Let’s Play “What’s In Your Tree?”

For example, what’s in this tree at the back of my property?

I haven’t been to the back of the property in ages and ages – the blackberries have all but taken over our trail that connects the property to the dikes and we couldn’t use it all last summer.  Tweed, in his old age and wisdom, fears the pokey retribution of trod-upon blackberries.  I’ve been working at hacking away at them with a machete from time to time, and have made progress on about 2/3rds of the trail, but as I am not particularly skilled with the machete, it’s kind of dicey (yuk yuk).

We haven’t  gone the other way around, through the Long Grass, because it’s full of spiders and things of that nature that violently disagree with me.  But when Mother Nature dumped snow on us last week, it flattened all the long grasses so we have been tromping through there to walk along the dikes in the mornings.  And it was on one of these mornings that I noticed this stupid box – which is now driving me OUT OF MY MIND with curiosity – wired into a tree where the end of our property line meets up with the dike.

At first I thought it was a bat house, which seemed pretty cool, but it doesn’t really look like a bat house.  Someone else suggested it might be an owl box, which is almost as awesome (who doesn’t love a box full of owls?)  I am rather hoping it’s a box full of old coins worth $10 million  but high up in a tree seems a strangely visible place to store such a thing.

Anyway, the dogs are pleased at being able to run along the dikes again, and hunt in the Long Grasses.

And tromping through the snow and grass is better for my health than standing around in the dark throwing a ball.  I hate Winter (season, not dog) so much … endless days of almost never seeing my dogs in the daylight and it being too dark out to walk on the property.  Standing outside in the dark and freezing cold sideways rain, chucking the ball for an hour twice a day is brutally boring; I am so glad it’s staying light out later and in just a few months we will be past the Time Of The Great Mud and the outdoors will be fun again!

I guess I could always be like other hoarders and just not engage with my dogs at all (*insert eyeroll here*) and stay warm and dry all winter long.  I just gotta say, it was awfully nice to see all your comments and emails supporting my, errm, unconventional (though clean and cared for) way of life.  It’s not that the opinion of said accuser is meaningful to me in any way, because really, if someone I have so little regard for wants to think poorly of me, it doesn’t much matter to me, but making it a public opinion is just vitriolic.  This is where social media is teh fail … it makes very unimportant people think their snide, empty-headed opinions have some credibility.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that the people that matter have my back.  Which is a good thing, because my back is in danger of being kicked to death by ITALIAN GREYHOUNDS.  Did you know that Italian Greyhound owners have a term for the particular activity these little wieners engage in called “The Butt Punch?”  Here I thought I just had two fairly ill mannered little dogs, when in fact they are doing is The Dance of Their Tribe, which involves jumping on their owner from behind and – literally – kicking them in the ass.  Over and over and over again.  Particularly at meal preparation time, but any moment of intense excitement causes them to break into dance.

Ender is starting to settle in a little bit better, though I still think he has a death wish.  At agility practice he tried to hump TEMPUS.  That’s exactly the same as trying to seduce the Devil.  The humping wouldn’t be so bad if he would just back off when told, but he takes exception to any dog rejecting his amorous advances and this is how he causes fights.  He doesn’t do any damage to anyone, but it’s pretty stressful for all parties, including me.  As he gets used to my own crew, he is doing this less and less, but the damage has been done and they aren’t really sure what to make of him.

Of course, what border collie would be able to understand a dog that wears pajamas outside?

In case the HILARITY of the jammies is not immediately apparent in that sort of shitty photo, here’s another view:

He manages to be handsome even in silly pajamas.

But not *quite* as awesome as this shelter cat in a top hat.


This is my new favouritest cat of all time.  Partly because he is very handsome and very sweet, but also because he will wear a top hat.

Whenever I am photographing shelter animals in my “studio” I try to sneak in a few of my own guys here and there.  Addy is becoming a pro at posing, but no matter how you take her picture, she’s still a Miggy (midget IG)

Gemma didn’t bite me once during this photo session!  That’s pretty miraculous.  That she is still alive and biting is also pretty miraculous.

