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…

Pleasant Waiting

I woke up from a barrage of weird Silmarillion dreams (I’m doing a reread) to find Looney Tunes playing inside my head at full volume–orchestral stingers, Bugs and Daffy singing tunes, a whole Coyote-and-Roadrunner cartoon’s background music playing on loop.

It’s interesting inside my skull. Especially right after I finish a book.

I’d thought that taking a day completely off–no work, no chores, nothing even resembling proper nutrition, even–would cut down on the recovery time from finishing what is, in essence, one very large book broken into a diptych. It doesn’t appear to have; I’m still nerve-scoured and twitching.

I did get some gardening done yesterday, though. Many of the seeds are old, so we might not have a good yield. But if even one sprouts, it’ll be more than we had before. I’m not even going to try tomatoes this year; they only bring grief and pain.

Instead it’s pumpkins, beans, and peas, blue hyssop, nasturtiums everywhere (I love the peppery little darlings) and sunflowers (we’ll see if the squirrels leave any of those to sprout), rudbeckia and a bag of seeds I’m not quite sure of. They may be California poppies; that’ll be nice.

We’re supposed to get some rain soon. I know better than to turn on the sprinklers in April. Another thing that only causes grief and pain.

It takes a while, but yes, I can be taught.

I probably was inspired to actually get outside by a couple documentaries on the Emerald Triangle. I watched Netflix’s Murder Mountain, then went straight into Hulu’s Sasquatch, which was surprisingly good. I suppose my inner hippie perked up; go figure, I watch stuff about weed harvesting while knitting and am tempted to braid my hair up and plant beans.

Growing into the hippie I always knew I was has some benefits. Even the rosebush I was pretty sure wouldn’t make it is showing signs of resurrecting. The roses have all summer to recover, and–drumroll please–both grapevines as well as all three blueberry bushes are alive and well too. The grape I moved to along the north fence is showing fresh leaves; I’ll have to trim it once the season’s over because otherwise it’ll try to take over the dogwood. But that’s fine.

Even the tiny oak seedling I replanted, pretty sure it wouldn’t make it, has fresh, hard red little buds on the branch-tips. Considering it’s from a stray squirrel-hidden acorn, it’s doing really well. I put a couple peas near its roots to maybe get some nitrogen into the soil.

All told, the garden’s doing better than I thought it would. It was therapeutic to get my hands in the dirt. Now all I do, as mentioned, is wait for rain and try to get out to do some weeding every once in a while. The kids are excited at the chance to help, since they’re both old enough and the Prince will have his last totally free summer on his hands in a month and a half.

He won’t want to spend it weeding, but we’ll have downed branches and stuff to burn, and that’s right up his alley. The ash makes a good addition to the compost pile, too.

I would go out and do more today, but the Looney Tunes music inside my head is sort of disconcerting. I mean, the last thing I want to do is step on a rake, and I feel like my brain is warning me there’s a stratospheric chance of hijinks if I test the patience of the gods. So maybe I’ll just try to get some work arranged. Not done, mind you–just arranged.

After all, there’s Hell’s Acre to get situated and Cold North to fully schedule, not to mention getting the master to-do list and the hoovering I didn’t get done this past weekend sorted. But every once in a while I’ll look out the window, waiting for rain.

It’s a pleasant kind of waiting when you know the forecast says “soon.”

Over and out.

Smoke, Lens, Still

I had hoped for a break in the smoke today.

The weekend was… eerie. Saturday was dead silent outside, with no trace of birds, squirrels, rabbits, stray cats, or any of the other local fauna. The sky was a dirty yellow lens, sheer and featureless; there wasn’t even a bright spot to show where the sun was hanging.

Sunday there was some movement, and the fog slowly turned white over the course of the day. This morning it’s not as fuggy-close, but it’s getting all your minerals in one breath out there. We need rain; falling water shouldn’t be uncommon in September in the Pacific Northwest, but here we are.

Climate change is a helluva thing.

The strangest thing about the smoke is the unsettling quiet. No leaf blowers, no animals, very few people out walking, very little traffic. The combination of fog and smoke swallows all sound. It’s still close to a London pea-souper out there. I half expect to see Jack the Ripper leaning against a streetlamp post.

