I Look Like A Sheep!

We have had so little snow this year -- I really enjoyed being out in it.  When I asked to come in, people laughed and said I looked like a sheep.  You can see for yourself how I felt about such a comparison. . . .

How about the rest of you?  Don't you like the feel of snow on your nose, and don't you enjoy rolling in it?  I do and I hope we get lots more of it soon. 


When Humans Face the Elements

I was left at home with our friend Gail the day the Sisters went to see the petroglyphs in Jeffers, MN.  When I saw these pictures, I was glad they didn't take me along!  There weren't any other people at the historic site, so they felt free to dress in whatever was available to protect themselves from the wind and rain.

The writings on the rock ridge are over 7000 years old, according to the Minnesota Historical Society which maintains the area.  I would love to have known some of those people who lived in the area of that ridge and the native prairie which still survives today.    The rocks tell not only about the human life but also show the history of the earth itself.  These ripples in the sand were created through the work of oceans and glaciers, heat, and wind, and sun.  I wonder what work is going on yet today as I lie on the ground and listen to the energy beneath the grass.


How Do You Know I Don't Speak Spanish?

They say you should know how to speak Spanish if you are moving to Mexico.  My very good companion, Sister Janice Wiechman, is moving to Mexico and a part of me wants to go with her.  I'd bet anything I could be as well understood there as I am here.  I think human beings are separated by language  only when speaking with each other.  Other members of creation don't have such a barrier. 

Sister Janice's family spent a Sunday afternoon here to say goodbye to her.  Her parents and some of her siblings, nieces and nephews had a good time roasting hotdogs over the fire pit and visiting.  They all spoke "Wiechman" and I understood perfectly.  God bless you in your new home, Janice.  I will miss you and our playtime together.  You were so good to me!  I hope you find a good canine friend for the Sisters you will live with in Mexico.


Thanks for Missing Me!

I've had a busy and exciting summer.   Wind storms blew down many and large branches from trees all over Clare's Well.  This helps explain the many extra people who came here to help the Sisters.  I made lots of new friends with three groups of children from St. Ignatius' summer school who spent three mornings cleaning brush off the lawn and hauling it into the goat pasture.  The goats had a feast on the leaves and the bark.    While the children were here, Sister Maurita Bernet was also helping out and she led the groups in some fun singing activities. 
Then Doug McCarthy Beumer came and cleared out a bunch of brush.  I'm getting used to seeing him and his wife Marian -- they come often.  Doug also used his chain saw to cut up the larger pieces and some group will be able to split them and stack them in the shed later.Besides all the work with wood, lots of friends have come by to help with weeding, picking raspberries, pulling buckthorn (there's still a lot of that around!) and some even gave us a diving dock to put out in the middle of the pond where there are no weeds for those who like to swim .  (NOT ME!)  Some of our guests like that.  I see them take the paddle boat to get to it. It is one more refreshing addition to this already refreshing and renewing place.  Thanks to all who make it possible.


Smells Good Around Here

Everyone is spending as much time as possible out in the yard these days.  Carol, Paula and Janice have put the finishing touches on the garden and I hear them say they can start all over again with weeding.  All the rain is good for weeds, but let's concentrate on the good things today.  Look at this Spirea!    And the herb garden isn't just for herbs, though Jan really likes to pop out there when the soup needs something to spice it up.  There are flowers as well as a bench where I can sometimes find a friend to sit and rub my ears.  The bench is under the cottonwood tree which, Carol says, was only as tall at the farm house when she and Aggie came here in 1988.  Look what 23 years have done for it!



I spent a lot of time on the farmhouse porch this week because of all the noise outside.  I get quite discombobulated when there is a lot of racket and I can't see to discern if it is safe to be around or not.  That would sum up this week on the farm for me.  Sister Carol made a lot of the noise:  mowing the lawn, weed whipping, and tilling in the garden.  But the worst racket, I think, was made by the men who re-shingled the dome hermitage.  This needed to be done because of the damage from hail last summer.  You know, most of that little building is roof!  It took them four days to do this work.  Their trucks were none to quiet either . . . .  I hope our guests enjoy the new look.  There are three of them in it for this weekend and one in each of the House of Clare and the House of Francis.  I enjoy having them around as much as they are enjoying being here.


May Means Apple Blossoms

Well, I made it through our spring work day, but not without complaint.  Because it was raining and wet, they made me stay in on the porch.  It is difficult to be hospitable when you are kept away from the guests.  Why was it okay for them to be in the rain and not me?  Good question, huh.  See Clare's Well website for news on the workday.

