Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a White, White World

Hi: 27°F
Low: 15°F
Conditions: Snow, heavy at times.

One heck of a nor'easter is making its way across Maine today. We're expecting a good 16 inches of snow before it's all over, and that's good news for huskies.

To celebrate, Ari and I thought we'd beat the snowplows and head over to a community trail not far from our house. It's a magical little spot, complete with a bridge-portal into the cedar bog that comprises much of the landscape:
Those log steps are a little tricky for clumsy humans in snowshoes, but they're clearly no problem for canine naturalists:

Once across, Ari enters her own little Narnia, where she is a wild dog capable of any adventure.

And there's always adventures to be had, like the area around this little burrow (see top right corner).

The wild dog did a pretty good job of excavating the area, but not quite enough to tunnel her ways inside. Still, you can't blame a girl for trying.

(Maybe if a certain someone stole a little less cat food, she might fit in said tunnel. I'm just sayin'. . . )

If tunnels don't work, avenues surely do. Like this one, our favorite stream, now a perfect way through the magical, snowfield forest.

We kind of like this winter wonderland. We think we'll stay a bit.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


It was a fluke, really. A friend had called to tell me about her kittens, which she found on a new website called "It's so neat," she said. "You type in your zipcode and it shows you all the animals for adoption in your area."

I was sitting next to my computer, so I typed in ours. And there was the ad:

Husky/Jindo puppies. Ready in January.
No pictures. Not even a description. Just the telephone number of a shelter in coastal Maine. But something clicked. I'd always wanted a husky. I didn't even know what a jindo was. But when I looked up the breed on the web, I became enamored with the clever, agile dogs I saw there. I read the ad again and knew: these were the puppies for us. I was sure of it.

That night, I brought home file photos of jindos and huskies for Greg. Over dinner, we talked it over. And then we talked some more. We woke up the next morning and talked more still. The next day, we drove to the shelter. There, we met a shy little dog with blue eyes and a white blaze running down her snout.
And then we fell in love.
Happy Gotcha Day, Ari. Thanks for three years of laughs and adventures and the very best kind of puppy love.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Hi: 9°F
Lo: -20°F
Conditions: Clear and very cold.

In our house, it's always a marvelous night for a moondance, and that's not just because we're big Van Morrison fans. We love the crisp nocturnal light, the sense that we've stepped into the rhythms of another set of creatures, the mystery of what lies just out of view.

This week's combination of waning moon, big snow cover, and arctic chill has made for some pretty spectacular lunar viewing. So the caninaturalist and I set out to see what we could find in addition to the moonlight.

My idea was to head to our pine grove, where each morning we find the tracks of animals as diverse as house cats, fox, coyote, and deer. A certain someone, though, thought the grove looked a little too imposing in the dark.

So, instead, we stuck to the more open landscape along our roadside, where round fir trees let in enough light for one sometimes-timid dog to feel a little bit better about her chances for survival.

We found some great tracks--mostly deer--but no critters. We smelled what we thought was skunk (puzzling, considering that they pretty much hibernate this time of year). And we heard the hoot of a barred owl.

That distracted us for awhile. But once we had stuck our noses in most of the tracks, someone got bored. And lost her nerve. Ears flat, tail between the legs, she demanded we go home. We're going to be eaten, this look suggested. I pointed out that very few animals could eat a 45-lb dog. Sharks and killer whales, maybe. Lions. Tyrannosaurus Rex. None, I added, were likely to be found outside our little house on a cold winter's night.

But she wasn't having it. 20 minutes was all the moondancing time this dog needed. As far as she was concerned, there was only one light we needed to be celebrating, and that was the glow of a wood stove.

With temps like these, I guess I can't hardly blame her.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hi: 26°F
Low: 21°F
Conditions: Winter Weather Advisory in Effect. Total accumulation: 7-9

After almost three weeks of drought, we're back in the snow game today.

Ari and I decided to celebrate with a skijore on our neighbor's trail. The adventure began, as most good ones do, with a ceremonial roll: this time, around the tips of my skis.

That was soon followed by a considerably less ceremonial (but no less frequent) human crash, as we attempted to avoid the backyard fire pit and lawn furniture (who leaves lawn furniture out in January? Oh, yeah. Never mind.)

It was well after we recovered and had embarked upon the actual ski trails that I realized my camera had fallen out of my coat pocket. So you'll have to trust me when I tell you it was incredibly fast and very beautiful conditions. And you'll also have to trust me when I tell you that the caninaturalist was a champ on the trails--galloping her way through snow and stopping only a respectable number of times to smell things.

We made it back to the firepit and were delighted to find a partially frozen camera waiting for us (though my pride seems to have wandered away for good). To help me make sure the former still works (we've long since given up on the latter), Ari agreed to pose for a skijoring picture in the backyard to show off her form.

And another to remind me that a canine naturalist always has her priorities (read: squirrels) in order, regardless the whims and desires of her human: