Crabby day

We tried out a few new crabbing spots on the Navesink River yesterday, but this one was my favorite because it has such a nice view. We were there at a bad time in terms of the tide, as this little creek leads into a quiet cove. Due to some crabby logic that I don’t understand, a cove like this should be best when the tide is coming in. We spent very little time actually crabbing, more time moving from one bridge to the next. The first new place we tried became crowded with other crabbers early in the day and wasn’t very safe as it’s along a busy road. Then we drove to the other side of the river to this scenic spot, but the tide was going out by then and we only stayed an hour or so.
We caught a few crabs, but nothing to brag over. Well, except for my nephew – he was thrilled with anything that was big enough to keep and show off! His older brother came along with us. He’s going away to forestry school at the University of Montana in a few weeks – he wants to be a smokejumper by next summer. I’m so proud of him for going to school and being a good kid.
Little Luka came along on our crabbing adventure and was pretty cranky after a few hours without a nap. Finally he just crashed on the sidewalk of the bridge while we worked around him. We wore him out good yesterday so that he slept through the night last night – straight through til 5 am – thank heavens!

Life is good

Yes, it’s soon, but really I’m surprised we lasted the few days we did. I found my husband surfing the SPCA websites this morning and that was that. We hadn’t spoke of it yet, but I guess we were both thinking the same thing: the house is lonely, it’s too quiet when we come in with no one to greet us, the bag of dog food is going to waste in the closet, etc. (insert other lame excuses).

So now there’s this puppy. Crying and mouthing and being utterly adorable. I’m not looking forward to the next few nights; his first away from his parents and littermates. But the house didn’t feel right without a dog. We’re taking the easy way out of our mourning for Buddy, I know. There is no distraction from sadness like a puppy. We do what we have to to heal a broken heart.

I apologize for being away for a few days, but I didn’t have anything to say that wasn’t pathetic. I appreciate your concern and the love you sent our way. Thank you.

Life is good with a lab pup at your heels.

Dear heart

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm western wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light–
Good-night, dear heart, good-night, good-night.

–Robert Richardson (adapted by Mark Twain)

In the words of my vet, after I apologized for making him go over the necropsy results for the second time in as many hours, “It’s hard to lose a dog that’s been with you for so many years.” Yes it is, but would it be any easier if it were two years instead of twelve?

My old man dog Buddy died today. Just like that. He was a little off this morning and wouldn’t settle or eat his treats. He was sleeping alone in the living room when we woke up this morning and was hard to rouse. Nothing unusual, really. We were both concerned enough that my husband stopped home at lunch time to check on him and found him dead. Dead in front of the door so that it couldn’t be opened and my husband had to climb in through the kitchen window to get in the house.

My husband brought him to the vet for a necropsy so that we might understand what happened to him. The vet found that he had hemangiosarcoma; an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels and a tumor on his heart. The tumor had ruptured and caused his heart to stop. The vet said that he felt no pain, just tired and weak, and likely collapsed and just went peacefully to sleep.

I had fretted over him getting older and worried that we might have to put him to sleep one day when he couldn’t walk any longer. I dreaded that, but never expected anything like this. I have to think that a kindness was done for us – a disease we didn’t know about, couldn’t worry over and couldn’t even have done anything about had we known. No guilt, no what-ifs. I’m just so thankful I took the time this morning before leaving to hold his head in my hand and tell him that he was a good boy and that I loved him. A lot of mornings I didn’t take the time for that, but this morning I did.

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
–Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfeet Nation

Favorite bird poems

He picks his pond, and the soft thicket of his world.
He bids his lady come, and she does, flirting with her tail.
He begins early, and makes up his song as he goes.
He does not enter a house at night, or when it rains.
He is not afraid of the wind, though he is cautious.
He watches the snake, that stripe of black fire, until it flows away.
He watches the hawk with her sharpest shins, aloft in the high tree.
He keeps his prayer under his tongue.
In his whole life he has never missed the rising of the sun.
He dislikes snow.
But a few raisins give him the greatest delight.
He sits in the forelock of the lilac, or he struts in its shadow.
He is neither the rare plover or the brilliant bunting, but as common as grass.
His black cap gives him a jaunty look, for which we humans have learned to tilt our caps, in envy.
When he is not singing, he is listening.
Neither have I ever seen him with his eyes closed.
Though he may be looking at nothing more than a cloud it brings to mind a several dozen new remarks.
From one branch to another, or across the path, he dazzles with flight.
Since I see him every morning, I have rewarded myself the pleasure of thinking that he knows me.
Yet never once has he answered my nod.
He seems, in fact, to find in me a kind of humor, I am so vast, uncertain and strange.
I am the one who comes and goes, and who knows why.
Will I ever understand him?
Certainly he will never understand me, or the world I come from.
For he will never sing for the kingdom of dollars.
For he will never grow pockets in his gray wings.