On the bright side (assuming there is one) I only worked a half day on Saturday and spent the rest of the weekend cleaning and stuffing new media into my head. I watched The Blue Angel and Fritz Lang’s M because I finished reading Siegfried Kracauer’s From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film. I also watched Goedam, a series of eight-minute Korean horror films, and the first episode of Arthdal Chronicles. And half a Humphrey Bogart movie just to round things out.

I suppose I’m adapting to apocalypse. But I hate that any of us have to.

If not for the treadmill, I probably would go mad. But at least I can run in the garage and my lungs don’t feel like dry Brillo pads afterward. Small mercies.

I’m eyeing my Monday warily. As long as we can agree not to hurt each other, we’ll get through the start of the week fine. I have some combat scenes I want to write, especially since we’re getting into the part of The Bloody Throne where the barbarians arrive and all three warring countries are in the field. Big sweeping epic battles are some of my favorite things to construct, next to individual combat and scenes full of fashion snappy multilayered dialogue. (I’m also fond of angst and forehead kisses, but then, we knew that about me and I contain multitudes.) And plenty of characters who deserve it (as well as one or two who don’t) aren’t going to make it out of this story alive.

If you imagine me as a raccoon rubbing its paws together and giggling, you’re pretty close to how I look this morning. Smoke be damned, there’s a story to write, and I suppose I’d best get to it.

See you around.

Boxnoggin, Travis, and the Venerable, Concluded

At least the fence is still standing. That’s something, I suppose.

I promised you the conclusion to the tale of Boxnoggin, Travis, and the Venerable yesterday, didn’t I. When we left our fair heroine (that would be me) she was attempting to teleport to said fence, though she had used up her one teleportation ticket for the day on attempting to grab her fool dog before he could launch himself for a spinning squirrel. Said fool dog had just shaken off the daze-effects of hitting the fence and was hauling himself, somewhat drunkenly but at a high rate of speed, after a spitting, cursing squirrel who sounded like a shaven-headed New Yawk cabbie.

So. One dizzy squirrel, making directly across the yard for the Venerable. One just as dizzy dog hard upon his heels. And then there was yours truly, my darlings, who had not only hit her hip on the table (gaining a quite magnificent bruise) but managed to get around the Venerable, which meant…

…which meant, O my beloveds, that I was in Travis’s way.

I skidded to a stop, almost turning my ankle on a fallen fir cone. At least this once I was wearing shoes–a small mercy indeed, because I was in the path of a cussing squirrel and a dog-sized tornado.

This was, to put it mildly, not an optimal position. But I compensated for it by digging my heels in and clapping my hands over my ears. I have no idea why I did the last, unless the combination of Travis’s torrent of obscenities and my own–what’s that?

Oh yes, my dearest Reader. I was producing a fair amount of blue words on my own account. Travis has nothing on me when I get going; when provoked, I am capable of language that not only would make a sailor blush but would also drop my sainted grandmother into her grave twice over if that redoubtable lady was not already occupying hallowed ground. And my grandfather would be at once pleased and mildly chagrined, suspecting that I inherited the propensity for breathtaking obscenity from him. (He might even be right.)

ANYWAY. This is the conclusion, so I’d best be swift. Or swift-ish.

You know how, especially in sports or action movies, everything slows down–even the dialogue, which produces a weird distorted rumble–as disaster approaches? I stood a very real chance of being flattened not only by fleeing squirrel but by my own dear, dopey, absolutely determined dog. It occurred to me, in one of those crystal-clear thoughts that go through one’s head during a disaster, that a squirrel looking for high ground might mistake me for a sapling and attempt to scale the redoubt, so to speak.

And Travis… well.

Travis bulleted past, and I am telling the bare honest truth: his tail brushed my throbbing, almost-turned ankle because he was still zigzagging somewhat.

I stopped cussing to scream like a cartoon elephant upon discovering a mouse on the floor.

Boxnoggin, on the other hand, was not so lucky. He clipped me hard on the shin as he went past, and I almost went down. Perhaps it was Physics’s final blessing that I deflected him a fraction from his course, or he might well have gained himself a squirrel snack.

But Travis had reached the Venerable, which seemed singularly unmoved by events. (It’s very phlegmatic, even for a tree.) I mean, the Venerable had witnessed the approaching disaster, been hit by the YANKEE SQUIRREL FLIPPER DEATHRIDE 5000, and furthermore–being firmly rooted–could do absolutely nothing to dodge any further trouble, hijinks, or shenanigans.