Even though it’s been warm and sunny with snow on the ground, in many places, I have almost no outdoor photos to post today.  That’s because the telephoto lens I spent my birthday money on, a new-to-me replacement lens (a Canon f/3.5-5.6 is) for my dead 70-200mm zoom, HAS STOPPED AUTO-FOCUSING!  I have had the thing for like, a month.  It was inexpensive, as it’s a discontinued lens, but it’s a good substitute and was all I could afford, and now it doesn’t work, unless I focus manually.  And I don’t know if you have any idea how hard it is to focus on sighthounds and crazy border collies manually, but trust me … it’s a nightmare!

I did manage a couple of decent shots after spending an hour trying to photograph the dogs:


But by and large I was mostly just totally unsuccessful.  And my guess is that fixing it would be more expensive than it’s worth.  Although I spent all my money buying it so probably couldn’t afford to fix it any way.  And definitely cannot afford another.  That’s kind of a bummer, as without a good zoom or telephoto, outdoorsy/action shots are pretty well impossible to achieve.

I guess if I book outdoorsy/action sessions, I can always rent a lens, but now I am paranoid about ever using zooms and telephoto lenses ever again!



I better go climb that tree and check and see if there is $10 million in that box.


  1. No warrenty from whoever you bought the lens I take it?

    I’d offer to sell you my old 70-300mm lens but my camera is a Pentax and they’re probly not compatable!

  2. I believe your box just may be for wood ducks!

  3. Ba ha ha ha ha! Time Of The Great Mud is such an accurate description and I can’t fricking WAIT for it to be over. Now I wanna know what’s in that box. What are the chances we could talk you into shimmying up there to check?

  4. Could it be a bee ‘swarm box’? If there are hives nearby, there is sometimes a ‘swarm box’ nearby, so when the bees decide to ‘swarm’ (break off and find a new hive), they will go there, and then the beekeeper will have a new ready made swarm of bees? So, uh, bee careful lifting the lid :o)

  5. Flying Squirrel box?

  6. Your mystery box looks like a swarm box for bees, if I am any judge

    (Hi by the way! Long time lurker, here!)

    I had to laugh over your Iggy issues… I have a rescued neutered male Italian Greyhound named Titus. He came to me from a hoarding situation as a foster (and never left) with no dog-to-dog manners whatsoever. He still has no concept of anyone else’s personal space. When he first came, he would desperately hump the head of my surprisingly tolerant 90 pound plotthound to the point that, when my plott would stand up, he would be wearing Titus around the house like a vibrating hat. Eventually, it stopped when Titus realized no one was impressed (he shares the house with the plott and a large, 75 pound male greyhound), but still tries to hump every new male dog he meets with impunity. He also does the butt-kicking maneuvers, as well as will dig in your face like a hamster if he feels he is not having enough attention paid to him…

    I am pretty sure all Italian greyhounds are basically clones.

  7. Hey, Food Lady!

    Input from the bird expert here: Is the box located anywhere near a body of water? Then there’s a chance it’s a box for Wood Ducks (which do, in fact, nest inside hollow trees — as do a few other smaller duck species). Otherwise, it may be intended to be a Screech Owl nest box, or a Barn Owl box. These are guesses, of course, since I’m not 100% sure of the size.

    As for what’s in there now, I’m going to guess squirrels (so be careful peeking/reaching in). It might even have been intended as a squirrel box, for all I know.

    Just two cents from the wildlife professional camp. :)

  8. Aislinn, Glenn, Coop and Joon says:

    We also think bees and advise a full bee suit when investigating.
    But think of the honey!

    Still looking forward to booking our photo shoot. The collies can move in slow mo to help with the lens problem. (We’ve trained them to do that.)

    Time of the Great Mud is right – and hilarious.
    I gave the dogs a bath the other day and they were totally rolling their eyes in a ‘Why Bother, Lady?’ sorta way….

    Keep up the good work, food lady.
    A, G, C & J

  9. Believe it could be a box for ‘Mason’ bees?

  10. Your Time of the Great Mud sounds pretty comparable to my “Day of the Swamp Dog” and “Return of the Swamp Dog” (that’s when the original swamp causing factors dry up then recur…again and again and again).

    Ha! Love the cat in the top hat and the jammie dog (neither of which my border collie would understand).

    I’m so glad you love all those dogs (and cats) and write about them and take pictures of them.

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