-Mary Oliver, “Owls and Other Fantasies

I have a nice collection of poetry relating to birds that I like to dip into and share now and again. This one from Mary Oliver isn’t a favorite, but instead one I came across this evening and enjoyed. Of course, I’m always looking for more. Maybe you have a favorite that comes to mind? Share it here in comments or on your own blog if you like.

Sabatia difformis

Lance-leaved sabatia; at least I’m calling it that! In comments on Saturday’s post, Patrick reminded me of a helpful website for Pine Barrens plant ID. That, combined with all six of my wildflower guides, helped me decide what this flower is. I think so, anyway.

I’ve said it before, but learning wildflowers really makes me feel for people who are just starting out with birds. You can have all the best reference material at your fingertips, but it’s all a waste if you don’t put it to use. I’m easily confused and overwhelmed with all the possibilities, so the few books I have that say what’s blooming when are the most helpful because they narrow down the choices of what’s possible. Yet, no book can compare, in my opinion, with having an experienced person by your side in the field.

Anyway, glad we figured this one out together!

Guesses welcomed

I’m hoping maybe Patrick or someone else may be able to help me sort this one out, found today at Webb’s Mill Bog in the Pine Barrens. I had thought it might be False Asphodel, but that’s not it.

We drove halfway to Philly almost to visit an arboretum on the grounds of a retirement community. I was mostly interested in the courtyard gardens, private patio gardens, and the wildflower meadows, but there was also a Pinetum (with native and exotic plants), a collection of rhododendrons, an experimental planting of chestnut trees, and 55 acres of natural woodlands. The wildflower meadows were a disappointment as there were no butterflies (not much was blooming), but the courtyard gardens were very pretty. Maybe when I’m old and gray I’ll find a place like that to live. My husband was ready to find a place there today after I made him traipse through the woods for a few hours. Poor guy; his knees are bad and he’s not one for walking much.

On our way back we stopped my Webb’s Mill to see what was blooming. There were lots of those white mystery flowers and the bladderworts were blooming everywhere. We had the place to ourselves; that’s a first as the last few visits to the bog have been pretty crowded. I’m not sure what else I can expect to find blooming later in the summer, but it’s always worth a visit when I’m in the area. I’m not sure how interested the DH was in the odd bog plants, but he pretended well. He’s a good sport.


It’s been a long week and I’m feeling about as beat up as this cormorant looks. I didn’t have a normal lunch hour even one day this week and the weather’s been crummy and hot or rainy so that after work I haven’t been able or willing to spend very much time outside. All work and no play makes Laura pretty cranky!

I’m halfway through my training period with the new job and had mid-point evaluations today. I’m doing fine, but of course there’s always some area that *needs improvement*. Uggghh. Why doesn’t it get any easier to take criticism as I get older?

At any rate, I’m looking forward to the end of August when I’ll be finished and will either have the job or not. I’m looking forward to being able to take a day off. Just today my husband played hookey and went crabbing without me. Bum! I’m trying to find the energy and inspiration to do something fun this weekend besides clean the house and catch up with laundry. I may just sleep away the whole weekend if I’m not careful. Anyone have something fun planned?

7/19/07 Mid-week bunny fix

I haven’t been very good about regular bunny fixes lately, but that’s only because I haven’t taken any nice ones lately to show off. This one of Sunshine and Boomer is from almost 2 months ago already; I like it because of the way Boomer is spooning around Sunshine and it’s sort of hard to tell where one bunny ends and the other begins! The love goes on…

Truth be told, it makes me sad to be taking pics of Boomer and some other girl bunny. We miss Cricket and our familiar routines. I miss seeing the easy way they had with each other. Boomer misses his perfect pillow and ear-washer.

Sunshine is a sweet girl and they’re getting along well, but in limited doses. Boomer is alone all day and overnight because I’m not ready to trust them together unsupervised. I imagine it will take me a while to get over that fight they had enough so that I’ll let them be together they way they seem to want to be. They make a bee-line to each other in the morning when I let them together for a bit before work. It’s the same in the evening when I get home and they lounge and eat salad and hay together until bedtime. Then I separate them for the night which feels cruel. But they’re safe that way, at least, from any odd mood that might strike them to have an argument in the dark.

Enough of that. I had wanted to post a video here last week, but for a few hours of trying I wasn’t able to get it to cooperate. Maybe there’s some problem with the video itself that prevents it from uploading. Anyway, click on the link and enjoy some bunny antics. These aren’t my bunnies, but they could be, as silly as they are.

Click here and smile!