It was in the 61 degrees today. Unbelievable! The snow is fast disappearing and much of the sunnier woods was bare today. It’s hard to believe we had 6 inches of snow a few days ago and it’s only been the last few days that I haven’t had the heat lamp on in the chicken coop.

Glory be! We headed outside to wander the yard with no coat on and Buddy’s old Frisbee in hand. Oliver loves the Frisbee but today he was just too excited exploring parts of the yard he hasn’t seen before, to play.

Finn came out and joined us.

Nose to nose

A little nose to nose greeting.

Exploring new territory

The old cat netting has mostly come down and need repairing. I’ve removed much of it but left a good expanse just to keep predators out. Oliver appears to be a wanderer, so I will repair it just to deter him from taking off into the woods.

Checking out the cat shelter

Exploring the old straw filled cat shelter.

Where are you going

What? Where are you going?

Can I fit in there too

Any room for me?

Hi FInn

Ha! I found a place where the dog doesn’t go!

Thinks he's a cat

Oliver thinks he’s a cat.

Nest hair ball

I’d completely forgotten I’d hung this out for the birds last spring. How nice to see it was used. And there’s plenty of wool left for this spring.

No I don't want to come in

After a 360 degree tour of the yard, we were back where we started and it was time to go in. Guess who did not want to do that!

As I type this he’s whining, barking, and pulling on my sleeve. He wants to go back out there. So…before the sun heads below the horizon, I think we’ll head outside again.

This blog has been centered around outside activities. It’s amazing how many things there have been to write about that happen outside: chickens, croquet, cats, dogs, spiders, grandchildren, constructing outbuildings, snow, weeds – well, you get the idea. But the one requirement for the blog is that I open the back door and step outside.

Not something that has come easily this VERY cold winter.

After taking a long break from posting on this blog, I began it again a month ago the day I brought Oliver home. I was l all geared up for a new chapter in outside activities. Oliver’s first few days here were balmy with no snow on the ground, and we made a good start on heading outside. Since then we’ve had negative degree temperatures and lots of snow.

But…despite the cold, I have spent a lot of time heading outside with Oliver – just about every half hour during the day, and sometimes once or twice at night in my pajamas and slippers. But not for the great adventures I’d had in mind. House training a puppy is not exactly the greatest subject for blogging and photo taking.

I did try sending Oliver out on his own while I watched from the warmth of the house. But no dice.

Not too keen on the heading outside stuff

“Are you coming out, or what?”

On the trail to the bird feeder

Here he is on the trail to the bird feeder.

After the next storm the trails were so deep I had to follow after him to make sure he was performing.

Though our trips outside have been brief, we have had some beautiful photo ops.

Sunrise on the balsam

I transplanted this beautiful double balsam from the woods behind to this spot in my yard 7 or 8 years ago. It is a beauty!

Oliver’s first snow experience was hilarious. Where was the grass he needed? He raced around the yard trying to find a bit of green.

Where's the grass

“What is this stuff?”

While he dashed about, I madly shoveled a spot for him down to the grass. Over time he transitioned to the snow as the appropriate place. Yesterday we had warm weather and masses of rain. When we headed outside for the usual, all his habitual places were down to grass again, but Oliver’s habits had changed. Now he didn’t like the grass – and wouldn’t put his feet on it. He tromped through the snow that was left, sinking in to his belly, nose down, searching for a familiar aroma.

A few days ago before the rain, we warmed up – not above freezing, but so much warmer than the days before that it felt like spring. So Oliver and I took our first decent walk in weeks – this time with harness, and leash.

Oliver investigates the snowbank copy

There was clearly something of interest in that hole. On the way home he stuck his nose in the hole again.

Oliver leading the way home

Oliver absolutely loves to walk. He trots along at a good pace without pulling on the leash. That is until we turn and head home again. Then his pace picks up and he starts pulling me home. It makes me wonder if he was accustomed to running home before I had him, and that’s why he took off running like a mad doggie for home on that first trek (See: New Day 56 – New Puppy – Old Friend?)

