Archive for December, 2009

It snowed during the night. I had anywhere, from two to four inches of snow lining the driveway.

On my walk to the mailbox, Uriah took off under a tree. The stinging winds irritated him! I kept walking.

Forty feet before the road, I spotted some tracks stretching out from the fence to the south, then across the driveway. I stopped took my hat off, and shook my head. Nope!  Not in the mood to trail after a suicidal chicken. Still, I knelt down near the tracks and noticed these were a lot smaller, and the prints weren’t as clear as the ones on Tuesday.

 This bird stopped under the Blue Spruce, I could see how it had scratched around in the snow, and then took off towards the pond.

 I had to follow. Obsession or stupidity!Either one didn’t matter…  I had to follow.

The bird, instead of staying near the road, had weaved around the dried grass and snow, and moved towards the center of the yard.   Within a hundred feet or so it reached the pond. Then turned in a wide circle and met up with its own tracks and doubled back.

I followed its tracks back to the fence, and saw that they ended under a Cedar tree.

This had to be a pheasant! She would be able to blend in under those evergreens easily. Unless Uriah flushed her out, I won’t find her.  I was just glad I hadn’t found  her dead in the road.

I went and got my mail.

 The road was a mist of white, from the drifting snow. I waved at the state police, as he slowly drove past.  

My right hand was freezing; I had lost my glove somewhere. I hope it was nearer the house and not in the pond.

Uriah, had been waiting and stepped out of the trees and followed me to the house.  

Tonight is a full moon, the second in a month, a Blue moon. At least it is for me.  In the southern hemisphere it is called a ‘Short Night Moon.’  Other parts of the world will be able to see a lunar eclipse

A few nights ago, even with cloud cover, the sky glowed.  I had walked though the darken house and looked out the window. The clouds felt like a blanket overhead, their edges, where the clouds thinned out, glowed.

Last night, while it snowed, the moon shined brightly through the seamless clouds  It was as if, someone was holding a piece of cloth in front of the moon. And still, its light could not be denied!

 Tonight the year will change. Remember the moonlight and follow your dreams.


I walk in your mist of light


Once when I was small
The moon was more than light
It brought on evil thoughts
Insanity and rage
Monsters under the bed
As I grew it became a romantic icon
Wanton ideas and lust
A time to laugh and dance and sing
A time to howl, without worries
Anticipation of tomorrows
Then when my children slept
It lit the path outside my door
Illuminating the end of a long day,
I could sit and gaze, relaxed
For all was quiet
Once in a blue moon, a phrase
That allowed me to reach beyond
A light of yellow-white, or reddish-orange
Was it ever blue?
My muse
My moon
You sway above me as the world turns
The days change into years
You hover above with promise
As I stare up at your face
I hear your whisper
For years to come…
Bring us luck, love and happiness
For a moon, blue or not,
You are my welcome friend
And, I dream in your light

Picture from word clip art

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This morning I was woken up by Tomoe, our black half-Siamese female. She jumped into the bed and rubbed on my head, until I stirred.

”Tomoe, morning.” I mumbled pulling the covers over my head.

 Now that ruse doesn’t deter Tomoe.  She stuck her head under the edge of the blanket just enough so she found my hair and gave it a little tug.

“Ok, I’m awake. What do you want?’ I peeked out from under the blanket.

 Tomoe happily bumped my forehead and chirped.  She turned her back to me and jumped off the bed and sauntered towards the bathroom.

Tomoe’s greatest enjoyment is drinking water out of my husband’s hand. I am not her first choice; she just couldn’t wake him up. Reluctantly she decided to allow me the honor.

 I rolled over and poked Michael’s shoulder. “Tomoe’s thirsty.”

 He made an indistinguishable sound, and didn’t move.

Tomoe doesn’t meow like the other cats, she chirps like a baby chick, very sweet and gentle.  This coming June she will be with us three years. We had decided to adopt one cat, and came home with two.

 At the shelter, she was frightened, and hurt from over zealous little ones.

When she was handed to my husband she weighed two pounds. From that point on he never put her down.  He carries her, coo’s at her and hand feeds her food and water. When she is frightened, he will hide under blankets with her.  The house is safe, as long she can see her Daddy.   She plays Xbox with him, and complains if he isn’t feeling well. She follows him everywhere.

I could hear her musical chirp echoing off the bathroom walls.

I could tell myself I had two choices. One; stay in bed and ignore her. Or two; get up and give her what she wants.   But, in reality I have to get up. Tomoe is calling!

