So what Christmas tree isn’t perfect? Today we
set out to see if the Whatcom Falls interurban trail version for 2013 comes
close. While minimal best describes
our mysterious Yule elf’s effort this year, the effect is heartwarming.
this year Casey didn’t lift his leg to mark the occasion. He was more interested in the onlookers, a couple of them even resembling distant cousins.
A snowy winter wake up came as
advertised by the Weather Service and totally surprised Casey when he
ventured out for the first time today. Joyful barks, followed by romps and roll
overs in the white stuff before I could even pour my first cup of coffee meant
we’d have to get going on a walk around the ridge.
So, you think he looks anxious? We really had to get a move on because this Border
collie winter wonderland should be gone by tomorrow with rain moving in and
sticking around until after Christmas.
And while we’re at it, guess who turned six
years old this weekend? An awful lot of folks wrote Casey off way back when he
was the runt of the litter in 2007, after he had been ignored, picked on, and
beaten up. All because he was the timid, soft-touch, beta reject of a litter of
seven. Well look who’s got the last laugh now - and here’s that smile that
stole our heart. Happy birthday, kid.
This video clip of the “Border collie walk” was
posted on Facebook today and is so
very typical of the breed. And in almost every case, Casey’s crouch DNA kicks
in as advertised, particularly if an approaching stranger is accompanied by a
canine companion. Believe it or not, the kid can seem intimidating. While in
reality he’s just being careful, until and unless the play mode is more
the looks of nearby trails, we didn’t come close to a forecasted afternoon thaw,
and it’s going to be another “dog valley” night. You’ve heard of a three-dog
night? Well, our version consists of Casey sneaking up on top of our bed in the
wee hours, creating a comfort valley when indoor temperatures happen to slide
below optimum crate pad conditions.
In the mean time he’s on his own, glittery ice
or not, until he’s had enough of our first seasonal freeze. Today he’s just
eating it up.
It’s easy to get a case of the fall doldrums
this time of the year. Just look around. More overcast skies in the shadiest town in the US, with the last waves of rakeables hanging precariously from
every branch in the neighborhood. And with the increased, almost argumentative
tempo of their chattering, the hummingbirds are obviously peeved with the daily
losses of their cherry tree concealments in the front yard.
But Casey’s a natural for keeping everything in
perspective. Check out that smile.
After raking the front and back yard clear of
leaves yesterday why would anyone be surprised to see the first memorable storm
of the season come plowing through the county? I think it’s some sort of a
This morning’s wake up consisted of a noisy reminder
that Pacific Northwest storm watches come with the territory. And Casey and
Stella, transfixed by a backyard cacophony of pelted windows, wind-whipped
poplars, maples and evergreens, chattering hummingbirds riding fifty-knot gusts,
appeared grateful to be on this side of these elements.
Our daily veil of fog took its own sweet time dissipating
from the neighborhood this morning, but when the wraps finally came off, our
quaint little autumn panorama, crystal blue skies and all, was more than post-worthy.
But it was obvious though that Stella couldn’t have
As the fog was struggling to dissipate this
morning we spotted this glistening artistry draped near the front porch
juniper. We always admire the production values that go into these projects,
skills perfected and expanded since spring. But last night our favorite flower
bed arthropod really outdid herself with this silk masterpiece.
There's that look, that gaze that bores right
through anyone, connecting not only with humanity, but friendship, commitment,
and nature, the whole package. And prompt follow-through is usually the
receptor’s next move. It’s a border collie art form.
When it comes to making oneself at home, Casey
does just that. In fact he’s a regular nester. Whether it’s turning in
for the night with favorite kennel snuggables, or like this morning, settling
into a “Where’s Waldo” pose with other collectables - a rawhide bone, stuffed
toy, a Frisbee, and my size 12s - you can’t be too cozy.
Almost never, ever,
is it possible to get a candid shot of Casey snoozing in the morning. The
kid senses any movement, even a change in the tone of our conversation when we
notice a goofy sleep pose like this one, or a molecular change in the room when
Vic or I reach for a camera.
Our guy was probably in the
middle of a solitary reconnaissance of the greenbelt, or maybe back on the farm
with his mom. But he was definitely, comfortably in a twilight zone of his own.
little visual to savor on this day after the autumnal equinox, the last day of
summer punctuated by blue skies and Border collie anticipation, and within
hours after this Frisbee lawn ritual, a cold front moved through Whatcom
County, accompanied by non-stop rain showers and gusty winds. And from now
until May, Casey will have to finesse each catch through fall and winter
This is just another one of those feel-good
videos that a friend of mine posted on Facebook
that I just had to share. After all, it has all the right ingredients, abandoned
pets, inseparable companions, frolicking in a river, and a happy ending. How
can it not go viral?
Catching my eye today as I was cutting the lawn
was a showy purple perennial that was pulsating with living color, enhanced by
late afternoon sunshine and hundreds of honey bees in a mad scramble to collect
an autumn cache of pollen to last the winter.
