empty rooms and crazy dogs   16 comments

Posted at 7:07 pm in Uncategorized

Once again, it’s been awhile since I posted anything here. It’s not for lack of things to write about, but perhaps more of a motivational thing. Sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to say. Anyhow, I continue to work on preparing for a move to points as yet unknown. Most of my belongings are now packed and stacked in boxes waiting to go… to… somewhere. For several weeks, I’ve divided my time between packing and getting the house ready to sell. Now, we’re living in, what is essentially, an empty house. Both of the dogs have discovered that their barks are greatly amplified due to the lack of sound-absorbing furniture. They seem to relish trotting through the house, barking at ghosts or other invisible intruders. And these days, when I say “don’t” it actually sounds like I mean it.

Although I seem to have had little time for nature observation, there is quite a bit going on, but certain things do seem a slow this year. Perhaps that has to do with all of the rain — buckets full of rain several times each week. Day and night temperatures are also somewhat cool. Very few moths appear around the porch light during the brief periods when it is switched on. In past years, a dozen or so moths would appear within a few minutes, but this year, only one or two. However, the mosquitoes are loving this soggy weather and rise up in great clouds as we walk the trails around the farm. The barn swallows are also loving it — no doubt, they are feeding on mosquitoes. After dark, fireflies light up the darkest corners of the garden. With this damp weather, it might be a good year for them. I haven’t been finding all that many caterpillars, but did find the above individual just a few steps from the house. It might be a dark variation of Spilosoma virginica. It reminds me of a “silverback” gorilla — it’s funny how sometimes one thing will make me think of something quite else.

Sage is changing before my eyes. She’s losing her puppy-ness as her coat grows longer and coarser. She continues to want to be involved in whatever it is I’m doing. If I prune tree branches, she bites at them too. If I’m sawing a piece of wood, she’s chewing on the other end of it. If I’m weeding the garden, she’s tugging at plants right beside me.

Sage is still at that playful puppy stage where she enjoys pestering Sabrina. Here’s a movie clip… somewhat large at 4 MB… of how a typical play fight gets started and then plays out (click on the link or the above photo to watch the clip). Although Sabrina sounds grumpy, she actually enjoys the puppy’s attention.

As for everything else…
I do have a van now — a used van imported from the U.S. (that’s a whole other story deserving of its own post). It’s a larger van set up more for camping. It will be our home for awhile (for how long, I don’t know) once the farm is listed for sale. The other night, I stopped at a grocery store I’ve started going to occasionally. A more-talkative-than-usual cashier asked me how my day was going and what I’d been up to. I replied that I was getting my house ready to put up for sale. She wanted to know where I was moving to. I found myself saying, “I was planning to move to Nova Scotia, but lately I’ve been thinking that I might just go on the road for a year or two.” She asked, “Like, doing the Harley thing?” and I replied, “No, more like doing the camper van thing.” She said, “Oh, how cool! I wish I was doing something like that! I’d love to just take off and see the world.” I didn’t bother to crush her excitement by telling her the circumstances behind my decision to travel. Instead, I said, “Well, everyone should get out and see the world.” So, once the house is listed for sale and the van is equipped and packed, that’s just what we’ll be doing — at least for awhile.

Written by bev on June 17th, 2009

16 Responses to 'empty rooms and crazy dogs'

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  1. I like how Sabrina figured out how to not even get up while she’s playing. Sage does all the work. It’s very cute. Great to see them play like that together.

    It’s interesting to live (but not really live) in an empty house. Roger and I are living (but not really living) in this beach house. For us it’s like being in an extended-stay motel. We are here, but it is not home.

    robin andrea

    17 Jun 09 at 10:58 pm

  2. robin – They really enjoy each other’s company now. I often find them lying on their sides with the length of their backs touching. They play quite a bit — most of the time, Sabrina lies down and just lets the puppy run around, but sometimes she gets up and wrestles. Sabrina is very good at that.
    Funny thing about living in an empty house. When I rented the place in Arizona last winter, I brought a bunch of belongings with me as I wasn’t sure if I would feel sort of displaced. I ended up not looking at or using many of my things and I wouldn’t bother bringing them along next time. I’m finding that I’m having that same feeling now that most of my belongings are packed away. I’m not really missing anything too much. Maybe I truly am ready to go nomad.


    18 Jun 09 at 5:55 am

  3. That may be true for us too, Bev. We have a 10 x 20 storage space. It’s got 99% of our stuff in it. I rarely miss a single thing. Perhaps we are like the desert tribes of the Great Basin, carrying only the essentials and moving to where the food is plentiful. It’s interesting that we are having such parallel experiences at the moment. I think if we had a dog instead of our crazy un-traveling cat, we’d be on the road already. Staying in one spot is a loving concession to a cat who has absolutely no idea how we’ve changed our lives to accommodate him. Ah, cats!

    robin andrea

    18 Jun 09 at 6:35 am

  4. I’ve never really had a place of my own, and I have to say I wouldn’t want that now. Though I still have way too many books weighing me down. And of course I failed Nomadism 101 miserably. Which makes it all the more interesting to read about your experiences.


