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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bundling Up

The weather is trending colder again. Today the sliding door to the backyard was frozen shut, and I had to let Brownie out through the garage.

Yesterday, Bow stayed in almost all day. We looked at pictures, read books, and tried to keep ourselves occupied indoors. Bow especially likes looking at children and babies. When he heard me exclaim that So-and-so's little boy was so cute -- as I was going through my Facebook feed -- Bow insisted that I show him, and he looked for a long time with great interest at the picture. "You remember so-and-so," I said. "You knew her when she was a school girl, and now she is all grown up and has a little boy." Bow nodded.

We also looked at other pictures, the kind we have hard copies of. Here is a shot of Bow looking at the big picture of himself and Lawrence that he got for his birthday.

The green blanket got full usage yesterday, sometimes as rug to lie or sit on, sometimes as a blanket to cover Bow up as he napped, and at times it served Bow as a robe.

Bow refuses to wear clothing. He is very stubborn about that, even outside in the snow. But he sometimes seems to reinvent the idea of clothing, in the way he uses his blanket. In the summer he will sometimes tie a blanket round his waist. In the winter, he looks like a robed sage.

Then, just to show he does not take himself all that seriously, Bow will stick out his tongue.

Or he will pout.

But for long periods of time, he looks like a wise patriarch who has all the answers.

Toward the end of the day, Bow asked to go outside. I let him out, and he made a brief but impassioned display. The sound of his voice echoed through the woods behind our house. Then he rushed back inside.

Sometimes you just have to let it all out, express what you need to express, then hurry back to where it is safe and warm and snug.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Warm Day Out

Today was one of those beautiful warm days that need no justification. Bow enjoyed every moment, going outside and staying there for long periods of time.

Bow would have been happy to relax on his perch atop the bench, but Leo insisted that he get up and play.

Happy to oblige, Bow played chase with Leo.

After running back and forth and displaying and chasing, Bow became a little tired, so he sat down on the stoop to rest.

Leo tried to entice Bow to play chase some more, but Bow decided against it. He got on his swing, instead.

The swing was very relaxing, but Leo wanted Bow to play some more.

Bow got up from his swing.

Then the game with Leo resumed.

Even Brownie joined the fun.

After a vigorous round of chase and displaying at both dogs, Bow was almost out of breath. He sat down to rest a little.

He had to sit down quietly for a while and consider the situation.

What ought he to do now?

Should he play with Leo some more, the way Leo wanted?

Bow looked at Leo for a moment, but Leo seemed all tuckered out, too.

Finally Bow decided that the best thing to do was to go back in. So we went in. Somewhere between going in and out all day, I also managed to write in my other blog, the one about Theodosia. Bow waited patiently for dinner. And after dinner, he was ready for bed. When you have had a day full of exercise, you don't need an excuse to go to sleep.

 Today was a wonderful day, not because of anything that happened, but just because. And after dinner, we were presented with a memorable sunset through our front door.

Some days don't need a reason to feel good. They just are.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Wind Rises

The Wind Rises is actually the title of a movie that I really want to see. It is by Hayao Miyazaki, and it opens in theaters nationwide tomorrow. However, the local theater will not be showing it, so I guess I will have to wait for the DVD. But I thought about that title today, because it's so very windy.

It was an unusually windy day. Bow, however, was not impressed. He went out several times and surveyed our property from his perch on the bench.

When I went for my walk after lunch, I was impressed by the wind. I could both see and hear it, and I could feel it on my face.

I could see it in the movements of the tall twin cedar at the far end of our pasture.

The wind played with the bare limbs of the trees in our woods.

The wind ran its fingers through the cedar in our back yard.

But when I got back from my walk, Bow asked to go outside again. And he was not impressed with the wind.

Bow just wanted to kick back and relax. The wind was no big deal to him.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Relationship Between Dogs and Chimpanzees

Yesterday, it was rather warm out. Bow went and swung on his swing for a while. Then, Leo engaged his attention. They played for a while, and after that, Bow decided to go inside.

I like dogs. I like chimpanzees. And I like watching dogs and chimpanzees play together. Maybe that is why two of my Facebook friends quite independently of each other shared with me a photo article about a baby chimpanzee whose mother died and who was then adopted by a dog. The chimpanzee had a very white face, not like Bow's combination of chocolate and cream, and the dog in the picture had a collar and some puppies of her own. There were pictures of all the puppies and the baby chimp eating out of dog bowls together.

