Please send me an email or fill out the contact form for time and place.
Non-human family members bring many of us comfort and pleasure. I have wonderful memories of taking care of my Blue Sky farm family.
Happy Summer to all. The Bestiaryist is on a summer break and in the mood to clear out some inventory. So, we are about to have a big cheap animal art sale. The money will go to help BLM Mustangs. Keep a watch for the time and place of the sale. We will post it here and on our Considering Animals Facebook page. It is likely to be in July 2017 so keep watch. If you want an email to let you know when it will be please send me one.
Sunday, June 4th 2017
Have just returned home to Essex from a long trip. There is a killdeer nesting in the stones on my patio. Because I have a good pair of brand new binoculars, when she is off the nest, I can see that she has four eggs. I try not to disturb her too much. She gets up and moves off when I come out on to the porch, then she sneaks and creeps back in quick little steps interrupted by suspicious halts and backwards jerks of her head. Snookie my dog wants to sit on the porch. I let him because this is his home and he's always been allowed to sit there. The bird will have to habituate to us if this is going to work out for everyone.
Lost Lucky by Nora, age 8
I picked Lucky because he survived 10 days below zero degrees. He also survived half-buried in snow, so that makes him a tough puppy!
Sahara, by Ari, age 7
Sahara and Alexa are friends. Sahara is a cheetah, Alexa is a dog. They live in a zoo. They play together. They go to school together to teach about protecting cheetahs in the wild. I would think a cheetah would have a friend that is wild, but she became friends with a dog because they spent time going to school together.
Baby Orangutan and Baby Tiger by Emmy, age 8
These animals were best friends. When they were babies they didn’t know they were supposed to be enemies. I chose to paint them because they are super cute.
Lucky's Broken Paw by Aliyana, age 8
A cute puppy named Lucky, scared and stranded, lasted 10 days outside in 10 degrees below zero. He was half buried in snow when a worker found him covered in cold, freezing snow. He brought the dog to the vet and then adopted him. I like the dog because he's cute and looks like a really good animal to take care. I can't believe how he lasted 10 days below zero. He was such a brave dog and he was only a puppy!
The ordinary animals we know often touch us more fundamentally than the extraordinary ones we read about. This was clear to me this week in the Lilja students' work. Two children chose to write about ordinary family pets.
The Lilja students are a group of 1st and 2nd graders from the Natick Lilja Elementary School. A few months back I visited with them in their classroom. For the past few weeks I've been posting their artworks and stories on Monday's Beast.
More great stories and paintings from the Lilja students today and a post about a smart heron named Hank.
At a pond on a golf course in Hawaii, a black crowned night heron watches bread floating on the water. He watches intently. Then with a motion so fast it is almost imperceptible, he lunges at the bread. Bingo! Down his gullet goes a duped fish. The fish, not suspecting the set-up, had risen to eat the bread. The heron then picks another scrap of bread from the bank and places it on the water. Again he watches the bread intently for an underwater nibble. Bang! He scores another fish.
Again I am joined by first and second graders at the Lilja Elementary School, in bringing you paintings and tales of real individual animals. The tale I bring you this week is of an enduring bond between two storks. The kids bring you an array of stories and some exquisite paintings. Enjoy them.
I like to tell the stories of real individual animals. To capture their personalities rather than their traits. To chronicle real animals' personalities with my paints and words. I find my stories everywhere. My favorite stories I experience. Others, people tell me. Some come from the internet and some I read. Like the one about the ram and the llama who escaped their pasture and spent a Vermont winter living in the woods.
For more on this story and to see the first fantastic selection of artwork and stories by the first and second graders at the Lilja Elementary School click here.
There is a dog who made the world news last year. This dog has sat in the same place in front of the gate to his dead master's house for the last five years. This will be year number six going on seven if the dog is still there. The house is abandoned. The dog is perhaps still waiting.
Sometimes, when the sun has not shown for a few days, Snookie seems an even more reliable presence in my life than my own shadow. He is there even when my shadow is not. A dog fed love wants nothing more than to return it. A blanket of security, I to him and he to me. A loyal bond broken only by happenstance and never by will. A dog's bond is a gift hard to trump and important to acknowledge. A dog for all his good, is not blessed with the years given to men.
Saying farewell and thank you to a dog nearly kills the heart. So, while there is still some time with Snookie, I am thinking of him today and all the joy and comfort he brings to me. He's on the floor before my feet and soon I will be there too with my arms tight around him in a human to dog embrace. A thank you for and an acknowledgement of his unrelenting and unconditional friendship.