    18 Jun 09 at 8:55 am

  5. I’m glad your two dogs are getting along. Their play reminds me of my two previous dogs, one an old female and the other a young male. The male, Hugo, would run in big circles trying to keep just out of Bella’s reach. As he passed she would take a couple of steps and try to nip at him. Once she actually took a dime-sized plug out of his side, so I think she had mixed feelings about the play. Our two current dogs get along OK, but I think our old one (Zeus) also has mixed feelings about the new, rambunctious Zeke.

    I think the nomad life is a fine thing if it’s done by choice. It can be just the right thing at the right time. I think I have mentioned the way I have felt when I have taken off on my own on trips. You travel in your own little world and most of the things that bother you normally are irrelevant.


    18 Jun 09 at 5:57 pm

  6. robin – it’s interesting that you’re feeling the same way about the stuff you have in storage. If I had it to do over again, I would have been more ruthless in deciding which things to keep and which to give away when I started packing up our belongings two months ago. In fact, I may well pull out some of the boxes (I numbered and kept a list of what is in each) and give a few away to further reduce things. More and more, I’m realizing that I don’t have to have possessions in order to retain my memories of Don and our life here at the farm. And, yes, it is odd how we seem to be on something of a parallel journey. If you had a dog instead of Bonsai, I expect you’d be feeling like wandering. Sabrina is certainly a traveler extraordinaire and I’m hoping that Sage will learn to be that way too.

    Dave – I gave away about 2/3 of my books just over a year ago. Each spring, the non-profit group that maintains a historic stone mill in the nearby town holds an extended book sale as their major fundraising effort. They keep what they don’t sell over each year, so I felt it was a good place for my books to go. They were happy to get them. I think my whole book collection now fits into about 6 file boxes, which is about right for me these days. Two would be better, but six will do. I will have to leave my stuff in storage while I’m on the road. I’ve always had a bit of a nomadic streak, so this really isn’t a big leap for me. Don always wanted to travel too, so maybe I’m just fulfilling some of our mutual dreams now.

    Mark – Sometimes the dogs do get a little too serious with the play-fighting. Things can escalate if someone nips just a little too hard. I found that the puppy would get carried away and then Sabrina would try to put her in line and the puppy would come back looking pretty furious. Fortunately, that phase seems to be over with and the playing has taken on a more amiable direction. The two dogs spend a lot of time lying side by side now.
    I agree about the nomad life being nice it is by choice. There’s something good about heading off on a trip with only a vague idea of where you’re going. It seems like chance often leads you to some interesting places. You’re right – it’s not long before you’re traveling in your own little world far from all of the things back home or taking up space in the back of your mind.


    18 Jun 09 at 7:23 pm

  7. Bev,

    It was so good to see you over at my blog. Life has been so full this year and in fact we should be on the road headed for Cape Cod, but I can’t face driving in the torrential rains forecast for the next day or so. So I’m packed and exhausted.

    The picture of you, Don and Bill is so touching. Then the picture of your empty rooms. Honey, here comes your {{ Hug}} . . .
    I know you’re hanging tough. It’s the woman you are. And I know you’re going to continue your journey to the center even as you gather new experiences and friendships.
    As someone who also has lost close family members I know, too that their spirits will always accompany you.
    And now you and Sabrina have that rascally Sage to join the exploration ;oD
    I couldn’t get that video to work and when my new computer is running (yes. the old one crashed and I’m using my hubby’s)
    I’ll try to watch it again.

    Be well, Bev and safe and happy travels. I’ll be checking in for more excellent bug and pup pictures.

    Cathy Wilson

    19 Jun 09 at 11:51 pm

  8. It’s sad to be moving, but hopefully you have good adventures to look forward to ahead of you. As the blogging community goes, you were a “neighbour” of ours (we’re in South Frontenac, though are being forced to relocate at the end of the month, and will be moving to Perth area), and it’s sad to see a neighbour depart. All the best on the road ahead, and hopefully you end up where you need to be.


    20 Jun 09 at 12:38 am

  9. Your desire for an extended road trip is something I have considered recently for similar reasons. Good to hear that you have a camper van again.

    Your photos of the late spring light in the empty house, the tricolor “silverback” caterpillar, Sage, and Sabrina and Sage playing in the grass, do speak of a turning point in your journey as the summer solstice approaches.

