There’s a Fungus Amungus

There are mushrooms EVERYWHERE! Days of rain here in northern New England have produced a sprouting, thrusting crop of fungus, some of them edible and choice.

MUSHROOMS

Though I haven’t spotted any Chanterelles, like the ones Pumpkin is picking.

The shapes and colors of mushrooms make them fun to draw and paint. I have probably drawn them my whole life.

Lately I’ve been imagining them as tiny, secret houses.

You can own your own, hand painted mushroom cottage here.

Happy Hunting!

 

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It’s Halloween Season

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Having a border collie as my alter ego has always been useful and fun, but never more so that at Halloween. All three of my dogs have been black and white, though Tula had a little brown too.

This color scheme lends itself so beautifully to the imagery of this season.

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And blends beautifully with pumpkin-orange.

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Even in disguise, we’ll always recognize that tail!

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Even an alter ego needs her own familiar–a cat just won’t do, so an owl it is!

Happy Halloween from Ashley, Pumpkin, Lucy, Tula and the owls

Pumpkins

Pumpkin was an affectionate nickname in my family, so I chose it as the name for my 1st Border Collie.

I love the word Pumpkin-how it fills my mouth and suggests the shape of the fruit.

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Yes, a pumpkin is a fruit- actually a berry. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with melons and cucumbers. The rule of thumb to tell fruit from vegetables is that: if it has seeds, it is a fruit, no seeds, it’s a vegetable.

As with every experience, Pumpkin stands in for me and is able to do things I can never do.HalloweenMaskweb 

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Lately, I have found a new, black, love object named Baby Bear. He is enjoying every bit of autumn in Vermont, especially the pumpkins!

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Life with Dogs-Part 7: We meet A New Puppy

Our long, dog-less drought finally ended with a puppy.

I knew it was time.

B&R were independent and ready to help care for another creature. I tried to find another Vermont farm dog like Pumpkin, but when that didn’t work, I followed a lead to a breeder in Maine.

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We 1st met Lucy in southern Quebec. Her mother was appearing in a Sheep Dog trial and we drove up to see a tiny, 8 week old pup. Then we waited and waited for a month until she was 12 weeks old.

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I wanted my boys to have the experience of raising a baby; chewed shoes, baseballs, flowerpots and all.

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It’ll be fun to watch as Lucy grows up and become a book character in her own right.

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Life with Dogs-Part 5: Two Children, no Dog

It was amazing how easy it was for Pumpkin to love babies when she didn’t have to live with one.babyRoweb

A few months after the visit to Mesa Verde, Rowan was born. Pumpkin was happily living at Camp Stoneledge with my mom and never knew she needed to be jealous all over again. ash&roinfant

Suddenly my canine alter ego enjoyed having two little boys around as much as I did.

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But more peace at home didn’t mean all was right with the world. The adventure continues…

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Life With Dogs-Part 2: Adopting a Dog as my Alter Ego

I was Crazy about Pumpkin.

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She was my first Border Collie and I was thrilled with her intelligence and empathy. She became my constant companion. I was still an art student when I got her and she went to all my classes with me.

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She used to cuddle by tucking her head up under my chin.

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I loved to draw her.

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Soon I was anthropomorphizing her-I couldn’t help myself.

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It was uncanny how she loved to do all the same things I did.

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Pumpkin traveled the world for close to a year. She shared a picnic at Hanging Rock with a koala in Australia.

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She rode a camel on the Great Wall of China.

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And caught a flounder in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Later she even got pregnant,

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Meanwhile, over in Bookland, Pumpkin began appearing in my children’s books from the very beginning.

Here we are making snow angels in A Year of Birds. I am still a carefree child, making Sabin do all the work as my father.

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In my next post I will reveal how Pumpkin changed my life.

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My Life with Dogs-Part 1:Deep Background

I have always loved dogs.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

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When my sister was born, our family got our first German Shepherd. His name was Lumpy.

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A few years later we found a puppy on the street in Sarasota, Florida while visiting my grandmother. This picture ran in the newspaper to try to find the owner. No one claimed her so we kept her and named her Hushpuppy.

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She was a good sport.

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There is nothing like a bed full of dogs.

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My grandmother eventually adopted Hushpuppy back and Lumpy died. We got another German Shepherd named Thumper.

And then, in 1977, I got MY first dog. She was the last pup in a litter born on a dairy farm in East Middlebury, VT. Her mother Patsy was an expert cow herder.

I named her Pumpkin.

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The 1st summer I had her I drove all the way to California with my boyfriend. Thumper and Pumpkin came along. We all got to swim in the Pacific.

The story of what happened to Pumpkin is too long for one post. Stay tuned for Part 2.

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