Midnight Marten

Our pre-bedtime walk started with a brief and distant coyote chorus.  After it faded off and we continued walking I noticed two yellow eyes glaring at me from fifteen feet or so in a tree.  As we approached it moved higher and thinking it was a small cat, I didn’t want to frighten it farther up than it could climb back down.  To my surprise it spun around and came down as fast and easily as it had gone up.  Clearly this was no cat.  I put 200 lumens on it.  Beautiful face, large round ears and when it scrambled down the trunk and bounded away it’s weasel body and mustelid gate were obvious.

I compared images and size of fishers and martens.  (There’s no such thing as fisher CAT.  Fishers are mustelids not felines.)  Fishers are 8-13 pounds, twice the size of what I saw.  But images of martens fit perfectly.pine martenThey look super cute and cuddly but in reality are as fierce as all weasels.  Get too close and they become less cute.  Here’s how a marten, who snuck onto the field, looks as he (or she) bites a Swiss soccer player.benito2As for “our” marten and Mak?  Mak didn’t even notice, he was too busy sniffing the ground.  Yeah, some hunter!

Drying a Cell Phone

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We’ve all heard stories about packing wet phones in rice etc..  But long time readers know I’ve pioneered my own techniques in sprucing up digital cameras which sometimes requires a drying process.  So when the cell phone landed in the dog’s water dish (how’d that happen :0 ?) I thought back to that learning experience and applied it to the phone.  Unlike using rice, using heat is much quicker and is sure to dry all the nooks and crannies so essential to proper functioning.  Here’s the phone inside a toaster oven.IMG_3040 IMG_3041Careful not to burn yourself when removing!IMG_3042It still unsatisfied with the results, the application of direct heat is the “heavy gun” of wet electronics recovery.IMG_3051Voila!  Not a drop of moisture left and ready for more hot calls!IMG_3054

Happy Moment in Ridiculous Clothes

With moving boxes piled everywhere, and me dressed in full Nordic regalia (purposely for effect), I take a moment to brush Krikit who squints with pleasure.  On the floor near the cucumbers box rests a pile of his fur.DSCN0001Standing as tall as his mere 18 pounds will allow, Krikit sticks his tongue out for the camera.DSCN0005I miss you, Krikit!!  Rest in peace.

Late Summer Evening Chill

We’re both sweaty from Mak dragging me for an hour “hike.”IMG_2862Writing on the Alphasmart while Mak recovers.  Here’s tired, my knees are beat up.  I’m 51, I’d guess him at 7.  We’re about the same age: late summer.IMG_2818cropAs dinner cooks and the sun drops, a chill prompts me to put a jacket on my boy and give him my coat as a bed.IMG_2830After dinner, the sun gone, I’m wearing the coat and Mak is snuggled in the truck.IMG_2864

It’s no secret old people get chilled easily…

Rain Storm

By noon the birches were tossing wildly and great curtains of rain, drifting in from the sea, beat against the windows of the house and passed on across the hay field behind it…

Although it will be some weeks yet before we drink our afternoon tea in front of the fire by lamplight, the days begin to draw in, and with the storm it was dark by five.  The house felt warm and comfortable…IMG_0714crop

When we went to bed the wind was still howling and the rain driving by in sheets…rural_road__light__rain_

- from A Countryman’s Journal, Views of Life and Nature from a Maine Coastal Farm, by Roy Barrette


The Way to Lead


General “Mad Anthony” Wayne

Some generals speechify then retreat to a hilltop to drain a pot of coffee.  “Mad Anthony” personally led the troops.  “When in danger, he is in his element,” Eaton wrote, “and never shows to so good advantage as when leading a charge.”  As to his character, Eaton described him as “industrious, indefatigable, determined… not over accessible but studious to reward merit.”


Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers

William Eaton on General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, from The Pirate Coast, by Richard Zacks.

It’s Coming: Beauty of Winter

I’m not a huge fan of winter, especially cleaning up snow, but living in this climate it’s inevitable.  Looking at its most positive aspects sometimes softens its negatives… or at least we can try to tell ourselves that.Maine blizzard 2013 1One of the blessings of a New England winter is that it turns one inward.  There is nothing like three feet of snow in your dooryard, and six inches of rutted ice on the roads to make your fireside seem the most desirable place in the world…The world I live in is incredibly lovely and peaceful.  Even when the wind gusts the dry snow in great clouds around the corner of the barn, there is peace at the heart of it.  There is no endless conflict here.  One knows that when the storm has blown itself out, as it will in a day or so, the fields and woods will stretch as beautiful as ever, white and unsullied.

- both above quotes from A Countryman’s Journal, Views of Life and Nature from a Maine Coastal Farm, by Roy Barrette  (He was in his eighties when he wrote the above.)
blizzard 2011 002

Mak’s Done but I’m Still Swimming…

This photo was taken Sept. 15th, 2014 after night temps dipped into the upper thirties.  Readers know I often swim into October, though this year’s cool temps may change that.  I’m no longer taking Mak because I don’t think he enjoys the cooler water.SAM_1084This photo, taken Sept. 7th, is likely his last swim for the year.  I was pleased to see how much he’s come to trust me in the water.  Dogs have a tendency to keep paddling in the water even when you hold them.  It’s just instinct.  But having held Mak at the pond’s far end all summer, to let him catch his breath, he now just wraps his forearms over mine and calmly sniffs the air.  I’m not holding his bum.  It’s supported by the life jacket and he’s totally motionless.  Notice how flat the water is!SAM_1046

Sore Back

Unlike Jonesy and especially Ty, Makuah is not a big eater of filth and dead things.  So I was lucky he found this by “pointing it out” to me using his nose rather than alerting me by crunching it in his teeth, as Ty would have.IMG_1598Obviously these are vertebrae of some large mammal the spines of which were gnawed by small scavengers, presumably once the large animal (likely a deer) was dead.  The vertebral spines are full of little teeth marks.  If only the remains could talk.  Was the deer brought down by hunters, coyotes, age or disease?  I brought it home, let the sun bleach the remains, and now it sits atop my fridge next to the little ceramic spotted hyenas.