Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


Sometimes you just need a man

In many households, mine included, barbecuing is the man’s job. But with the Captain away, what’s a girl to do? Although I’d had little practice with the barbecue, I thought I would grill some burgers for myself. I knew that if I made them too thin they might fall between the grate, so into the hamburger, I mixed some chopped onion, some finely cubed bits of bread, and an egg. I made nice fat patties, four of them, so I could reheat a couple tomorrow, and I put them on the grill with a bit of barbecue sauce on top.


After a while I tried to turn them. That was a bit messy. The first one broke up. You can see that a lot of the burger components fell through the grate. I would have to bring the patties in and fry them in the pan after all. I brought the first broken one in and set it in the pan.


Kind of a mess but at least I could finish cooking it. I decided that I might as well bring in the other three burgers and give up on the barbecue idea.

But when I tried to take the burgers off the grill, they broke up badly. I gathered up the barbecue sauce and the brush and the plate of burger meat – oh, and the portable phone I had out on the deck in case the Captain called. With all these things in my arms I tried to maneuver the sliding screen door open.


A lot more of the burger meat fell on the floor than what you see here, but I slapped as much as I could back onto the plate.


This gave new meaning to the term, “a dog’s breakfast.”


My vest, full of barbecue sauce went straight into the washing machine, and while I was downstairs I let the dogs into the house. Darned if I was going to clean up that mess by myself. I let them help – and they did an excellent job. They left the onion pieces for the last, but they ended up eating those too. Very thorough, they were!



Comic Relief

Comic relief, as I understand it, is when you crack a joke or laugh at something to take the intensity out of a serious or frightening situation. So maybe it doesn’t quite fit because I didn’t laugh until much later when I had stopped shaking. You may remember that we had a bear in the woods next door about a month ago. My knee still hurts from the sprawling tumble I took in a dash to get my camera. But I did get a shot of the bear that time as it slowly moved on through the neighbouring properties.

The Captain saw him again a day or two later, but since then, although there have been reported sightings by other neighbours, the bear hasn’t been back to ponder how a spaniel would taste for lunch. Until today! I was hanging up laundry wondering what 2-yr.-old Emma was doing in the backyard. (She gets into more mischief than 9-yr.-old Ruby.)

I heard her running around behind the workshop. Lots of squirrel and raccoon smells there. But then I heard twigs cracking in the bushes coming right from the area where the bear was last month. My imagination went into overdrive, but I rationalized, “It’s probably just the neighbours clearing some brush off their path. I’ll take look and say hello if that’s what the noise was.”

No neighbours in sight. Just the black shape you see in the center of the photo below. My heart was trying to leap out of my throat. What to do? Run for the camera and try to break the other knee? What if the bear leaves before I get back? What if it doesn’t!? Priorities!! Get the dogs into the house. I called for the dogs and tried not to sound scared in case the bear thought, “Aha! I’ve got her on the run. Good time to give chase.”  Luckily Emma came when she was called (this time), and Ruby was already waiting by the door.

I rushed into the house and got the camera. Now what? Do I just saunter up to the fence and say, “Smile! … Say Cheese?” At least it wasn’t rushing me. But it wasn’t running away either. I used the zoom. “Hmm…. The head seems to be up too high…. Oh …. Whew! It’s a deer! But it’s so dark!”  I tried to get a different angle but without going right up to the fence, I couldn’t get a clear look. “It sure is getting brazen. Doesn’t care that I’m here at all and it’s looking right at me.”


I zoomed right in with the camera and got this picture of it. Then, feeling braver, I inched my way over to the fence and saw the stumps of two pin cherry trees.  I felt stupid, but very relieved as I went back into the house chuckling nervously. It took a while for my hands to stop shaking.



The Bear Again


The Captain just left to take his mother home after dinner, and I took the dogs outside for a pee.


As he stopped at the top of the driveway to open the gate, he yelled, “ANNELEEEE!”












The report, when the Captain returned, was that the bear is just a little way into the woods, near some garbage that likely came out of the tipped over cans at a nearby house.


So this is how my next weeks are going to be, looking over my shoulders, terrified to go out with the dogs for their last pee or their early morning business.


The dogs are all jittery. Leaping up and barking at any sound. They’re scared of the bear. You could tell from the pitch of their barks the other day that they were scared of it.


I am too!



Guard Dogs

The sun is out this morning. I was helping load things in the truck when the backyard supervisors sprang to life, barking and running around in circles, looking for the Captain or me.

“Probably a raccoon,” the Captain said, but we headed in the direction of the fuss anyway.

“I should get the camera … but … nahhhh … I’ve got enough raccoon pictures.”

The supervisors barked more bravely now and stuck their noses through the fence towards the intruder.

I followed their line of sight and yelled to the Captain, “It’s a bear!”

