Friday, November 12, 2010

A Narrow Fellow

One our way down the driveway (we were just starting our walk, you see) I met a snake. He was as bold as a lion for the kind of snake he was, namely a black racer such as has usually disappeared into the palm fronds as soon as they've caught your notice. This creature had great valor, and remained bravely curious, head held high, and body ribboning the grass behind him. My bright eyes met his bright eyes. I took some of his boldness for myself and didn't start or shy as usual but instead took a investigative step forward. He held a moment and then was gone in a blink, leaving just air where his stare had been and the very tip of a tail where all of him used to be. I saw him later that day, once in the garden nearby our first meeting place, and then again and again out of the corner of my eye. No, I only saw him the one more time, come to think of it. The other times it was a stick or a rope, as I realized after leaping sideways in surprise. It is hard to be brave when it might be a twig or it might be a snake.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Remember that ham bone I got months ago which I promptly buried in the yard? No? Well, I do. When I got it it was beautiful, but now it's perfect--seasoned by time and dirt. It has re-emerged from a hidden place like a butterfly out of its chrysalis. Would you like it? Ha! It's mine. You may watch me gloat.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sounding the Alarm

As stated in my contract which I signed in paw print before coming to live with Kirsten, one of my jobs is to be a watchdog. You can imagine I take this responsibility seriously. I suspect there are others out there who have a similar position in their household. Many of you, my fellows in letting off the timely warning bark, hope like I do to be the best one can be at this job. The following is the code I seek to follow everyday.

I am a watchdog. I serve the forces which guard my home and way of life. I am prepared to give my best to perform my duty.
I will act as a watchdog at all times whatever my situation. I will act as a watchdog while napping. I will act as a watchdog while eating. I will act as a watchdog while sleeping.
I will not fail to bark at the approach of any person to the house. I will not fail to bark at the approach of any animal to the house.
I will not cease barking until I am assured the situation has been ascertained as acceptable by Kirsten or myself.
I will not sound any alarm at Kirsten's approach to the house. I will her car or the way she holds her keys that she must instead be greeted with happy bounces and tail wags.
I will never forget that I am Kirsten's watchdog.

A honourable salute to all those who serve with me in homes of their own. Bark with pride, and know that you do not bark alone.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to Steal the Best Chewy

Most are not as adept at acquiring the very best of the chew toys as I am. I feel safe letting my compassion show through at this point, because I know even with help few ever match the skills I have in this field. For those who strive for greatness, here are some of my tips.

1) The best chews are usually located in crates. Whenever one has the opportunity, one should inspect opened, unoccupied crates to see what the goods are. When it has been determined which crate contains the best of the lot make a point of it.

2) Anything, no matter what, is better when you shouldn't have it in the first place. With this in mind, wait for the perfect opportunity to get a chew out of a crate. An example of an ideal scenario would be when someone is in the general area but not looking directly at what one is about to do. This way one will be caught out of the corner of the opponent's eye at the triumphant moment--the moment when one zips from the kennel with such boastfulness as to convince anyone something of dubious nature must have just occurred.

3) If one refrains from showing off the captured prize to every soul in the area it either means not enough effort went into the maneuver or the obtained item was not worth it. This is a fail. See that it doesn't happen.

Note: It is of absolutely no significant value in there be multiple kennels to steal from. If one's own kennel is all that is available that is no excuse for slacking on completing the above tasks to the best of one's abilities. The only losers are those who do not try or do not try hard enough. I am always a winner--let that be an inspiration to you.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Something's Hatching at the Ranch

The light of my life, my sun, moon, and stars, and the thing that is even more interesting than cats (or at least sometimes more interesting than some cats) has arrived into the world. They came from the big white box (note: this is referred to by some as an incubator). Its been churning away at various noises for some time now, but nothing of interest as a general rule. A mechanical whir here and a few quick clicks there are nothing to perk one's ears at. But sometimes there are just the noises one would hope a big white box to make. If one could sit for a few hours in one's crate and think--and mind you that's prime thinking time--one could not come up with a sound more ideal to the situation. "Peep," it says, and also "cheep cheep cheep!" Only the day gets even better after this. At times like these one can open the door to find little fluffy snippets (note: also classified as Narragansett turkey chicks). Go ahead, open the door!