 I pushed off the blankets, and followed her summons.

Tomoe was pacing on the edge of the sink.  Her tail held high, she rubbed against my arm and asked for kisses, by lifting her head up high, and placing one paw on my arm.

 The running water sounded loud in the early morning quiet.  I filled the palm of my hand with cold water. Then turned off the faucet, and waited with my eyes closed as she daintily drank from my hand.

When she was finished she jumped off the sink and took my spot in the bed. 

At that point, Uriah realized I was up and decided he wanted out. Grabbing my robe I followed his happy wiggle to the door. I stepped outside with him, in that frigid morning air.

The sun was a defused yellow-white blur; it took over the entire southern sky.

The sky itself was a soft looking, powdery blue.

 Long rectangular shadows, from the trees, added straight blue lines that stretched along the ground.  Shadows skipped along the snow in frozen waves, patterned haphazardly across the yard in blues, grays and whites. 

Every tree was covered in whitish-blue frost, and the horizon was a blur of pastel blues.  

I could tell you how quiet it was. But I would be lying. One truck after another passed by on the road. I could hear the whining rumble before I saw them. They passed in a cloud of snow. Someone was busy working. I just wished they would slow down.

 I tossed out a few pieces of dog food onto the snow.  And watched as Uriah waddled off under the Blue Spruce, I stepped back inside the warm house.

  After about fifteen minutes I went to the door to let Uriah back in.  I was greeted by the shrill screech of a Blue Jay.  I watched the Young Blue Jay through the window. This bird’s color was duller, more grey than blue.  Its beak was very long and sharp looking.  Still a beauty!   The Jay landed next to the dog food.  Looked up at me, and grabbed one piece of kibble, and carried it off over the barn. Then turned to the east and blended into the trees.

Uriah came running up to the door with snow on his nose and back. He glanced at the pieces of kibble still in the snow.  Pawed at one piece and ate it. 

When I opened the door, he hurried back into where it was warm…

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The barn has a black shingled roof, with white and beige metal walls.  The frame is made of heavy wooden beams.

 It still surprises me, at how cold the inside of the barn can get. I guess it’s due to all those metal walls.   

Every fall my red, Case Hydro 234, tractor is set in a dry place in the barn where she waits for spring.

Last year was the first year I forgot to check the tractors’ radiator fluid…

Last year, the radiator fluid, in my tractor froze, and ruptured the coolant drain plug.

Now here we are in the middle of winter, and I forgot to drain the antifreeze, again…

Earlier in fall I should have drained the radiator of water and antifreeze, and then replaced it with full strength antifreeze. That would prevent the water from freezing and damaging the tractor. The water pump, radiator, crankcase, and engine block.

Last winter, I lucked out; the coolant drain plug broke before the engine block cracked.

This morning I stood outside the barn in over a foot of snow and knocked on the over head door. That was my professional attempt to ‘un-stick’ the bottom of the door from the ice.   With a tug, I was able to slide the door up.  I stepped inside the barn. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be.  Last winter the temperatures dropped so low, the inside door was covered in frost.   

“Hey old girl” I always greet my tractor and my computer in the same way. No worries, the computer never comes out to the barn.

I opened the hood and checked the radiator.  The fluid was low. I grabbed a bucket, with the intent on draining off some of the antifreeze.  I planned on adding new fluid at full strength, once it was drained.  That was the plan.  Except, I couldn’t open the drainage plug!  I gave up, and made sure the radiator was topped off.   I was very careful not to touch the antifreeze liquid, or spill any. It is very poisonous. I didn’t want Uriah lapping it up. 

In a feeble attempt to keep the tractor warm, I grabbed some bubble wrap, and placed it around the engine.  Then I closed the hood. 

I walked back to the garage and grabbed all the newspapers I could find.  On the way out of the garage I added in a piece of tarp to the pile of newspapers.  

Back in the barn, I covered the hood of the tractor with the newspapers.   Then I set the tarp over the newspapers. I stepped back and sighed. What I really needed, was a blanket. The only one I could think of was Uriah’s.  

I looked over at Uriah. He was nosing around in the corner; he had found some dried grass and was pushing it around.

“Hey Uriah! Are you willing to give up your blanket, so I can cover the tractor?”

Uriah took a couple of steps towards me. He watched my hands anticipating a treat. When he didn’t see any appearing, he shook his head so his ears flapped.

“Oh! Come on! You don’t believe I would take your blankey? ”  

His eyes went from my face to my hands. Twice!  I reached in my pocket and pulled out a milk bone and tossed it to him.  