Then I ran for my camera. I think the Captain probably thought I was running away from the bruin but I didn’t have time to worry about that. I had to get that camera, and fast. I know these visiting bears don’t hang around long once they’ve been discovered. But first, I had to do add some inadvertent drama to the show. My shoe caught a vine as I ran for the house. It was a vicious tangler and didn’t let go when I shook my foot as I kept running. That ended in a face plant. Thankfully that part of the yard, somewhere in behind that big tree in the top photo, has soft mossy ground, but it still hurt and I couldn’t get up right away. My knee and my neck felt broken, but it turned out to be nothing but old age.

Somewhere in the back of my mind images formed of bears chasing those who run (even if it’s to get the camera).

By the time I got back with the camera, the bear was already thinking it was time to leave. The supervisors, tasty morsels though they might have been, had been sent into the house, so why hang around?


One last-ditch, hurried effort to try for a picture only caught a dark blurry shape(front and center) with two small round ears perched on the top.


The supervisors are continuing their naps in the house for the morning. They always stir up too much trouble when we let them out.


They’re Coming out of the Woodwork

The day after the bandidos visited and were treed by our dogs, I thought calm was restored in the neighbourhood, but it was not to be. Emma, the self-appointed yard supervisor, gave a few barks and stopped. I looked out the window and saw nothing. No one that needed barking at was passing by the house. I went back to my work. She barked again. I looked again. She doesn’t bark just for the fun of barking. She knows that’s not allowed. After the fourth time, I went outside to see what was up.

She caught my attention and then ran to the side of the yard and sat by the fence, looking up, as if she had something to show me. (Reminded me of Lassie trying to tell her owners that Timmy fell down the well.)

Ruby, her assistant supervisor, also sat by the fence and looked up. I couldn’t see anything, and they turned to me with a desperate pleading look before pointing their noses back up into the forest above us. So I did a CSI thing. I followed the path of their line of sight and it led me straight to a huge fir tree in the neighbours’ yard. At first I saw nothing, but then a furry creature moved.


They’re ba-a-ack! But only one this time.


This was not one of the two who were up a tree the day before. If you go back to compare this one to the raccoons on the “Bandidos” post, you’ll see that one of the original bandidos had a tattered right ear and a gash on the left side of his lip.His buddy had a milky right eye.  The lone raccoon pictured here has none of those identifying marks. He has a piece missing out of his left ear, and a gash on the right side of his lip. So there are at least three of the critters in the area just now.


It seems that they’re coming out of the woodwork. I’m glad we don’t have chickens.


A New Path

The sheltered area on the right side of the picture is under the back deck, an ideal place for the dog mats and their food dishes. From there to the backyard it used to be all grass, until Emma came to live with us. She made her own roads all over the yard, wore the grass down and carved her own path into the dirt by the back door.

That dirt was tracked into the house faster than I could vacuum it up. Something had to be done.


We shoveled out a path that was a bit wider than Emma’s own homemade runway, and it was my job to lay bricks on either side of it. “I put two bricks at the side,” the Captain said. “Did you move that one to the middle of the path?”

“Nope. Ask Emma.” She’ll steal anything – caps, gloves, underwear, and now bricks.


The dogs kept getting underfoot so I gave them a short timeout while I took their picture.


The Captain had cut a stick 40 inches long for me to use as a measure so the path would be the same width all along. He painted the ends black so I’d know this was the special measuring stick.

“Where did you put the stick?” I asked.

“Over by the wheelbarrow.”


We had to go looking for the stick. Lying in the grass some distance away was the measuring stick with most of the black missing on one end, and now measuring only 36 inches.


Underfoot again, Ruby is trying to be a black and white spaniel instead of liver and white. Check out the feet that will want to curl up on the living room rug later on.


And this little hellion (below) is dirtier than her black coat allows us to see, but if you click on the photo you’ll see the dirt magnified. Look on her feet, her nose, the ends of her ears, and the flag on her tail. She’s SO dirty. But that’s what happens when you run under the shovelful of flying dirt that is heaved out of the path to make room for the crushed rock.


To help keep the weeds down, we put down some landscape matting that is supposed to let water through but keep weeds down.

The Captain will finish filling up the path with crushed rock, but then comes the dilemma. Do we let the dogs inspect the new path  while we go into the house? Emma is a thief, a chewer, and a notorious hole digger. Do we dare leave her out here? I have a picture in my mind that I can’t shake off. It’s an image of Emma having dug a  deep hole in the middle of the crushed rock path, grabbing a hold of the landscaping mat and running around the backyard with her prize trailing behind her like a bridal train.

Life was easier when we had cats.



Where’s My Bed?

Since she was a puppy, Emma has always been attached to her bed.


She’s all grown up now, but still loves her bed. The other day I took the “pillowcases” off the doggie beds to wash them. I put the insides of the bed on a lawn chair and the wheelbarrow to air out while the cases got washed and dried. It appears that Emma has reclaimed her bed even in the wheelbarrow.








Thankfully, the doggie beds are all back to normal, smelling one shade sweeter, and Emma has been able to come down from the wheelbarrow.