• Tag Archives Gertie
  • Road Trip Grandma

    Spring                                                                     Planting Moon

    MNDOT says the roads between here and Iowa are in good condition.  Much better than this morning.  Gertie and Rigel watched, worried as we packed Kate’s rental Nissan.  She got off after lunch out and a nap.

    No Quilt Museum this phase of the trip, she’ll drive into Iowa tonight as far as she can, then another day and another day and probably another day.  She may arrive earlier than she planned, but better before the birthday party than after.  Much better.

    On the home front I’m headed over to Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove tonight to see a cinema version of a Manet exhibition. I have no idea whether this will be any good. Here’s the details from the e-mail:

    Exhibition: Great Art on Screen – series begins this Thursday, April 11

    Exhibition is a new series capturing the world’s greatest art exhibitions and screening at a cinema near you.

    First in the series, Manet: Portraying Life takes viewers on a 90-minute virtual private tour of the career-encompassing collection of the works of Edouard Manet, currently on exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts with screenings from April 11. Two additional Exhibition events will follow including Munch with screenings from June 27 — a “once-in-a-lifetime” exhibition of the greatest number of Edvard Munch’s works ever, co-hosted by the National Museum and the Munch Museum in Oslo — and Vermeer with screenings from October 10 from the National Gallery, London where audiences will be given a unique perspective on the masterpieces of Johannes Vermeer. Go beyond the gallery to see exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on how an exhibition is created for public view. Hosted by art historian Tim Marlow, featuring special guests.

  • I Knew Her Right Away

    Spring                                                                              Bloodroot Moon

    Home again, home again.  The dogs greeted me with unusual joy and vigor.  Vega spun round and Gertie jumped up, biting at me to come play.  Tumultuous.  And wonderful.

    Kate came into the Loon Cafe and picked me up from the Hiawatha light rail.  She had on blinking ear-rings.  The server at the cafe, before I arrived, had asked her, “Is that how your friend will recognize you?”  It was.  I knew her right away.

    She led us through the maze of parking spaces to the truck, not easy in the mammoth commuter ramps that collect cars from the western burbs.

    The trip home had no remarkable moments, a good thing for travel.  I did use, for the first time, a bar code boarding pass on my cell phone.  Felt very with it.  You all have probably done it for years, but it was amazing to me.

    It’s nice to use the full size key-board and not the 92%, slick metal keys of the netbook.  Having said that, the netbook has been the best single computer purchase I’ve ever made.  It goes everywhere with me when I travel.  It’s compact, picks up wi-fi with ease and has a 92% keyboard, which is why I bought it.  It’s allowed me to post on this blog from as far away as Cape Horn, south of Tierra del Fuego.


  • Workin’

    Beltane                                                                       Beltane Moon

    Flagged off my Latin tutor for this Friday.  Bees, garden, retreat, finishing Missing combined to soak up my good work time.  To do well at the Latin I have to have a full day; it takes me awhile to turn on the neural network that recognizes cases, remembers Ovid’s peculiarities and enjoys the play of connotation and denotation.  Once I get in that place, which may take as much as a morning, then I can translate faster, with more facility.  But.  I need that unbroken time.  Just the way I work.

    Rain kept me out of the garden last Thursday so I’ve got to out there right now and plant potatoes and chard.  The garden’s looking good, daffodils and tulips, bleeding heart and hosta, pachysandra and maiden-hair ferns greeting the strawberry blossoms, the asparagus spears, the green shafts of the allium family:  onion, shallot, garlic and the small leaves of the emerging beets.

    Today, too, is another round in the Can I keep Gertie in the yard game?  I added another wire and plan yet more moves.  I’m smarter; she’s more persistent.  An equal match so far.

  • I Love Dogs. But…

    Beltane                                                           Beltane Moon

    I love dogs.  Anyone who knows me or who reads this blog knows that.  I love Gertie.  You may not know Gertie, but she is one of our dogs, a German short-hair we picked up after her Denver home was no longer suitable for her.

    (as you can see by this photo, she’s no ordinary dog.)

    But, then again.  Gertie keeps escaping.  She did this in Denver and now she has figured out a way to do the same here.  Real frustrating.  When our other dogs escaped, we worried only about their safety.  They were lovers, not fighters.

    Gertie, on the other hand, got prodded and poked, teased by her neighbors in Denver.  She got bit and incited by her crate mate Sollie.  She lives with us now in harmony.  However.  She will not trust the kindness of strangers.  She suspects strangers and will not hesitate to bite them.  Not always, but once is too much.

    When she escapes, we worry not only about her safety, but that of others.  That makes containing her a priority.  That means I’m back at it again, trying to outsmart the dog.

    This puts me in the business of working with my hands.  Frustrating.  I get testy when I have to work with my hands because I’m not good at it, each move from planning to drilling to stringing wire challenges my capacity and I. Don’t. Like. That.  Put that together with the frustration of repeated elopements.  Let’s just say it’s not party time.

    I had a plan. I executed the plan.  Gertie jumped over my plan.  Grrr.  I modified the plan.  We’ll see now.  I have more plans.  This is a lesson in something, zen stillness or inner tranquility or zoo keeper 101.  The latter, I think.