 I just hope this winter the tractor doesn’t freeze.

This past spring I had to send the tractor out to be fixed. After it was brought back I had trouble with the electrical wiring.  When I turned off the engine, the headlights came on and wouldn’t shut off. I disconnected the lights. Problems solved sort of…

Add to list, check electrical wiring!

I need to head to the truck stop; they may have an engine blanket, if there is such a thing…

I tried to use the tractor, only once, to plow snow.  That was the winter of 1999. Diesel tractors hate cold! So, I bought a heater to warm her up. Even with the heater, I could barely start the engine.

For some reason, I forgot that those big tires slip easily on wet grass and mud.  In a deep snow during a blizzard it was terrifying!  I tromped off to the store and priced out chains for the tractor’s tires.   After I learned how to install them, I decided to get a snow blower from Sears instead…

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The thought for the day was two fold. Drain and replace the antifreeze in the tractor before the radiator cracks. The second, walk the driveway and decide whether to snow blow today, or tomorrow.

 I stepped outside and the lack of sound was overpowering.  

 A flurry of compacted flakes blanketed the air as they slowly drifted out of a solid grey sky. Every piece of ground, branch and roof top was outlined and covered in piles of soft, feathery snow.

 Uriah immediately threw himself onto the snow covered driveway and rolled and moaned. Then he jumped up and raced in a circle around me.

 I grabbed the push shovel and cleared a four foot area in front of the garage door.  Then I set the shovel back in the garage and looked around for Uriah.  He had headed out towards the northeast tree line. He had set his nose into the snow, and started running.  The snow piled over his head and back. Within a few seconds he was covered in white and looked like he was tunneling under the snow.

 I glanced towards the barn, and decided the tractor could wait. I needed see how much damage happened between the ice storms, pouring rains and massive snow fall.  While I walked around I could check the driveway.

 I whistled for my dog and headed down the driveway to the west. 

This snow was perfect for cross country skiing, soft and puffy.  Lousy for building a snow man, it won’t hold together.  

This morning, Kenshin, our half Siamese male, complained loudly until I brought in some snow for him. He grabbed the bowl with his front paws and pulled the snow onto the rug and floor. He ran around, sliding in it.  I shook the snow onto his head.  He was so excited; he turned in circles and then jumped up and tried to catch the flakes.

 I had grabbed a handful of Kenshin’s snow, and rolled the snow over and over, in my hands, until it started to melt and formed a ball.  My hands froze!  When it was hard enough, I slid the snowball across the kitchen floor. Kenshin took off down the hallway after the ice ball. When I went to find him he was sitting on the snowball like a chicken on an egg.  With a wide puffy cheeky grin, only he can make. 

Now, I am walked along the east end of the driveway.  The snow at this point, was only up to my ankles. I could see the deeper drifts along the bend.

I had only walked about thirty feet, when tuned towards the house.  The closer I got to the house, the deeper the snow became, until it was knee high.  The bushes, in front of the house, had at least a foot of snow perched on top. I used my ski pole to slide it across each one, cutting apart the snow.

I noticed Uriah nosing around the four, Blue Spruces near the southern fence. I stopped and tried to smell the cold air.  The last time Uriah brought me over here he was bothering a skunk. I wasn’t falling for that again. I hesitated! Nothing, no skunk!  I moved towards the trees.

The silence was heavy.  Not even a bird.

 I walked around the back of the trees.  Uriah came with me. That’s when I saw the snow had accumulated along the southern side of the trees.  I brushed off one of the lower branches, and gave one of the higher branches a little shake.

Then, I stepped back to check out the next tree. Uriah was noising under that one. He was sniffing at some rabbit tracks. Just as I came in close and reached up to shake the snow off a higher branch.  Uriah dove underneath the tree.   His movements vibrated through the trunk, and caused the snow, even higher up to loosen.  An avalanche of snow tumbled down from those higher branches onto us both.

I was a snowwoman! Snow trickled down inside the collar of my coat, onto my bare neck.

Uriah was happy; he pranced and started rolling in the deep snow. 

“I’m full of snow!”  I growled.  

Uriah ran at me and grabbed my pants leg and tried to trip me. When I laughed, he ran around me and tried again. I shook the snow off my hat at him.

I turned and looked up at the trees; the snow was heaver higher up. I decided if the wind picked up tonight all that soft snow will fall.  If it doesn’t, I will come out tomorrow. Without Uriah and shake them off.

