Now that winter is here, it seems like a good time to talk about some good books and DVDs to keep us busy during those long, dark evenings. Here are a few books and DVDs that I’ve enjoyed, some dog related, some not.
AWAY TO ME DVD: First, check out the trailer for a new DVD that has just come out, Away to Me! Anyone who works sheepdogs or likes to watch them will be interested in this video. I got to see the entire thing before it was finished, and it has some of the best scenes of close up interactions between dogs and range ewes I have ever seen. it follows three handlers as they compete in the well-known Soldier Hollow Classic sheepdog trial in Utah. Here’s the movie’s website where you can order it.
UNLOCKING THE ANIMAL MIND, is a great book by Franklin McMillan. Subtitled How Your Pet’s Feelings Hold the Key to His Health and Happiness, the author combines his experience as a veterinarian and work at Best Friends Animal Society with research on the biology of emotion. I tend to read it a chapter at a time, right now I’m enjoying the chapter on “A Long and Happy Life.”
PUKKA’S PROMISE: I was motivated to go back and read McMillan’s chapter on long-lived pets after finishing a pre-pub copy of Ted Kerasote’s new book, Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer Lived Dogs. It won’t be out until February, but I can’t wait until it comes out. I’ll write a substantial review of it closer to the publication date, but put it on your list of ABSOLUTE MUST READS right now. It’s beyond fantastic.
OTHER BOOKS: I love reading books of all descriptions (except: Badly Written). Here are some I have especially enjoyed lately: the novel The Light Between the Oceans by ML Stedman. This is what one review said on Amazon: “An extraordinary and heart-rending book about good people, tragic decisions and the beauty found in each of them.” (Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief). I couldn’t say it any better myself. The book is heart rending and still uplifting and written so beautifully it made my heart ache.
Some other good novels are The Art of Fielding and Gone Girl, might be worth checking out if you are looking for some good fiction. If you’re looking for what I call a great “popcorn” book, (something to be done somewhat mindlessly, but still enjoyably) try Grisham’s new novel, The Racketeer. Both Gone Girl and The Racketeer will keep you up reading past your bedtime, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
One more non-fiction book that, you will not be surprised, appeals to the cook (and enthusiastic eater) in me: Consider the Fork, by Bee Wilson. It is a fascinating history of not so much what we eat, but how we eat it. Who knew the history of silverware could be so interesting?
Last but not least, is a book some readers will love, others not so much. It is titled Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, a collection of advice columns by Cheryl Strayed. Cheryl is the author who wrote Wild, which I mentioned earlier this year. Cheryl’s answers to people’s questions are both so benevolent and yet so bulls-eye honest that sometimes it takes your breath away. Some people would NOT like this book, Cheryl can talk like a sailor and is flat out honest about many of the bad choices she made when she was younger, but as one reviewer said, the advice within is “charming, idiosyncratic, luminous and profane.” I re-read the book when I need to be inspired about the value of honesty and forgiveness.
Your turn! What are you reading or watching? I’m all ears (well, okay, all eyes…but still, I am looking forward to hearing from you.)
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: King Charles the ram goes back to his other home tomorrow and Willie gets to work sheep on another farm. Tootsie is learning “Stay” and to not bark in her crate when I am in the house, and Nellie and Polly are struggling with an up and down relationship. They are best friends, unless a stray cat (orange and white, father to the litter that was born this summer in the barn?) appears. 95% of the time they get along beautifully, but I assume that the stray is the trigger for Nellie hissing at Polly one night, and Polly hissing at Nellie on some others. I’ve only seen the stray once (he darted out of the barn as I walked in), but other times Nellie has entered the barn cautiously, sniffing and looking around with vigilance. The only times I have observed the two cats hiss or growl has been either when Orange/White scampered out of the barn or one of the cats entered the barn as if something or someone unfamiliar was inside. Aggression between ‘best friend’ cats in the presence of a third, unfamiliar cat is common, it was no small part of my case load, so I suspect the the cats are exhibiting redirected behavior. My first job is to gather data…
And so, the great Lord of the Barn saga continues. I borrowed the motion sensor camera that I bought Friends of Ferals and hope to get it set up this weekend. Is, or is not, the orange and white cat coming into the barn and helping himself to the kibble in the self feeder? Is that what is going on with Nellie and Polly? Stay tuned, the chapters continue to unfold.
In keeping with the random nature of the books and videos I mentioned above, I’ve served up a random sample of photos. First up, here are some nibbles I made for a good friend’s birthday party (congratulations Harriet!). The roll ups on the right are pastry stuffed with chard and extra yummy cheese, the pinwheels on the left are made with a cherry marmalade made by good friends. It took me about half of the dough to figure out how to make pinwheels, I should have taken pictures of my failed attempts, it would have made quite a progression.
Here’s Katie’s new pup Leo greeting our official Stuffed Stimulus Dog, Roger. Roger has gotten the attention of many a visitor, including a delivery man who almost wet his pants one day. We have learned to be careful about where we put him!
And last but not least, here’s the garden behind the famous Alamo in San Antonio. It was interesting touring the building, but I’ve never been a big battle buff, so although what happened inside is an important event in American history, I could have spent a lot longer in the gardens behind the Alamo itself. Some gardener is doing a truly lovely job…