We are back in another deep freeze, and my camera is refusing to behave in the cold. I keep getting the Canon E18 error, which I have had repaired once and am loath to do again. The camera does not like any moisture! Most annoying.

Perhaps I’ll have to start a new blog “Staying Inside”. Plenty of blogging fuel there too!

Christmas 2017 Oliver

Introducing Oliver.

Puppy's first tour

This is my new excuse to head outside for some exercise. Oliver is a four month old Morkie. So far he is a spectacular little dog. As long as I take him outside every half hour or so, he does not do things inappropriately in the house. He sleeps on the bed beside me in his little crate and sleeps through the night – no accidents! He loves to play and to walk which is an answer to my prayers. He fetches endlessly as Buddy used to do. He eats, sleeps, and plays. What else could you want in a dog?

I’ve had him now for four days. He’s been out for short walks down the road with me and follows along perfectly. The harness I bought is too big for him, so I made sure he was close enough to scoop up if a car approached – but no cars so far on our walks.

Today I made him a little coat and took him out on the trail across the road to see if he was up for the hour’s trek.

Here he is on my side of the road, just checking out the dead bracken.

IMG_9136 copy

We.re on the trail now, and he’s sticking very close behind me as we walk along. When I stop, he investigates the surroundings. There’s a lot for a new little puppy to discover.

IMG_9137 copy

I’m wondering what he’ll think about the water.

IMG_9141 copy

It’s frozen over and he stays safely on shore. (But for a moment I was afraid he was going to step out.)

Note to self: We need a harness and a leash.

IMG_9143 copy

We continue along the winding trail, me turning to be sure he’s with me every half minute or so. Every time I check he’s right there, only inches from my feet. I can’t hear him, so I need to keep checking.

But suddenly, when I turn to see if he’s there, he’s gone! I look back along the trail and he’s standing there, maybe 40 feet away, looking at me. I start running back to him, calling his name.

Either he no longer recognizes me, and I frighten him, or he’s fed up with the walk. He turns and runs as fast as he can back along the trail the way we came. I run like a mad woman, but I cannot catch up with him. Soon he’s completely out of sight. I say a few prayers as I’m terrified he’ll just dash across the road and get hurt. We live on a dead end with only three houses, but still – there are cars occasionally.

I’m praying he’s gone home, but I can’t really believe it can be possible. This is the first time we’ve gone left out of the driveway and down the road, and he’s never been on the trail before.

I exit the trail, rush panting up the hill and into the driveway. Then I hear him barking. He’s at the back door and want’s me to let him in. He seems confused when I appear behind him.

IMG_9144 new copy

My conclusion is, he didn’t recognize me when I turned and ran back to get him. so he ran for safety – back to the home he has known for only a few days. How is that possible?


Now Here’s a Question? Do you think Dogs Reincarnate to be with a former person? This little dog reminds me so much of Buddy that I find myself wondering if it is possible that he is the reincarnation of Buddy’s soul.

In my search for a new best friend, I asked Spirit to let me know with some sort of sign, that the dog I found was meant to be my dog. When I went to meet this little puppy, he was living with a family of cat, dogs, child, and parents. I met the mom who was very warm and friendly. At one point while she was chatting about the dog, she said, “I don’t know why, but this is his favorite toy.” Then she reached into the laundry basket, pulled out a sock, rolled it into a ball, and tossed it for the puppy to retrieve. Which he did, bringing it back to my feet.

Now if you are a long time follower of this blog, you may remember that socks were Buddy’s favorite toys. Surely that was my sign that this was my dog.

Since then Oliver has displayed many behaviors that remind me so much of Buddy, that I find it hard not to ponder the reincarnation possibility. Also, my cat Abbey who knew Buddy, has been very affectionate from the first time she saw him – no hissing! Here she is greeting only minutes after his arrival.


Now, I do know that dogs have strong noses, and it’s not impossible that Oliver could have found his way home again. But still – where is home to him, here, or where he’s lived for the past 4 months? And how was he able to race back without putting his nose to ground?

Just wondering!

He’s a sweetheart!