“Ok, Uriah! Where to now?”

Uriah barked and ran off towards the back path.

The snow became deeper the further away from the house we got. Uriah ran ahead, anticipating a walk in the far back.  So, he hit the ice and water first. I watched as he stopped and slowly turned to look at me with an, “Ahhhw Shoot!” look on his furry face, just as his weight broke the ice under his paws. He only slipped into water a couple of inches deep, but it must have been cold.

“Come on Uriah, let’s walk this way.” I coaxed him out of the water and off the ice. When he walked up to me, I rubbed his face.  Then I pushed him behind me and I walked forward to check the path. I could see ice under the snow stretching ahead into running water.

Uriah waited for me to whistle at him. Then he raced ahead, kicking up snow as he ran. I walked along the tree line, heading west, back to the house.

I focused my attention inside the trees. The standing water showed up as grey frozen patches, slightly hidden under the snow.  Water flowed out towards the drainage pipe, which ran under the gravel driveway in front of the barn. The ice was grayish-green with pee-yellow streaks caught just under the surface. Frozen in place! The yellow looked like veins in a leaf.

I walked over the top of the drainage pipe, past the barn and in-between the mulberry bush.

The water trickled from the open pipe, on the west end of the barn. It flowed about twenty feet, until it froze solid!  The top of the water had eight puffy, round snow mounds that resembled giant marshmallows.  And three ovate shaped ones, which looked like they were pinched in the middle, then stretched out on the ends. The water was dark and clear; I could see the dark greens and assorted gold colors of the field grass under the water.

Uriah stood behind me, and whimpered he didn’t want his paws wet again.

“What’s wrong?” As I asked him, he turned and ran to the garage door. He had enough of the cold and wet.   

I pulled at my collar and shook some snow out from under my jacket. “Ok, let’s go back in for a biscuit and coffee!”…



Picture is from word clip art

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This morning when I stepped outside I was able to walk around to the dog kennel.  The ice had disappeared off the driveway and the deck.  It was in the mid-thirties. The air was oddly warm, and had a feel of spring, even though snow still covers the yard. The puffy clouds above me cleared and blue sky shown through.

I am going out to relatives for Christmas dinner and I wanted to post before I left. Here is a piece I wrote, December 17, 2009, I had written two other Blog entries that day, and I thought three was just too much.  So I posted it today.  Enjoy!

 I walked out the garage door, and pulled it closed behind me. The wet snow earlier in the week had warped the door frame, now with everything frozen the door was pulling back when I opened or closed it. Why is it, that when I can’t work outside, due to the weather. Something breaks, or as in this case the door frame, the side by the near the hinges, decides to disintegrate…

The sky above me is bright blue and clear. The air is dangerously cold!  I was surprised to see a dozen, or so small flighty birds hopping from tree to tree and singing.

Slipping my knit hat off my head I stopped to listen. I could hear birds chirping, singing and complaining.  Looking around I found even more of them in the trees next to the barn and shed.  They flittered between the dead evergreen next to the shed and the gravel in front of the barn. Then onto the leafless mulberry trees on the West side of the barn.

Small round birds, I believe they are, Dark-Eyed Juncos, soft grey feathers on their heads and back.  That grey reaches along the top of their tail feathers, then changes to white slipping to their underbelly and chest. They looked like they sat in a can of white paint. Right now they were complaining loudly and flying from one tree to the next.  How dare I interrupt their fun!

I heard a single call of a Blue Jay in the trees, then silence.  

Off around the back yard, looking south, past the outside dog kennel.   I could see a red blur jumping in-between the miniature crab apple trees. Male Cardinals, searching out dried seeds from the taller dried grasses that leaned against the trees.

Slipping on my hat, I whistled for Uriah. Slowly and nosily, we made our way across the frozen snow to the back path.

 I stopped at the mid-way point, the Northern tree line.  To stare up into the blue, blue sky in-between the branches of a fifty foot tree. The sky was a solid dark blue, almost an Electric Indigo.  The deepest part of that color sat on the tips of that leafless tree, and then weakened into a lighter blue as I moved off center.  Looking towards the south-east, the sun was a brilliant white, fading the sky into a powder blue.

Today, I was using two ski poles to maneuver through the snow.  Walking carefully, I made my way towards home. The snow, where I had walked days before, had frozen over into an uneven ice rink.

Uriah’s long black nails on the frozen snow, made a sound similar to him walking on a wooden floor. His toes were spread out over the ice, and he gripped with those hard nails.   He stayed by me for a moment, and then ran under the old apples trees chasing something only he could see. 