See, aren't they wonderful? I'm going to herd them when they get bigger. Right now we're getting used to one another and dreaming up all the wonderful stories that are to come.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


There are some things they don't teach you in school. One such lesson was crawling about in the grass buzzing it's wings. By instinct alone one would just assume that God made all things that are yellow and black, fat and crunchy to be snapped up as snacks as happy as you like. Kirsten told me it was my prerogative if I really wanted to be messiny with a bee, but she didn't recommend it. Sometimes instinct does fail a body; the bee did not go down as I intended. After rolling my face in the grass for awhile I've come to some definate conclusions. Bees must serve some other purpose on earth besides live snack. Also, life is hard.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wee, Sleekit, Cowrin, Tim'rous Beastie

Mice, my friends! Mice are where it's at. By it I would specify all one would want on a lovely evening in the yard. Let me explain. There's the little rodent in the grass, all alive and interesting, and then--all sudden-like!--it pops over a few inches in any direction. You never know what direction until it happens. At the sight of this I can only say, "Mouse, will you be my friend? Please?" I do this in the doggiest way possible; the head is cocked, the front paws are outstretched, the playing face is set, and the tail awag. Kirsten doesn't think my new friend understands my intentions, but Mouse keeps popping about in that marvelous way of hers, so I'm not sure I care whether she recieves my message of good will or not. I offer this as another token of friendship: "Won't you please be my friend, Mouse? Oh, won't you?"

I don't claim to be an expert on the verbal or gesticular fine points of mousese, but it doesn't lie within my imagination for her to be saying anything other then, "Why certainly, dear Fern, how about a romp!" What wonderful creatures these are.


Note: No wee beasties were harmed in the making of this post. If it were not so I would not have told you. Thank you, also, to Mr. Jensen for the use of his photograph.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Liturgy for Bath Day

The Dog
The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I've also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.
-Ogden Nash

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In Honor of the Patron Saint of the Emerald Isle

Kirsten learned today that in a pinch one can eat Irish food with chopsticks. Such a pinch may be (but is not limited to) when one is eating bangers and mash in the teachers' lounge, has forgetten to pack a fork, does not want to enter the student infested school cafeteria to get a spork, and spys an unused pack of chopsticks in a little frequented corner. If the proof is in the pudding this approch works just fine. I still say God gave you a mouth and why complicate matters, but people will be people, and our common ground is more important that our differences. We both like Irish food.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

I told you we'd make it look better. You're jealous, aren't you? See how soft it is? I'm going to bring it with on my spring break trip to the mountains in Tennessee so I can show it off to my friends there. Just call me lucky.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Approve

Kirsten is making me a bed out of things she found at a thrift store. She says thrift stores are where they sell you things that used to be in other people's houses. This is how I feel about the plan:


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On Finding the Best Things

I've had the opportunity to go shopping in some Stores lately. It seems to me that Stores are a very important part of human experience, and I've decided to give them some thought. This is what I've mulled over so far. What stricks me particularly on entering a Store is the number of aisles devoted to chew toys. Now any given chewy might be squeaky, soft, little, edible, tough, smelly, large, colorful (so says Kirsten, who is better at seeing color than me), bouncy, what-have-you, or any combination thereof. This makes me wonder how people ascertain what qualifies as a good chew. Perhaps one uses preferences based on the before mentioned list to decide--I can see that leading in some general directions--but I find myself at a loss to make any reasonable choice with only this information. You see my difficulty of course because they're all on a rack in a Store. It's really impossible to tell which one is best in that situation. If you aren't following me I'll explain: They lack a good solid Place. What is Place? Place, my friend, is the key to finding the best chews. For example, the toys in my house have Place, and I know exactly which ones to find and horde--namely, the cat's toys. There are some dog toys about which are nice enough, but since there are no other dogs around one can't compare them to the cat's toys. The important thing about Place is that something could be someone else's and therefore could be made yours instead. Of course the more Someone Elses there are in a Placeg the better a thing can be. When I went to visit my old home on Saturday I found a bone in the grass. Since all my friends were out--adding up to some dozen possible contestants for bone ownership--there could hardly be a better thing to have for oneself. You can imagine my joy in carrying it around. Actually, you don't even need to imagine because I've included a picture for you. I do hope these thoughts will help guide you the next time you rush off to look at things in Stores. Remember, Place is the thing. Best of luck at finding the good stuff!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

