The Suet Block is Always Tastier on the Other Side

“So glad I got here first. That pushy Steller’s jay would be hogging both suet blocks if he could.”


“Darn it all. That flicker got the best suet block. If I’d only been a few seconds faster, it would have been all mine, for me, myself, and I.

I’ll have to take the left over one. I’m sure it’s not as good as the one  Mr. Polka-dot is nibbling at. If he were a tad smaller, I’d scare him off, like I do the little runts that come here looking for a free handout.”

“Good, he’s gone. I’ll give that other suet block a try. Hope it doesn’t stick to my beak like that other block does.”

“Let’s see…. One big leap and a quick turn in the air and I’ll be up there. Can’t wait to get my beak into that treat.”

“Now for a taste of the good stuff.

Blech! Yech. Blech. He sure didn’t let on it tasted that bad. Yuck! Where can I spit?”

“Oh well … I’ll do without. The missus says I’m getting a bit of a belly anyway.”

***Please don’t forget to check on my other blog. Right now I have an interesting guest author with a beautiful children’s book for you, just in time for Christmas. Why not click to follow  

It was a sunny day

Think RED. Now imagine this full moon as red as the ring around it. That’s how it really looked. The smoke in the air gave the moon the colour of blood. I’m sorry my camera doesn’t show how red it was.

I thought it was interesting that the end of a tree branch is silhouetted against the moon’s face.


The moon.

The next day, as Paul Simon said …

It was a sunny day,

Not a cloud was in the sky.

Not a negative word was heard,

From the people passing by.

Not clouds made of water anyway. It would have been a bluebird sky if it wasn’t for the smoke. The sun was so red last evening that I thought I was looking at the red planet in a science fiction movie. It was eeeeeeeerie! Again, the photo doesn’t show the true colour I saw. Like the moon the night before, the sun was blood red. Today it’s more of the same. Smoke fills the skies.

We have natural disasters all over the world. Wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. These are all extremely hard to deal with. What I don’t understand is why we need to add man-made disasters (terrorism, political power struggles, crime, and war) to the mix.


The sun.

I just had a note from WordPress letting me know this was my 500th post. My first reaction was, “Wow! Isn’t that great?” but then I thought, “Uh-oh! Am I talking too much?” 😉

We Must be Crazy

The weather has been crazy here for two months. Rain and wind, wind and rain, repeating ad nauseam. Ruby, our springer spaniel is a brave dog, unless it’s windy. Objects without wings flying around, lawn chairs sliding across the deck, branches dropping out of the sky –  these things freak her out.

She won’t move farther than two feet from me. I have to do my hair curling leaning over her as she plunks herself down on the mat in front of my feet and won’t budge. I move over a few feet and so does she. It drives me crazy.

Emma is still too naive to be afraid, so when they are outside doing their business, Emma comes back when I call her. Ruby could be anywhere, cowering, or standing stiff-legged and catatonic until she is dragged back into the house where she drives me crazy with her anxious panting.

The other day it was blowing hard and the rain was coming down in buckets.003a














The roar of the wind and crashing waves on the beach added to the whooshing of the wind through the tall firs by our house. 


In the morning, I had put the dogs out while I had a shower. I looked out the bathroom window just before stepping into the shower, and the dogs were by the kennel. The door had blown shut on it so they couldn’t get in. They have mats by the back door in the covered area outside the laundry room, but Ruby hides in her doghouse in the kennel if it’s cold or windy.

After my shower I called the dogs. Emma came in, but Ruby didn’t. I had to go out in my bathrobe and a towel on my head to find her. She was huddled against the kennel. I called for her to come. Halfway over to me, she stopped and wouldn’t come any farther. It wasn’t the turban on my head that freaked her out. She goes neurotic when it’s windy. That’s why I brought the leash out with me. I hooked her on and pulled her into the house.
I have to add a note here to explain that the Captain slipped on the boat deck a couple of weeks ago and broke his leg, so he has a big bolt through the bone and is not to put any weight on the bad leg.
When I came in, the Captain was on the phone, so I went upstairs to deal with my hair. When I turned off the blow dryer, I heard him yelling my name. It sounded like he was outside in the weather in the backyard. Something must be wrong. I ran downstairs.
He limped in from outside on his crutches, and said, “I didn’t know where you were. I knew you went to get Ruby and then you were gone.” Guess he thought I might have blown away – it was pretty wild out there.  (It hadn’t registered with him that I came back in, made a comment about Ruby and having to use the leash, and then went upstairs.)
Apparently he called me before going out. But I had the hair dryer on and didn’t hear him, and he didn’t hear the sound of the blow dryer. Probably thought it was the wind.
Imagine if anyone had seen us – first me in my bathrobe and a turban on my head dragging a dog across the yard. Moments later, a guy on one leg hobbling around in the storm screaming his wife’s name. What a bunch of nuts!

Wild and Wonderful





Wild and wonderful and free

Is how the ocean looks to me.

Foam that flies across the road,

Wind and waves that toss their load

Of logs and seaweed on the land,

Leave them lying on the sand.


