Tag Archives: pets

I need that thing that perches in the soul.


“Hope” is the thing with feathers— That perches in the soul— And sings the tune without the words— And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard— And sore must be the storm— That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land— And on the strangest Sea— Yet, never, in Extremity, It asked a crumb—of Me.

Emily Dickinson
Right now, I need hope. It seems to be ebbing away, bit by bit, as the hours and then the days pass and there is no sign of him. The older dogs are out of sorts. They look at me with sorrowful eyes and their tails wag with little enthusiasm; for “Buddy,” the latest stray to appear, they only offer snaps and growls. And there’s nothing I can do to make it all better. All I can do is look and call out, to leave the outside lights on and the door open.  All I can do is wait . . . and hope.
I admire many of your characters, Richard, for their resilience and their steadfastness. They have that determination to achieve their goals, to win the hands and hearts of the ones they love; even though life kicks them very hard in the teeth at times, they keep giving and loving–and hoping.
I will try to keep hoping, too.

OT: Blasts from the past . . .



Benny as a very little fellow. Matt Smith aka Doctor Who would approve of the caption. 😉


College graduation, Troy State University, 1982.


Benny and our niece taking a break during our visit to Six Flags over Georgia near Atlanta. On a visit home during Benny’s AF years, we took our two oldest nieces for a day of fun at the big amusement park. Hard to believe it but her oldest daughter is now older than she was in this photo.


Benny on the steps of our first home together in Rapid City, SD, with our very large cat Smokie on his lap. Smokie was adopted while we were on vacation in Denver–a rather unique souvenir. 😉

Hugging is good medicine & I seriously need one right now.




Right now, I really could use a big old hug from Thorin.


Benny calls me out to the front deck this afternoon, and I find a puppy out there, but not Jack. Oddly, he looks as if he could be the offspring of Seabee and Rascal–white with black spots like Seabee, but with the look of a German Shepherd (or perhaps a Huskie) about him,  a pair of small, bright, greenish-gold eyes peering up at me.

He looks pretty well fed, unlike Seabee and Jack when they arrived, and he’s clearly affectionate. But where in the world did he come from? I ask him, but of course, he’s not telling. Did, as Benny suggests, aliens swoop in and take Jack and leave this one instead?

Rascal and Seabee seem flummoxed by this new addition. Rascal growls and snaps at him, sending the little fellow back under the deck briefly.  Seabee sniffs at him, stares and then averts her eyes, drawing her head away. “He doesn’t smell right. He looks a little like my Jack, but he’s not Jack,” she seems to say.  “Where IS Jack?”

Where, indeed.   We call and call. “Maybe he’s down at the farmhouse, you know he hangs out there a lot of the time,” Benny says. He heads down there, the puppy in tow and Rascal not too far behind him.

Seabee nervously darts from food dish to food dish, and then collapses in the center of the deck with a troubled sigh. We can hear Benny calling for Jack.  She looks at me with wide brown eyes. “I know, Seabee, I know,” I say softly. “He’s looking hard for your boy, sweetie.”

In a few minutes Benny returns, a puzzled expression on his face. Shaking his head, he shrugs his shoulders. “I–just don’t know. Maybe just rambling around.” He drops his eyes. “You know, could be a snake or coyote . . .”

“Oh–I hope not!” Seabee is looking at me again. I lean down and stroke her silky ears and press a kiss to the top of her head.

Praying. Praying for your little boy. Our little boy.

I really could use a hug.  Even better, a puppy kiss on the nose from a certain freckled lad.

Jack, please come home, safe and sound. Please.

It’s gonna be alright, Jack. Really, it is.


Happiness is a warm, boisterous puppy. But what is it when you take the puppy’s mama away in a big carrier before dawn breaks and leave him behind?


Seabee, due to travel to Montgomery to be spayed today.  went into the borrowed Pet Porter without a hitch–such a sweet, trusting dog that one is!

But, oh–little Jack. His wiggly puppy body grew very still as he looked up at the carrier in the back of the Jeep, and then at me. Was it just my imagination in overdrive, or was there something accusatory in those beautiful, soft brown puppy eyes?

