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AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge

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Turkey Tracks: May 19, 2022

AC Slater: Waiting at the Rainbow Bridge

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of my sweet boy—who is asking me to ”go,” to play.

I had to put AC down yesterday—and I thought you’d like to know.

In a nutshell, the resident Lyme he had flared badly over the weekend, so I took him to the Camden Animal Hospital first thing Monday morning.  They dehydrated him and got him on all the strong Lyme meds, but then his back legs totally went limp on Tuesday afternoon. He couldn’t walk. Or, pee without his back legs. I held him in my arms all Tuesday afternoon and all that night. He wouldn’t eat anything.  

So, more x-rays yesterday morning, Wednesday, showed he had something, some injury maybe, in vertebrae on his spine that, together with his Lyme, rendered his legs useless—a possible combo of Lyme nerve damage and possible injury.  

An operation in Portland may or may not have helped—meanwhile he was on the heavy-duty Lyme meds. Plus, he already had all the food issues from a reaction to his 1-year rabies booster, so that I cooked his fish and veggie food, which was the only food he could eat without allergic reactions.  How would I feed him, assuming he would even eat, while he was in a hospital in Portland? How would I manage a 40-pound dog whose back legs were not working?

I just couldn’t see a clear way that could help him and that I could manage.  It just felt like the kindest thing I could do for him to put him down. AC was a hard charging, high-energy dog—even if I could have worked out all the logistics and the meds worked and the operation worked, he would have hated having to be sedentary, quiet, docile for the rest of his life.  That just was not, at all, who he was.  

I was totally exhausted yesterday.  I got a good night’s sleep last night, so feeling less tired this morning.  And I am beginning to catch up with things that were on hold for the last 4 days. But I am going gently, too. Everything will wait.

I loved AC so much.  He was my forever, forever dog. He brought so much life, and joy, and sweetness into my life—in countless ways. He was the smartest dog I’ve ever had. His vocabulary was huge. He had just turned 4 and up to 4 days ago, seemed healthy and happy.

Now I will take a dog break for some time and regroup.  I’ve never been alone for the last 20 years as I’ve always had dog companions.  So it will be good to take some time to see how it is to live without a dog when one is alone.  Pros and Cons, for sure.  But I want some good time to fully grieve a companion who had such a hold on my heart and my time, who brought me such life-giving gifts. AC can never be replaced. Not easily. Maybe not ever.

It all just happened so quickly…

But life is like that some times, isn’t it? Change can come in the bat of an eyelid.

There are lessons to be learned from AC’s life. I will spend some time contemplating those lessons. Some include that it is important to get outside every day, that is is important to be happy, that it is important to play often each day, that it is important to feel joy from the small moments we are given every day where joy can be present if recognized as such.

I’ll start with those.

Water, for AC, was a never ending…joy to be experienced.

Written by louisaenright

May 19, 2022 at 9:46 am

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Spring Creeks Are So Fun

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Turkey Tracks: April 11, 2022

Spring Creeks Are So Fun

On Saturday, AC doggie and I made a trip over to Barrett’s Cove to see if he could chase his ball there. The Snow Bowl field is being ”fixed” and is looking so much better—but it’s roped off until the seeded grass gets established—which will take some time as grass seed needs consistent 65 degree weather to sprout and grow.

We’ve had so much rain recently, and the lake is really high at Barrett’s Cove. Much of the grass there has huge puddles, but we did find some dry ground next to the little creek which was running really fast. Deep pools lay along its length that were way over AC’s head.

And wouldn’t you know, AC dropped his ball into the creek above the bridge, and it bounced along faster than AC could manage.

There was great carrying on to retrieve the ball as AC won’t go over his head into the creek’s pools, and I couldn’t quite reach the ball in time while I tried to negotiate the steep creek banks.

We finally got it just below the bridge when it ran up against bushes at the creek’s edge and AC could reach it while keeping his back legs firmly on ground.

