The Art of Book Design: Beasts of the Field

William J. Long. Beasts of the Field. Illustrated by Charles Copeland. Boston and London, Ginn and company, 1901.

The book is filled with true stories of animal encounters in the wild and the accompanying illustrations are charming. Every page has at least one small drawing on it and there are several detailed full-page illustrations. You can see it all at the link below.

Via: The Internet Archive

An Admin Note about Jack’s Walk

Hey, Bubba, what are all those spots on you?

Umm, what spots, mom?

Jack and I have been walking at odd hours for the last few weeks because I’ve been spending most of my time at the nursing home with my mother. Mom is in the last stage of her life and is expected to die soon, but it’s turning out to be a long, difficult journey for her.  She has a lot of pain that isn’t always well controlled and she’s s full of fear and anxiety. She often calls out “Help, Oh please help” or asks for mommy or daddy and occasionally for me, but when you ask her what she wants or what’s wrong or what she’s afraid of she goes quiet. She’s also developed a large ulcer on her coccyx from the continuous bedrest. Mom is a big woman, about 240 lbs. and it’s difficult to reposition her so there’s no pressure on that area. About every hour I’ve been rubbing her other pressure points to hopefully avoid another ulcer, but it pains mom and is difficult for both of us.

The nursing home where she lives has given us a private palliative care room with a big, stuffed electric recliner for me. The support workers check on us often and have been fabulous with mom, but I can’t say the same about the registered nursing staff. Some nurses are reluctant to give mom pain meds – one nurse insisted that she had to ask for them herself because writhing in bed and calling out for help apparently isn’t good enough. Some nurses forget to crush mom’s pills and some try to give her  plain water without thickener which makes her choke. I’ve asked and asked for that to be written on her chart, but it hasn’t happened. That’s partly because of the long weekend – some of the nurses come from an agency and don’t know the residents, so I’m hoping that will improve this week. Just to be sure, I’ve put a large sign over mom’s bed about what she needs in case I’m not there.

I’m telling you all of this because I’m burnt out and there’s still a lot of road ahead. My fibro has flared up and I’ve got shingles. I expected both those things, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I have a chronic form of shingles that flares up often, especially when I’m tired or stressed and right now I’m both of those. Something has to give and unfortunately it’s Jack’s Walk the virtual and Tree Tuesday, both of which I’m putting on hold. The nursing home doesn’t have wifi and even if it did I’m not thinking clearly – it’s taken me 3 days to write this – I’m in pain, I’m exhausted and my mom needs me. So does Mr. V whose heart has been acting up with atrial fib.

Jack’s Walk and Tree Tuesday will be back, but I don’t know when. I’ll try to keep posting a daily book, which gives me something nice to think about, but if I miss a day you’ll know why. I’ll be around and I’ll stay in touch. Jack says gawoof, gawoof in his big boy voice which means see you soon.

Jack’s Walk

The weather today has been my idea of perfect. Sunny and warm with low humidity and a gentle breeze that slowly pushed creamy clouds across an azure sky. If I could custom order the weather it would be exactly like today. It was so perfect that I made the time to take Jack for a walk in the woods and I know he appreciated it because his tail wagged the whole way around.

While we were there I stopped to talk to a very friendly spider who allowed me to take a photo which I’ve put below the fold for anyone interested.

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Jack’s Walk

Contemplating his next move ©voyager, all rights reserved

When Jack jumps into the water at the park or the river he’s accustomed to the ducks scattering away from him. Today this small flock of ducks didn’t scatter. Instead, they swam towards him and then dared him to come in. Now,  Jack isn’t one to go looking for trouble, but I’ve seen him stand his ground around dogs that are a lot bigger than him. He once took on a huge German Shepherd and was holding his own until we broke it up. “Take that,” Jack snorfed,  kicking up dirt with his back feet as walked away. He had swagger that day.

He did not have swagger today. Jack actually let those ducks keep him out of the water. Every time he went forward the ducks came forward. If he turned to the left so did the ducks. If he turned to the right so did the ducks. Those ducks patrolled that shore like warships in formation and Jack finally walked away. I think he made the right decision. They might be small, but those ducks meant business and at a ratio of seven to one they had the upper hand wing.


Jack’s Walk

Make a wish ©voyager, all rights reserved

While I was waiting at a stoplight today I watched a woman bend over to pick up her dog’s poop. She wore an expression of total disgust on her face and after she’d bagged the offending item she held it gingerly between her thumb and index finger as far away from her body as her arm would reach. She then took about 10 steps, stopped and set the bag down in front of a light standard and walked away.

I’ve seen bags of poop on the ground a few times and I’ve always just assumed that someone forgot it. I’ve done that – set the bag down while I fiddle with my camera and then forget to pick it up.* This wasn’t that, though. This was deliberately making her dog’s poop someone else’s problem. Someone like me who walks with a trash bag because I don’t like litter.  I think there should be a rule that if you aren’t prepared to deal with your dog’s shit then you shouldn’t have a dog.


*I almost always go back to pick it up.

Jack’s Walk

The Marcus Magic Comb in action. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack doesn’t do a heavy shed in the springtime because normally we go to the east coast for the summer. There he swims in the cold water of the Gulf of St. Lawrence almost every day and he needs a bit of extra fluff for insulation and added buoyancy. This year we fooled him, though, and stayed home in good old hot and humid Ontario. The poor boy spent his summer with too much hair and despite all the hot weather he kept his undercoat. Now, as the weather cools down Jack has finally decided to shed all that hair and OMG is there a lot of it. His undercoat is blondish and it wads up in tufts that pull out like feathers and explode into handfuls. It’s almost like magic. That photo was taken after only a few passes with our Marcus Magic Comb and there seems to be no end to the hair that comes out. I can brush him until my arms are sore and still the hair keeps coming. Anyone want to borrow a dog for a few weeks?


Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

Our weather has turned cooler over the past few days and the change has been enough to make me take stock of the season. It seems so soon this year, but already I can see the signs of summer passing into fall. The undergrowth in the forest is thinning out and the edges of a few leaves have started to take on a hint of yellow or brown. Fields have been harvested and the farmer’s markets are filled with autumn fare – beets, carrots, squash, potatoes, even the apple harvest has begun. It’s my favourite time of year.


The circle of life

Nature as we imagine for children is this sweet place with fluffy bunnies with chequered hankies, and when we grow up we still call it “Mother Nature” as if it were some nurturing, benevolent entity. Actual nature doesn’t care for that shit. It’s a cruel and violent place where 90% of baby bunnies don’t get to see a second summer. But in nature, death is never wasteful. One animals tragic death is another’s lucky find. So here’s an unlucky shrew and a been grass snake, and some very happy insects and ant.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

A friend of my mom’s came to sit with her this afternoon, giving Jack and I a nice block of time to get out of town and go for a much-needed forest walk. Jack’s been very patient with the change in his routine, but he hasn’t been his usual cheerful self so I wanted to fix that. I’m pretty sure he had a good time.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

The light was lousy this morning and Jack was on leash which means I shoot one-handed, so I consider this photo mostly just a test shot, but there it is again… the water stone that replaced my little pond at the park. I’ve been walking around it for a few days now, framing it from different angles and I admit it’s growing on me. I still don’t like the square base that it’s set in, but it does looks pretty when it’s framed by the gazebo. They’ve also turned up the water volume a bit and it makes a lovely burbling sound now which is nice. The stone itself also has some interesting angles that I want to explore. I still miss the koi and the tadpoles, but that’s life isn’t it. All things come and go and wishing it different won’t make it so. It took me a while, but I’m finally adjusting to this hunk of rock and just maybe I’m even learning to like it.