Goodbye, Scout

We were playing in the backyard, Scout, C and I, when C was the first to notice that Scout’s nose was bleeding, not a lot, just a trickle.


At first, I thought it might be a bad allergic reaction, but it didn’t stop. Maybe there’s something stuck up his nose?  He does sniff everything and everywhere. We looked and looked but didn’t see anything, maybe it was lodged deep in the nose and we could not see it?  

Ms J took him to our vet the next day. The staff at the vet’s office first also thought that it must be something lodged in the nose, a porcupine quill ?  They used a specialized device to check his nose and didn’t see anything up there, but they did see that his blood was not clotting.  

This is somewhat unusual for a 10 month old dog, but it is a symptom of having ingested rat poison. We didn’t see him eat anything that might have been killed by poison, such as a dead squirrel or mouse. The antidote for a dog who has eaten rat poison is a massive dose of vitamin K, which helps to clot the blood.  This didn’t work. Besides he would have had to eaten ten pounds of poison to cause this lack of clotting, but at least that could be ruled out. 

Perhaps he had a genetic disorder, such as hemophilia?  A treatment of Prednisone would help with that.  If it worked it would indicate that he was a hemophiliac, which is manageable with a variety of drugs, but that didn’t work either. 

A tick bite ?  Some ticks can cause this type of symptom. A blood test did not indicate a tick borne illness. A treatment of antibiotics was tried anyway just to be sure, but it didn’t help.  

So they tried an ultrasound. That’s when they saw the tumor that is eating away his spleen. He just cant clean the blood and make the platelets to help clot normally. There’s not much to do to stop it. 

One of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is tell our eight year old son that his dog was going to die soon. We won’t be able to take him to the beach and see him jump in the waves this Summer. We won’t be able to ride bikes with him running along beside us wondering what those strange wheeled things were. I had thought that C and Scout would grow up together, but that’s not going to happen. 

So we took him home. 

For the next few days he’ll eat his favorite foods. 

He’ll sit in the sun in the backyard. He’ll sleep on our bed if he wants to.  He can sit in his favorite spot in the garden. 

Maybe we’ll play tug-of-war with his blanket. 

I’ll scratch his ear as long as he wants me to. 

And then we’ll have to say goodbye. 

He’s been the smartest, happiest, most good natured dog. He loves meeting new people and he especially loves kids. He loves going to pick up C from school, seeing all the kids run around, getting a lot of attention from the kids who wanted to pet him. He loves meeting other dogs too, hoping they will want to play with him.   He just wanted to be friends with everyone. The best dog I’ve ever had. And he’s only 10 months old. 


We went on a camping trip recently, but before we left, we made sure to leave some cut up orange pieces in the basket where we were keeping the caterpillars, should they complete their transformation to butterflies while we were away.   I just noticed the the orange pieces look a bit like butterflies!

When we came back, three days later, the first thing we did was to check on the caterpillars.  All of the caterpillars had turned into butterflies. We had them in a wire mesh waste basket with a piece of cardboard on top, with the orange pieces on a plate on the bottom of the basket. I thought that since we were away it would be a good idea to change out the orange pieces to make sure they had something to eat.  The moment I lifted the cardboard from the top of the basket, every one of the butterflies immediately flew out of the basket.

If you’ve ever had a fly in a room, you’ve seen it fly around aimlessly bumping into things, randomly landing on things in the room and taking off again to fly around aimlessly some more.  These Monarch butterflies did not do anything like that, instead they all immediately flew directly over to the most southerly facing window in the room and flapped against the glass furiously.  There were twenty or so butterflies gathered around the window and on the window sill.   It’s amazing that these little insects somehow know that they’re supposed to make their way south to Mexico before it gets too cold.  They can only fly when the temperature if above sixty degrees and it seemed as though they wanted to get out of that room as soon as possible while it was still warm enough to fly.  In the photo below it looks like they are trying to get to the dahlias blooming below the window outside.


We opened the window and most of them flew out and away as fast as they could.  I’ve read that it is estimated that they can fly at around twelve miles per hour, but will go much faster if the wind is in their favor.


We gathered up a couple of the remaining stragglers who were on a neighboring window that does not open and directed them over to the open window.  Having a butterfly crawl over your fingers really can’t be compared to anything else, a very strange feeling having their little legs move slowly over the fingers and hands with the wings flapping away.

Most flew away up into the sky, but a few landed on the dahlias below the window briefly before taking off.    One of them had some trouble taking off and landed on the grass below the dahlias.  Mr. C went outside, held out his finger for it to crawl onto, held up his hand into the sky and then it flew away.


Portsmouth Beach

Here’s how far behind I am in putting up posts!

Last Fall, we took a trip to the New Hampshire coast, near Portsmouth, where the beaches are very rocky.  So rocky in fact, that people have taken to creating rock cairns out of the rocks.

Some are just a few rocks tall, maybe they were taller at one point but had the rocks at the top knocked off by the waves.  There are a few that are about two feet tall, like this one.

There’s a lighthouse on the opposite shore of this tower.

There are a few wrecked lobster traps on the rocks, parts of which are sometimes used to

create ladders on the towers.

Mr. C liked trying to jump around the larger rocks and pools without getting wet.  He was able to do it, but my shoes ended up in some of these shallow pools a few times though.

This photo was taken by mistake, but it can give an idea of what the coast of New Hampshire is like.  This is why New Hampshire is not known as a beach destination.

Here’s the tower that Mr. C made, the one on the right below.  Looks like Ms. J’s fingers are in the shot, at the left!

He was also inspired to make a tower in the backyard once we got home too!




Formal day at school

Twice a month or so, Mr. C’s school has a special dress up day. Everything from simply wearing the school colors, to dressing up as your favorite character from a book, ugly sweater day, mismatched socks day, funny hat day, dress like your favorite job, and dress like your parents day . Of course there is the biggest dress up day of all, Halloween, when all the kids paraded around the outside of the school wearing their costumes, while the parents watched and took pictures.

It’s been a  nice way to get the kids excited about something at school, and from what I’ve seen there is a high level of participation from the first grade class, up through fifth grade.  Participation seems to vary by event. ‘School Spirit’ day seems to be popular, with most of the kids dressing in the school  colors. ‘Dress like a Superhero’ day seemed to be only popular among the younger boys though.   Mr. C must be one of the few first graders who has no interest in superhero characters so he did not participate in that event.  “That’s not real, you know, Dada.”

Most recently, the school organized ‘Formal Dress-Up Day’, where the kids were asked to wear their best outfit to school.   I remember when I was a kid, I hated getting ‘dressed up’.  You would need an act of Congress to get me to wear anything but the usual stained shirts.  Mr. C though jumped at the chance to wear his best clothes.  He counted down the days.  He asked me almost daily if his shirt was clean, if his pants were through the laundry yet, if his jacket would still fit him.  He tried on his dark blue jacket a few days before the big day to make sure it still fit.  The big day arrived and he woke up early and rushed to get into his  light blue Oxford shirt, dark khaki pants, and dark blue jacket.   ‘Look at me, I look like the weatherman!’, he said.  He was very excited.

Why is there a photo of a bottle of glue, you might ask ?   The big day was scheduled for the same day as gym class. However, the principal thought it might be a good idea to reschedule gym for another day since a lot of the kids would be in their best clothes. These are all lower grade kids, not yet changing into gym attire before playing any sports.  So what was scheduled in place of gym class ?   Art Class.

That’s right, Art Class.  What project did the Art teacher have the first grader work on while wearing their best clothes ?   Making collages with paper and glue.  Lots and lots, and lots of glue! So instead of Mr. C coming home with his favorite formal jacket being wrinkled, or maybe a little sweaty, from gym class,  he came home covered in spots of glue and bits of paper.

Mr. C was very disappointed with what happened to his jacket.  I wonder if the school will accept the invoice for the dry cleaning ?

Too Many Legos?

Mr. C loves Lego, and after six years of receiving Lego sets, Mr. C has a lot of them now.  

What we do is put together the set as soon as we get it.  Here’s a Lego fire truck. It has a ladder that can extend and rotate 360 degrees, and a hose on a reel.    

However, after a few months of hard playing, the set is taken apart and its pieces are scattered into the vast Lego bin of unattached pieces.


So we get out the huge pile of instructions and search for the pieces, and put it together again.  Usually, we can’t find all the correct pieces, so we have to make some substitutions. 

After a few hours of searching, it’s back together again.  Yeah!  The fire engine is back!  That set cost quite a bit, it’s good to get it back together.  
But then, a few months later, it’s all taken apart again and back into the vast bin of unattached pieces.  


After six years of searching for missing Lego pieces,  I’ve given up on trying to keep the sets together and accepted the idea that Mr. C is going to make his own creations. 

Here’s a “Traffic Control” vehicle he made.  It uses parts from the fire engine, as well as parts from about a dozen other sets, including the legs of a dragon. 


 It also has a magnetic rope that grabs the cars that cause traffic jams. 

This might be better than a fire engine anyway.  And ‘No’ you can never have too many Legos. 


Lights up

After untangling all the lights, and moving any bad bulbs to the back of the bushes, our twenty year old Christmas lights, which I long ago gave up on trying to find replacement bulbs for, are up.    

Ikea Built-in Bookcase Part 2

See that gap on the bottom of the bookcase base ?  That’s there because the floor is not level in our 112 year old house.

It’s not very noticable, though a marble will roll across the floor if placed at the baseboard.  That gap is about 1/4 inch high, just the right height for Mr. C to loose a lego under.

When he dropped the lego and it skipped under the bookcase, he was very upset.  Will it be stuck under there forever like a time capsule, he wondered.  I didn’t see it happen, so I didn’t know what kind of lego piece it was.  Some of those pieces are very small, some are large, some are important and are needed to complete the lego model, others aren’t that important and a substitute can be found instead.  C said it was an important piece.

First, I tried a standard foot long ruler.  Moving it around, trying to move the lego piece to the edge of the wooden base.  All I was able to do was push it further away, down into the back of the base.  I tried a long pice of paper next.  That didn’t have the stiffness of the ruler to get under the piece.  Again, I just only managed to push it further away.  The dust jacket of a book didn’t work either.  Mr. C went out to the backyard to look for a stick.

I then remembered that I had a much longer ruler, a three foot metal ruler.   After about a half hour of moving that ruler around in the gap, out popped the lego piece.

An important piece.    I’ll have to finish this bookcase soon or there will be a time capsule of small lego pieces under it.

Super Blood Moon

This past weekend, there was a rare ‘Super Blood Moon’.  This happens when the moon’s orbit is at it’s closest approach to the earth, combined with a lunar eclipse.  Apparently the next time this is supposed to happen is in 2033.  This seemed like something that Mr. C might want to see, since he’s interested in just about anything Science related.  He’ll also be in his 20’s when it happens again, so we planned on trying to see it.

A few days ahead of time, we told Mr. C about what was going to happen, and that if he wanted to see it he would have to stay up late.  Throughout the day of the big event,  he got increasingly excited, both with the idea of seeing something unusual that was Science related, and also with being able to stay up late.  He gathered up all kinds of things that he thought might be useful in our expedition, such as water bottles, bandages, cell phone chargers, extra shoes, and a variety of snacks.  He then stuffed everything into his backpack and was ready to go at about 4:30 in the afternoon.

About four hours later, during which Mr. C’s head was just about ready to explode with the excitement, we gathered together all of his supplies and headed out.  We drove over to the local High School, where there is a large open area of sports fields, which we thought would help to reduce the number of obstructions such as trees.  When we arrived we saw that there were about a dozen other people who had the same idea, so at least we were not the only crazy people doing this.

We had a large quilt which Mr. C sat with in the ground.  I had read that the moon may turn a shade of red as it reflected the sun during the eclipse.  We watched the moon slowly being eclipsed, though we didn’t notice a great deal of color change.

‘Take a picture, take a picture!’  Mr. C said.

With all those random things that he wanted to pack, did I remember to bring my camera ?   No.

So, all I had with me was my smart phone, which doesn’t really take very good photos in very low light conditions.  This is the best one, you might be able to see a little bit of the eclipse taking a bite out of the moon.  The lights on the bottom right side are from the High School.


While I was struggling with my camera phone, trying to improve the quality of the photos I was taking, Mr. C was slowly dozing off.  By about 9:00pm, Mr. C was wrapped up in the quilt and was fast asleep.   I had to pick him up and carry him over to the car, which is not so easy to do when it is nighttime, and also since he is now about four feet tall and weighs more than fifty pounds.

I did get a pretty good photo of the sunset though.




Mystery Solved

Back in June, I wrote a post (here’s the link to it) about how our back yard has been regularly visited by some mystery animal that has been digging fairly large holes in the lawn.

One day last week, I was having trouble sleeping, so I went downstairs to make a sandwich.  It was about 2:00 am, and while making the sandwich I noticed some movement in the backyard. Taking a look out the window, I saw a slinky white and gray animal, which seemed to be about two feet long, very close to the ground, digging in the lawn.  In the darkness, it had an eerie ghostly look to it as it dug in the lawn.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but from the color and the distinctive long tail, I’m fairly certain that it was an opossum.   After about five minutes or so, it wandered away, under a bush and then probably under the fence.

Opossums dig in the dirt to look for grubs and any other bugs to eat.  They may hiss and bare their teeth, but they’re harmless overall.  I’ve never seen one in the wild, and I didn’t know that New Hampshire was anywhere near their range so I was surprised to see it.

A few years ago, a photo of a “Found Cat – Not Very Friendly” poster circulated on the internet.  The poster included a photo of an opossum in a cage, which the person who found had thought was a not very friendly cat.

It was too dark to get a photo, especially since I only had my smart phone with me which doesn’t take very good photos with low light anyway.  So if anyone doesn’t know what an Opossum looks like, here’s  a stand in from Mr. C’s hand puppet collection.