A day full of Important Things

Today Kirsten told me we were going to visit some puppies and, true to her word, that is what we did. The pictures! I hear you say, what about the pictures of the puppies! Of course you, like Kirsten, have missed the point. It's not about the puppies. They're all fine and good when they're wagging their little tails from their little pen. For a while they're even all right when they're chasing you around the duck pool. But tail-biting? Even you tail deprived beings must understand that is going to far. And the way the come and look at the bone you have just victoriously captured for yourself--that look full of innocent nievety as if they just didn't know that bone was off limits. Still I hear you clamoring for pictures regardless of your increased knowledge of what pesky little brutes they are. I will supply some pictures in good time. But onto more important things: myself. Today I got to go visit my old home and my old chums. I achieved many good scampers and even runs in the goat field. One ought to be quite impressed by this. I'd bet several good chewies on your not being able to do such a thing just a few months out from major hip surgery. That is why I am more important than puppies, you see. I will be reinforcing the puppy pictures I provide with pictures of my accomplishments. Durning one of my scampers I came upon a ferocious beast of a bone lurking amid the grass. Not only did I slay it and keep it from the other dogs, but I also carried it single mouthedly back to a nice shady patch of grass. My day was full of vital, helpful activities similar to this. At present I feel that such a member of the canine world deserves her rest. The promised pictures will be posted as I see fit, and first things will come first:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

To Boldy Go

We heard a loud low rumble tonight and I had to look around the house to make sure everything was alright. Kirsten said it was the space shuttle landing at Cape Canaveral. She started explaining what that meant, but I was way ahead of her. Dogs have always been ahead of people in space travel. Every puppy old enough to bite his brother's tail knows that a dog was the first living thing to launch into space. Many a brave canine orbited the Earth before any people made it up that way. If you ask an eight week old what they'd like to do when they grow up space exploration is one of the most common answers, especially from the spunky ones. Lately my running and jumping restrictions have brought all my puppy dreams of being an astronaut back to me. A good romp on the moon would be just the thing for me right now, and I'm just certain the folks on the International Space Station need someone to play fetch with. I've been working out all the zero gravity modifications in my head, and I know I'd do a good job at that. The other morning I woke up from one of these dreams as sure as a juicy bone that it had come true somehow. I grabbed the first ball I could find and told Kirsten to give it a throw. She threw it like a pitcher with the bases loaded and I went leaping and bounding after it. I was still pretty tired at the time but I remember quite well that that's what happened. Kirsten suggested to me that it may have been more of a gentle toss followed by a rather light scamper, but she's always so conservative with her stories. When one has put in so much work to master walking on tile and hopping up single small steps one may, I admit, put a little too much emphasis on further improvements, but one is entitled to that. When I scamper I'm scampering on the moon because I know what it's like to work much harder for much less movement. When I'm ready—when my bones are healed and my muscles are stronger—well, I just hope you're ready for Rocket Ship Fern when that day comes. I'll have some blasting off to do when it's time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tyranny of the Typist

Kirsten has decided that if she is going to be my typist I must let her have a say now and again. I don't think this is entirely fair. Keyboards were designed by the fingered, and its hardly my fault that as the world turns I do not have the ability to key in a letter without four unwanted others appearing along with it. One shouldn't be penalized for the paws one was born with. As life is not always what it should be, however, I must sacrifice some of my reader's valuable time for her whims. You'll have to forgive her if her imagination isn't up to yours or mine--she is ever so practical sometimes. Oiu nvkljnhpw bu6t9ou;pll vbge OPAQoicewnt. She said she would stop typing if I made too much of a fuss about this, and the previous sentence was my attempt to get by own my own. Let us, then, move onto the substance as chosen by Kirsten.

