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...]

Send a care package to “Any Soldier” this holiday season

The holidays can be difficult for anyone separated from their family, but especially for our service men and women. And even more so for those who don't have family or friends to write letters and send care packages.Yes, there are service men and women who don't get a letter from home. Ever.So with Veterans Day tomorrow and Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to share a way you can reach out to our service men and women: website AnySoldier.com. It's a … [Read more...]

The circle of life in a cemetery

Walking the dogs this morning, I was musing over the life and death of a cemetery.I walk in several cemeteries, from historic Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY, with its hills and dales, forests and lawns, prominent residents, and myriad headstones and monuments, to a small rural cemetery in Pittsford, NY, much smaller but no less interesting.But the cemetery where I walk most often is White Haven Memorial Park. It's close to my house, and because it's a lawn park layout - open spaces … [Read more...]

Musician records video in wolf sanctuary and the wolves join in the song

The great thing about the internet is that sometimes something fascinating shows up in your Facebook newsfeed, something that happened a couple of years ago and you're glad your hearing about it, even if you're late to the party.According to the info on the youtube site for videographers Hutch and Futch, while in Colorado on tour in 2013, Shawn James and the Shapeshifters had the chance to record some video in the W.O.L.F. Sanctuary in Laporte, Colorado. While performing a cover of A. A. … [Read more...]

“The Hand On The Mirror”: Can our loved ones speak to us from beyond the grave?

I was having a chat with my mom recently about making a will and telling us any plans for what she wants us to do with her ... after she ... you know ... moves on to the next adventure."Do you want to be buried in Massachusetts?" I asked, because that's where she's from and I wondered if she'd like to be back with her family."I don't care," was her reply."Do you even want to be buried?" I asked. "Would you rather be cremated?""I don't care what you do with me.""OK," I said … [Read more...]

Gates Police and Fire rescue duckling from storm grate (video)

 In an age where police are wearing body cameras, often as a way to have a record in potentially volitional situations, it's nice to take a moment to view some of that video and get the warm fuzzies.Duckling fuzzies, to be exact.Here's officer body cam footage from the Gates Police Department, a suburb of Rochester, NY.  Officer Shawn Omara and some members of the Gates Fire Dept. came to the rescue of a baby duckling who had fallen through a storm grate. In the video, you can … [Read more...]

Kids, BB guns, and shooting birds for sport

I was visiting with friends recently when one of the kids - we'll call him Joey - came from behind the house to ask a question."Dad, can I shoot a woodcock?" The youngster, about 10 years old, had a BB gun and had apparently spent the morning shooting birds.His dad told him there's an actual season for shooting woodcocks, so no, he couldn't kill one. So Joey went back to shooting robins and grackles and sparrows. When I asked Joey how many birds he'd shot that day, he said eight. When I … [Read more...]


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