Finding Bunny

It’s Friday, and that means a Friday Photo post! Before we get there, though, I know many of you are aware of yesterday’s JERRY WATCH 2021 SITUATION. The original thread is here; this morning’s semi-update here.

…I cannot believe this is my life.



Anyway. I thought this was going to be the weirdest thing happening this week. BOY WAS I WRONG, but this is what I got a good picture of, so it’s what we’re doing, I guess.

This is from Tuesday? I think? (Time is blurring together like it did during lockdown.) In the foreground you will see Boxnoggin, so alert he is quivering (you can tell by the faint blur around his ears) and positively straining against his fancy-dancy escape-proof (we hope) harness. I am, of course, holding the camera and my breath, because the harness leash wraps around my waist and he’s sixty-plus pounds of Very Interested Doge.

Miss B, for the curious, is in her usual place to my right and slightly behind me, snoot-down in a fir tree hanging over the kerb which contains one of her usual daily walkies sniffing-spots.

And may all the gods help us if we do not stop in her usual spots. Habit and ritual are Very Important to Elderly Statesdogs.

Now, if you follow Boxnoggin’s ardent gaze (and imagine him making a soft, throaty, whining little ohplease ohplease ohpleeeeease noise), you will no doubt see ONE tiny brown feral bunny. And at first I thought that was all we had to deal with so I greeted said hippity-hop cheerfully with a bright, “Bonjour, Monsieur Lapin.”

I don’t know why, but I always address rabbits in French. I think it’s the ears.

What I did not realize was that Boxnoggin was also quivering because he was presented with a good old-fashioned dilemma. There are, in fact, two rabbits; I didn’t see the second one at first.

Guess that camouflage thing really works.

Boxnoggin might’ve attempted liftoff, dragging me after him, but he could not…quite…figure…out which rabbit to aim for. So, he was vapor-locked. I began to drag him away, sensing that soon the stasis would break, and Street Bunny (the clearly visible one) decided it was time to (ahem) hightail it.

Poor Box lost his ever-loving mind, but one of the beauties of the harness is that I can drop my center of gravity and he is brought to a halt. It’s just like the old days of running with B. Now, of course, I have a harness and waist leash expressly designed for the maneuver instead of just a jury-rigged collection of stuff.

Modernity is wonderful.

Anyway, I did catch this photo before the eerie calm was shattered, so here’s the Friday game: See if you can find Bunny #2.

Good luck!

An Almost-Bunny Brekkie

“I ALMOST CAUGHT IT, TOO.”

This is the face of a dog who happened across a feral rabbit in our backyard this morning.

I knew it was only a matter of time before the rabbits got up the hill. Their range has been spreading, and we had a comparatively mild winter. They started out on the other side of a major concrete artery, then somehow got across downhill near a watercourse, and it’s been fascinating to see them creep up the hill when I take the dogs on morning walkies. Nonscientific and completely anecdotal field work, you see.

Anyway, uncaffeinated and with my shoes untied, I let the dogs out for their morning evacuations and prancing. It was early enough I didn’t think squirrels were a real risk.

Imagine my surprise when Boxnoggin let out a yelp of excited, pained disbelief and tore across the yard. Imagine my further surprise when I saw Monsieur Lapin (for some reason I always address rabbits in French) hightailing it (literally) across said yard from north to south (south being downhill and, of course, the direction he’d more than likely come from).

You can further imagine my despair when I saw Boxnoggin tearing after him at a speed that seemed unlikely to catch but perfectly likely to overshoot a mark or two and consequently paste him onto the fence. While I could tell there was no danger of a bunny breakfast, Boxnoggin seemed very likely indeed to either hit the fence or attempt to leap the gate.

Upon both those paths lies danger.

I’m not too worried ol’ Boxnoggin will clear the fence, mind you. He has gained a reasonable amount of heft and dignity (such as it is) with the fullness of time and, alas, cannot catch the kind of air he used to. But doing himself some injury by applying himself to said fence at high velocity is entirely possible, and lo I let out a, “WHAT THE FUCK STOP FOR GOD’S SAKE YOU IDIOT,” that shattered the morning quiet.

Of course, he paid no attention. Every fuse inside his doggy skull was blown. The terrier part of his genetic inheritance had burst from confinement like a werewolf’s hunting frenzy, and the tiny cottontail bobbing before him was the sum of all desires.

Fortunately (for Monsieur Lapin) or unfortunately (for poor Boxnoggin), the rabbit had obeyed the number-one rule of reconnaissance: Always know your escape route. (Insert obligatory Princess Bride reference here.) Monsieur was vanishée, and Boxnoggin was désolée. (I had a whole disparue joke here, but it didn’t quite have the ring.)

Ol’ Box did a full circuit of the yard, nose down, while I pressed my hand over my pounding heart and discovered I did not need caffeine to wake up, terror works just fine. Finally, when he had verified that no further rodent snacks were lingering in the ferns, under the redbud tree, among the roses, in the vegetable garden, behind the shed, under the deck, in the shed, under the red wagon, or in any other place belonging to the yard, he consented to come inside and eat his (non-bunny) brekkie.

Miss B watched all this go down with mild interest, being occupied with peeing the whole time. In her younger days she would have added to the circus, but she had a full bladder and contented herself with a single burp-bark of supervision. “YOU’RE NOT GONNA CATCH IT, DUMBASS. MUM, WHERE’S MY KIBBLE?”

So, my Friday started with a dose of exhilarating fear. I hope yours began in a more tranquil fashion. Now that the rabbits have found my yard, of course, no vegetable is safe, and Boxnoggin is going to be searching for more carrot-chewing maniacs as a matter of course every time he’s let outside.