    Loved seeing the video clip of Sabrina and Sage. I could hear the mosquitos! It’s mosquito and swallow time here, too. I’m watching the nesting box on my porch, expecting the young swallows to fledge. The bald eagle pair have been working on their nest again, carrying huge branches to their nest in the cottonwood grove.


    20 Jun 09 at 9:07 am

  10. Cathy – Maybe it will work out well to be packed and ready to go when the rain lets up. You’ll get a chance to rest before the trip.
    Thanks for the {{hug}}. I do continue to hang in and keep going, although sometimes it begins to get a little old. (-:
    I’m looking forward to getting finished up here and then going… where?? I dunno just yet, but maybe that will be revealed soon.
    Hope you can get the video to work on your other computer — I think you’ll enjoy it. Take care and enjoy summer at Cape Cod. I look forward to more great photos on your blog!

    am – Do you think you’ll actually make an extended road trip? It’s not for everyone, but it seems to offer something for certain people. For me, travel helps me to get back to studying the world around me. Interesting that you should mention the photos seeming to speak of a turning point in my journey. Until a couple of weeks ago, I was going through a very difficult phase in my thinking. Since then, I’m feeling a little better – a little more interested — I think, because I’m almost finished here and will soon be on the road. Also, the weather is finally improving (it’s been a long, wet, cool spring). Yes! I wondered if anyone would notice the mosquito sound in the video clip! At least they make good food for the swallows!


    21 Jun 09 at 12:45 am

  11. I had to check to make sure I was right on the virginian tiger moth – that’s a very nice photo, Bev.

    I love the first photo of the corner room, although I understand how that is – the emptiness, the echos of the dogs barking. But it’s a very inviting space, and someone will continue the happiness there.

    Thank GoodNess it’s a camper van thing and not a Harley thing.


    21 Jun 09 at 4:30 am

  12. Wayne – Thanks re: the photo. The caterpillar was really quite spectacular — quite large and so colorful. I actually found it one evening and felt too tired to go into the house to get my camera. The next afternoon, after shooting the little video clip of the dogs playing, I looked for the caterpillar and re-found it in almost the same spot as I’d seen it the night before. By the way, suddenly seeing tons of interesting insects. I haven’t been taking my camera along on my walks as the weather has been so bad and I’m feeling too tired to do much shooting. However, now that things are picking up, I’ll have to get back into photo-mode again.


    21 Jun 09 at 5:17 am

  13. Love the picture of that caterpillar! It’s such a beautiful close-up shot. I’ll bet the sounds are amplified greatly in the emptiness of the house. Good luck on your journeys. I am half-way through a six month commitment to spend time outdoors every day for 365 days and am learning the art of nature observation as well. centria.wordpress.com Hopefully you’ll have a computer and Internet service for your travels!

    Kathy Drue

    23 Jun 09 at 12:15 am

  14. Seabrooke and Kathy – Sorry that your comments were held for approval. I don’t know why that happened as I don’t have my blog configured to hold comments that way. Anyhow, Seabrooke, I didn’t know you were moving soon. I guess the good thing is that Perth is also a nice area. Don and I hiked many trails and canoed often in many places throughout Lanark County. Kathy – Thanks for you good wishes for my journey. I’m not sure how well connected I’ll be during my travels, but am hoping to improve the situation for the next year or so of travels. I usually try to find wifi hotspots when I’m on the road, but in some parts of the country (notably Utah), that wasn’t so easy. I’m thinking of getting one of the cards that makes it possible to get hooked up in a lot of areas now. Sort of expensive, but then I won’t be spending money on the upkeep of a house, so should be able to splurge on that.


    23 Jun 09 at 2:38 am

  15. Good to hear that you’ve noticed your thinking shifting in a positive way in recent weeks. In this past year, there have been major changes in my outlook at various times.

    Road trips are never long enough for me. William Blake said, “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.” At some point, I would yearn for “home,” but I’ve never been out traveling for that long.

    For now, I’ve decided not to take an extended trip but hope to be able to do that in the future. There’s also the matter of my cat, Oboe. I have friends who make long road trips with their cat. I wonder if Oboe could adjust to life in a camper van. She has had some good experiences walking on leash outside. She is mostly a happy indoor cat who loves to socialize with people.

    Am looking forward to your photos and writing as you and Sabrina and Sage travel.


    25 Jun 09 at 5:40 am

  16. Bev, you posted just a couple of days before we left on our “road trip” to New York City…and now I’m finally back and reading it. I met a blogger friend while there who visits Nova Scotia every year. I talked to her about you and your recent desire to move there; now, it seems you’re not quite ready to set down your roots. I understand that completely, though I’m a far cry from being in a position to do anything about it. If you decide to hit the road and if you ever drift toward Dallas, I hope you’ll let me know! And of course I’ll be reading your blog so I hope I’ll know you’re nearing, anyway.


    29 Jun 09 at 9:22 pm

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