Imagine standing in those rollers,

Feel the power bowl you over.

No, no, no. I’m not that crazy.

Where’s my camera? I’ll be lazy.

It’s too chilly for such folly,

Best go home and deck with holly.



Things that Go Bump in the Night

I have to laugh because I was going to start this blog with the clichéd beginning that every author has been warned away from:

It was a dark and stormy night….

But it really was! And I was home alone. Well, almost. My spaniels, Ruby and Emma, kept me company by the fire as I watched, for lack of anything better on the TV, “Forensic Files,” all about real murders and how the investigators found the killer in spite of overwhelming odds, by using expert forensic techniques.

Everything was peaceful, except for what was on television, which I had turned to a low volume. Then a sudden thump that sounded like someone throwing a heavy boot on the window, nearly had the dogs and me jumping out of our skin.

The dogs reacted as expected, which was to leap up and run toward the source of the noise, barking as if their lives depended on sounding as loud and fierce as possible. If I’d been a potential intruder on the outside of the house I would have been over the hills and far away as quickly as I could say, “Hounds of Baskerville.”

I raced from room to room turning on lights. On the back deck, I waved my hand in front of the motion sensor that lights up the driveway. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I got the big flashlight out, saw the bear spray in the drawer, and told myself, “I can always get it later, if there’s a threat outside.”

I turned on the front deck lights. Nothing there.

Thinking it might be Halloween pranksters a few days late, I shone the light down towards the front door to see if anyone was hiding there.


A big bird was crouched on the cement landing in front of the door. He looked just like the one I had photographed in Montana a couple of weeks ago. This is what he looked like as he flew up and into the nearby trees.


Later, I wondered what this owl was doing here, so close to the house. I hear the owls often in the fir trees nearby but they never crash into our windows like so many songbirds do. My conclusion:

He saw the plaster cockatoo that I had brought from Mexico, hanging in the window. With the weeping fig nearby, he wouldn’t realize that the cockatoo was inside the house and that there was a window pane between himself and the bird. He was probably making a swoop down to grab him when he hit the window. He flew away easily enough after sitting, stunned, on the front landing for a while. I really hope he didn’t hurt himself too badly.


I’ve taken the cockatoo down. Don’t want a repeat of last night. Also, after my nerves took such a beating, I’ve decided it’s not a good idea to watch scary shows when I’m home alone.

Sailors’ Delight


The saying goes something like this:

Red sky at night,

Sailors’ delight.

Red sky at morning,

Sailors take warning.????????????????????




I’m happy to say this was the red sky at night, therefor, sailors’ delight.

Somehow, someone had figured out the weather patterns by the look of the sky. The old salts would have been very aware of the changes in the sky, just as the new salts are aware, although the latter have the help of modern meteorology and constant weather updates on their VHF radios.

Still, they hang onto the old beliefs. Some sayings, such as the one about the “red sky ” are wise and based on common sense, while others make about as much sense as an old wives’ tale.

Here are some other bad luck superstitions that fishermen still pay attention to (even if they don’t outright believe in them):

!. Never start a trip on a Friday.

2. Never open a tin can upside down on the boat.

3. Never whistle on a boat. You’ll whistle up the wind.

4. It’s bad luck to change the name of a boat.

5. Being followed by a shark brings a boat bad luck (I can believe that one, especially if I were planning on dangling my hand over the side!)

But a sailor at sea,

(though it’s not for me),

is something that many

would love to be


A blog that mentions sailing and superstitions of sailors can be found at Victor Tribunsky’s fabulous travel blog. Just click on his name. You’ll be amazed at the many places Victor has been and has told about. His photos are excellent.

Do you have any superstitions that nag you? Maybe you don’t really believe them but you still don’t tempt fate by going against them?

Tree Survival

In the harsh winter conditions of eastern Montana, it must be hard for any living thing to survive out in nature. The trees in this region are so beautiful, especially in the fall when the leaves change colour, and so I paid particular attention to them on my walks through the fields with my camera.

One type of tree that is prevalent here is a huge poplar type whose name I’m not sure of. It might be a cottonwood type. Perhaps there are readers out there who can tell me what the proper name of these trees is.

I stood under this tree and listened to the wind rustling its leaves. It was such a beautiful sound that I did a very short video of it just to record the wind in its leaves. Unfortunately I can’t load the video here, but I can show you the tree and you can imagine the sound.


Nearby, another of its type  showed signs of a history of major trauma. Was it wind, or snow, or bitter cold, or a combination of these conditions that broke the tree so badly? But look at its survival instinct! A new shoot is growing from the old broken trunk.

DSCN2517Yet another damaged tree is clinging to life in a few small branches. The broken branches on the ground tell of the terrible winds and possibly blizzards that worked the tree over.


The same is true of the tree below. It clings to life desperately but appears to be losing the battle.


There must be strength in numbers. Here they are like a little city of trees in a park along the Missouri River.



There is something noble and grand about a tree. These survivors beautifying the river’s edge are a treat to see.