He didn’t whimper or bark or make any noise. He didn’t try to chew on my pajama legs.  Quietly, tail drooping in a most uncharacteristic way, Seabee’s son padded back onto the deck with his uncle Rascal, who soon made himself scarce. Rascal wasn’t taking any chances, it seems.

I brought out food. Jack ate as I sat there and talked to him and tried to explain it all once again. I know. He’s a dog, and just a puppy at that. Still, I feel compelled to try.

To ease my own heart as much as his.

It’s gonna be OK, Jack. Really it is. Just a few hours and you’ll see your mom again.



A favorite Armitage image. When you can’t sleep, Richard.


Minor crisis involving a dog, this time Seabee, who apparently got herself stuck somehow in the crawl space beneath the house. I heard what sounded like distress barks from dog and puppy and some sort of metallic thumping around 2:45 a.m.  I went in search of a flashlight and a T-shirt and roused spouse just in case the bogeyman was out there, too.

Whilst I tried to calm the other dogs, Benny finally flushed out Seabee. He checked her over for injuries and found none. But the poor dog must have exerted herself mightily, as she was hassling heavily and drinking water as if she’d discovered an oasis in the scorching desert. We’d stayed with them until everyone seemed on an even keel.

It’s not hot, but it is very humid. I can feel the rain in the air and in my knee and now I’m fully awake again. *sigh*

Time for a little Richarding.

This screencapped image of Richard taken, I believe, from a video promoting The Hobbit prior to its theatrical release, has been on my mind.

There are a lot of things that appeal to me here. There’s that thoughtful downward look we all seem to like, combined with the beard (not universally liked, but looking very sharp to my eyes here) and the close-cropped hair showing off that nicely shaped noggin of his. I’m thinking his hair here is very close to its natural color, which appears to be brown with a reddish tint to it.

Love the thick fringe of fairish lashes and the glimpse of rosy pink lower lip, and the faint furrowing of the brow as if he’s musing over some pleasant subject. And, minus airbrushing, I can see the old chicken pox(?) scar on his forehead. For some reason I find that comforting. Perfect in his imperfections.


And now, I am going to return to my massive Bronte bio and then try to get some sleep. If only all will remain quiet on the (Southern) front . . .

We interrupt regularly scheduled GuyDay for–PUPPY! (And Mama).



Here’s Jack, a cracker Jack of a grand little dog.   Those eyes get me. And the floppy ears. And the freckles on his legs. And . . .


The lovely Seabee and her baby boy’s cute little freckled butt.

Mama Seabee is set to be spayed on April 24th through the Alabama Animal Alliance in Montgomery. We’ll have to have her at my cousin’s house at 5:30 a.m. that day (yawn!) and she should be back at Rock and Kandys’s house by 4:30 p.m. assuming all goes well.  It will cost us considerably less to go through AAA and they have an excellent reputation.

(I should add we have a wonderful vet here who does a certain number of free and low-cost spay and neuters for pet owners in need of assistance. He’s also my former pupil and as nice a young man as you could hope to know.)


Happy St. Paddy’s Day from Irish Jack & Company: Erin Go Bragh!



Doesn’t he make the cutest little Irish hound?

pizap.com10.485727751161903141363416993800I love a good hat, the color green, shamrocks and being Irish. Of course, everyone in this melting pot called the U.S.A. is a little bit Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.


Poor Thorin. *sigh* Seeing the little people jigging amidst the green beer.  I was so distracted myself I misspelled “keeps” as “keep.”

pizap.com13634155565451Dear long-suffering Uncle Rascal. But isn’t he rakishly handsome in that hat!

More Fun with Country Canines, Signs of Spring, and some Blonde Chick















Trying to decide if I should ditch the bangs. Wore it like this Saturday and no one screamed in horror. No one recognised me either, come to think of it. Still trying to decide what to do re color. Interested in your opinions. Just want to change up things a bit, I reckon.  Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis . .. 😉

Priscilla, you still inspire me.



“Back Porch Screen Door” by Angie Long

My former high school art teacher, who moved mainly into the arena of fine art photography a number of years ago, has been on my mind. She’s also an animal lover and fellow board member of the local humane society and I know she will love our new “additions.” It’s great to have someone who was a mentor to you when you were young become a friend as an adult.  We are a generation apart in age, but we are still kindred spirits and that always bridges the gap.