Will he drop it again into creek water?

Who knows. He’s a pretty quick learner actually. He remembers his encounter with our local porcupine when he was a little over 6 months old. It was late at night, and there was no way I was going to be able to take him to the emergency vet clinic on my own as he was frantically pawing his face. I sat on the floor and pulled out the quills, one by one, which is horribly painful for a dog. And he let me. He just seemed to know. In fact, it took several days as some had broken off with his frantic pawing at them—and it took some days to find those and to ease them out.

Porcupine is currently wreaking havoc in the emerging plants in my garden. And AC saw him the other night but did not charge him. And now I go out with him on his last trip out at night—after reminding him about how BAD AND SCARY porcupine is.

Sunday was beautiful and sunny. As is this Monday morning which will start a new week.

Written by louisaenright

April 11, 2022 at 10:00 am

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The Great Melt-Out Begins

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Turkey Tracks: March 11, 2022

The Great Melt-Out Begins

We may yet get more snow and more cold snaps, but the great melt-out has started.

Today is sunny, and the air is clear and crisp and holds the promise of spring.

AC and I had a lovely morning trip yesterday to the Snow Bowl area. The rutted, ruined field has some stretches where he could chase his ball for a bit.

The pond is still covered in ice, but it’s no longer safe to walk over it, especially at the edges. I noted in the little nature journal I made in 2005, that the great melt-out in 2004 was April 17th. I think the pond could be clear earlier this year, but time will tell.

These ice houses have been pulled to the safety of firm land and will be hauled away for summer storage soon now.

The Snow Bowl ski area is still active for those trying to get in the last days of skiing for this winter.

AC doggie had a fine time alongside the creek that runs into the pond—smelling out traces of small animals. Or so he thinks.

He thinks there are small rodents EVERYWHERE now. Look at that very happy tail!

The little creek next to AC’s hunting endeavors is so sweet. It is gentle today, but is capable of being a rushing torrent that would sweep away a dog at times.

What will AC and I do today?

There will be some outdoor activity, for sure.

Written by louisaenright

March 11, 2022 at 8:28 am

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AC Got To Chase His Ball

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Turkey Tracks: March 6, 2022

AC Got To Chase His Ball

It’s been days since AC could chase his ball, days in which his blistered paw healed, a wound obtained by running on frozen pavement in cold temperatures as the field at the Snow Bowl is pretty much ruined for now. The ruts are deep and hard to negotiate when frozen or hidden under the snow.

So yesterday, I took AC to Barrett’s Cove to chase his ball in the parking lot—AND so I could spend some time outside in what was a warmer, sunny, beautiful day. We are all starting to smell spring in the air now. But spring does not bound in here in Maine; it crawls in, inch by inch.

AC was delirious with joy.

And you can see there is enough snow cover on the parking lot where AC would not be running on the pavement. Here’s a little video I took. Note that AC ”leads” the chuck-it throw. He almost took a walkabout into the deep snow on the grass—carrying his ball. If he dropped it over there, I’d have a hard time getting to it though the banked snow and then I’d have to negotiate the steep slope.

Today is very wet, but the air feels balmy. So far, I have hunkered down inside to do household tasks and to sew. AC is tolerating inactivity, though he asks to out for a run around the property off and on. The deer are very present today, and AC is sure it is his job to run them off.

The deer… They have broken into the protective burlap over a big rhododendron on the woods side of the house and eaten it back to some bare stems. They have been increasingly a problem in the past few years. I’m not sure why that is.

The roasted chicken is carrying me through today’s meals. Tomorrow I’ll plan on cooking something else that has carrying power.

Written by louisaenright

March 6, 2022 at 1:26 pm

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Rare Steller’s Sea Eagle in Maine

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Turkey Tracks: February 6, 2022

Rare Steller’s Sea Eagle in Maine

Friend Gina Caceci from Falls Church, Virginia, where I used to live, sent me a newspaper clipping yesterday (from WAPO) about a rare HUGE sea eagle from Asia appearing on the New England coast. The Steller’s Sea Eagle is now off the coast of Maine in the Boothbay area, having first been sighted further south.

