Late spring is the time when you begin to see lots of toads.
I was very little when I began to see these toads everywhere,
I mean everywhere.
Once, Bunny Wunny and I went "toading" (is that even a word?) together. I have noticed that generally at the beginning of June sometime, before summer actually begins. that all of a sudden, it was like magic, I mean, they were everywhere. Did I say everywhere? I would skip up and down, hopping like a bunny wabbit, trying really hard not to step on them. They were so little, as first when we saw them, we were in Fox Forest here in New Hampshire. Mama and Papa and I thought they were hopping bugs. But Mama got down on the mossy floor of the forest to tell us both, nope, they are toads. It does seem that during that early part of June, that after a really thoroughly drenching rainstorm, the kind that brings, wind, and everything gets blown around, that it is after one of those kinds of storms that all of a sudden, they are all out at once. I think it is because the toad eggs need a lot of water to hatch. I think they are called toadlets. But you would have to ask a biologist about why this happens. Anyway. So I want to tell you two stories today.
Once, when Bunny Wunny and I were in the horse arena, well, its not much of a arena because no matter how hard we tried, we could not keep the weeds out, but I digress. I seem to do that a lot. Anyway, so we are going into the arena and he is barefoot and I am getting all wiggly because I can feel something moving underneath the pads of my toes. Yikes, yip, yip I say and Bunny Wunny is like, what is wrong? Bunny Wunny, I do not like squiggly toes I tell him. And that is when he got down on his hands and knees to look. Dharma Dharma, the toads are here he exclaimed. So what are we to do, we both exclaim at the same time, let's rescue them. So we get the yellow pail lying under the lilac bush and we start "toading". Toads here, toads there, yes, oh yes, there are toads everywhere we sing, collecting them along the way. Well, actually he collected them and sang, I happily yipped and pointed them out by picking up my feet. Really, I do not like squiggly toes. So we are so gently picking them up for they are very tiny, smaller than a pea. He is on his hands and knees and I am picking up my feet, front and back, back to front, it really did not matter, they really were everywhere!! We were so gently rescuing them. We rescued to our hearts content, and when we were done, we counted our treasure,
and we had
Can you believe it?
Anyway, we carried the bucket so gently and poured out those little babies at the edge of the woods.
And he smiled and I smiled (yes, dogs do smile) and then we went in the house.
We stayed out of the arena after that. Way too much work. But fun.
My other story is about how Mama and I sometimes walk together on our road. It does not have tar on it, so there is a lot of wildlife around. Just recently as were walking down past neighbor's house, when we went into his yard, it is like hundreds of toads hopping everywhere. Mama is out there with her funny hat and she is trying to pick them up so gently, and put them off the road because they do get run over by cars, and that makes here feel sad. Our neighbor uncle Brucie was telling us, yeah, some lady was out there trying to rescue them. Yup, that was my Mama. Mama just feels bad that they get run over. But, it really is impossible, because you can barely walk on the road at this time.
It is one of Mama's favorite times to walk, because
SHE LOVES TOADS!!!
She always endeavors to take care of the toads and frogs at our home. Once she stepped on one and she cried. It had hopped onto the sidewalk in the middle of the night and she was coming in late and the light was off and she did not see him. So after that she is doubly careful for the toads. In the summer, she often finds them in the horse water bucket and will rescue them. Once she planted cucumbers in a kiddie pool
and it filled with water from the rains,
and the frogs moved right in.
Now a days, she finds them in the garden and really everywhere.
Once in her younger days, ah hah, you know "in the olden days" she found an egg mass at a pond at Mount Wachusette in Massachusetts, on the top of the mountain. She put them in a discarded water bottle she found and brought them home. She set up an aquarium and watched them turn into FROGS. She said that was very cool.
Then she SET THEM FREE!
Mama likes little creatures to live free. She wished them a happy life.
Anyway, now a days, she will be weeding or planting and dig up a toad. It is really funny.
Anyway, I am signing off for today.
I am going camping this weekend with brother Merlin and the old folks and uncle Jef. I am very excited.
I have never been to the beach before.
All my brother's Merlin, Kira and Stoney Wall have all been there before and they always said, they had a
WICKED GOOD TIME.
Well so long to all,
Well here is a new one for you.
I live in a very little town and we have little cute, well town stuff. Like our Gala Day which celebrated its 25th year. But I digress. Back in May Mama and Papa and Uncle Jim, from Betsy's Folly Studios went to the Mont Vernon Village School and recorded those kids singing my song, well, you know how I feel about that. And Miss Leesha, the music teacher had these kids sing the song while others played ukeleles and others guitars. It was so great. First Mama went to the Mont Vernon Village School during "Read Across America" week in February. She and Papa went and had breakfast I mean, like where was I?
I LOVE BREAKFAST,
with the library director, Pat and other volunteers, and then MY BOOK got to go into three classes and Mama read it to the students there. What fun that was!!. Of course the book was not out in printed form and we were still using the Story Board that Mama has been using and updating for five years. I mean,
IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME THIS JOURNEY OF OURS!