That poor tree. Odd Trundles used to headbutt it all the time, too. I keep thinking I’ll wake up one morning to find out it has, with a supreme effort, moved a foot or so in any direction to try to avoid one of those long-ago disasters.

Anyway, I am… pleased? Is that that word? I suppose it must do. I am pleased to report Travis reached his goal and climbed up the Venerable like a pole dancer determined to gain a championship trophy in the district finals. I am somewhat less pleased (again, I suppose that will have to be the word) to report that poor Boxnoggin forgot himself for a moment and tried to go up the trunk right after him, fell back on his ass, and let out a “yipe!” that shook me to my core.

Don’t worry, he’s fine. Only his pride (such as it is) was lightly damaged.

I expected Travis to hang safely out of leaping distance and treat us both to a torrent of abuse, but apparently he had suddenly remembered he had other places to be, for he went up the trunk without stopping and vanished in the Venerable’s canopy. And that, my dears, is pretty much the end–I won’t trouble you with a catalog of bruises or bumps suffered by the human involved in this small tale.

Except it’s Friday, which means there must be a Friday photo. And there is one more small thing to report.

Normally Boxnoggin is not a dog much troubled by memory. (He occasionally forgets how to go up stairs and must be patiently re-taught.) But that afternoon made a deep impression upon him, so much so that when he’s let out now, he attends to whatever pressing business, bladder or bowel, that needs doing and heads unerringly for a spot just to the south of the Venerable, where he throws himself down and stares…

…he stares, as I said, longingly at the back fence, and makes a throaty little sound. It’s the same sound he makes when he wishes to pursue a cat, rabbit, or any other small creature. And if you listen closely, you can hear what he’s saying.

Come back,” he moans. “Come back and play with me, forever and ever and ever…

And every once in a while, just to be sure, he cranes his neck to the left, examines the Venerable, and makes certain to check the hanging bird feeder.

Just in case.


The End


until some-damn-thing-else happens, of course.

Boxnoggin, Travis, and the Venerable, Ultimate Edition

For a moment, I thought the squirrel had simply slid through a hole in the fabric of reality and vanished.

…maybe I should back up.

So, when last we spoke, Boxnoggin was hanging in midair, I was staggering backwards with a dog collar in my paw, and Travis was spinning rapidly on the bottom of the almost-horizontal YANKEE SQUIRREL FLIPPER DEATHRIDE 5000.

And then poor Travis did the only thing he could. Namely, he let go.

Boxnoggin landed with an oof several sizes too big for him, cushioned by soft turf. He even rolled on impact, since he’d been twisting in midair to get at the wildly spinning snack. I almost fell off the end of the sidewalk and onto the huge boulder just beside the hop vine, the boulder bedecked with what had been a very nice cuppa Earl Grey before I dropped said cup on my way down the bloody stairs.

And Travis… flew.

Now, during the original SQUIRREL DEATHRIDE 5000, another squirrel went flying to the right, and hit one of the garage windows. (You’re probably not going to find that post since I did some cleanup around this-here website lately; however there is a backup and if I do another SquirrelTerror book, it’ll be revivified JUST LIKE NEO.) That was back when Odd Trundles was alive, and I was, truth be told, dismally expecting something of the sort.

But I was wrong, my beloveds. For the YANKEE SQUIRREL FLIPPER DEATHRIDE 5000 is new, improved, and battery-powered. Which meant it was breaking new ground and, yes, flinging squirrels in an entirely new direction.

Namely, to the left, towards the back fence.

This meant Travis passed behind the Venerable, and for one mad moment I thought he’d outright vanished. Except–and this is a big exception–I could still hear him cussing.

“YOU FUCKIN LOOKIN AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEE?”

The cry trailed across the yard. Boxnoggin staggered upright while it was still echoing, and Travis must have hit the top of his arc behind the Venerable, for he was descending when he came into view again.

The problem was, of course, he was descending into the fence, with inimitable style but at very high (gravity-assisted) speed.

“OH NOOOOOO…” I yelled, as if by sheer volume I could halt the inevitable, or even postpone it.

Boxnoggin’s own momentum had not been shed, so his claws dug furrows in the grass, and he finally came to a halt, defeat snatched from his victorious jaws. He had expected to land with a mouthful of squirrel, and was sorely puzzled that he did not seem to have achieved that benchmark.

“YOU FUCKIN LOOKIN AT FUCKIN–” And then, my darling reader, Travis hit.