Daisy was over 16 feet tall when I met her. The tallest animal I have ever stood next to. I did not even come near the bottom of her belly. I would look from the ground at her huge hooves and huge knees. Her legs just kept going. They seemed so big until I finished looking up to realize that in perspective they were actually rather delicate. She was a gentle giant.
I know a wild elephant. Once she was tame, used to humans and to complying with their biddings. She was called Eleanor. I met her in 1987 when I went to Tsavo, Kenya, East Africa as part of a research team. We were studying the thermoregulation of elephants living in a “natural setting”.
To whom it might concern: Below please find the resume of Lonesome Larry. He is quite a qualified fish!
Isis was a goat kid. She was given to me when I was eleven by my school teacher who had a goat farm. She was part Nubian goat. She had long silver ears that hung down past her nose like a basset hound's. Her eyes were big and bright. They were topaz and held wide open as if she was always caught by surprise. Her coat was several colors of brown. She had white markings on her face and a black dorsal strip that ran all the way down her back to the end of her tail. She was a beautiful animal.
I was lucky to have a great pony when I was young. His name was Cloughan, which means “stepping stone” in Gaelic. Pronounced "claw han". He was a white pony with gray dapples that eventually became all white as he aged. He had a long, gray mane and tail and a round belly. He was a confident pet and lively companion.
Each white tail deer is an individual but we rarely take the time to think of them as unique beings. An all white deer however, stands out from the herd. It is only a genetic mutation that makes it white and not brown like its herd mates. Yet this rarity makes it a remarkable individual in the eyes of humans. There have therefore, been laws and taboos against harming white pigmented deer through out history.
Roy, Silo and Tango made news in 1999 as the first known “modern penguin family”. Roy and Silo were male chinstrap penguins. They lived at New York City's Central Park Zoo. In 1998 the zoo staff saw them performing mating rituals together. In 1999 they attempted to hatch a rock as if it were an egg.
The zoo keepers took away the rock and gave them a viable egg. The egg had come from a straight pair of penguins who could not hatch it. The egg was carefully attended to by Roy and Silo. This resulted in the hatching of a chick. The zoo keepers named the female chick Tango.
As far as I was concerned, there could have been no finer creature than Buster. He was the best dog in the world. He was a personality more charming than Alf. He was my shadow, my pride, the sponge of all my free time. And I was to him, the finest owner a dog could ever have. His loving gaze and infinite patience in waiting for me for hours clearly indicated his feelings. Our bond was as strong as Gorilla Glue. Whenever we had the choice we would be together.
One February I was taking a walk on Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts. It's a long beach with high sand dunes behind the beach. As I approached the end of the beach I saw something white partially buried in the sand. At first I thought it was going to be a plastic shopping bag but as I got closer I could tell that the white was feathery. I assumed I was about to see the remains of a gull. However to my surprise it turned out to be a snowy owl.
This is a special Monday's Beast. Roo Roo was a well loved rooster I owned until he died a few years ago in a hawk attack. That day, in my sadness and confusion, I took him to the transfer station, carefully wrapped in plastic. That was a mistake that I will always regret. He deserved better. I should have a least thought to bury him. I did however write an obituary for him the day he died and sent it off to all the friends I could think of who might have known him or at least cared to know that I had lost someone important to me. Now I have finally done him one better and made him a little creative tribute. This painting is really a tribute card of Roo Roo made for my new group art project called BeastField.Com.
You too can remember an animal friend and place them in the BeastField of well loved and carefully remembered animals friends. Please check out the BeastField.Com website and learn how to submit an entry of your own to the BeastField.
To read Roo Roo's obituary click here or scroll down.
A well loved rooster and important member of the Blue Sky Farm animal familydied suddenly when he was struck down by a hawk around lunch time on the 3rd of January 2013. While coming to the aid of his chickens, Roo Roo was attacked from the air by a hawk and suffered a broken neck. Death was surmised to be instantaneous.
He was a great bird, beautiful in both body and spirit. Roo Roo was a real looker, probably a show quality example of the Blue Cochin Chicken Breed. He weighed in at around 10 or 11 lbs. He was very kind, helpful, respectful and watchful over his flock of hens. Roo Roo was always gentle and compliant with his human handlers.
He is proceeded in death by Missing Chicken and Stricken Chicken, and survived by Chicken Chicken, Sister Chicken, Fricken Chicken, Beauty Chicken and Ugly Chicken.
There will be no service or memorial of any kind...his body, while still warm was wrapped carefully in plastic and he was taken to the transfer station by his tearful owner. He will be greatly missed by his avian lovers and human friends at Blue Sky Farm.
"May you rest in peace Roo Roo in a land of corn and millet and whatever else you fancy.”