Life With Dogs-Part 6: Creatures Between the Dog Years

In 1992, Pumpkin died from old age at my mom’s house in Vermont.

I entered the longest dog-less period of my life.


When my boys were little I didn’t want

one       more       single      solitary      thing

to care for. Not even a house plant.


Cut flowers were too much trouble.


It was lucky that Pumpkin, as my alter ego, was far more energetic and willing to entertain.

In her world we were visited by frogs,





chickens, and





Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Three Beavers

B&Beaver-'88A card, painted with watercolor on real paper birch bark, made for my mother in 1988.

The Beaver is an amazing animal. 

I have always been impressed with their talented tails, teeth and overall energy. They can transform an environment in a very intentional way, just like humans do.


Near my cabin in Vermont is an extensive beaver-created environment. Every time I visit it seems bigger and more complex. I never see the beavers themselves. They are nocturnal and secretive, but their handiwork is everywhere.

chewedtrunkThey are capable of taking down huge trees and can peel a stick of bark as neat as you please!

beaverchewingAll this work goes into dam building to enlarge their pond area.


beaver damIn this drawing you can clearly see the different levels that the low beaver dams create. And here are real dams from my hike yesterday.



AshbeaverdamDespite being made of nothing but sticks and mud, the dams become firm enough to walk on.

Their other project is the Beaver Lodge.

lodgeThe lodge is cleverly entered only from  underwater.



So when Baby Bear hears “clapping,” he runs through the reeds to find a beaver pond with lodge and dam and three busy, building beavers, gathering twigs and bark before winter comes.