Groundhog, Chapter 3

Another groundhog moved into the yard, driving the dog crazy. This time the groundhog must have been a real risk taker. He came out in the middle of the day when Shelby was running around the yard. I suppose no on is surprised to hear Shelby killed this ground hog too.

I think what astonishes me most is how Shelby can be so gentle with the babies and so ferocious with an animal.

mason and shelby

Shelby not only allows the children to lie on her, play with her collar and take food from her, she allows them to put their hands in her mouth. But put a groundhog in the yard and she is a different dog.

mason and shelby two

The dual nature of dogs, fascinating.

Of corn and raccoons

Since there is nothing as delicious as fresh veggies, especially corn, I have tried to plant the latter over and over. What happens? The raccoons beat a path to the garden, scaling the fence and trampling everything in their path to get to the tasty morsels.

This year I thought I’d outsmart them. Burpee developed a special desk variety.The stalks grew tall and lush.



Ears were clearly growing on the stalks. So I picked some.



this is three ears.

Laughter may commence.

Summer bounty

I love the fresh veggies from my garden but, at this time of the year, I begin to feel overwhelmed. Everything is bearing and I am awash in produce from cucumbers to turnips to tomatoes.



I am busy freezing green beans and zucchini and making tomato sauce. This year I am trying something different: sundried tomatoes. I borrowed a dehydrator from a friend and dried about 8 pounds of tomatoes. I am storing them in olive oil. I now understand why the sundried tomatoes I buy in the store are so expensive. It take a lot of tomatoes to fill a jar.

dried tomatoes

Book cover and Salem

I can’t praise the graphics department of Minotaur (st. Martin’s) enough. Every cover has been outstanding. I love the new one, for Death in Salem, partly because it is so accurate to the look of Salem’s waterfront. ┬áTake a look. Here is my picture, taken in May of this year.



and here is the book cover for Death in Salem.

death in salem

See what I mean?





My new Will Rees mystery will be coming out next spring. This time, he travels to Salem, Mass and, of course, is embroiled in a mystery.

I went to Salem to research the area.

I mixed real people and characters of my own invention but tried to keep the facts of the sailing industry accurate.

This is a photo of the custom house, but a few years later. During the 17902, the location switched among several buildings.

custom house

This is the India store. I based the store run by my widow on this store.

india store


and this is a museum representation of a counting house. Again, I based my description on this.

counting house

I’m sure I will get questions on the tunnels underneath Salem. Although I read about them, I did not see any. I guess it’s time for another road trip!

Hunting dog instincts

Shelby is too smart for her own good. Although the yard is fenced, she spends all her time looking for a way out. When she succeeds, she does the hunting dog thing and, as we euphemistically term it, she rolls. Rolls in crap that is. That way, her prey cannot smell her coming.

However, we can’t allow her in the house without a bath.

bath one






Boy, does she hate it.


Garden exploding

I can barely keep up with the garden produce. The zucchini has taken over, the basil is huge. Even I may get tired of pesto.









And the beans!



beans two

Do you see the twine? These are supposed to be bush beans but some of the seeds didn’t get the message. They are twining up the cucumbers and squash and have taken down some of the poles. Hence, my little fix – twine tied to the fence. I will be freezing them this year.

A groundhog moved into the abandoned burrow and has eaten all my mums. But Shelby is on patrol and the hog hasn’t made it to the garden.

shelby on guard