Jack’s Walk

Forest Rooster greets us at the entrance to the trail. ©voyager, all rights reserved

This morning Jack and I went to a forest trail a few miles outside of town to the east. We don’t come here often because it’s full of mosquitoes, but it’s still early in the season so I thought we’d take the chance. We did see a few mosquitoes, but we didn’t run into any swarms and neither of us got a single bite. This trail is a lot different than our familiar wee forest path. It’s a mixture of conifer and hardwood with several large open areas and a big pond covered in lily pads. It’s also protected by a large, aggressive forest rooster who did not like the looks of Jack.

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Jack’s Walk

False Solomon’s Seal, ©voyager, all rights reserved

The day started out rainy, but by noon the sun was shining in an azure blue sky and the day was warm and inviting. Jack and I took ourselves off to the woods and we had a lovely, slow stroll whilst chatting about this and that and listening to the birds sing. We marveled at how quickly things change at this time of year. The white trilliums are still blooming, but the red ones have vanished and so have the happy white flowers of bloodroot. Other things are growing madly. The mayapples have become umbrellas and they’re full of buds. The false Solomon’s Seal is in bud, too, and leaves of many kinds are sprouting up along the entire forest floor. Jack took extra care to sprinkle pee where it was needed the most and by the time we’d gone all the way around his tank was empty and he was doing the air-pee. All in all a brilliant day.

A Marcus Solution for Ronja and Other Hairy Beasts


The Marcus Tactical Dog Brush

A few weeks back, Jack and I received a very special gift from Marcus. It’s a dog brush, but not just any dog brush. This little gizmo is the most practical dog grooming tool that we’ve ever used and it has a few little secrets that I hope Marcus won’t mind my sharing. I suppose the best part is the actual grooming surface which is very simply a hacksaw blade. It’s amazing. It pulls out hairs that are still only thinking about coming out and it never clogs. The hair just flies out in a big cloud and I don’t have to stop and de-clog the thing which means that I can keep going as long as my arm holds out and Jack doesn’t have a chance to get restless and wander away. It works so well that it’s an outdoor tool only at our house. I used it inside the first time we tried it and it took days to vacuum up all the hair it set loose. The hacksaw blade also makes the tool useful for lots of other situations such as an unexpected need to escape or sever an artery (hopefully not your own) and I think it’s accurate to call it a “tactical dog brush.”

It’s also a damned good scratcher for an itchy dog. Jack has seasonal allergies and some days his tablets don’t control the itch as well as others. If I see Jack scratching a lot we grab the Marcus tool and out we go for a few passes that send Jack into fits of pleasure. He leans into it, dances from one back foot to the other and gets this sweet, goofy grin that makes me happy, too.

The other good bits of the tool might be harder to replicate. Marcus has taken a beautiful piece of maple shaped it and cut a slot with his bandsaw for the blade. Then he carved a perfect hand-hold groove on the backside. The wood was then smoothed to perfection by the artist and resin impregnated for durability. It’s a joy to hold and sometimes I find myself just stroking the thing because I’m tactile and I like the way it feels. It was then fitted with a perfect silver ‘J’ and sent to Jack.

I’m pretty sure there are easier ways to make a hacksaw into a dog grooming tool, but there are certainly no better ways to do it. Thanks again, Marcus.

Jack’s Walk

Part of the floodplain at our park. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Can anyone tell me what the man in these photos is doing? Jack and I encountered him at our local park yesterday. He was slowly walking from one side of the creek to the other along a measuring tape laid out between the banks. He would move a step or two and stop, then fiddle with his machine and look up to the sky for a while and then fiddle with his machine again until he was satisfied with something and then he’d take another step or two and repeat the process. At the rate he was moving it would take him an hour or more to cross our wee creek. I suspect it’s related to the flooding you can see in the first photo. Two years ago they removed the concrete barriers lining the creek and naturalized the banks. It was an all summer long project and it was quite picturesque when completed. Since then, though, the area around the creek floods easily and essentially makes large areas of the park unusable.

I would have stopped to ask him what he was doing, but the children in the photo were tossing stones into the creek that kept landing close to the poor man and the 2 adults in their group let several minutes pass before stopping the action. I thought the fellow

really didn’t need anyone else annoying him. Also, I didn’t want Jack to go into the creek because the last time he did he came out smelling like a sewer. We watched for a while and finally came home with my curiosity piqued, but not satisfied. If you have a clue or a notion about this endeavor I’d sure appreciate it if you’d share.

That’s curious.©voyager, all rights reserved


Very curious. ©voyager, all rights reserved

What’s he looking for up there? ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

The Canopy Cometh ©voyager, all rights reserved

The canopy of the forest is filling in quickly and soon all the light that’s been fueling the growth of spring flowers will turn to shade or bits of dappled sunlight. The trilliums are still blooming madly, though, and we even found a few red trilliums still hanging on. The Jack-in-the-pulpits have sprouted up all over and I can’t recall a year that there have been so many of them. They’re everywhere and some of them are huge. It seemed to take forever for spring to arrive this year, but the woodland flowers are obviously very happy with the conditions.

Open for Business. ©voyager, all rights reserved

A red trillium is a rare sight once the white trilliums bloom. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack-in-the-pulpits ©voyager, all rights reserved

The Art of Book Design: The life-history of British serpents and their local distribution in the British Isles

Leighton, Gerald Rowley, The life-history of British serpents and their local distribution in the British Isles. Publisher Edinburgh and London, W. Blackwood and sons, 1901.
















I’m declaring today Snake Sunday. I’ve finally posted the story of my visit to the Reptarium and this vintage book is right on theme.

via: The Internet Archive

The Reptarium

Bella, a very friendly Rhino Iguana, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Sorry to be absent the past few days. My adventure to Michigan put me into a crash cycle and it’s been slow climbing out. I’m feeling closer to normal today, but the brain fog is being stubborn and persistent. I hope I can string together a few sentences that make sense to tell you all about my amazing experience.

Content Warning – There are photos of snakes ahead.  [Read more…]

Nature Imitates Art

Dürer’s young hare is probably one of the best known animal portraits in the world. On our recent trip to the zoo, a rabbit seemed to be imitating the famous drawing pretty well.

See for yourselves:


Dürer’s Young Hare.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

©Giliell, all rights reserved


Or maybe Dürer was just pretty good at painting hares and bunnies.

Jack’s Walk

Yellow Magnolia, ©voyager, all rights reserved

I’m in the midst of a crash right now so Jack and I didn’t go far this morning, just far enough for Mr. Schnoop to poop. I did find a couple of things worth sharing, though. First, is my neighbours yellow magnolia. It’s still small, but it sure seems happy.

Big yellow blooms, © voyager, all rights reserved

Next, are the daffodils in another neighbours garden. They were peaking today.

A few happy daffies in my neighbour’s garden, voyager, all rights reserved

I apologize for not getting Jack’s Walk up yesterday. Let’s just say it was a bad day. Today the pain is better, but my brain is kinda fucked up and the double gravity won’t lift. Also, my hands won’t do what I want them to.

We had a good trip and I’ll try to get a post up later today.