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With a powerful thrust of energy, this red-tailed hawk stretches out her wings to take flight. She sees her mate about a hundred yards away in another grove of trees and goes to join him. Rather romantic, isn’t it! After taking turns guarding their nest, it’s time to hunt for today’s meal. We have an abundance of these hawks throughout the Midwest United States. They can be seen in groups circling high and low in the sky in search of prey or mates (depending on the time of year).


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They are a graceful predatory bird and a fierce defender of their nests. These hawks usually mate for life and can live up to thirty years. They have adapted well to human habitat and are often seen sitting atop descriptive road signs only a few yards from the highway’s speeding traffic. One can see why birds have been used as models for airplane designs as they were created to ride the wind most efficiently. I especially like it when they catch thermal uplifts and glide without effort for what seems like hours.

Hole in our Hearts

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Carson left us today, but we believe we will see him again in Heaven.

After prolonged pain with his collapsing trachea which created difficult breathing and constant hacking, along with anxiety and stress, his suffering is over.

The decision was agonizing to make, but necessary. He is a part of us. Oddly, when I first got home from our veterinary’s office, the first thing I did was look for him.  I imagine there will be several habits related to Carson which will take time to lose.

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He was combination of many contrasting things: handsome, playful, independent, fun, stubborn, exasperating,  silky soft, gentle, tolerant, an eating machine, and the list goes on. He had a playful bark that sounded like a larger dog, although he didn’t bark much. He was great around our grand children-even when they were a bit rough with him.

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He was Cheryl’s shadow and she was the best thing that ever happened to him.

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He became my closest buddy, especially after his health deteriorated and I spent more time with him. How could you not love this guy?

Carson's Cert of Adoption

Although we only enjoyed his presence for seven years, it seems like seventeen. The Little White Dog Rescue non-profit organization is one of many terrific groups who help place needy canines with responsible people. For a bit more information about Carson, please go to my post on December 23rd, entitled White Christmas. Thank you.

Gone, but not forgotten. We will always love you, Pupdog (one of his many nicknames).




Take Five

Poetry in Motion

Soaring to Glory

What gravity?

Take the Plunge

Bottoms Up !

These images were taken two days ago through my sliding glass door so the clarity lacks, and the darkness of the images due to the bright back light is not ideal, but I enjoyed watching and photographing these birds and many others. They emptied the feeder in a few days!

A Lot

Do you ever catch yourself saying something to the effect, “It was a ………. year.” ? Obviously, a fill-in-the-blank answer is needed.

Almost halfway into January of this new year, I can honestly state that I wouldn’t answer that question in the most positive of terms. Perhaps some of you can relate. At the same time, I know it is critical to answer because if I don’t acknowledge where I have been then I am doomed to have a pretty crummy start to this new year. I also risk spiraling downward into a funk of sorts which I don’t desire to do. Been there, done that.

Below is my grandson working hard to push the wagon forward with his little sister in the front. What I like about this image is the determination. And, Elliot has no concept as to what my question is about. He just does things because he feels like it or he sees a need and wants to fulfill it. Either way, I love his gumption. He is a matter-of-fact sort of person, even at age three when this photo was taken. He is now four years of age.

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So, if I were to ask Elliot what type of year he had in terms he could understand, he would probably answer like this. ” It was fun.”

May all of our days in this 2018 be fun. Smile a lot. Laugh a lot. Rejoice in other’s success a lot. Choose to have no self-pity a lot. Be thankful a lot. Share a lot. Receive graciously a lot. Risk a lot…at least some. Look outside of ourselves a lot. Thank God a lot. Give a lot. You get the idea…do something positive, daily, and do it a lot.

Wishing you the best this year…a lot  !!!

Just Hangin’ Around

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These are some of our song birds wintering here in the frigid cold (temps have been near zero degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of weeks). We have finches, sparrows, nuthatch, grosbeak, woodpecker, chickadees, titmice, an occasional cardinal couple and even a few grown blue jays.

Obviously, they like the feeder, especially because they get to eat all they want, when they want. We previously had an open feeder which allowed not only birds, but other creatures to climb the deck and eat much of the bird seeds. This feeder is critter proof.

