Living Bliss

There is no greater bliss than live one’s purpose.

retriever, hunting, duck hunt, golden retriever

Blitz displays style, drive, steadiness and pinpoint accuracy to start the day.

Our retrievers are working retrievers. They are descendants of generations of canine companions that hunt with their human counterparts. When harvesting upland game or waterfowl, a working retriever is essential. Often, game lands in an area inaccessible to the human hunter. Enter the well-trained retriever to recover dinner.

The ultimate test for a working retriever is to work in a real time hunt and retrieve dinner for its family. There is a process to test these working dogs to a standard established to determine their readiness as a hunting companion.

In these tests, the retriever’s natural abilities and trained abilities are judged.

Natural abilities: marking and memory, intelligence, attention, nose, courage, perseverance and style.

Trained abilities: steadiness, control, response to direction, and delivery.

 Here are some snapshots of Tim, The Forester Artist, with the girls yesterday. It was a very difficult test. Twenty-eight dogs entered, twenty-one competed, only eight qualified.

Congratulations to Blitz on her first Senior Hunter qualifier.

retriever, hunting, golden retriever, hunt test

Blitz, a working golden retriever, shows nice style on her water retrieves.

blind retrieve, pheasant hunting, upland game, golden retriever

Blind retrieve: the retriever does not know where the bird is. The handler must guide the retriever with whistle and voice command.

blind retrieve, bird hunting, duck, pheasant

Teka shows speed and style on her blind.

duck hunting, waterfowl hunting, retriever, working retriever

Teka completes her land series.

working retriever

Teka is fast, that is because she spends more time in the air than most dogs.

marking retriever, duck hunt

Teka on the return with her first water mark.

Teka greets Kathleen, one of her people who came to watch her at the event. Teka properly loved up both Doug and Kathleen.

Teka greets Kathleen, one of her people who came to watch her at the event. Teka properly loved up both Doug and Kathleen.

akc rossette, hunting test, retrievers, senior hunter

Tim, The Forester Artist, with Blitz and Teka.

Spring Strut


canada geese, nature wildlife

Strutting his stuff for his lady. Spring is in full swing in my backyard.

UGLY Birds Gather


Turkey vultures check out a dead rat.

Turkey vultures check out a dead rat.

Just One More Thing

In 1997, the pastor of our parish asked if I would assist a fellow parishioner named Walt to purchase a computer and learn how to use it.

When I greeted Walt, I recognized him immediately. The previous summer I took a portrait of him with his wife, Ruth. Ruth had Alzheimer’s and wasn’t too keen on me positioning her for the photo. Walt began speaking to her softly, “Now, Ruthy, it’s okay, she is going to take our picture.” She caught his eyes and was immediately calmed. Her eyes danced in the photo. It was obvious to me, there was something special about this man.

With this we began our journey.

Walt had a dairy ranch, much of his computer lessons involved teaching him to enter data on his heard, run reports, etc. Walt is bright and eager to learn new things, so he caught on quickly.

A 30 minute session took 4 hours.

The tech stuff was accomplished in the first and last 15 minutes. The rest, well Walt told stories and if he noticed me looking at the clock, he said, “Just one more thing.”

And so our routine was born. I started planning for the longer visits. In time, he needed no assistance with his computer, but we went through the motions anyway.

We all need story tellers and Walt is a master.

Little by little I learned of his youth. I learned of his days in WWII. Which roses in the yard he liked the most and about stray voltage in the barn.

Sgt. MatthewsPhoto from the Walter Matthews collection

Sgt. Matthews
Photo from the Walter Matthews collection

I laughed and cried when he shared stories of his daughter, Pat. She was the light of his life and brought much joy to Walt and Ruth. Pat died at 37 from primary biliary cirrhosis.

Not long after that Ruth was stricken with Alzheimer’s. For many years, Walt cared for her every need. The kind of care not born of obligation, but born of love.

A few years after Ruth passed, Walt was blessed with another chance for a love in his life and Bee came into his heart and ours.

Bee and Walt, just after Valentine's Day 2008.

Bee and Walt, just after Valentine’s Day 2008.                               Photo by MaryALivingston

Every once in a while, we still sneak a morning together and a cup of tea. We make no pretenses of caring for the computer, the time is ours to enjoy the stories and share a little bliss.

If you ever have the occasion, ask Walt to brew a cup of tea and tell you a story.

Your life will be richer for it.

I love you Walt,

Happy Birthday

The two of us. Photo by Bernice Bennett (Bee)

The two of us. Photo by Bernice Bennett (Bee)

“UGLY Birds” to Appear at Annual Return of the Buzzards!

Exciting news, especially for those of you in Hinckley, OH. My new picture book, No Place for UGLY Birds, will be available at EarthWords Nature Shop  in time for the Annual Return of the Buzzards!

No Place for UGLY Birds

No Place for UGLY Birds

Not in my backyard
Scotty lives in a quiet little valley where not much exciting goes on. That is, until the day his neighbors decide the turkey vultures are too ugly.
No Place for Ugly Birds – An amusing story with unintended consequences.
Story – 763 words
Turkey Vulture Critter Chit-Chatter™ – 278 words

written and illustrated by Mary A Livingston
32 pages, 763 words

Red Tail Publishing
Hard Cover ISBN13: 978-0-9847756-7-5
Soft Cover ISBN13:  978-0-9847756-8-2