  • Draco

    Fall                                                 Waxing Autumn Moon

    I might have been a little hard on Kevan.  Or, maybe not.  Bankers, can’t live with’em, can’t live without’em.

    These last few nights the sky has been glorious.  Draco has his head pointed down at the northern horizon, his tail flicking up high toward the east and toward the celestial pole.  Cassiopeia hangs above his head, her distended W a signature of the northern night.

    Gertie, the Denver dog, escaped, twice today.  She headbutted Pam and snapped at some kids.  She’s not a safe dog with folks who are not in her head as family.  We’ve got to keep her in the yard.  The window washers left the grapeyard vine gate slightly open and that was enough for our Gert.  She wriggled through and was on her own.  Fortunately, she stayed in the yard.

    We’re going to leave our dogs with Armstrong Kennels for forty days.  That’s the longest we will have ever been away from them.  It feels strange, but we’ve boarded dogs at Armstrong’s over the last 17 years and always had good experiences.  The dogs become part of their family while we’re gone and are glad to see us when we get back.


  • Untamed and Primal

    Fall                                                Waxing Autumn Moon

    Warning:  weak stomachs should not read further.

    Kate yelled, but I didn’t hear.  Rigel, let inside after breakfast and a morning’s romp in the woods, came in, lay down on our small oriental rug, and, as dogs sometimes do, threw up.  Gross, I know, but after a while with dogs, many dogs as we have had, this becomes part of the experience.

    In this particular case however, it was not eaten grass or clumps of cloth (some dogs love to shred and eat cloth), but most of a recently ingested rabbit:  the head, a hind quarter and much of the softer parts.  Since none of breakfast came up with it, this was a post-breakfast hunt, likely followed by bolting because three other dogs Vega, Kona and Gertie wanted some, too.

    Since we have about an acre and a half of woods with many brush piles, which we create intentionally for the purpose of harboring wildlife, our dogs always have hunting options, but we’ve not seem many offerings brought up on the deck in recent times.

    Since our dogs are all sight hounds, or at least half sight hound coupled with half coon hound, they come equipped at birth with the instinct to hunt and kill on their own.  We’ve had various levels of skill among our dogs, but some have been exceptional.

    Rigel is one.  Sortia, our Russian witch, a female Irish Wolfhound who weighed around 180 and was never fat, was and remains the champ.  She took down a deer by herself during an interlude at the breeders.  She brought us raccoon, ground hog, many rabbits and, to our chagrin, the occasional neighborhood cat who strayed foolishly over our fence.

    The whippets are no slouches either.  Kona has killed many a rabbit, one time bringing a very fresh head and dropping it at the kitchen door.

    Long ago I slipped over to the Farmer McGregor attitude toward rabbits so I have no problem with our dogs keeping the rabbit supply on the thin side.  They’re protecting our vegetable garden.  I imagine their presence also keeps out deer.

    It’s not why we keep dogs, but it is a good side benefit.

    All this hunting reminds us, too, that beneath the cheerful, loving persona our beloved dogs show to us, there is still within them an untamed and primal beast, a carnivore not really so far removed from the wolf.

  • Plans and Further Foolishness

    Lughnasa                                                                Waxing Harvest Moon

    We moved Gertie (the German wire hair, formerly of Denver) and Kona (our oldest dog now, a whippet) downstairs.  Gertie had slept in our bedroom but consistently got Kate up between 6 am and 6:30 am.

    Their crates downstairs, right under the heating ducts, carry sound well, however, and Kate said she heard Gertie cry at 6:30 this morning.  Due to my deaf ear and sound sleeping those noises don’t filter through to me.

    No plan is perfect.

    Further example.  We paid extra to get Mark’s visa on the desks of the Travisa folk by 8:30 am.  At 9:30 Washington, DC, time it was still not there.  Gonna get that extra money back.

    First Sierra Club legislative committee meeting for the 2012 session of the Minnesota legislature starts tonight at 6:30 pm.  We’ll be gone during most of October and November so my participation for the early work has to get done in the next six weeks.

  • Queen of Relaxation

    Mid-Summer                                                            Waxing Honey Flow Moon

    Our new pack Kona, Vega, Rigel + Gertie has begun to calm down.  There are fewer tense circling moments, fewer snaps and growls.  Life with dogs has its rhythms, just like life with vegainwaterhumans.  Vega, our biggest girl, lays on the window seat, tail thumping, watchful, inviting me to come down and sit beside her, enjoy a moment of relaxation with her.  She is a great role model for relaxation.  The 4th of July fireworks season has moved into the  past, or the future, and Rigel no longer barks at the night sky.

    Our tiered perennial garden and its brick patio have gotten neglected in our push toward the orchard, vegetables and bees.  It was my focus for so long and now it grows on its own, almost, with little help from either of us.  It looks that way, too.  I began this morning a three or four day project to clean it up, weed it, mulch it, arrange and clean up the furniture and potting bench.  This involved, today, pulling the lovely green chive like grass that volunteers everywhere, then putting down a heavy blanket of birch leaves, sweeping the bricks and clearing litter off tables and benches, killing weeds growing in the brick crevices and emptying old pots into the compost.

    There’s still plenty to do and I’ll get on with that tomorrow.