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This gray squirrel is the main culprit. He can climb just about anywhere and eats just about any nut, seed or berry he comes across. However, when he steps on any of the feeder’s perches the feeder drops down due to his weight which then covers the openings to the seeds. Pretty clever device. Too bad for the squirrel, as he has to settle for crumbs. Don’t feel too sorry for these guys which outnumber the human population in our geographic area. They must have thousands of nuts buried throughout our yard and neighborhood so they won’t go hungry.

Happy New Year !


White Christmas

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“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the one’s I used to know…” . At least that is what Bing Crosby sang about in 1942 as he pined Irving Berlin’s classic song about a nostalgic Christmas in the United States. BTW, did you know this is the world’s No. 1 single of all time! And to think, over half the world (geographically) has never seen or touched snow!

Actually, Cheryl and I are living with a White Christmas of sorts every day of each year with our Westie, Carson. This is a recent photo of him. He is about twelve years old. He has an interesting story which is not all that unusual for rescue dogs, and I acknowledge that many dog lover’s know similar stories. However, I will present Carson’s story in brevity with the hope it will brighten your holiday spirits.

Cheryl and I adopted Carson from a rescue organization called Little White Rescue. He was a breeder male penned in a puppy mill for an undetermined amount of time. We were also told he was found in a farm field, either escaping the mill or simply let go. We drove a couple hours to Omaha, Nebraska in November of 2012 to pickup our new addition to the family. We met with his foster mom and her daughter along with a representative of the organization. We paid the adoption fee, had our photo taken with Carson while holding his adoption certificate, and then took him home.


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Cheryl and I have had several dogs as pets and owning a canine was not new to us. We also had several felines along the way. But, we never had a terrier breed. West Highland Terriers are not high strung as some of their cousins are, but they do possess a certain aloofness about them. Interestingly, Carson has to acknowledge every visitor by a sniff and waits for a tap on the head, and upon completing this routine retreats to what he was previously doing or comes to us. Timid-no way. Annoying-sometimes. Barks-only at squirrels and cats and skunks. Lap dog-not until recently. Most of the time he simply has to be near us.


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We believe the above photo (taken in December of 2013) to be the first time Carson experienced snow outside of a pen. He was about four years old, but acted like a puppy-full of joy! He has a thicker coat of hair for the winter cold, and cold temps don’t seem to bother him. The reason we think this was his first winter of freedom is due to the fact that after we brought him home to roam our acre yard, he would only walk a 35 foot line back and forth for several weeks (creating a mud walkway) until he gradually ventured beyond this imaginary line. Yes, it was sad, but also rewarding to see him venture out.


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Whether it is white on green, white on brown or white on white, we can always find Carson. When he digs in the dirt he looks like an Oreo cookie with face, belly and paws all black and the rest of him white! The above photo is a mild example of his mud coloring. Westies were bred in Scotland to hunt fox and badgers. They are ‘bullet’ shaped with wide, powerful rear legs and a stout tale. When they trap their prey in a den they would dive into the hole as far as possible to grab onto the fleeing, fighting animal. Often they could not back out so the hunter would simply grab the tale and yank the dog out along with the vermin he just captured. We purposefully had his hair cut in a sporting sort of way rather than the cute style most Westies have. Because Carson is at the top size for his breed at 23 pounds, and is an alpha male, we felt he needed to look the part.




Carson is a tough canine. Besides enduring the mill, he has ruptured both knees, has had one ACL surgery, almost died as he was bitten on the throat by a neighbor’s pit bull and was later bitten in the leg by another dog. He is about ninety percent blind, is deaf, and has a collapsing trachea which causes constant hacking for air. He still has a sense of smell and a hearty appetite. Our vet says he and most pets adapt with their disabilities.  We know this to be true. I couldn’t resist the above image as Carson stood on my chest while I was siting in a lounge chair a few years ago…I snapped a cell phone photo and this is the result. I like it. He cracks me up!


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We didn’t know how much he would change our lives when we picked him up seven years ago. We are often inconvenienced and have less in our bank account, but that is the price of choosing to have another family member to take care of.  In return we get to experience his coolness as well as his love. Most dog owners can relate. We are grateful to have him around for another Christmas.


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And we hope you have a very Merry Christmas…with or without snow or Carsons !


Dedicated to all who rescue, medically care for, foster care and adopt helpless animals. Bless all of you as you continue to fulfill Christ’s mandate to care for others which includes people, of course.