I took some photos this afternoon during the afternoon walkies with the canines and did some editing that I rather liked. Definitely feeling very artsy-fartsy. Priscilla, you still inspire me–and plenty of others, I am certain. Thanks.




“Sky Meets Screen Door


“My Old Bedroom Window”


“Mama’s Clothespins”




“Daddy’s Barometer”


“Farmhouse on March Day”

Friday Diary on a Saturday: Canines, cotton barns, porches and–have you ever seen one of these?



Friday was another beautiful if chilly day here in Lower Alabama. Our guests were still with us, as you can see.  They seem quite at home.


Puppy continued to share those looks. Geez, they don’t call them “puppy dog eyes” for nothing, do they? Time for our walkies, boys (and girl)!


The new grass, kelly green, that has sprouted in the recent rains, heralds the coming spring. That old barn, once used to store cotton from my grandfather’s vast fields, later to store wood shavings for the family’s poultry houses, is now a sort of large-scale dog house for the family canines. Weather-proof, it shields from rain and wind and provides a cozy bed courtesy of those same shavings.  Puppy just had to explore!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the brick front porch of the old farmhouse, which will be 75 years old in 2014. The house was built in the late 30s following a fire that destroyed the rambling two-story Victorian in which my daddy’s large family had grown up.  The fire (of mysterious origins. Arson was suspected but never proven) also took one of several barns and a shed with vehicles. My dad was in his teens when all this happened. A fear of fire never left him.

Even though the family was downsizing (most of the ten living children now adults and on their own) my grandfather still took the blueprints for the new house and had all the rooms enlarged and extra closets added–the Victorian house possessing a distinct lack of said conveniences.  And while the new farmhouse lacked the elegant wrap-around veranda of its predecessor, it did have three porches, one of them accessible from two of the house’s bedrooms (including my own).

Later, my father built a rather rustic wooden back porch. What it lacked in eye candy appeal,  it made up for in convenience. It was a perfect place for shelling peas and beans from the garden, dressing chickens from the poultry houses, and enjoying homemade ice cream and salted slices of watermelons plucked from the big deep freeze.

When my mother was still alive, our dogs used to enjoy commuting between the two houses, spending some time lounging on the cool bricks of the front porch on hot summer days.  My parents had a small ceiling fan installed years earlier to make it more comfortable for humans and canines alike.


Rascal (he of the soulful cinnamon brown eyes) still enjoys stretching out on the farmhouse’s brick porch.


I used to stretch out on this very–pillar?–what do you call the porch portions flanking the steps?–as a girl on summer Saturdays.  Armed with a Popeye fruit-flavored frozen treat and a good book, I would let the sun dry my freshly shampooed waist-length tresses.  My lips turned some peculiar shades of orange or purple as I lost myself in an engaging story . . .


Elvis–who ain’t nothing but a hound dog. Well, one-quarter bloodhound and who knows what else! 😉


As I said, it was another beautiful day!

But here’s the thing I am wondering if you’ve ever seen before . . .


Yep, a genuine outhouse. This is located behind the chicken coop, the one where my grandmother once collected eggs ( I have her basket atop my kitchen cabinets). The coop is now the storage shed for the riding lawnmower.

I have no idea how far back this outhouse dates, but judging by the concrete pad for it and the toilet itself, it’s a more upscale 20th century form of privy.  The chicken coop is adjacent to what is known as the cook’s house or little house, so I am guessing it was built in the 2os or 30s when that house was constructed (a bathroom was added to a side porch at some point).


For a short time after their marriage, my parents lived in the little house, which is built shotgun style, each room backing onto another. If you shot a gun through the front door, it would go straight through into the back door (or wall, in this case).  Meanwhile, back to the privy!


The seat bears a plate stating it’s “odorless” and was manufactured in Andalusia, Ala. I didn’t lift the seat to test things out.

And yes, the farmhouse where I grew up had indoor plumbing, although my mom always wished for a second bathroom, what with three girls and periodic guests. 😉

Oh, Mama and her son are ready to move on!



Another country walk with the “lads and lady.’ Can spring be far away?