 I purposely cut out a new pattern in the snow, avoiding the dangerous path. I set my heels down first so I could break the top of the snow and keep my balance. Otherwise, stepping down carefully wouldn’t allow me to break through the top layer of ice, and I nearly lost my footing.

I began to notice the sound. My first step with my heel, was like an ‘AHHR- then, to complete the step, the rest of my foot rolled into the snow, with a, ‘RRRRR,’ sound.

Ahhhrrr-rrrrrr …

Add in the sound of the ski poles. Starting out with a stabbing crunching, then ending with a  ‘Brrrrr,’ sound, as I tilted the pole moving into the next step.

Walking along, I was paying so much attention to the sounds I was making, that they became over powering. I stopped and removed my hat so I could hear something other than my noisy intrusion into such a quiet, sunny day, 

I couldn’t hear one bird on the path, nothing! Silence! I probably scared them deeper into the tree line.   

Walking back towards the house and dragging my noise with me.  When I heard the sound of the train in town, I stopped to listen, “Thump- thump- thump!”  Without the winds the train sounded muffled and very far away. Like a thick growl, vibrating along the ground….




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The world is covered in ice! 

I stepped outside to the sound of a thick rattling. Not a sweet musical pitch, more a deep thudding sound.

I tried to take a step forward and found myself without footing. I held tightly to my walking stick /ski poles they stopped me from taking a tumble.  Uriah was walking gingerly; he couldn’t get a foothold on the ice.  I decided, staying next to the door would be the safest place.

 It was ten o’clock in the morning. The temperature was over the freezing point.  Yet everywhere I looked my world was covered in a thick shiny ice…

This weather had started early yesterday.

By nine last night, when I took Uriah out for his last walk, I found the driveway coated with a ruff, white edged ice. At that time I was able to get a foothold, and take Uriah for a short walk.

As I walked out of the garage, I turned to the right, and chambered up the slight incline using my ski poles and Uriah, as a support.

The snow looked like butter crème frosting!  While the night before it resembled powdered sugar. I crunched though the top ice layer, and walked towards the vegetable garden and Uriah’s kennel.

Before I came outdoors, I had turned on the outside light above the garage door. That lit up the driveway and set a glow around the house.  

Once in the yard, I turned and faced the house.  On the northeast side of the roof I watched as water, illuminated as silver sheen, ran down the roof and over flowed from the frozen gutters. From there, it traveled down the light pole.  The water never made it to the ground.  It froze solid in mid-run, and coated the pole, and the light in clear ice.  

 The deck was an ice rink, thick as twenty coats of varnish. The frozen clothes line was still stretched above the lower deck and connected to the upper side rails. I had forgotten to take in the aluminum pole I used to raise up those lines. That pole was more than covered in ice. It looked like it was dipped over and over like a giant clear candle, its center a soft fuzzy grey.

The grill that sat on a square pattern of pavers was sealed and enclosed in ice.

I was outside only ten minutes. During that time it snowed big flat flakes.  Then changed to an ice storm of painful pellets, and then changed into cold rain, only to start all over again, with the snow.

This morning, I stood outside the garage door and worried about the trees!  Then the electrical lines!  If the winds picked up, before the temperatures rose enough to melt the ice, I will have broken tree limbs and no heat.

Suddenly, the grey skies opened and it rained. Hard!  Only for a minute and then stopped.   

Uriah, oblivious!  Happily drank up some of the rainwater.  Carefully picking his way around the ice, he walked over to me.  Without sitting on his hindquarters, he waited for me to open the door. He had enough of this wet, icy world!  

I laughed as he waddled inside. He will forget and ask to be let out. That should happen in about an hour…

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Early Tuesday, afternoon I headed outside to get the mail. I stopped, about forty feet from the road. When I spotted some large, bird tracks that crossed the driveway, south to north.

I followed the tracks to the south, the way they came into my yard, and looked over the fence into my neighbor’s yard.  I couldn’t see where the tracks started from. But, I could see a large number of bird and small animal prints around the trees. I noticed only the large bird had separated from the rest, and walked a four toed pattern under the wooden fence.

I retraced my steps back to the driveway and hesitated. Should I just collect the mail and head back to the house?  No! This was bugging me, that bird could need help.  I decided to follow the bird’s claw prints across the front yard.

 Uriah came over and sniffed at the snow, then followed me.  