And yes, don’t worry – lesson learned! NOT going out for a walk without a harness and leash again!







Here I am at the kitchen window again. This is the big storm day of March 2017. I’m home and cozy at the moment. The birds however, are not. I’ve been out clearing snow for the ground feeders, but I can’t keep up with the falling snow.

Crow at the suet

I just had a look out the window. Crow is here. Yesterday he was at the feeder – today at the suet that hangs in the lilac tree. The branches are filled with puffed up juncos, woodpeckers, blue jays, and chickadees – waiting for Crow to finish.

Others take their turns

Crow picks up the crumbs while the others line up for turns.

There’s lots of activity at the feeder these days. I do have to get outside to fill the feeder, but viewing the birds is done as I wash dishes at the kitchen window.

A whole extended family of mourning doves showed up for breakfast a few days ago. Then a bluejay or two arrived…


to be shooed off by a visiting squirrel.


Then it was the cardinal’s turn.


All the while at the suet feeder, the woodpeckers dined…


until this fellow arrived for his dinner.


And that was the end of the woodpecker.


With no enemies, this little Cooper’s hawk took his time over his supper, and all that was left was a scattering of feathers.

Look what I saw outside my window this morning.


Not that it’s all that unexpected. But I’m not ready. The garden has not been cleared out, the tomato cages are still outside, leaves abound, and I’m just not in the mood for winter.

This blog cannot be called Heading Outside today. My photos are all taken from indoors. Lazy me. I did manage to find my boots at the back of the closet so I could feed the chickens, but the rest of my morning will be here inside where it’s warm.

Here’s a very wintry view looking past the old well to the pond below.


The poor birds have to endure. I have a good view of the suet feeder from my kitchen window. The feeder has had many visitors this morning.


Before heading to work I will do a little rearranging of my houseplants. These, which are mostly ones I inherited from my daughter when she moved to Seattle, will be moved to the kitchen for the winter, where it’s warm.


I don’t head outside as much as I used to do. I lost my little dog Bo a month or so ago, and I find it sad to walk the trails without my companion. Besides that, I have been spending so much time painting that I can barely tear myself away to get outside.

I am reviving my other wordpress blog which has been dormant for almost four years. Today I made another entry (see bellartwork.com). I find I must get busy with the business of trying to sell art work. I will soon have a website and a link to the blog.

Early spring before I’d started my garden I came across an article about Purslane, a common “weed” which is extremely nutritious, and grows just about everywhere. I was astonished. I’d been pulling it up and tossing it for years. [Edible and Delicious Weed]

Yesterday I headed out to the garden to make a stab at the weeds that were growing abundantly in my vegetable garden.

Vegetable Garden July 3 2016

It’s hard to tell the weeds from the sprouting veggies.

While weeding, what should I come upon but Purslane – in abundance!

Edible Weeds

One little patch of Purslane among many in the garden.

So…I picked and washed the Purslane and then removed the root portion. Quite an easy job.

Washing the weeds

The roots are easily pinched off. I had several meals worth just in that one little patch.

You eat the Purslane raw in salads.

My Supper

I will have the same meal tonight! (Well, not the same meal .)  Remove the egg and you have a perfect vegan supper.

I waited to post this today so you would know that I survived without any ill effects.


Who could resist

What? That’s not a fawn, you say.


Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me when I encountered the fawn yesterday. So instead of posting relevant photos while I tell the tale, I’m posting photos I’ve been taking since my last posting. We all like a photo or two, I know.

Handsome felow

This fellow was around here for weeks. The females seemed unimpressed, but I bet they are busy sitting on eggs right now.

The girls are not frequent visitor just now. At least not many of them. Today one female arrived at the feeder with three males. The males kept shooing her away, so she, smart turkey, leapt up onto the feeder itself and helped herself from there.

clever turkey

Those are teen-aged guys (I think). Except for the striped bird – that’s one of my hens, chowing down with the turkeys.