Now, the fence is a relic. It’s quite probably as old as I am, and held up by a hedge of oft-whispering cedars–except for the ones on the north end that our silly neighbor had taken out and hasn’t replaced yet, though I keep hinting. (Yet I forgive that man a LOT because he wears a mask when his friends visit and insists they do the same while sitting six feet apart on his deck. You do you, Back Neighbor!)

Anyway, there was a thump far too big for the evident size of the arboreal rodent striking it at speed. But if there’s anything we’ve learned about these squirrels, my friends, it’s that they punch far above their weight class.

The fence shook and shuddered. I dropped the collar, which landed with a forlorn little jingle in a pool of tea. Boxnoggin, shaking his fool rectangular head, turned in a complete circle looking for his escaped friend. The YANKEE SQUIRREL FLIPPER DEATHRIDE 5000 did not fly off its hook and into the wild blue yonder, but rebounded (Physics was certainly earning her cookies on this one) and smacked the Venerable Fir a good one on the side. (Quality construction, my friends. Quality fuckin’ construction.)

And Travis might have been all right, if he hadn’t kept opening his damn mouth.

The squirrel clawed at the fence, leaving fresh gouges in weather-stained wood, and I can only think he was a little dizzy from his carnival ride because he didn’t climb, as one would think he’d instinctively do. No, sir. Travis is not the type of squirrel to do the obvious, the safe, or even the reasonable thing.

No, he headed down.

Now, I can understand wanting some solid ground underfoot after all that. Honestly, in his position I’d probably stagger for somewhere reasonably level and commence vomiting just to put a capper on the whole experience. But I am decidedly not a squirrel, and who knows what was going through his tiny little mind?

He reached the lush violets between two large ferns and staggered, holding his wee head, and because he’d regained his breath he did exactly the worst thing he could–but honestly, who expected anything less?

“THAT’S RIGHT, YOU FUCKIN’ FUCKS, YOU TALKIN TO ME? I’LL FUCKIN FUCK YO’ SHIT UP, JUST FUCKIN’ SEE IF I FUCKIN’ DON’T, AND IMMA FUCKIN DO IT AGAIN!”

And, with unerring precision, Boxnoggin–though no doubt dizzy and breathless from his own vastly shorter carnival ride–turned in that direction, got his long legs under him, and launched himself afresh for the source of this new ruckus.

“FOR GODSAKE NOOOOOOOOO…” I screamed, and tried to throw myself in that direction too, having some hazy idea of maybe getting there first. But the table was in the way, and though I’m (relatively) fast over (very) short distances, I’d sadly used up my teleportation for the day.

So I barked my hip on the table and almost went down. Boxnoggin leapt after Travis like Pepe le Pew finally getting within range of a stripe-painted cat. And Travis?

Travis apparently had no clue what was heading for him. He was still busy holding his tiny squirrel head, and I am all but certain he defecated into the violets. At least, he crouched, still chittering obscenities conjugated into every part of speech, and I had visions of trying to pry a twitching squirrel corpse out of Boxnoggin’s gleeful mouth.

But then Physics, who had viewed all this with a great deal of amusement, played her final trick upon us three tragical characters.

That’s right. Boxnoggin must have still been too dizzy for proper aiming, because he launched himself for Travis…

…and missed.

Reader, he hit the fence instead.

That poor fucking fence.

“YOU FUCKING FUUUUUUUCK!” Travis screamed, and took off. He didn’t bolt for the east side of the shed, where he could go along the wall and nip through the southern fence and reach safety. Nor did he take off northwards, where he could perhaps outrun the dog on level ground. Nor did he take the safest route and go diagonally up the back fence so he could vanish into the cedars.

No, sir, that would have been too simple.

Instead, the dumbass, breathless, probably still dizzy in his own right from his carnival ride squirrel took off vaguely north-by-northwestward.

Towards the Venerable, and the now-gently swaying YANKEE SQUIRREL FLIPPER DEATHRIDE 5000.

Whether he wanted a rematch or just couldn’t get his shit together was academic, for Boxnoggin slid down the fence and landed in the violets Travis had just vacated, dimly aware his prey had escaped once again and rolling onto his side to see said prey scampering off.

Now it was a footrace.

Yes, the last one was penultimate, and this one the ultimate; there’s only the falling action after today’s climax to tell. So, to be continued–with a fresh photo–tomorrow. Take that, dramatic structure!