• Tag Archives Dogs
  • The Man and The Polar Bear

    Spring                                                                  Bee Hiving Moon

    If you’re a dog lover, you’ll find this interesting.  Bears and dogs are of the order Carnivora and the suborder, Caniform, or dog-like.  Bear’s closest relatives are pinnids (walrus, sea lions, fur seals) and musteloids (red pandas, weasels, raccoons, skunks).  Still, after seeing this video, you might wonder.


  • A Quiet New Year

    Winter                            Full Moon of Long Nights

    We have gained back a few minutes since the Winter Solstice, so the New Year will arrive, as it does every year, with a bit more daylight than the grimmer days of mid-winter.

    The neighbors have begun to shoot off fireworks.  They are a restrained lot for the most part, but when they perceive an excuse for celebration:  holiday, birthday, new year, they always bring out the fireworks.

    (Methuselah Grove
    The Methuselah Grove with the world’s oldest living things. The oldest living tree at 4,723 years, Methuselah, is not identified for its own protection.

    Kate and I have clinked glasses of champagne (her) and Fre (me), wished each other a happy new year and not shot off a single firecracker.  We did watch Jules and Julia, a middling movie in my judgment, though it had some interesting observations about cooking.  We also watched a great Nature program on the rise of the dog.  Apparently a Swedish geneticist has pinpointed eastern Asia as the origin of all dogs.

    Kate’s neck has begun to bother her again this week and her left hip is now  worse than it was before the operation.  The back, though, has improved markedly.   A day at a time.

    Well, a happy new year to you, whoever you are.  Back at you next year.

  • New Dogs

    Beltane                      Waning Dyan Moon

    Something hinky with the 1&1 servers today. (my web host)  Couldn’t get on until late.  Back now.

    I spent the morning and late afternoon working on an America’s tour for a group of design students at the College for the Visual Arts.  The theme came with some difficulty, but I decided on Essential Designs.  The notion is that art of the Americas focused on matters essential to the culture that produced them:  myth, rank, the natural world as a source of sustenance, protection and ritual.  The tour should be fun with students already engaged in the world of art.

    Midday Kate and I went back out to Junior Lehman’s and picked up Cleo and Blue, the Irish Wolfhound/Walker Coyote Hound mixed breed I wrote about last week.  The ride back was tough for these two who had never ridden in a vehicle before, but we cleaned that up.

    The introduction of new dogs to a pack always has its moments and today was no exception, but nobody got hurt.  It will take a bit of time for all parties to adjust, but we’ve done it before and are confident we can make this work.  Having new dogs is like having new plants, grandkids.  They are alive, vital and have their own way in the world.  That’s what makes having them in our lives exciting and fulfilling.

  • Pictures. Puppies and Plants.

    Beltane                    Waxing Dyan Moon


    Poppa (the big gray wolfhound, Guiness) and his children.  Our new pups are in this picture, but I can’t pick them out.



    The orchard early in its first growing season.  Currants in the foreground to the right, cherries and plums the trees in mid-ground.



    A potato eye view of its bed.

  • Puppies

    Beltane                    Waxing Dyan Moon

    Kate and I went out this afternoon to Loretto, near Corcoran.  This is a horsey part of the metro, but we wanted to look at dogs, specifically an Irish Wolfhound and Walker Coyote Hound mix.  The man who bred them, Julian Lehman, has the unusual occupation of master of the hunt.  That is, he trains both horses and fox hounds to ride after a scented lure.  He also rides with those who hire his services.  Can’t be many of those in Minnesota.

    These dogs were, for us, perfect.  They retain Wolfhound features and personality, but will probably be about 2/3’s the size.  With the hybrid vigor of a mix and a smaller overall body we hope they will live longer.  We went for it, buying two litter mates, this time both bitches.  Our last two Wolfhounds, Tor and Orion, were unneutered and this caused problems for them and for us.  Our fault of course.

    We won’t bring them home until after our trip to Indiana, but after that Blue and Cleo (their puppy names) will live with us.

  • When The Bell Tolls, It Tolls For Tor and Celt and Morgana…

    Imbolc   Waning Wild Moon

    Our Arcosanti bell has rung and rung today.  A north wind has blown in at speeds up to 24 mph.

    Kate bought this bell quite a while ago on a trip to see her father.  When she brought it back, we had just experienced two Wolfhound deaths, I believe it was Celt and Scot.  I suggested we hang it and let it be a memorial bell for all of our dogs.  And so we did.

    My day at the capitol yesterday wore me out.  I remember when I would go to the capitol and be there all day, sometimes until late in the night.  Geez.  It’s a long drive in to St. Paul, so I’m going to limit myself to one trip in a week for right now.  As the weather warms and the session gets more action oriented, I may go in more.

    It’s important to be there from time to time, to take the pulse of the place myself for the Sierra Club blog.