I found a couple of feathers. They were stuck in the snow a few feet north of the driveway.  Reddish mottled brown with a soft gray tuff closer to the tip, about two to three inches long, I slipped them into my coat pocket and kept following the tracks in the snow.  They guided me across the front of yard.   That bird had walked a zigzagging pattern, headed north, and kept to the harder packed snow.

I reached the property line on the north end. Slipped between the evergreens and stood on a sizable chunk of plowed up dirt, and stared across the field. Uriah stood next to me and waited.

 I took off my right glove and readjusted my hat.  The temperature was in the lower 30’s, without a wind. I wiggled toes, to check how frozen my feet were, they weren’t cold. And my fingers were still warm. I wasn’t cold at all!  This gave me a reason enough to move on with my quest.

I was thinking the bird might be a hawk and he was hurt. Why else would a bird take a walk?  He could have a broken wing!  Or he may have been clipped by a car driving by too fast!  I shook my head silently. No! If the bird had been hurt I would have seen a blood trail.

It might be a pheasant!  I usually see a few of them running in the snow, or startling me when Uriah flushes them from the tall grass.  Again, I shook my head; the tracks didn’t have lines formed from the birds trailing tail feathers. And this bird had four toes. I thought a Pheasant’s tracks usually showed only the front three toes.   

 I replaced my glove, and made sure my footing was steady. “Well, Uriah, should we head back to the house?  Or…Should we see what type of bird left those tracks?”

 I left it up to Uriah to decide what we did next.

I use my old ski poles as my walking sticks,  I grabbed them both in a way that said I was finished standing around. Then I looked towards my dog. 

Uriah sniffed the ground, glanced up at me and started to walk on ahead. Now he was following the tracks, and I followed him. 

I carefully stepped out on a wash of tiny black icebergs, small points of back earth, which stood out above the snow.

Tracks of coyotes, a fox, and raccoons crossed my trail heading off to the east and west. Tire treads cut through the snow from an off road vehicle, probably the neighbor who I saw on Sunday.  His tracks headed across the road into the farm field. The animal’s prints looked fresh, possible early this morning.  I thought, maybe they were chasing the bird. But no, the tracks crossed each other. I doubt they actually saw one another.

Curiosity had me moving on.   I was beginning to think I was following a drunken chicken

The bird had walked towards a couple of very old, gnarly Oak trees.  Scratched in the snow then turned towards the road, and walked in the ditch, until he headed out on the road.

I called Uriah back, and made him sit. I waited for two cars and a truck to pass by. Once it was clear, I allowed Uriah up and out of the ditch, so he could stand next to me on the blacktop.  I could see that something had been hit by a car recently. It laid still another twenty feet to the north on the opposite side of the road. The car that hit it, had been heading south.

I made sure there wasn’t any traffic in sight. Then, I told Uriah to sit and wait!   I approached the carcass. It was a rooster, a big roster. With a red Comb, or was it a male ring-necked pheasant? No, it looked like a rooster…

It had the shape of a fat chicken. Well sort of.  It was hit by a car!

I kept checking for cars, and took my eyes off Uriah for a second. In that time frame, he walked up to me and stared at the bird. 

I glanced both ways along the road, and then asked Uriah. “Okay, what do you think it is, chicken or pheasant?”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head at him as I checked the road.  Then I asked. “Okay, Uriah! What do you think it is, chicken or pheasant?”

I don’t think he cared.  But wanting  to get in on the game, he looked at the bird.  Then he looked back at me!  Then back at the bird! I could hear him loud and clear, “Can I take it?  Huh? Come on let me take it!” His eyes sparkled and he started prancing around.  His nails clicked loudly on the frozen blacktop.

I shook my head at him, “No! Let’s get out of the road.”

Uriah followed and only looked back once.

I saw a truck coming at us, really slow.  We had enough time to walk along the road. Then move off the road, in-between the Blue Spruce and the Austrian Pine, at the north end of the front yard.  

The truck turned out to be a farmer and his tractor; he was pulling a couple of swaying grain carts filled with corn. The farmer was very, very slowly making his way down the road. I waved at him. As I check the mail…

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Uriah’s nighttime walk was uneventful.

Sunday night  the air was still, the sky held onto an eerie, dark grey along the western horizon.   Northeast, the truck stop’s bright lighting reflects off the clouds in a grayish-yellow haze.  While the town, to the south, lights up the sky with a peachy-grey glow. 

I had turned on the outside light, in the driveway. It illuminated and reflected off the snow in clear sparkles, evenly tossed out like bird seed across the yard.  I walked along the edge of light. And outlined the edge of darkness with my footprints.