This article was from ViralNova in one case, and from a different site in another, but it was not really clear whose dog or chimp it was, who took the pictures or who wrote the article.

Don't get me wrong. I realize that in many cases dogs do rescue human babies who have been abandoned and if left to their own devices, dogs can nurture a human infant. I have written about this before, here:

One reason to allow stray dogs to continue to roam free is that those babies who were rescued by stray dogs could not have been rescued if not for the dogs' freedom and self-sufficiency. A world without stray dogs is a world in which abandoned babies have less of a chance at rescue.

But what bothers me in the case of the dog who "adopted" a chimpanzee baby in those pictures is that the dog is obviously a pet. She eats out of a dog dish. Someone else feeds her. Someone who is not self-sufficient can't adopt someone else. Both the dog and her puppies as well as the chimp must belong to some human. That's what it looks like.

Since chimpanzees are 97% identical in DNA to humans, it seems odd that the human who owned the dog  did not adopt the chimpanzee after its mother died, leaving the chimpanzee's care to the dog. But then again, did that dog really put a diaper on the chimp baby all by herself? Something in this picture does not compute.

I think it is great when a wolf or an independent dog rescues and adopts a human or a chimpanzee infant. That is a very good thing. But for a human to treat a chimpanzee like a dog, making him eat out of a dog bowl on the floor, when the chimp has hands to hold a spoon and sees the other primates in the household all eating at the table with silverware, does not seem equally kind to me.

What do you think?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Bow's Birthday Bash

Yesterday, Bow turned twelve. We had a small and exclusive party for him. The only guests were Lawrence and his youngest daughter Lori. Sword was out of town visiting her grandmother, so besides myself, those were the only guests.

Bow knew that it was his birthday and got progressively more excited as he saw me making the preparations. We celebrate his birthday every year, so he knows what to expect when he sees a birthday cake and a balloon and presents.

Bow's uncle sent Bow two boxes of  the finest pears. (Ordinary pears would simply not do!)

Among the presents from me was a helium balloon.

When the guests arrived, Bow was happy and well behaved. He even made it nicely through a weird rendition of the birthday song. Usually I sing the Hebrew song first, then everybody else sings the English song. (They do not have the same melody.) But this time Lawrence and I sang at the same time, even though these were different songs.

Then the dogs announced that there was an intruder on our property. It was just that Australian shepherd from across the road. We had not seen her in all the cold winter months, but in the last couple of days she has made a renewed appearance. Bow gets very upset when someone is trespassing on our land, and we almost had to send Lawrence out to deliver the dog safely back to its owner, but at the last moment, Bow calmed down and let us help him  blow out the candles, and then he had a piece of cake.

The neighbor really does not understand how disruptive having that dog on our property is. She thinks the problem is mine and not Bow's. But it's Bow who will not suffer strangers on our land, and for him a dog counts just as much as a human.

But there was cake to eat and a guest to play with, so Bow made the best of things.

Normally, after eating cake, Bow will open his presents.

But this time he was less interested in the presents than in playing with his birthday guest, Lori.

This video only represents a fraction of the time that Lori and Bow actually spent playing chase and getting to know each other.

After the guests left, Bow decided he wanted to try one of his birthday pears.

He ate the pear with great relish and so speedily that it seemed to disappear right before my eyes.

The pear proved quite satisfactory! And it was gone in the blink of an eye.

There was also the birthday balloon. It was of short duration, but still worth the effort.

Bow enjoyed the balloon while it lasted, but did not mourn its passing.

Bow got many other gifts, including a light up toy from Lori, and a set of paints from Lawrence, as well as a picture of himself and Lawrence together. But for Bow, the things that really count in life are good food and good company. He does not value material objects nearly as much. He enjoyed his time with Lawrence and Lori, the birthday cake and the birthday pear. Life is good!

All in all, it was a fine birthday bash for Bow.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pictures of Bow Out in the Snow

As if to make me eat my words about how it is hard to find current photos of Bow where the snow is visible, on the very day of my last post -- February 11, 2014, Tuesday -- Bow asked to go out in the afternoon and did some serious sunbathing.

I got quite a few shots of him outside.

In some of the pictures the snow is fairly visible, though Bow's face is not the focus.