  • A Bad Break

    68  bar steady 29.65  2mph  ESE  dew-point 56  Beltane, Sunny and sort of warm

                           First Quarter of the Flower Moon 

    “Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.” – James Russell Lowell

    My docent friend, Bill Bomash, fell 10 feet into a culvert at a mountainside home in Brazil.  He had gone there to visit a friend who had recently completed his new house.  I wrote about him a couple of months ago.  He had two weeks in an all Portugese speaking hospital after the intial orthopedic surgery because he developed an infection, not unusual when a lot of hardware goes into the bone.  This happened in January.  He faced six months of recovery when he finally got back to Minnesota in early February. 

    Now this:

    Hi everybody.  Well I got some disappointing news the other day.  I’ve been having more pain in my leg and when I went into the doctor he said that he thought the hardware in my leg was failing.  As a result, there was too much movement in the bone. I’m going into the hospital again on Monday for surgery to remove all the hardware and have a rod inserted through the bone to hold it in place. I’m afraid it’s pretty much back to square one.
        It looks like it will be quite a while yet before I can return to touring.
        I’ll get back to you with an update after the surgery and I have returned back home.

    In a much more modest instance I had three months of recovery after surgery to repair my ruptured Achilles tendon.  It drove me nuts.  Six months after the initial break Bill now faces another six months of recovery.  Geez.

    Off to Costsco for dogfood, then chainsaw Charlie will emerge and start whacking off limbs.  Of trees.

  • The Scent of Spring

    2  56%  22%  6mph W bar 29.54  steep rise windchill-5

                    Last Quarter of the Winter Moon

    Kate brought me a spray of yellow tulips two days ago.  They have opened now and have the scent of spring.

    We’re seeking another dog, looking at Irish Wolfhound and  Scottish Deerhound rescues on the internet.  We won’t do anything until we get back from Hawai’i, but both of us have a sense of incompleteness in our family without a big dog.  I would like a mix with a breed a bit more long lived, since we still grieve the loss of each one of our eight Wolfhounds.  Grief underlines the bond developed with these dogs and, in a paradox, draws us back towards them in direct proportion to our sorrow. 

    Getting ready.  I have the portable DVD player, which I’ve never used, plugged in and charging the battery.  I do have a fix it role, but it entails electronics, not internal combustion engines.  Those I manage through repair services, but often the electronic stuff I can fix myself.  Go figure.  A partial credential for Geekworld.

    Sat down the other day and read a Taoism lesson.  As I read, I realized a strange feeling had crept over me.  It was contentment.  In fact, I feel it now.  I had, for many years, a knot, a frissón of unease lodged in the lower left of my gut.  Even when I felt otherwise comfortable, a gut check would reveal a free floating angst speaking to me, soma telling psyche all is not yet right.  Right now, it’s gone.

  • The Stomach Has Its Desires

     22  85%  26%  0mph  NNE  bar 29.97 falls  YuleTide

              Waning Gibbous Cold Moon

     Excerpt of a poem by William Stafford, Choosing A Dog

    Your good dogs, some things that they hear
    they don’t really want you to know —
    it’s too grim or ethereal.

    And sometimes when they look in the fire
    they see time going on and someone alone,
    but they don’t say anything.

    Bill Schmidt sent this poem along from Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac.  It is a touching work, especially for those who live their lives in the company of dogs.

    A morning filled with errands.  Took packages for New Years to the Anoka Post Office.  It’s sure easier to mail stuff now than it was a week ago.  Geez.  Practically walked right up to the postal clerk.  One clerk, on the other end of the counter, bald head and heroic biker beard, helped a man set up a General Delivery account.  I looked at the man, fiftyish with black hair laid flat on his head.  His used trench coat sagged with the bow of his shoulders.  His pants looked polished from wear and the boots old.  What had happened in his life?

    At the library I donated several Teaching Company courses on audio tape.  As I walked in with the sacks, I began to think about libraries, how important they’ve been to me at each stage of my life: a refuge in an Indiana small town, a place of scholarship during college and my two post-grad degrees, sources of reading material when my funds were low and most recently a source of audio books.  There are two places in this world where I’ve always felt comfortable:  Catholic churches and libraries. 

    Donating these courses made me consider charity.  Charity always makes me think of Frank Broderick who seems to incarnate charity.  I always feel less than in the presence of his generosity to others, less than because that’s not what I do.  Then I thought, wait a minute.  I’m not Frank Broderick; I’m Charlie.  Charlie’s generosity focuses on his passions:  art, libraries, dogs, gardens and, for some reason I can’t quite define, water.  These are the places where my volunteer energy, cash and other resources go.  And that’s just fine.

    After this, groceries, where my stomach spoke to me down each aisle.  Each time I saw an old food friend like cheese or chips or Kashi cereal my stomach growled and I felt deprived.  The stomach has its desires, its attachments and communicates them; but, those are attachments learned over years of a certain kind of eating.  The process I’m in now is one I’ve gone through before, reeducation.  I’m reeducating my stomach to growl for lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes.  To speak to me of yogurt, right-sized portions and sourdough bread.

    A morning full of errands, and, of learning more about myself.  A good morning.