This eagle’s natural habitat is northeastern Asia, which includes Russia and Japan. It is named for German naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller. There are only a few thousand of these birds in the world now.

If you google, you can get a lot of stories and pictures, but I found these two: one with a video and one with lots of pictures that people here have taken. This bird is drawing big crowds as even non-birders are trying to see it. The bird does seem to be moving gradually north.

This bird is HUGE: the wing span is nearly 8 feet. It dwarfs our local Bald Eagles as it is twice as heavy. No one yet knows the sex. It has an ample food supply off the New England coast (fish and DUCKS), and the climate is quite similar to its native habitat. No one knows why it has ventured so far from its home grounds, but naturalists say birds going on ”bird walkabouts” is not unusual. Some even return to places they have found year after year.

This link has a lot of pictures.

Thanks so much, Gina, for this very interesting information.

Written by louisaenright

February 6, 2022 at 7:58 am

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The Storm is Over

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Turkey Tracks: January 30, 2020

The Storm is Over

Today dawned sunny—the storm is gone.  It’s 10 degrees.  The snow is light and fluffy, so fairly easy to shovel.  But there is a lot of it—at least 18 inches up here on the hill, but the drifts are deeper of course. And light snow sticks to one’s boots and gloves.

I waded out twice yesterday, snow shovel in hand, to clear the generator, but never lost power. Out by the garage, the drifts were deep enough that I need the shovel for balance.

The storm was meant to be worse in the night, with high winds, but by the time I did the last generator check before bed, local radar showed that the worst had passed us by here on the coast. The darker snow bands were to our west.

AC refused to go out for a long time yesterday until I put on a coat, boots, etc., and went with him.  He didn’t like the high wind. Or peeing in deep snow.

Now, on this sunny, bright morning, I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and waiting for the plow/shovel guys to come.  I need to get the kitchen door open—it got snow stuck around it when I was out there shoveling—there is a kind of wind tunnel that comes off the roof just over that door that dumps snow onto the deck—just outside the door.  I was able to bully that door closed enough to lock it last night (which makes the seals better), but it needs to be cleaned off this morning so it will properly close.

There is something about a big snow storm that makes me feel so alive—especially when I go out into it for a bit.

Written by louisaenright

January 30, 2022 at 8:29 am

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Bitter Cold and a Rainy Morning

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Turkey Tracks: January 17, 2022

Bitter Cold and a Rainy Morning

Three days: two days of temps in the single digits and today we have temps going to the 40s and…rain and high wind.

Oh my…

I’ve never yet had a problem with pipes freezing, but with the wind chill factor in play, I did run a thin stream of water in a downstairs bathroom faucet.

My Camden friend sent me this photo of a Titmouse hunkered down in the bitter cold of Saturday and Sunday.

My bird feeder is full and two suet feeders are hung. The turkeys tried to inhabit the warmer slope behind the house yesterday, but AC would not allow them to stay.

I’ve happily hunkered down—though AC and I made a quick trip to the grocery store yesterday mostly just to get out. Organic blueberries and raspberries came home with us, along with some fresh lettuce and AAA batteries.

I’ve finished quilting (on the domestic machine) ”My `Sunny’” and have bound it and am now hand-sewing the binding at night. I love having this Janome set up with a walking foot already attached—and I can store this whole arrangement neatly on the back wall when I’m done. I can watch tv or listen to whatever book I have on Audible from this place. The red quilt keeps AC off my new hassock and, as a bonus, part of the couch.