Uriah kept bumping against my right leg, and then looked up whining. He wanted a biscuit. He would eat all of them if I let him.

Every time I gave him a treat, I took off my right glove then reached in my pocket. He would sit and watch my hands. “Sorry! I only have one more.  I forgot to fill my pockets tonight.”   

When I told him no more, he sneezed out his complaint and started walking towards the barn.

This time of the year is the safest, for walking along side barn at night.  The grass is covered in snow, and I can’t accidentally sneak up on an animal. I set off around the West side of the barn.  Then circled around back towards the north and made a right turn, along the east side, next to the line of trees. 

From the road an occasional car’s motor interrupted the silence.

For the most part, silence followed us around tonight.

Earlier this morning, our quiet morning walk was interrupted.

The sky, instead of grey, held a pastel blue and purple hue, lined with a pastel peach haze along the horizon. The clouds, though thick and heavy didn’t look like a winter sky, they seemed warmer. I wouldn’t have surprised if it rained. It didn’t.

Someone has a fire going. I love the smell.  Bitter sweet burning wood, drifting silently in the morning air.

Uriah stayed close this morning, all the way around the path.  Until we hit the two thirds point along the north side. That’s when I brought to Uriah’s attention some odd foot prints. They resembled a dog’s print, smaller than his paws.

He walked over to where I pointed, and stuck his nose in the footprint and sniffed.  My daughter told me her dog’s paws smell like corn chips. For a second I wondered what Uriah smelled? His stance changed and the hair on his neck rose and he started running following the tracks, round and round, very happy.

He took off into the trees doing his coon hound impression, a deep, drawn out bark.  

“Uriah!  Get back here!” I yelled! He didn’t listen…

 I knew he would come out of the trees, when I walked off the path.

 Before, I had a chance to take a step. I heard the sound of a motor.  A vehicle was moving slowly along the northern tree line, heading west.

I stood still, and waited.

No one could miss me; I wear a bright orange coat when I go for walks.

The off road, four wheel vehicle passed into a section were the trees thinned. It was one of my neighbors. Not the one directly next door. Our property lines don’t touch at all.

His young son was sitting in back of him, and I saw the covered gun behind the boy… 

I started calling for Uriah. Uriah answered me, and he didn’t come out of the trees. The sound he was making, told me he was found something.

The neighbor, slowed down and stopped his vehicle, and watched me. I called for Uriah again.

The guy started to drive away, slowly.

“Uriah! Get over here now!”  I turned and walked back along the path.

Continually calling for Uriah, I was breathing hard, trying to walk over the heavy snow. My foot slipped. I had to stop for a minute. I couldn’t hear the motor any longer, so I don’t know if he stopped, or kept moving towards the road.

“Uriah… Uriah!”

Now, I stood in the dark. The silence was heavy, the air thick and cold.  This night reminded me of the night after my dog; Zeus was hit by a car, a very similar night, just emptier.  

Uriah barked, then whimpered and nudged my leg for a treat. I ruffed up his furry face and gave him his biscuit…

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Everyone was woken up this morning, at seven o’clock, by Kenshin. He ran across the bed.  He pushed aside the vertical blinds. And he pawed at the closed windows. Then he talked and talked, and talked. Siamese talk a lot. They are very vocal cats…

I crawled out of bed and looked out the bathroom window.

  I saw the dark grey sky. I noticed the reddish color of the decks railings were topped with an icing of snow.   And then, I become aware of a slight movement near the bottom section of the deck. I scanned the lower deck for the rats.  I assumed,  the rats must have gotten Kenshin all worked up.  

But, it wasn’t the rat!  It was a very large hawk perched on the railing, just above the rat’s habitat.  This Buteo was not amused! I disturbed him!  It could have been the Red-tailed Hawk…  But, he looked a lot like the Swainson’s hawk that lives around here.

His breast feathers were puffed up, mottled white and reddish orange, mixed in with brown and black.  His deep rich colors blended in with his beige, downy winter feathers.  

The feathers on his head were slick dark, with browns and blacks. I didn’t notice the color of his tail feathers.  They were hidden by the decks railing. And I couldn’t see the color of his eyes. But I felt his gaze when he turned his head slightly.  He ruffled his feathers, in an irritated matter. His beak was hooked and sharp, thick and dark in color.

His stance was of pride.  A Buteo!  It radiated from him. He was beauty.  Beyond everything that was around him. He lived in this moment.