This…will not end well, I’m sure. But it’ll be hilarious.

Have a good weekend!

Hello, Cabbage


Cabbage and fennel in the foreground, blurry nasturtiums in the back. I am unsure if the cabbage seeds have actually sprouted, and I’m sure the fennel is going to do better because cabbage is surprisingly picky. It wants Very Good Soil, but these fellows are going to get what they get.

I mean, yes, I have a compost pile and I spread the resultant black gold every year, but reading the instructions on the free packet of cabbage seeds convinced me that they are finicky bastards who will probably not like anything I do for them.

And yet sauerkraut is so good for one, and if I manage to get a single head of cabbage out of the deal I will consider myself on the path to mastery.

Anyway, I am pleased as punch. I mean to spend the weekend off, probably finishing garden-bed preparation. But what I plan and what happens ain’t exactly ever been similar (even if I’m wearing a cunning hat).

And when I come back after Memorial Day, there will be a new serial premiering. Holy wow. Already halfway through the year. Maybe I’ll just spend the weekend not trying to think about that.

Over and out…

Almost Royal


In late spring, there’s an explosion of color as the rhododendrons and azaleas flower. It’s short indeed, but very vivid, and I like this particular bush. It’s friendly all year round, being on our usual morning canine ramble route. The lithadora under it is apparently the source of many fine smells, so both Boxnoggin and Miss B halt there for a good long while.

While they busily untangle the day’s news, I often exchange pleasantries with this fine lady. She’s far taller than me, but very gracious and willing to speak at length about the weather. The dry spring is nice, most of the plants are saying, because it’s cut down on slug and snail production. Which means more vegetation.

I call this particular flower “almost royal” because it’s purple and quite majestic in its own way. There was an azalea I ran past yesterday positively loaded with white blossom, but I didn’t get to slow down long enough for a picture. That’s all right; this is just as good.

Here’s hoping for a pleasant weekend, my beloveds. I’ve lost almost a week to the immense psychological relief of being vaccinated; I need to get back to work in the worst way. But there’s always time to walk the dogs, and have a little small talk with an almost-royal almost-tree.

See you next Monday…

Good Luck


I was cleaning off the mantel (I’ve been nesting lately) and came across a whole sand dollar a very good friend gave me years ago (well before lockdown) as well as a horseshoe found I know not where. It seemed a good omen, especially after I dusted and arranged them in pleasing fashion.

Tomorrow the Prince and I go for our second vaccine jab. I’m almost beside myself with anxiety–not over the shot itself, but afraid that some-damn-thing will happen, there will be some organizational snafu, and we won’t be able to get them. The absolute lack of any competence during the previous administration left a deep mark; I’m overly nervous.

All signs are it’ll go smoothly, and I expect some short-term side effects like the first dose had. Today will be spent prepping everything in case those wipe me out for a day or two.

Still…I’ll take all the luck I can get, and share it with you. May we all be fully vaccinated soon, beloveds; and may we all have a quiet weekend.

The Pile and Piranesi


Since some energy has freed up–i.e., the relief of everyone having at least the first vaccine shot means I’m not plunged in a whirlpool of worry every time someone in the house coughs–I’ve been getting more in the way of reading done. I had a stack of manga by my bed, which has been absorbed.1 Now the stack behind it can be approached.

Clarke’s Piranesi is at the top. I read it all in one gulp on a warm night earlier in the week, and am in the same position I was when I finished Kolyma Tales. In other words, I am envious of everyone who hasn’t read it yet, because it’s just so good. In fact, I’m reading it again, but more slowly. I don’t often do a twice-in-a-row–there’s been, I think, under ten books in my life I’ve even been tempted to–but I don’t want to leave it. I want to savor every single word all over again.

After that will come Price’s The Viking Way, which I promised myself I’d move to the top of the queue when I started earnest work on The Cold North. I can’t wait to get into it, but that will have to wait until I’m finished rolling around in Piranesi once more.

If this seems a rather small pile, don’t worry. It’s only the “next in queue” next to my bed. I have many more books to read. And isn’t that the definition of luxury? Many a book to read, and a bed to read them in.

Enjoy your weekend, beloveds. I’ll probably spend mine working, as usual, but I’ll certainly be taking some time to visit flooded hallways crowded with statues.

Sunny Spring, and a New Serial


I usually do a Friday photo, but this is a special week. I just got the covers for the next serial after HOOD, along with this shiny graphic to announce its advent. Pretty neat, right? The covers are from the inimitable IndigoChick Designs; I love Skyla’s work.

HOOD1 will finish in May, and subscribers in the relevant tiers will get the unedited and edited ebooks of Season Three for free2. I’ll take the last week of May off, then Nest Egg and Serial Time subscribers will be able to automagically dive right into the first season of Hell’s Acre starting in June.

I describe Hell’s Acre as “alt-Victorian Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate mixed with The Da Vinci Code in a world where the Roman Empire didn’t fall to Christianity or the Vandals”, so there’s a whole lot I’m excited to play with. Fans of Bannon & Clare will like the return to a London of steampunk and grime, though there will be no sorceresses3.

Hell’s Acre should run in two seasons; I have (for once) something approaching an outline. Of course the tale will grow in the telling, as it always does, and I’m already finding out things I didn’t know about the characters. It’s nice to be in the joy-of-discovery phase instead of the revision phase.

And with that I’m off to spend a Friday writing, beloveds. I’m very excited for what the next few months will bring, which is a super nice change from last year. I hope you have a fine weekend; I intend to spend mine writing and watering, since we’re having a sunny spring indeed.