We’ve had some quiet, good days. Jerry is building new steps for the deck. I have painted 2 more miniatures for Mah Jongg prizes. Mah Jongg will be at my house this week. One painting is a caribou with mountains in the background; the other is a snowshoe hare, back-lit, surrounded by bushes. They are good.
A few days ago I had some down time. I got the blog blues. These days when I post on my blog or read other’s blogs and comment I am always in a hurry because I am at the Washeteria (the only place here where I can get on the internet) and Jerry is waiting. I don’t have time to read all the blogs I follow, and my comments are not well thought out. I saw that a couple of people I admire had dropped me from their blog rolls.
I had been struggling with a post I was working on about subsistence living, because I found the topic complex and difficult to analyze. It’s a hot topic in Alaska. After many rewrites I posted it, hoping to stir up controversy. At first I had only a couple of comments. I was certainly grateful for those, but I wished for some argument.
Besides having the blog blues, I painted 2 miniatures that turned out to be terrible. I had done a lovely little portrait of Bea’s cat sitting in a patch of wild roses. It is a fat white cat with faint orange stripes and blue eyes. I gave Bea the painting and she was genuinely pleased. The next paintings I did for myself, and I suppose I had become over confident and careless. Because I had no definite audience, I allowed myself to gloss over defects I knew were there. These miniatures are not even good enough to mount.
The poodles were looking terrible. Like dirty black mops. Their hair had overgrown their eyes so they couldn’t see and had become too long around their butts so they were beginning to be stinky. The weather was too warm, and there were mosquitoes.
My mood turned when I found an unexpected, favorable comment on the subsistence living post from a writer whom I particularly admire. She said that it was a topic she had never thought about, and I realized that most people in the lower 48 are unaware of this issue which is so contentious here in Alaska.
Then I set to work on new paintings for Mah Jongg prizes, and I found that when I paint for a deadline and a known audience I work to a different standard. For a while I will only paint for give-aways until I figure out some other means of quality control.
I clipped the dogs, and they look really cute. We went to a bon-fire at the river landing the night before the ice went out, and they rolled in the dust. They were dust grey, but happy. I drank a marguetita; there were lots of kids playing in the mud, and many happy, dusty dogs watching for dropped hot dogs.
Now that the snow is gone we walk every day up the hill in back of the house through the beautiful white paper-birch forest. The dogs love this walk, and Fluffy roams freely, looking for squirrels. Daisy has to be on a leash because she doesn’t come when called if she would rather not.
Last night we took our walk after dinner. We passed several trail markers, 2 fallen birches and a pile of moose poop. Suddenly Fluffy ran back to us, stopped and began to growl. I was scared. I couldn’t see anything, but dogs sense things people don’t. A bear behind a bush?
I said to Jerry, “Let’s go back.”
He said, “Maybe it’s just a moose, let’s go a bit further.”
He had the gun strapped to his belt, and I trust him, so we advanced carefully, Fluffy close by and growling, Daisy excited and interested, me nervous, and Jerry calm and confident.
Nothing happened, and we walked all the way to the track where mining equipment is occasionally moved through the woods. We walked up the track for a short distance, noting a few old moose tracks, until we came to some large mud puddles where we turned back. On the way home, in the same place where he had growled on the way up, Fluffy stopped again. He seemed to see something that excited him in the woods on the right. All I could see was a dead birch with some dark patches of loose bark, with a bush beside it.
As we walked back down the hill I remembered that Fluffy has some neurotic antipathies to various cleaning tools; a broom here, a mop there. He jumps back and growls when he sees them. Sometimes he attacks them. Perhaps he saw something in the woods with broom-like qualities. I guess I can’t depend on him to warn of bears, or even moose.
So the days are calm. We had a good dinner (caribou) at Pam and Joee’s. The weather is cooler. Tomorrow is Mah Jongg, and on Friday we will go back to Fairbanks since we are out of lettuce and tomatoes and getting dangerously low on wine. There I can read all my blogs and catch up with my web friends.