 I wished that I could be that self-assured, and free… There is irony in that word, “free.”

While he watched me, I saw a flicker of concern flash over his eyes. He stretched out his wings and jumped, and glided effortlessly along the ground.  Then he swooped upward into the trees.

I watched him spin and settle on a thin branch.  I immediately thought of how this hawk lost another nesting tree.

The past few days, the air has held a sweet, woody scent. Yesterday I saw what made that smell.

A few miles from my home, there is a grove of Oak trees.  Their ages ranged from seventy to hundred-fifty years old, craggily towering giants.

 I drove past those old trees yesterday and I saw empty spaces and tree stumps.  The Oaks were being cut down. I saw neatly stacked coffins waiting to be carted away.

Why cut down the trees during an ecological crisis?  Shouldn’t we be conserving nature? 

I find all this all very heartbreaking.  

A few hours later, I stepped  out on my deck. The clouds hung heavy and grey.  

In that muffled, snow covered silence.  I heard the hawk’s high pitch screech…


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You can hear the call of the Swainson’s hawk, and other birds here;


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I stepped outside on the deck and watched the snow gently float to the ground; everything was covered with a wispy cloud of white.

 Perception and location is everything when snow gazing. Mere inches in front of my face, gigantic flakes drifted quickly down to earth. There were hand sized spaces between each one.

 Farther out in the yard the snow came down smaller, compact and fast, with hardly enough room for the tip of a pencil to fit between each flake.  The Bog Willows and apple trees looked as though they were caught in a snow globe snowstorm.

I stared upwards into the fast, falling snow.  I watched large flakes rapidly falling towards me, looking like bright stars as they fell from the grey-white sky. They touched my face with a stinging cold, and held onto my eyelashes and hair.

Before I stepped back into the house, I stomped my feet on the outside welcome mat.  Kenshin, our two year old Siamese mix, rushed up to the door as I entered.  I pushed him back and stepped into the kitchen.  He stared up at me with his blue eyes. Then he turned and rubbed against my leg, the wall, the door, and the kitchen table leg.

I reached down and scooped him up.  “What’s up, Kenshin? You want to see outside?”  I asked, then reopened the inside glass door, but not the outside screen.

He was quiet in my arms, as we stood there watching the snowflakes drifting to the ground.

There wasn’t a wind.  Each flake drifted slowly on a downward path, one after another. Hundreds of puffy crystalline flakes piled up on the wooden deck.

With one paw, Kenshin reached out and touched the screen. He loves snow.  I slipped my shoes back on, held him tightly and opened the screen door, then stepped outside.

Kenshin immediately started to thunder purr, vibrating my arms as I held him tight.   Carefully, I walked over to the garden table, which sat outside year-round. 

 Kenshin rolled over in my arms so he faced the sky.  When he realized I was near the table, he twisted and leaped from my arms, landing in the center of the snow covered table.  Instantly, he rolled over and over covering himself with snow.  Then laid quietly on his back and watched the snow drift down on him. 

Being a very active cat, that immobility lasted a whole-one-minute.  Then he began batting at the flakes and purred even louder.

I laughed!  His cheeks puffed up in a grin.

The snow was falling faster.  Kenshin got some in his eyes, and on his nose.  He was not happy with that! Within a split second, he leapt upwards, turned his feet towards the ground and landed in the middle of the table.  Within that same moment, he slid to the floor and scampered under the table.  From there, he batted at the clumps of snow left behind from my shoes.

Deep into his insane mode, Kenshin slid around the deck like a hockey player chasing a puck.

Quickly, I moved over to the stairs and sat on the top step.  I waited for him to make a break. I would never be able to catch him if he got down the steps.

He can leap straight up in the air nearly five feet, when he gets crazed. Like he was now!   He moves at lightning speeds.  He also loves dogs. And with the overcast sky, I can bet we were being watched from the trees.  I wasn’t going to give him a chance at getting passed me, and into the yard.

Suddenly, Kenshin jumped up and twisted in mid-air, then slid in my direction.   He wasn’t happy when I grabbed him in mid-slide. 

Holding onto the railings, I moved slowly back into the house. Kenshin decided to lie in my arms upside down so he could bat at a few more flakes.

I put him down on the rug next to the door, and he took off fast. He slid on his hind quarters through the living room, then down the hall and back again. He was jumping and flipping crazily from the snow melting on his back.

I brought him a hard packed snowball and rolled across the floor.  He grabbed it with his paws and took off for the goal line…

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