if they are photographs anymore. I think after a sufficient amount of manipulation, it may be photography based art, but it’s no longer photography per se.

This is a marshy area along the Blackstone River. It’s a manipulated image that intentionally resembles a poster.

The roof on an old mansion not far from home.

Definitely poster style! Black-eyed Susans, one of my favorite wild flowers.

Morning in summer …

Just after sunrise, the sun low in the sky.

Morning. Although I want to sleep late, I almost never do. On summer mornings, I drink my coffee and watch the early sun filter through my woods. Each day, the world is made anew.

The sun has risen higher in the sky. It’s about 7:30 in the morning.

Cat Stevens’ rendition of this traditional Christian hymn is beautiful, as is the presentation. I ask that you please leave your prejudices behind. It is a beautiful song of praise.

it is the bonus you get if you arise early. Late sleepers, make an occasional exception and see the world in a different light.

And now, coffee finished, the sun is high in the sky and the day has begun.


My world runs on batteries. Mostly rechargeable batteries. Three laptops, two Kindles, two cellphones, three cameras, four mouses (mice have fur and make squeaky noises, mouses attach to your computer using USB transmission), two wireless keyboards, GPS, various clocks, flashlights, who-knows-how-many remote controls, electric razors, tooth cleaning machines, and a mind-numbing array of miscellaneous devices I can’t remember off-hand.

To keep the world running, I have to charge things that recharge and keep a stack of AAA and AA rechargeable batteries ready to go.

I have never lived in a house that had enough electrical outlets for things like lamps and televisions, but with all these chargers to accommodate, I own dozens of power strips. Everywhere you look, and in many places you would never think to look, in every room, power strips keep the chargers charging and other electrical devices functioning. The strips range from high-end hubs with surge protection to whatever was on sale at Walmart when I needed another strip. Every one of them is full. Or, more accurately, as full as the size and shape the chargers allow.

Power strips are designed by people who don’t use them. I have come to this conclusion based on the stupid design that presumes you will never have anything larger than a lamp plug that needs a socket. Not even a vacuum cleaner cord fits properly, much less a laptop power supply.

No room is left on either side that would make it possible to fit more than two or three chargers in a strip theoretically designed for half a dozen plugs. There’s no allowance for odd-shaped power supplies that will use half a strip.

I don’t understand why chargers have to be so inconveniently shaped, or why they can never make a 3-pronged plug that will fit into an outlet without a fight. Why do most chargers require that you insert them at the end of the strip. No one ever seems to consider that there are only two “ends” and only one without a cord in the way. There’s some kind of Murphy’s Law that say if you are going to need two wall outlets, both devices will need to be on top or on the bottom.

I have 2 electrical sockets in the bathroom and 2 devices that require electricity. Only one can fit. The other socket is always unusable. The one charger blocks both outlets. Always.

The first day we moved into this house, two events occurred that have since defined our lives in the Blackstone Valley. The toilets backed up and the power went out. The toilets backed up because the crooks who sold us this house backed their moving van over the pipe that runs from the house to the septic system and crushed it. The power went out for the usual reason: heavy rain, high wind, and lightning. Getting to know my neighbors meant figuring out how to find an electrician and plumber before I’d unpacked.

I don’t notice how dependent we are on batteries until I’m packing for a vacation. Half a carry-on is allocated to chargers … just for things we use while we travel: laptops, accessories, a pair of Kindles, his and her cell phones, mouses, portable speakers and more. I used to pack this stuff carefully. Now I just shove the chargers and wires in a bag and untangle as needed.

If you think our civilization will endure, remember: We are entirely dependent on devices that run on batteries, most of which need to be recharged from an electrical outlet. Without electricity and batteries, life as we know it would end in about two weeks. A month maximum. After that?

Our world will be a jungle in which every man, woman, and child will fight to the death for a working AA battery.


I’m reading comments on this blog and suddenly I remember that Garry’s Kindle is still waiting to be charged and is probably flat by now. And that the “land line” phone is still charging and I need to take it out of the cradle, and that my cell phone is still charging and shouldn’t be. So many batteries, so few outlets.

Summer is ending and the corn is ripe

Summer Sun

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

School starts next week, but this week, the weather is perfect. It’s still summertime as long as corn still grows in the fields nearby. Kids are taking their final swim in the pool before dad closes it up.

One … two … three … jump into the water as August draws to a close and school looms on next week’s horizon …

Bed in Summer

by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Corn grows in the fields in late summer.

The Meetinghouse

The old Quaker Meetinghouse, built 1771. Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

They hold one service every year at the old meetinghouse. It’s the oldest meetinghouse in the country and most of the year it’s closed, although I’m pretty sure you can rent it for weddings, though I’m not sure how.

The meetinghouse is open on Thanksgiving morning and there is a Quaker service. The church is only slightly heated, just enough to make it possible to sit there for an hour and a half and unless the day is unusually warm, you need to wear your overcoat even during the service. It’s cold and the pews are hard, but it’s the perfect place to give thanks.

Besides the autumn poets sing,

A few prosaic days

A little this side of the snow

And that side of the haze.

A few incisive mornings,

A few ascetic eves, –

Gone Mr. Bryant’s golden-rod,

And Mr. Thomson’s sheaves.

Emily Dickinson

Farm in the Valley

The cat on the lawn lives here. They grow corn. And hay. Plus some veggies. It’s a lovely place.

There used to be many more working farms around here, but the farming families have grown old. Their children don’t want to work that hard. Who can blame them? Farming anywhere is a difficult life, but in New England?

I love this region and this valley, but it’s hard to figure why anyone would choose to farm here. We have terrible soil, if you can call it soil. It’s all roots and rocks.

The “New England Stone Fence” … those scenic stacked rock walls you can find just about everywhere were not built for some special mystical reason. It was just something to do with all the rocks farmers had to take out of the fields so they could actually plow the ground.

A stone fence along a country road.

What thrives here? Apples. Dairy cattle. Horses. Short growing season crops like tomatoes and cucumbers and a particular kind of corn, called locally “butter and sugar” because it’s yellow and white, and sweet as sugar. This is the time of year when you can find it in the local grocery stores. It will be gone in another week or two.

Most of our local farms are organic … sometimes too organic for my taste. I like my milk homogenized and my eggs unfertilized. It may not be politically correct, but I can’t help it. I’m me, un-PC and all.

The farm is lovely and the farmer is a friendly guy, but he’s getting old. When he’s gone, the fields will become sub-divisions, if property values rise even a little bit. Otherwise, as is happening all over the valley, the fields will go back to woods and stream.

Cat on the lawn.

This is one of the few places in the country where wild life is returning. Animals that have been gone from this region for as long as a century are coming back. Fishers (also known as fisher cats, though they are weasels and closely related to mink, not cats of any kind), coyotes, bobcats and now, bears too. Deer are everywhere and moose can’t be far behind. Racoon and skunk, out-of-control chipmunks … we’ve got it all.

Stone fences are great homes for snakes and rodents, but when they meet, the snake usually wins.

The eagles are back, too. We have a nesting pair of American Eagles in our woods.

We had rabbits and squirrels, but the bobcats ate them. Almost all of them. That’s okay. They will be back, but then, so will the bobcats. The circle of life is in our yard.