Of course right away I’m thinking Chrysanthemums until I check with
Victoria and Google. It seems this variety is the Michaelmas daisy, or aster,
and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, at least for the next few days,
as it ushers in fall.
All we ever have to say aloud is, “Did we do Casey’s
eyes today?” and he immediately goes airborne, landing right in the center of
the living room couch. It’s not that he’s excited to receive his daily dose of
tacrolimus on each cornea, he’s not. He just knows that it’s inevitable, so he
assumes the position on the couch – usually after a standing jump - and Vic
works her magic, applying a dab in each eye. Today grandson Ezra and
daughter-in-law Ernelyn got a lapful of Border collie before we could rephrase
the question. Cute picture though.
boy! Greg’s home. And before he can even get shut his car door Casey’s on his
way across the street to shamelessly work his favorite guy neighbor for a
rubdown. When it comes to soliciting for a scratch behind the ear, or anyplace else for that matter, the kid’s
got no pride, and like most pooches, is all sweet spot.
enthusiastic gathering of over 150 organized by Bellingham’s peace coalition
and represented by banner and sign holders from across generational and
political spectrums – progressives, anti-war activists, county Tea Party
supporters, Republicans and Dems - occupied Bellingham’s Five Corners
intersection at Lakeway and Ellis for over an hour beginning at noon on
And after an enthusiastic midtown response from hundreds of drivers
opposing war in Syria, the crowd marched on both sides of Holly Street to the
Farmers Market where members were tabling for another week to gather signatures
for a petition demanding a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict.
Organizers are hoping for the best but planning for additional actions and
demonstrations this week following a less than favorable vote in the Senate or
House, and even worse, a possible attack on Syria with global repercussions.
rain showers today paid off with an opportunity to get in a jog on the south
side with the kid. And, from the looks of the trail, the soggy leavings of
summer are just about everywhere, clear evidence that the party’s just about
over as far as our annual ration of 70◦ sunshine is concerned.
How serendipitous is this shot. I had absolutely
no idea what kind of a summer bloom this was until Victoria schooled me. There
was something especially intergalactic about it so I had to get a shot before
it started losing its luster.
And I ended up with a “two-fer” that included this lonely bumblebee giving a splash of bergamot lavender a once-over.
this one started out OK. A meeting with my Democratic Congressional
representative, arranged with no expectations whatsoever that he would be
actively listening much less agree to get back to me, ended on that positive
note. Over the weekend he must have pondered my position opposing military
intervention in Syria, because his community liaison Thomas phoned on Monday.
The Congressman wanted to know if I had changed my position, in light of John
Kerry’s stern remarks at the State Department, citing Assad’s “undeniable” use
of a chemical weapon on the civilians of Ghouta.
the Tomahawks were on lock ‘n load, my email reply (below) had to be crystal
clear. The survival of the species was at stake.
Just to recap, during our
meeting last week I urgedRickto
“actively oppose any military intervention in Syria…while supporting diplomatic
approaches to conflict resolution. This preferable peaceful alternative should
endorsement for constitutionally approved elections scheduled for next year in
Syria as a non-violent opportunity to permit political change without violence
or the threat of violence. Until all key actors are seated at the negotiating
table, including Iran, the political tensions at play will only escalate.”While
this diplomatic alternative to “letting slip the dogs of war” may seem
simplistic, it could work. A ceasefire could be obtained if the Obama
Administration pressured Saudi Arabia, the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, as
well as Turkey to halt the flow of weapons to the Syrian opposition, while
negotiating in good faith with Russia and the now moderate Iranian leadership
to do the same. Appeasing Israeli right wingers and DC warmongers by wreaking
additional havoc on a war-torn country that poses absolutely no threat to the
US doesn’t even have an end game. Remember the end state that Bush redefined
for five years? Or is the next so-called “coalition of the willing” actually
gearing up for an attack on Iran?...In short, VFP(Veterans For Peace)seeks
to abolish war as an instrument of national policy, so there would be no change
to my position since we last spoke. As a leader in the organization and a
combat veteran who knows first-hand war’s enormous costs, I would urge Rick to
not line up in support of more destruction and protecting Obama’s right flank –
like John Kerry. I listened to Kerry’s remarks today and he was a disgrace – he
“Colin Powell-ed” us, without even the courtesy of a faked proof of a chemical
attack. And this from a fellow vet that once said of the Vietnam disaster “How
do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Well, how about
Or the next kid, or the next thousand kids.
Thanks for calling, Thomas. I’m
hoping Rick does the right thing.
it looks like similar pressure from all over the country has paid off, at least
for now. Obama was forced to call for a debate and vote in Congress, for an
authorization to attack Syria. Imagine that...let's hope it fails miserably. A reprieve of sorts, but there's still a hard