We met Miss Leesha, the music teacher after that. We gave her all of the music for my story, and she and her kids practiced, and practiced, and practiced until finally in May, we went and recorded. Mama is going to try to put it on this web site, so watch for it. Then, on the 17, Principal Schuttinger allowed us to bring the printed copy of the book to three classrooms of kids. It was so exciting. Each classroom we played the kids singing The Adventure of Dharma Doxie. Then Mama, being the ol teacher she is, taught the kids in each classroom the SIGHT WORDS before she started the story. Sight words are those that we learn just by looking at them, not sounding them out or anything. It is actually very cool. We learn a lot of our words as sight words. You would be surprised how many sight words the kindergarden kids new, almost all of them. And I am pretty sure few knew my name, but they learned it immediately. It was amazing. Anyway, after that she taught each class, the refrain for my song. It warmed my heart that the kids were singing "Yoo Hoo Dharma Doxie" and so forth. Once they read the story, Mama and Papa showed each class my little You Tube Video: Dharma the Bee. Everyone loved it. We finished up with giving each student a Dahrma Hugs sticker and showed each student how to give those hugs. IT WAS FUN. Well, it was for them. Me, I got to hear the stories after, is after all, okay for a dog's life. But the best stuff is yet to come. The next day was Gala Day. Its like a big birthday party for the town. We have a parade and and picnic and music and all kinds of fun and free activities for the familites in town. Guess what?
I GOT TO GO!!! I mean, can you believe that?
We went to the picnic. Auntie Michele Rheburg came and helped the old folks set up and I got to go.
My tail wagged THE ENTIRE TIME!! And of course EVERYONE got kisses.
I was on CLOUD NINE, if you know what I mean.
I was so happy. Auntie Kim and cousin Natalie came by (see the picture) and and we all had a wonderful time. Actually, I think I could be a model or something, EVERY ONE LOVED ME!!.
The kids from the classes we read to came by and said hello,
IT WAS SUCH FUN!! I told the folks, lets do this again.
Anyways, some kids came back to see me over and over and over. Other kids, who sang my song came by because Mama and Papa gave them a free recording that they made of the song. And then, they took that recording to the sound stage at the picnic, and the people there played my song and the kids danced and sang along. This day was about me, and I LOVED IT!!. I am such a ham, and I know this. I have been called the most "lickiest, tail wagging dog" there is. Just ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you, this is true. You can see even in this picture of me and the folks, my tongue is getting ready to say hello. And so, my little soul is happy now. My first book was sold at the Gala to a young girl with a, can you believe it, a DOXIE!! I mean, doesn't that seem providential. So it is good by for another week.
DHARMA Hugs and So Long!
It is another Sunday and a beautiful day it is. And Father's Day too. Mama thinks of her old dad, Grumpy. What a funny guy. And Papa thinks about his old dad, Grandad Sommese. Papa has liked his doxie hat quite a bit. Anyway, it has been so cold up here in New England first thing in the morning, I mean like my little paws, they have definitely gotten frosty some mornings. But for June, it has been very nice so we have been in the garden a lot. Anyways, we get up and after the "Old Folks" come back from getting their time with nature, Papa makes breakfast, and the best wicked coffee you can think of, Mama gets the newspaper and me and brother Merlin, we all go out into the garden and have breakfast. Actually, they have breakfast, we just sit and drool, as dogs are wont to do. And so, we go out there and Mama has two of the biggest wicker chairs you have ever seen set up under the maple tree. She got them both at recycling, CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?? I mean, she is such a PICKER!. you know, like those guys on television, except she DOES NOT drive around in a Mercedes. Anyway, Mama has been a picker since way before they had recycling centers and she would pick at the local dump. One of her best "picks" was finding a Peter, Paul and Mary album, in the best of shapes. Anyway, I digress. Now that has all changed, which is good, because, I mean, there is only so many places you can put trash. She is very good at reducing waste, I can say that. Anyway. so we go out in the garden and Merlin gets tied to a leash on the chair (he is getting very old now and does not see so well and tends to wander) and I get to sit up next to Mama, which is so great because I was never able to do this. The chairs were not wide enough. Anyway, we sit and we all talk, well they talk and we listen, you know, blah, blah, blah, not that what they are saying is boring but we have no clue what is going on except when they offer us their plates from breakfast to lick from it is a treat. So they read the Sunday paper and we watch, adoringly, trying our best to get them to feed us any scraps they might have. Mama is a rock. She believes that doggies need to eat doggie food and people need to eat people food. Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about how I came to be known as Dharma Dharma. The first grandson, Bunny Wunny started calling me this out of the blue. It was very cute from the beginning, but I can still hear the way his voice went up at the second Dharma, and it still warms my heart. I keep asking Mama if she will write some of the stories of us together over the years, but she keeps telling me We Shall See, We Shall See. Long summer days with toads, and owls and sledding, and well, you can imagine. The boy from my book reminds me of him, a lot. And so I sign off for today. As always .....
And So Long!
So here we are having a little doxie life. I mean, Mama and Papa busily waiting for my hardcover book coming out this Friday.