”Whirlygigs” came off the longarm yesterday afternoon, and I’ll install binding on it today. The pantograph is ”Bayside,” which Wendy’s Quilting blog used recently, and I think it gave this quilt wonderful texture. Wendy is an awesome longarm quilter, and she lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

I finished and attached the 5th block of 6 to the 4th row of the EPP project from hell. So, progress there as well. And I spent some time gluing the last of the rectangles that form the rings. One more block and two more rows. I think I’ll NOT attach this row to the others, but will attach the last two rows, then attach them to the mother ship.

And so, the winter of 2022 progresses…

Written by louisaenright

January 17, 2022 at 10:11 am

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Christmas Eve 2021

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Turkey Tracks: December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

It is brrrrr…. cold today.

It was 18 degrees outside my kitchen windows this morning. AC didn’t stay out long for his morning excursion at all.

And to think we were complaining that it was in the 40s and raining only last Tuesday.

My Camden friend sent me this picture of a hawk in Tuesday’s rain—she said he was ”patiently waiting” for a meal to arrive. Isn’t s/he beautiful. And s/he blends so well with the winter woods.

I finished ”Calm” last night and took pictures this morning. This quilt has provided many, many fun hours of planning and quilting. I’ll mail it on Monday—and now it’s in the wash—remember the chipmunk-in-the-house episode…

The new printer came and had a software problem that rendered it inoperable. Strange. It will go back Monday and another one sent in its place. I hope it works. The printer comes with great reviews.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

May your homes be warm and filled with light and laughter and joy.

And I wish you all the very best Happy New Year 2022 as we travel around the sun together once more.

Written by louisaenright

December 24, 2021 at 1:06 pm

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Refrigerators and AC’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Ball”

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Turkey Tracks: December 16, 2021

Refrigerators and AC’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Ball”

Can I just say that NO ONE in my life has ever told me it is really important to take off the front grill on the bottom of your refrigerator and to vacuum out the dust balls that accumulate there? Even better, after vacuuming from the front, pull out the refrigerator and take a shop vacuum and blow beneath the refrigerator from front to back.

I was hesitant to reach beneath the refrigerator with the vacuum as I didn’t know what kind of electrical connections could be present there, but it turns out, nothing to worry about under there.

And can I just also say that getting appliance fix-it people to come fix something up here in rural Maine is not an easy task. Most are tremendously overworked and super busy.


No one told me…


And I think it might be that I am a military brat, and we always moved pretty often, so maybe my mother didn’t ever do this task.

I have learned the hard way, and right now I’m feeling really lucky that doing those two tasks (vacuum and shop vac blowing out) allowed my refrigerator to once again run its fan and to cool to the proper temperatures.

If you don’t have a shop vacuum and have a garage, I’d highly recommend you get one. I have used the one John bought more than I would have thought. But, mostly for tasks in the garage.

Of course I can’t get that front grill back on. There are these two pesky clips, and I don’t see how or where they work. But help is on the way next Thursday, and meanwhile, all seems good again.

So, today is a rainy day, and AC hates rainy days. We did take a ride out to the post office to mail something, but AC doesn’t think that ride counted. He wants to RUN, to chase his ball at the Snow Bowl field.

AC is all about play—of all kinds—especially if balls are involved. ”Chase Me I Have the Ball” is his favorite game. Unless it’s ”Chase Me: I Have the Stick,” which happens when I walk down to get the mail.

Anyway, here’s a little video of AC inviting me to play with him—taken a few days ago AFTER he had a good run.

Written by louisaenright

December 16, 2021 at 2:40 pm

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A Winter Day in December

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Turkey Tracks: December 4, 2021

A Winter Day in December

Today has been all shiny and bright.

But cold.

The sky is the crystal, clear blue we get often in winter.

As I threw AC’s ball for him, the sharp air, laden with the faint smell of wood smoke from nearby houses, cleared all the cobwebs out of my head.

I’ve said it before on this blog, but AC chases his ball with his whole heart. Without a heavy coat, neck scarf, hat, and gloves, it’s hard enough to throw the ball and get a video. This video is the best I could do this morning.

And now I have time to sew, so off I go.

Written by louisaenright

December 4, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized