Tag Archive | Wren

One Year with Wren

On our ride home from the shelter with Auntie Carol.
Her poor little face when she arrived, having tried to escape cages in shelters.
So thin…
Wren meets Rocky for the first time.
I begin to understand that she will eat anything… horseradish leaves.

Indulge me. I couldn’t help myself. I spent a little time reviewing a year of her photos — maybe a duplicate or two but I tried to pick those that haven’t been posted here before. There’s really no need for words. I’m grateful for our first year together, and wish us many more.

She is proud to have found Biko all by herself for the first time!
Romaine is just about her favorite snack
365 days of multiple hugs, most of them a little inconvenient, all of them welcome.
How she pulled this off?
Singing herself happy birthday this afternoon!


Wren and I had quite an adventure today, and I’m glad we did because tomorrow it will probably be raining all day. And tomorrow is the day I’ve declared to be Wren’s Birthday! We don’t know exactly when she was born, but we do know she was born into her new life with me last year on April 25, and that she was allegedly two years old then. So tomorrow I’ll be grateful for one year with Wren…

Today, I’m grateful for many, many things, and perhaps chief among them is helping. After all the gratitudes of the day, late tonight I had the opportunity to help a friend in need, and that feels as good as or better than the big adventures and the sensory pleasures of the day.

We found a sad trail of beautiful feathers along the canyon rim, the drifted remains of a northern flicker. When I spotted the first feather I was delighted, a molted gift; finding the second feather I suspected foul play; at the third feather and beyond it was clear that the flicker had met its demise, and the only thing I can imagine spreading its feathers far and wide was a midair attack by a falcon or other raptor. All told we gathered a handful of feathers, and left a few below the rim.

find two feathers?
The sky was amazing, quite the shapeshifter…

And it was soothing to return home to the tamer pleasures of the yarden. I was also grateful to get my permanent crown, which happened to arrive at the dentist quickly and be ready to replace the broken temp, so Wren bravely stayed home alone while I dashed to town for the quick fix. I was grateful for the helping hands of the dentist and his kind and capable technician. I’ve chosen to spare you the sight of the crown in my mouth and trust you are grateful for that.

I am also grateful that I read about and ordered this nifty bug catcher-magnifier last week, so that when I went in to shower after the trip to town I was able to safely capture the scorpion who had crawled up the drain into the bathtub–and magnify her 5x–and then help her outside. This handy item is sold as a toy, but doubles as a humane tool to remove bugs from inappropriate places and return them to appropriate places, like, anywhere besides my bathtub. This is at least the fifth scorpion to climb into the bathtub this winter, which equals the total of all scorpions in the house in all the years I’ve lived here. A new normal?

Eating Well

I’m trying hard to eat better these days, incorporating more vegetables and fewer sweets. I’m halfway there! Lots more greens have made their way into my diet, but I still bake too much and am addicted to dark chocolate M&Ms. I saw the idea for a ‘Spring Roll Bowl’ the other day, and so whipped one up for lunch. The idea is simple: throw everything you’d want in a spring roll together in a wok and then put it in a bowl.

I started by coating firm tofu cubes in cornstarch and browning them, then added a shallot and Chimayo pepper from the freezer. After a couple minutes I tossed in celery, garlic, and shredded cabbage, along with a splash of the Pad Thai sauce mentioned yesterday. After that was cooked down a bit I added carrots and radish.

I topped the bowl with bean sprouts and peanuts for extra crunch. So simple, so delicious!

Wren got a little antsy while I was eating lunch and had a romp with her pony.

Later we spent some time outside where the yellow tulips are bringing joy to all.

Awhile after that it was nap time. And now it’s bedtime. I’m grateful for waking up alive, spring flowers, and eating well. I’m also grateful for sharing cake and dog stories in a quick visit from Marla. Our conversation turned to housecleaning or lack thereof, and we both raved about the same New Yorker article by Ann Patchett, about preparing for our eventual demise by clearing clutter. We had both listened to it, and I recommend that option to anyone who has started thinking about dealing with all their stuff…


Obligatory Wren of the Day

I’m grateful for daffodils, but I honestly don’t know if I’ll see any this year. Foliage is up for daffodils and tulips, but with the last two nights in the teens it all looks a bit wilty. Only one patch of tulips managed to bloom before these hard freezes, and a few clusters of the little yellow and white ground tulips. Fortunately, only a few intrepid apricot blossoms have opened so far on a tree loaded with them, which bodes well for fruit–fingers crossed! I used the last of the 2021 apricots from the freezer a month ago.

Since I may not get daffodils in the yard, and the Bad Dogs have surplus eggs this time of year, I tried out this Daffodil Cake recipe from Epicurious today. One dozen egg whites and six yolks get whipped in separate bowls. Flour is folded into the whites, and then a third of that batter is mixed with the yolks to make two batters, which are then layered in the pan.

I did almost everything right, except I think I mixed too much white into the yellow (above), which made the yellow batter perfectly fluffy but didn’t leave me enough white for three good layers, so the top (which became the bottom) was skimpy.

But I was pretty pleased with the final product! I returned half the cake to the Bad Dog Ranch, where a slice of it was enjoyed the way the recipe suggested: with whipped cream and fruit. I chose to eat my slice plain today, but tomorrow’s will be topped with vanilla ice cream. Not simple, but delicious.

photo credit Bad Dog Man.

What to do now with six egg yolks? … oh I know! Boiled custard. Perfect nutrition for the weekend, since the temporary crown my tooth got on Tuesday cracked in half today while I was eating a burrito. Oh well!

Letting Topaz Lead

It’s been many awhile since I strolled through the woods without an agenda. It was so relaxing this morning to let Topaz lead the way. She doesn’t stay on the main paths, and often goes under, over or up into places I can’t follow, but I’m content to more or less trail her along a nearby deer track.

The first spring flowers are up in the woods, the little native buckwheats. It’s heartening to see some natives among the dazzling green carpet under the trees, most of which is invasive weeds. There will be plenty of dry fuel this summer. We can only hope the planetary winds settle down soon.

In addition to little treasures off the main trail, there were some hazards.
But nothing fazed our fearless leader.
Letting Topaz lead is a new concept for Wren, but she seemed to enjoy it.

After another busy day grateful for being alive, Wren took a little nap on my lap before bedtime.

The Internets

Wren tries out her front-pack, for when I need to carry her on long or cold walks. She is a little big for the size Large, but she seemed pretty comfortable in it.

After four full days without the internet, I’ve sure had some time to process how much I rely on it not only day to day but minute by minute. I’m grateful to have ‘the internets’ (as one of our more eloguent presidents called it) back after all this time, and to have had the time to recognize how essential it’s become to my work, entertainment, and planning. No weather forecasts, no Picard, no ability to upload videos, and the podcast has been languishing this whole time, almost ready to upload but with this software I couldn’t even finalize it without internet.

It was indeed the magnificent THUNdersnow that knocked out the tower on Friday afternoon, as I suspected. Tight-lipped Rise Broadband finally confirmed that in an email this afternoon, while I was at the dentist getting a back molar prepped for my first-ever crown. I’m also grateful for dentists, and dental care, and oral hygiene; I’m grateful for a wedge of pineapple upside down cake which was all my sore mouth felt like eating tonight after I woke up from a nap after the afternoon in the dental chair. I’m grateful for nitrous oxide which made the ordeal feel almost like a spa treatment. I’m super tired, and heading to bed, but grateful to be reconnected with the world.

Spring at Last

The flowering jasmine is flowering its fragrant white star blooms. I bought this online a couple of years ago after a friend and teacher in Australia mentioned that the jasmine HEDGE in her yard was blooming. I’d always wanted a bonsai jasmine, so I got this one to honor her. The lovely jade tiger is an ancestral memento.
…and the way she watches me…
And I’m grateful that she doesn’t always watch me, but lives her own adventuresome life as well. Today we walked to the canyon rim for the first time. It made me feel silly: I missed yesterday’s Wordle, which is rare for me, and it was LEDGE. Duh. Ice Canyon is melting…

I’m grateful for Spring at Last! Suddenly, after the long wait, just as in This is Happiness, precipitation ceased and sun emerged just in time for Easter. Today was beautiful from start to finish, and we spent as much time outside as possible. I hooked up a couple of hoses for the first time since November to rinse off some stuff. Wren made the most of the snowmelt by rolling in every possible blend of dirt, and wasn’t happy when I lifted her onto the table to document it.

“Can you plant garlic in spring?” I was asked a month ago. Yes, you can! Though I don’t know how well it will bulb, it has certainly sprouted well.
I’m grateful for a smoothie outside in the late afternoon under the apricot tree on Easter Sunday. The smoothie includes half a frozen banana, some pineapple chunks, soy milk, protein powder, flax meal, frozen blueberries, fresh ginger, coconut cream, lemon juice, a large kale leaf, and a little water. And maybe something else, I don’t remember. And the straw is washable and reusable silicone. There was no bunny, but Wren did her best to impersonate one.

Citizen Science

My little dingo works on a chew-bone

I just learned about another doggie DNA lab. This one is a non-profit research organization called Darwin’s Ark. You can pay for a DNA test kit, or you can get on the waitlist to get a free one if you answer 10 short questionnaires about your dog. There are 26 questionnaires, each with around 10 questions. I answered all of them, but I doubt that will bump me up in the list. They rely on grants and donations, and only run the DNA tests when they get enough money and a certain number of entrants. So it could be years before I get to do this test for Wren, but I’m interested to see if it provides more information about her breed mix than the first one. They use substantially more genetic markers than Embark, which uses the most of any commercial lab. Even if you don’t want to get the DNA test, the questionnaires still provide valuable data as they work on issues like dog cancer, and ticks.