Today the windows were open to a lovely brisk Florida winter afternoon, and the house was filling up with the smell of Kirsten's freshly baked bread. I still don't understand why anyone would make food at all when he or she could just have it brought to him or her at meal times, but Kirsten says it doesn't work that way for everyone. Her before mentioned bread is quite tasty (I'll admit freely), but she seems to be especially charmed by it and thought others might want to make it themselves. If you are one of those unfortunate souls for whom the old food dish does not fill up on its own, you may want to consider this as a viable source of nourishment. The following is a recipe for a bread machine to make oatmeal bread. Kirsten originally found it on the internet, and it can still be found here.

Grandma's Oatmeal Bread

By Diana Rattray, Guide


  • 1 cup water, boiling
  • 1/2 cup oats, old-fashioned
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups bread flour (or 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast, sprinkled over flour


Put oats in a mixing bowl; pour boiling water over the oats. When oats have cooled but are still a bit warm, add remaining ingredients according to bread machine manufacturer's manual. Bake on light setting. Makes a 1 1/2-pound loaf.

May all your eatings be grand,
Fern (and Kirsten)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Barking

One's philosophy of barking long distance is very important. The humans, I am told, have an elaborate history where it concerns long distance barking. My breed has used the same standard methods for some 3,000 years, all the way back to our earliest days wandering the hills of Wales. My research has shown that some nearby humans were using a similar method to our long distance bark which they called "piping" and which they accomplished with a sack that was sometimes floppy, sometimes puffy, and always had very inviting sticks poking out of it. I must sadly add that we were not, under any circumstances, allowed to chew on this "bagpipe", as they called it, even though the humans themselves frequently put their mouths on it. Drawbacks considered, I hold this to be the golden age of human long distance barking achievement. At this time they had also established the "post" which allowed one to send lingering smells to another human but which, I am told, was only capable of sending "silent" barks. When we dogs send smells to one another we leave out the silent barks as we have no use for them. Later a Mr. Alexander Graham Bell gave humankind a contraption which sent audible barks over distances but which left out smells altogether. I can only imagine the miscommunications that must occur with such unsound principles. The internet, which appeared during the time of my grandsires, produced long distance barks which were both smell and sound free. While I have stooped certain instances of this methodology, such developments not only make me lament the general direction humanity must be heading but also make me very suspicious of notions such as keeping dogs quiet and bathed. This brings me back to my original point, vis. the importance of a bark philosophy. I hold that if one can bark as far as one can smell and hear one need not ask for more--take your stand and bark well. Let me give an example of the significant activity one can accomplish with these principles. With just one well planned bark (planned, I might add, through information gathered by scent and sound) I can set the dog a few houses back into a frenzy of yaps, subsequently setting its person into a series of ignored commands for silence. One bark. Continued smug enjoyment. Just imagine the potential here. You may not think it when tacked to the end of this wordy post, but I tend to think deeply about my barks, and I deposit them carefully. That is my preference, I realize, and not a universal dog trait. I wonder, Reader, what your philosophy of barking is? It would be a great gain to my research on the topic if you would venture to share it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Introduce Fern

Most dogs only dream of the adventures I've had in my short life, and some dogs aren't even creative enough to do that. The twitching feet and muffled barks of their REM cycles may not extend past the squirrel chase. I love a good squirrel chase as well as the next dog, but I've seen more. Fact: I ran away and lived on my own for ten days. I passed through highways and canals, and crossed intersections and woods. Kirsten will confirm all of this, although she frequently tells me I exaggerate and add my own details whenever I tell stories about my adventures. Maybe I do get the real events mixed up a little with my dreams, but one can't blame one after a larger than life experience if she's a little hazy on the details here and there. The framework of my story is sound. At its truest it's enough to speed up your pace and draw in your breath; you'll laugh and cry and come away with graditude for a nice warm couch and someone to snuggle up with. I came away more grateful for many things: for food, for safety, for love, and for my back legs. I'm afraid they got the rough end of the adventure when they got hit by a car. Kirsten says I'll be surprised by how much they heal if I wait quietly. I don't want to wait quietly. I want to chase squirrels, herd sheep, and retrieve sticks again. Still, I am pleased by the little steps, and those are coming more and more frequently. All these things will be another story for another day though. I did tell you I was grateful for food, did I not? It wouldn't do to seem ungrateful at breakfast time, and with that I'll leave you until next time.