Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet Minnie

As readers here know, I lost my miniature schnauzer some time ago. He was my best friend and traveling companion. I was certain I wasn't going to get another dog, but I couldn't stop thinking about all those dogs in the shelters and how one of them could be enjoying our empty back yard. Enter Minnie...

Minnie is a Chihuahua/dachshund mix that had a really rough start in life. She was abandoned on the streets with a raging skin infection and was starving. Nobody knows how long she was out there but she was in pretty bad shape. An animal control officer who also works for a shelter found Minnie and took her in and saw to her care. Eventually Minnie was adopted out and then returned to the shelter...twice, by the same woman. When I finally got her she was just about a year old.

Minnie is a friendly, loving little dog with a few quirks. Probably from her days of being alone on the streets. She absolutely has to sleep buried under blankets and if she gets exposed she desperately digs and scratches to get back under cover. She cries and shrieks when left in the car and she hoards her treats in her bed.

Maxie was one of a kind, but so is Minnie and she'll become a good shotgun rider and walking companion. Her days on the streets (or in the pound) are over.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Shopping Cart Constellation

I have to get up early for work, and in the fall and winter months it's usually still dark. I like getting up in the dark because while I walk the dog around I get a few minutes of stargazing before it begins to get too light. One sight had me taking out my binoculars and I was pleasantly surprised by what I viewed. At first I saw what appeared to be a very small, tight constellation. It looked like a miniature Big Dipper, but it really reminded me of a shopping cart. So I called it "The Shopping Cart" constellation until I was able to find out its true name. I saw these stars every morning and so I decided it was time to take a better look and brought out the binoculars. Through the eyepieces the stars went from faint to brilliant! Bright, white and luminescent. But even more than that the whole field of vision was filled with stars. A whole cluster! I was soon to find out from my guidebook that it is the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. I put the binoculars down and there were no stars visible around the now faint "Shopping Cart" constellation. I again looked through the binoculars and saw the circle filled with stars set off by the brilliance of the Pleiades. Work was a let-down after that beautiful discovery.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barre, Vermont

This cemetery is actually listed in Vermont guide books because of the beautiful and artistic tombstones that can be seen in there. .

Back Road Vermont

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mt. Storm, West Virginia

Views from along Rt. 50 through the Appalachians in West Virginia. Sections of this road, that runs east-west, wind up and down some steep mountains, and through some beautiful forest.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Romney, West Virginia

Back Road Journal travels out of New England to tour a few neighboring states.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Back Road Journal travels out of New England to tour a few neighboring states.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nazareth, Pennsylvania

(Back Road Journal travels out of New England to tour a few neighboring states.)

Nazareth, Pennsylvania was the former hometown of my mother-in-law. My husband wanted to visit this place that he hadn't seen in many years. It held so many fond memories for him, so for his birthday I made it one of the stops along our latest road trip. Nazareth is in the southeastern part of the state and the most notable thing I saw while down there were the cornfields. Many of them stretch for miles along the roads and highways, and reach beyond the horizon. Cornfields are everywhere, even near industrial centers. Green, green corn swaying in the breeze, as far as the eye can see!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canadian Border Crossing

Don't even think about straying more than a couple of feet past the marker or a guard will swoop right down on you and herd you back to our side. I learned this from past experience.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Maxie 1998-2010

I open the back door and Maxie runs out and down the steps. I see him pause to sniff the air and stare towards the back of the apartment complex beyond the yard. Nobody is there, but if anyone shows up he’ll be ready to bark and bark until well after they’ve gone out of sight. He’ll be ready to let everyone know this is his domain. His empire.

He then trots across the yard to the back fence where he’ll slowly make his way sniffing, very thoroughly, every inch along the bottom of the chain link. Several of the apartment people own dogs and walk them on the grass near the fence so I know Maxie has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to checking who’s been there recently.

Maxie works his way along the fence until he disappears from view into the next yard. Nobody there ever seems to care if he trespasses since they never use the yard themselves anyway. Although I can no longer see him, I can picture him stopping every so often to check if anyone has appeared outside the apartments, and I can imagine his nose twitching while he checks the air for interesting scents. Nobody is there yet, so with his nose back to the bottom of the fence he presses on.

I know he will be pushing through the weeds, that have grown taller than him, until he reaches the far corner of the fence and he can briefly survey those back yards while thoroughly exploring around the jungle of tangled grass and saplings. His little black, furry body partially concealed by the neglected growth, his little bobbed tail sticking up like a flagpole.

Once finished he’ll turn back and emerge from the tiny jungle, the fence now forgotten, and trot down through the neighbor’s yard and straight to the back door. I’ll see him suddenly reappear from around the shed that separates our two properties. If I’m not there at that moment I know he’ll stand there and wait, staring at the open door until I return, and once back inside the people from the apartments will be able to come and go in peace.

He has done this many times a day for the past several years and so I can see it very clearly in my mind, but only in my mind, because once the horrible kidney disease took hold, those days became fewer and far between. He stopped barking. He stopped going to the fence. He stopped being able to go on walks. One by one we saw him lose the things that made life enjoyable for him.

Yesterday he gave up on eating and drinking. He couldn’t stand anymore and he couldn’t rest comfortably. He twitched and gasped and there was no life left in his eyes, and so I had to make the decision I’ve been dreading, and give him his peace. We stayed with him until the last breath and the vet carried him away, still in his bed.

Goodbye my friend. You were deeply loved and you will be greatly missed. Goodbye.



About Me

My photo
Hi, and welcome to my blog! In my working life I'm a cook, and in my personal life I'm married and have two daughters, plus a Chihuahua named Minnie. I am also a culinary school graduate with a degree in pastry arts. When I have a day off the first thing I think about is getting my camera and hitting the road. I've always loved road trips and I've been carrying a camera since I got a 110 Instamatic for my birthday when I was a kid. So, we get in the car and travel all over seeking out new back roads and new places to visit. At least twice a year we head up to the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont and take in some of the best scenery New England has to offer, and we get to New Hampshire, too. We also do some shorter trips to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and sometimes even New York state (although it's not in New England) and once in a blue moon, we get to Maine. When I'm not on the road I'm right here at home reading, writing, watching some classic television like Andy Griffith, or Minnie and I are out strolling in the cemeteries enjoying the art and remembering the people.