This is just one of the many citizen science projects that technology and the world wide web make available to anyone to participate in. I’m grateful for these opportunities to provide our everyday observations to teams that can learn and discover. Some others are: I See Change, which was born in the North Fork Valley and now has participants around the world measuring and sharing climate change in their backyards; eBird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology gathering bird sightings from around the world to advance research and conservation; and CoCoRahs, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, which started 25 years ago on Colorado’s Front Range and now has participants throughout North America and beyond. Technically I’m a member of all these, though I’ve let my participation in a couple of them slide in recent years. National Geographic also has a list of fine citizen science opportunities.

So Much

Or I could have titled this ‘Reading’ again. Or ‘Bibliofillies.’ Our book club celebrated its 18th anniversary this month with one of the best books we’ve ever read. Everyone gave it two thumbs up, and some of us included more fingers and toes. I personally gave it five thumbs up, who’s to say how many I get to give? I mean, if I can give zero fucks about something like … well, then surely I can give more thumbs up than are apparent, right?

This book is hands down one of the best reads I’ve experienced in my short life. And that’s what it’s about, life. Just the depth and breadth of “the ordinary orbit of one life,” which “at the time you’re living it you can sometimes think your life is nothing much…”

“Story was the stuff of life, and to realize you were inside one allowed you to sometimes surrender to the plot, to bear a little easier the griefs and sufferings and to enjoy more fully the twists that came along the way.” This gorgeous Irish novel is about living each day with awareness and gratitude, kindness and compassion, and I felt honored that some of my fellow Fillies thought of me and the mindfulness that I preach as they were reading it. When we can step back and observe the reality of our unique and precious life as it unfolds, one breath, one detail at a time, we can more deeply appreciate each moment.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough to anyone. Please do yourself a favor, if you love to read, and get it now. Those Fillies who listen to books claim that it’s about if not the best narration they’ve ever listened to, and I don’t doubt them. I was glad I could hear the Irish brogue in my head, and several-many times I read a passage aloud to Wren, in my own poor imitation of the lyrical accent.

Speaking of lyrical, I found myself with a spare half hour this morning, and cracked open my piano for the first time in a year. Not only am I grateful for being able to read words, and for everyone who contributed to this skill, but I’m grateful for the ability to read music, and to Mrs. Tankel for teaching me that skill starting when I was in the first grade through high school.

I haven’t played much since the kittens came, and that’s amazingly coming up on eight years; I haven’t played at all since Covid, because the piano is a tiny bit out of tune, and, well, I just didn’t call the tuner. Until this afternoon: and he has put me in his rotation and will be here sometime this month. I’m grateful for John Blackburn, the hottest piano tuner on the western slope and maybe anywhere, and for Neighbor Robert, who tuned me into him. I’m also grateful to Robert for one day dropping the line, “…and of course you have Hanon,” to which I responded with an eloquent “huh?” And he gave me the Virtuoso Pianist exercise book that might have made all the difference when I was learning piano as a child. It’s a joy to play.

Wren isn’t too sure about piano, since today was the first time she heard it, but she was game, and stuck her nose in the way between my hands for a few exercises, but left as I began to play a Schubert waltz. She was long gone before I tried to sing along with ‘King of the Road,’ but that’s okay. I don’t need her with me every single moment. I’m so grateful that I have a piano, and to the Colonel for giving it as his last gift to me, and that I knew when I closed it the last time that I would get back to it eventually.

And I’m grateful, as always, for the inestimable cheese sandwich. And really, in the course of a day, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what I’m grateful for: so much!


Though I enjoyed having salads for lunch for a couple days, I was so glad to bake a loaf of bread that the Kitchen Ants did not get to devour. It was finished late last night and I cooled it in the mudroom inside the cake keeper. After slicing, I froze half of it just in case, and they didn’t try the keeper during the day but just to be safe I put it back in the mudroom tonight.

I was so grateful today for the cheese sandwich. Cheddar, provolone, pickled iceberg, bean sprouts… I was also so grateful for the voters of Wisconsin (and all the volunteers who got out the vote) who elected a sensible state Supreme Court justice who will fight to preserve human rights and prevent electoral corruption next year. Why was this such a pivotal election with potentially national consequences? Ask Robert Hubbell.

Meanwhile, back at Mirador, I was grateful to wake up alive. I’m also grateful for my smart little dog, who with just a week of training is now eagerly supporting my exercise regime.

Are we ready?
C’mon! Hurry UP! I’ve been ready for ages!