Today is sunny and what a pleasure it is to be out on the grass under the apple tree.  I am receiving a shower of apple blossoms as they parachute to the ground around me. 
The bees are having to hurry up to get what they need from them before they are all blown away.

Other spots of beauty are showing up.  Spring's miracles abound around
the mailbox, too.  I am the most lucky dog in the world because I live here.

As Sister Janice Wiechman exclaims, "We live in paradise!"  Enjoy the beauty around you wherever you are.


I Have a Big Job Coming Up

They tell me I should get ready for Spring Work Day here at the Well.  I have to say, it is not exactly my favorite day -- I can't begin to keep up with all the people who come -- they are all over the place!  The excitement is so much that by the end of the day I'm quite worn out from checking on everyone to be sure they know they are welcome.  One year we had 70 people and I was the only dog to welcome them.  Whew!  If you can come, I'll do my best.  The day is Saturday, May 14th beginning at 9:00 a.m.  See Clare's Well News at  http://www.clareswell.org/  for details.


Spring Means Be Outside As Much As Possible

The title says it all.  I'm fortunate to be a dog because people say dogs belong outside.  Why would anyone want to be indoors on days like these?  The air is sweet and soft to my nose.  The breeze makes me want to simply run and bark with joy.  I hear a returning crowd of red-winged black birds by the bird feeder under the maple tree and wonder how the woodpeckers and sparrows are taking this intrusion after having had the place to themselves for the winter. 

The sisters opened the barn doors so the yard is swarming with guinea fowl and chickens giddy to be out after long months of being cooped up in the barn. 

The farmhouse porch door was left open this morning and a chicken walked right in -- up the steps and on to the porch!  The cats who claim that sunny place were sure surprised.

Sister Carol came home with garden seeds in hand this week. I can hardly stand it!  I feel  the excitement and life in Earth as she opens to longer hours of light and warmer temperatures that wake up seeds, birds, and all of us.  Hope you feel it all in your hearts, too.


Foreigners in My Yard

Some creatures who belong in the woods are coming into my yard.  I feel their intrusion and enjoy the power of being able to chase them off when I bark.  They say they are hungry.  Because of the deep snow they can't find food in their usual places.  So they come right up to my yard and look for scraps of bird seed under the feeder which belongs to my birds.

I hope you know I am being sarcastic, mocking some other creatures I have heard.  I wouldn't want any creature to go hungry, really.  I see through the window screen that one is coming across the driveway now.  I'll go out and see if she wants to play with me.


Trees Without Leaves

Have you ever noticed how comfortable trees seem to be without their leaves?  They continue to extend their empty branches.  They are as hospitable as ever when someone wants to visit them. 

Of course!
All creatures
who they are
no matter what the season of their lives. 

I hear people say they enjoy being able to see the shapes of the branches better
when the trees are bare.


Are You Smarter Than a Squirrel?

While Jan was in retreat at the place the Sisters call Umbria, she noticed the bird feeder with the usual anti-squirrel tin guard protecting the bird seed.  I'm not at all surprised by the pictures she took of the squirrel enjoying the bird food anyway. 

The Sisters will all be at their Motherhouse in Little Falls
for a week to pray and share about how best to be Sisters
to each other and to all the rest of us.  I hope they will be as
creative and successful as we four-leggeds can be.



One of the sisters just read me a reflection on faithfulness, published in Fools Fables.  The whole piece was interesting to me, but the part I can relate to most was this:
"In short, being a "faithful fool" is to give without asking anything in return.  The reward is greater than imagined.  It is to see "someone" who has a name and age in better condition than when we met them.  It is to seek and find oneself in the other; a relief to exist with reasons for the life that extends beyond our nose."  (by Danilo Ortiz, Ecuador)(see http://www.faithfulfools.org/)

Thank you, Danilo.  I hope I can do this for you sometime if you ever get to come to where I live.


Start the New Year With Sun Dog

On New Year's afternoon, we spotted a rainbow by the sun:  a sun dog!  It was more visible to the eye, they tell me, than it is on this photo.  You can, however, see it over the pond between the Wellness Center and the flag.

To me such a special occurrence in our solar system is much like the gift of Christmas itself:  the Light of the Word, the Son of God, interacting with Creation.  The sun dog phenomenon is due to interaction of light from the sun with material particles in the atmosphere.

Isn't it interesting that this pillar of light by the sun is called a dog?

Here is a photo of me with Sister Paula.  See any resemblance between me and the sun dog?  I'm thinking about it.