In other pictures, we can see Bow's face, but then the snow is just a blurry background whiteness.

In some pictures you can see Leo looking longingly in at Bow, as if he thought being in the pen must be lots more fun than being outside it.

There are plenty of interesting poses and facial expressions, but how many of these photos would be good in a calendar? I am not sure. I will have to number them and offer them as possibilities on our Facebook page.

Yesterday, Lawrence was here with Bow and I ran my errands. And today the snow has been slowly melting. But when Bow went out this morning, it was still quite cold.

Bow went out just long enough to use his outdoor voice in a powerful display. Then, satisfied, he went right back in. Even if it is too cold to stay out,  a short foray into the great outdoors can work wonders!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter Pictures

As a way to raise money for Project Bow, I am planning to put out a calendar with pictures of Bow next year. I am asking fans of Project Bow to help select the pictures. For instance, I was thinking that one of these six photos should be the January image on next year's calendar.

So far, out of these six pictures, the Facebook vote has been overwhelmingly for #3. The second  most popular choice is #6. But some people think a January picture in the calendar ought to include snow. This makes a lot of sense, except for one thing: when it snows, Bow does not go outside. I do have some family pictures from long ago in which I am holding a clothed and very bundled up Bow outside in the snow, but I am not sure if that would work for the calendar. In one of my old albums I found this picture, which shows Bow in the sun room with snow visible through the window behind him. 

This image is just a photo of a photo. It would take me some time to dig up the negative for this shot, and I am not sure if all people who like chimpanzees would approve of this picture of this quiet moment from our past, with Bow and my daughter together with no barriers.

That's part of the problem we have. Some people don't approve of the pens, and some people don't approve of the freedom Bow had before the pens became necessary. Some people think chimpanzees and humans should never touch, and others want absolute freedom for all chimpanzees -- or else extinction. We have taken a middle course: as much freedom and as much contact as Bow can handle at the time, with appropriate changes as the circumstances demand.

Should the calendar cover our entire past? Should it contain only recent pictures? Should Bow be in every shot, or should we also show the property where Bow lives, with an eye to getting people to help us build that five acre island for Bow, where he can have more freedom to roam?

Of course, I do have wonderful images just of snow, but  Bow is not in those pictures at all. Lately, there has been nothing but snow. This shot is from yesterday.

I like the shadows of the trees on the snow. It would not be a bad image for a January calendar illustration. But Bow is not in it. When the weather is like that, Bow does not want to go out. He naps a lot.

When he wakes up, he looks like this:

And afterwards, we spend a lot of time just sitting around together.

We sometimes read books, paint, browse through magazines and art books. But there's not much evidence in these pictures of the winter wonderland that surrounds us. 

So I need your advice: what sort of calendar should it be? One that covers all our years together or one that is more current? One that focuses on Bow, or one that also features natural beauty from our property? Should it all be portraits, or should some of it be landscapes? I wish I could feature a January picture of Bow skiing, but that's just not what we do when the snow is on the ground.  

Please comment here if you can, or if not, leave your answers on the Project Bow Fan Page. Thanks!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

While Bow is Napping

There is still plenty of snow on the ground, but now the sun is shining brightly.

There is not much to do. Bow still can't go outside on account of the snow, and yesterday, Wednesday, the day Lawrence usually comes, there was no Lawrence to play with. The roads were too difficult for Lawrence to get here.

Now the sun is shining, but still Bow can't go outside.

The dogs are enjoying the great outdoors, but it is not right for Bow.

In the afternoon, there is nothing much to do but lie down for a little while with the green blanket. Just for a little while.

Once you lie down, you start getting sleepy. Your eyes start to close of their own accord.

There is nothing like a little nap to make everything all right.

While Bow naps, I work on some of my author blogs in order to promote my books. There is a new one about Theodosia and the Pirates The success of my books is important to me for many reasons, but it is also important to the continued success of Project Bow.

However, for Bow and a lot of supporters of Project Bow, the connection is not always obvious. Some people just want to read about Bow and to see pictures of him.  For those people, I am planning to market a Project Bow calendar next year with pictures from this blog.

Do you think this is a good idea? Would you buy such a calendar? Which sorts of pictures from this blog would you like to see featured? Please give me some feed back in the comments. It will help a lot. Thanks!