And then we get this pretty magical hat. We guess, from packaging it comes all the way from Canada somewhere. Papa gets to wear it when we go out and do "doxie work", if you know what I mean. It is quite endearing. And then again, out of the blue we get a little doxie stuffed dog. At this point we have no idea who has sent these items. So now, the little stuffed doxie reminds us of my brother "Stonewall", which made me think of Stony Stories. Papa named him because Papa loves studying and talking and visiting about the "Civil War".
And so Stony's legal name is Stonewall Jackson, which is pretty cool because
he was a miniature short haired black and tan doxie who only weighed 11 pounds
but he had the personality of a prize fighter.
(After Papa named our cat April, after April 1865, the year the Civil War ended, he was not allowed to name any more pets. Funny). He was the smallest of us all, but he was KING OF THIS ROOST. What a hoot he was. Even my brothers Kira and Merlin, Blue Merle collies deferred to Stony. He was so funny to watch. He would jump up and down, straight up and down, like a Jack Russel Terrier. He could stare any of us down. If you put his squeaky bone on top of the refrigerator, he would climb to the top of the stairs, to up stairs and just stare at it. I guess he thought we understood ESP (extra sensory perception) and would get the vibe that he wanted us to "get that bone down". He never understood that is was Mama and Papa who put it up there in the first place. I mean, how many times can you listen to a squeaky bone. I mean, let it go. But he never did. Auntie Kelly gave him his first bone, and he chewed it non stop until he chewed the squeaker out and then swallowed it. So, as good aunties do, she bought him another one. Auntie Kelly sent the folks a great canvas picture of my t shirt. It looks great on the wall. You can see it next to Papa. But I digress. Anyway, Stony was smart, He chewed all kinds of holes in that rubber bone, but left the squeaker intact. He LOVED THAT SOUND!!. He was fondly known in the family as Little P_ss and Sh_t. Because if he loved you when you walked through the door, well, he just could not help himself. He would just "pee the floor" right there. Uncle Phil was the one we think he was most endeared to. He never, not once, neglected to "christen" the floor when Uncle Phil came by. When Bumble Bee, granddaughter to Mama and Pap was nine, she was riding in the truck with him on her lap and he christened her, as another favorite (poop and all). And you definitely could not ever eat food next to his face, he had no qualms about taking a bite right off your plate. All in all he led a wonderful life. He and I were "COUCH POTATOES FOREVER". He christened every couch we ever had, so the folks finally went to leather. He figured out early on that if he peed on a blanket kindly put in his crate, he could "flip it over" and sleep on the dry side. What a guy. I miss him every day because he and I spent most of our lives together. He most enjoyed his last year with the family. He went camping, traveled a bit, slept in the sun a lot. He was our own "Stony Wall". Now I am thirteen, and he has not been gone a year yet. But I miss him, truly, EVERY SINGLE DAY. Oh, and the hat and the doxie Papa is holding, that came from auntie Heather for Papa's father's day.
Thank you auntie Kelly and auntie Heather.
Wow, so much has happened since Christmas.
Let me tell you about the kids at the
Florence Rideout Elementary School in Wilton, New Hampshire.
Mama Chell and Papa Sommese told me all about it.
Being a dog, I can't really go to school, so I kind of live through them. And that is okay by me. The whole thing has been SO MUCH FUN!
Anyway, it began with Mama meeting with Nancy Tong, retired music teacher. DID YOU KNOW that Mama woke up one morning, singing the tune to my song. It was so COOL. I mean like, it would not go away. Da da da da da da da da da. I mean over, and over and over. She was still teaching then and since she was NOT GETTING ANY SLEEP, she decided to go and ask Mrs. Tong if she could put the music and words down, ON PAPER, because well, she was NOT GETTING ANY SLEEP until this was done. So kind Mrs. Tong did this. Then student Miski came and volunteered to sing it. Whew, Mama said, it was good to get it out of her head because clearly, IT NEEDED TO COME OUT. So, that was about four years ago, and all the music sat in a binder, on the shelf, until just this year. So Mama, went back to Mrs. Tong and asked her to help her to finish the whole, GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER part of the process which she did. Once that was done, Mama was looking for kids that might like to sing it. To the rescue again, Mrs. Tong suggested that it might work better if we found a group of kids, like a choir, and got them to sing the song, I think mostly so that they would ALL BE IN TUNE. I guess that makes sense. Any way, she said she knew a music teacher, Mrs. Aparo, who taught at the Florence Rideout Elementary School and would see if she had interest. This was SSSOOOOOOOOOOOO great because this is where Dharma Doxie began!!!.
People don't know this but six years ago Mama took the simple pictures that artist Judi Wing drew for the book and Mama added the story and read it to three classrooms at the time. Kids loved it so Mama decided to go on and see where we would go. I am sure you can see how wonderful the pictures are from the book samples on the front page, so here we are. We were so happy for the opportunity to go back to FRES and have students from there sing my song.
That is them singing my song on the HOME page.
Chell Sommese is a retired teacher.