The genuine Alabama Red Clay Road on which I live. Named after my dear old dad–well, the half that is in our county. The other half is named in honor of a man who passed away the day I was born.  The dogs and I took our walk today, another lovely day with gentler winds.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMama Dawg was in fine form, her usual friendly, sunny-natured self.


And the little guy is still just as adoring of Uncle Rascal as ever.


Another gorgeous blue canopy overhead again.


Mama and son enjoy a bit of a cuddle together.


This is this farmhouse where I grew up. Yes, the bushes are in serious need of a good clipping.

Rascal on the side porch of the farmhouse. Such a handsome boy.

Rascal on the side porch of the farmhouse. Such a handsome boy.


Elvis. No blue suede shoes, but a blue suede-ish collar. And look at the green grass sprouting!


Jonquils picked from the farmhouse yard. Can Spring be too far away?

Blue Skies, Spectacular Sunsets, Sweet Canines. Life is (mostly) good.



Either someone has played a nasty trick on me and hidden a large quantity of Limburger cheese somewhere in the vicinity, or something has turned up its toes in the crawl space under the house.  I’ve a raspberry Renuzit which is supposed to neutralize odors and freshen the air right beside me. I think I need a couple more.  Ah, well.

Nonetheless, it’s been a beautiful day. No rain, the sky the most amazingly vibrant shade of blue with shifting white clouds. The winds were high, as if March had arrived a little early.  And our guests were still here. And with hearty appetites!



After  chowing down heartily (with Elvis being far too stroppy about having to share) Mama Dawg and her little boy decided to accompany me on a walk. The next thing I knew, Elvis had joined us, with Rascal quickly bringing up the rear. I kept a close eye on the smallest member of our group, and when I heard a car coming, raised a warning hand as if to say, “Slow. Puppy Crossing.”

The wind was colder than I realized and I should have worn a jacket, but it felt so bracing. Just to get out of the house! And the dogs seemed to enjoy our ramble together. When the puppy took off into the brambles along the road side, I called to him and he gave me a look over his shoulder.

“Oh, excuse me. You need to do your business,” I murmured with a nod.

We cavorted a bit in the yard upon our return. Mama Dawg likes to play (and how those dark eyes sparkle when she does!) and the other dogs are still being a tad stand-offish. And then everyone seems ready for a nap–at least all the canines do . . . this one had to get his beauty sleep.


I went back and spent some time on the computer, visiting with the cats so they wouldn’t feel neglected. They do worry about me spending too much time with those inferior creatures.

When I later check on those canines, my little friend is ready to romp a bit with his Uncle Rascal. Rascal is even-tempered and handsome and puppies are always drawn to him.  Our bachelor dog is never quite sure what to think of it all.


As night drew near, I put out more food and took note of a marvelous sunset. Time to grab the camera again.



And then I turned around and found this little fellow watching me, as if to say,”Why are you taking pictures of the sky when you could be taking my photograph?”

And so I did.


Guess who showed up on our doorstep?



Over the weekend, this Mama Dawg and her little one appeared in our yard. Poor things were awfully hungry. And awfully sweet.

Where did they come from? Were they lost?Abandoned? They’d obviously been somebody’s pets at some point.


And this little fellow simply stole my heart. I discovered he’d let me hold him in my lap. And he liked it, tucking his noce beneath my arm with a contented little grunt. Mama seems to understand I mean nothing but kindness and trusts me with her little one.

This all happened on a weekend when the weather kept Benny at home and away from the usual food-shopping excursion to Wal-Mart.  We were running out of dog food and suddenly had two new and very eager mouths to feed.

Yesterday, during a break from the rains, I started opening up cans of expired food and raiding the pantry, dishing out everything from tamales and pasta and bean soup to field peas and pretzel sticks. Even the “sawdust” left over from the Frosted Mini-Wheats box went out. They gulped it down as if it was ambrosia.  Puppy ended up with tamale sauce all over his lovely face. I wet a paper towel, scooped him up and gave his face a good washing.

Benny brought home canned and dry dog food so they had proper kibble last night.


I have to call the animal shelter today to see if anyone has enquired there about a lost dog and puppy. I know if my Rascal or Elvis were lost I’d want to know someone was trying to reconnect them with me. I would also like to think someone was trying them with loving kindness.

Because sometimes in life we really do have to depend upon the kindness of strangers.