A rare full moon on the summer solstice

I felt it yesterday like a heavy, wet, angry blanket descending on my entire being: a full moon is imminent. I knew it without looking at the calendar or even seeing the moon the night before to know where in the moon phases it was.Over the last few years, I've noticed my body being more and more in tune with the moon. Maybe it's happening more, or maybe I'm just noticing it more. A lot of people says it's all in my head, that I'm cuckoo, that I see the calendar and then look for things to … [Read more...]

Animals, humans, and Yellowstone National Park

In the wake of the story about a three-year-old who breached the barrier at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend, resulting in the euthanization of a 17-year-old west lowland gorilla named Harambe, a video surfaced this week of a woman at Yellowstone National Park being butted by an elk after she tried to take a photo and got too close for comfort.It's one of several recent stories highlighting the problem of adult humans - grown ups who should know better - interfering with the wildlife. … [Read more...]

A gorilla, a boy, and life in the balance

By now you've probably heard the story about Harambe, the 17 year old west lowland gorilla who was shot by zoo keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo after a small child fell into the gorilla enclosure. I caught bits and pieces of the story over the holiday weekend, but it wasn't until this morning that I was able to devote some attention to the matter.I finally saw the video.Originally, I didn't want to touch this story with a 10 foot pole, mostly because I didn't think that I could add … [Read more...]

My birthday, Memorial Day, and Mars approaching

Today is my birthday - yay! - and it's also Memorial Day, the one day a year we collectively honor and mourn the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. In fact, in nearby Waterloo, NY, it's the 150th anniversary of the first public Memorial Day celebration.Growing up, my mother always joked that the town threw a parade for my birthday, but we always knew what the day was about. She never passed by a veteran selling paper poppies without making a donation - spare … [Read more...]

A belief in a God bigger than any book or religion

Josh Grisetti has a lot to say about God in his new book, "God In My Head." Or, to be more clear, what God said to him.The two met while Grisetti was at the dentist and doped up on nitrous oxide and a dangerous combination of drugs he had lying around the house and took before the appointment in an attempt to ward off pain. The trip, or hallucination as he sometimes refers to it, spanned two hundred years and during it God answered Grisetti's spiritual questions and showed him the mysteries … [Read more...]

Update on Lucy, the chicken with vertigo

Last week, I told you about my chicken Lucy, who was diagnosed by a vet with vestibular disturbance.In other words, Lucy had vertigo.I didn't want to share the photo of her in the corner last Friday, because it upset me to see Lucy in such distress. But now that she's on the mend you can see how sick she was. She'd tuck her head between her legs, and then shake her head vigorously on the ground, probably to try and make sense of her reeling world. Once we separated her from the flock, … [Read more...]

To kill or not to kill spiders

Out in the yard this morning, I was watering plants and feeding the birds when I noticed a nest of spider eggs in my blackberry patch.My first thought was to get the diatomaceous earth so I could get rid of the nest. It's right by where I walk, right where the dogs cut through the bushes to come into the house. The likelihood was very high that someone, probably Bailey or Bandit, would brush up against the nest and dozens of spiders would get a free ride into the house on dog … [Read more...]

Taking my chicken to the vet, and other dizzying thoughts

The receptionist gave me the total for the office visit: $66.47. More than I'd expected but I was glad for the diagnosis of vestibular disturbance. For a while, it looked like death was imminent, so I was grateful that this was something we could treat with medication and rest.Did I mention that I'm talking about my chicken?I went out to the chicken run yesterday morning and noticed that one of my Polish hens, Lucy, was acting weirdly, bending her head down between her legs, and shaking … [Read more...]

Groundhogs, coffin parts, and other cemetery surprises

I was out recently with my Border collie Bandit when he came upon a groundhog hole. That's not unusual; the cemetery where I often walk is a certified habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, and is crawling with squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, deer, birds, and foxes. It's not the first time I've had a close encounter with critters while meandering among the dead.What was unusual this time? Around the entrance to the hole were items the groundhog had hauled to the surface while … [Read more...]

My dog eats a live bird (musings on animals doing what animals do)

My dog Bailey was just outside, just hanging out in the grass, enjoying the evening air. She'd been outside maybe ten minutes when I went out to bring her in and saw that she had something pinned to the ground...it was a bird. I called to her, she moved towards me, and the bird jumped away. Bailey went after the bird, pinned it, and let it go. It hopped, she pinned it again. When it flew up about a foot, Bailey leaped up and caught it midair.And the race was on. I told her to drop the bird, … [Read more...]