So…yesterday I rounded the corner of my house and came upon a beautiful fawn at the end of the drive. She was eating the hostas which I have not yet covered. I immediately froze. She seemed not to be worried about me. She looked up, and then went back to ripping leaves off the plant. Okay, I muttered, I guess you’re going to eat my plants because I’m not going to shoo you off.

The Girls

Then Bo, my little, deaf, poodle, wandered past me and into the garage, He was hoping I had not cleared away the old cat food he’d found days earlier in a garbage bag that was destined for the dump. When he realized it was gone, he turned and saw the fawn.

Perrenial beauty

I was standing right on the other side of these flowers when I froze.

The Fawn became quite excited. Her ears perked up, her tail swished back and forth and around in half circles. Slowly she came toward us.

Heirloom Iris

Bo stood watching. Then he looked over at me. I don’t know what he thought since I never stand still like that.

Suddenly the fawn started stamping her feet. Not pawing the ground the way a horse does, but pouncing on her front feet the way a dog does to invite play.

The Wanderer

The Wanderer

Unfortunately, Bo didn’t pick up on the message. He’s old, and deaf, and not much into play.

Iris Beauties

The fawn wouldn’t give up. By now she was up nearly at the garage, and right in front of me, only ten feet away.


She circled the drive, and pranced her feet, then then snorted at Bo. I wanted to go and dance with her. But I didn’t dare move.

Sweet Woodland Rhododendron

This went on for fifteen minutes. My legs were going numb.


The fawn gave up on Bo and went back down the drive and continued snacking on the hosta.

Bridal V

I cut my bridal veil down to the ground a few years ago – it was in such a sorry state. But it’s coming back.

Sadly, Bo wandered back to the cat door and disappeared inside. I stayed and watched the fawn until she too gave up and headed off through the woods.

Spider Hiding

This yellow spider was on the front of a the blossom when I arrived. He slowly crawled around to the back to hide.

Not a very exciting story to tell, but believe me, it was quite amazing to stand there and watch.

The weather was beautiful Sunday. So beautiful that my guilt over painting indoors with my dog snoring beside me, finally forced me put up the brushes and get my shoes on for a walk. As I headed outside with Bo, I made note of  where the cats were. Lately Finn, my granddaughter’s cat whose been living here while she is at college, has taken to following me around the yard. I was afraid he might try to follow us on our longer trek. I was not sure he wouldn’t wander off and get lost, or get stuck up a tree (which he has done several times). I saw he was safely indoors. Good, I thought.

We were half way down the driveway when Finn came bounding along. He’s free to go in and out the cat door as he pleases. I had wrongly assumed he was happy snoozing inside.

So, I decided to see how it went.

Finn is very much like Max, the neighborhood cat, who used to follow me, Buddy, and Bo, frequently on our walks. Max is featured in many of my past blogs. Max moved away, and I’ve missed his company. Of course I didn’t have to worry about Max – he was a roaming cat and not mine. But I was not keen to have to tell my granddaughter that I’d lost her cat.

01 How does he know the way

How does he know the way?

Right away Finn took the lead.

02 Bo and Finn Heading for the water

Bo and Finn just rambling on toward the water.


03 Beaver Dam Across the way

The beaver dam across the road.


05 Someone Else Passed This Way

Stopping for a little scent exploration.


04 Following along

Sometimes Finn leads – sometimes he follows.

06 High Alert - Ducks

On high alert – ducks ahead!


08 Marsh Path

Someone has made a path through the marsh. Hmmm?


09 Finn, come back!

No Finn – come back!


10 Not a good idea

That’s not a great idea either. Remember how you got stuck up the tree all night?



Thank you!

07 Happy Cat

Happy cat!


11 Taking the shortcut home

Taking the short cut back towards home. We went far enough for a first foray.


12 Back out on the road

Back on the road.


13 Stopped to roll in the dirt

Finn stops for a roll in the sand.


14 Heading Home

Heading back home. Finn knows the way. Why do I think he’s roamed farther than the yard before?


15 Back safe and sound

Home sweet home, safe and sound.


We’ll have to do that again!

(No apologies for all the cat pictures.)

Signing off.


%d bloggers like this: