Category: Uncategorized

The sun, the moon & a tiny dog

Sometimes the best trips are a just a short walk from the house. And Chiclet is always ready for a walk regardless of distance.

This was the week, of course, of the solar eclipse — the first one in more than a century to cut a large swath of totality across the USA. Sadly, northern Maine and Rusty Metal Farm were hundreds of miles north of any view of totality, but that was not going to stop us from taking in any and all of the astronomical event that we could.

Some quick online research indicated we were going to get about 53 percent of the eclipse — a phenomona when the moon passes between the sun and earth casting a shadow in, in some locations, completely blocking the sun for a brief period of time.

I figured half an eclipse is better than none. Plus, I’ve read Stephen King’s Delores Claiborne, I know what can happen in Maine during a full eclipse.

Nefarious literary dark activities aside, Chiclet and I were excited to view the event. Well, truth be told, I think her excitement was more about watching me pack things up for a short hike to our farm pond, which turned out to be the best viewing spot on the farm.

I do have a fairly good camera and zoom lens, but no safety glasses or filters for safely viewing the sun. However, I do have an old welder’s helmet with glass rated for sun-viewing, so we added that, along with a tripod, to our eclipse-viewing bag and off we went. To give it more of an eclipse party air, we took some — what else? — dark beer and soda water, plus a towel in case we wanted to take a dip in the pond while we waited.

FullSizeRender (1)

At the pond, we set up and waited until the moon began taking what looked like bites out of the sun. It was fascinating. Well, it was to me. Chiclet was a very good sport about the whole thing. For awhile she chased frogs at the pond’s edge. Then she discovered some raspberry bushes and picked herself a snack. For a bit she nosed around a pile of discarded lumber and then came to sit next to me the entire time I photographed the celestial event.


That’s what good travel dogs do – they explore within the limits given them, but make sure to return to whatever base you’ve established to check out what’s going on and make sure all is well.

I had worried a bit about some articles I’d read about animals looking up into the eclipse and damaging their eyes. By the time that was of any concern here, Chiclet had fallen asleep. I’d like to say she was exhausted by the eclipse excitement. I fear the reality is she had gotten straight bored.

FullSizeRender (4)

Either way, we had a really fun afternoon with our mini staycation here on the farm with a terrific show complements of Mother Nature. We’re already planning the party for 2024 eclipse when Rusty Metal Farm will be in the path of totality.

Chiclet gives the notion of finding fun and adventure in your own backyard a five biscuit rating.

Tiny dog on the go

Chiclet and I plan to scout out dog-friendly destinations by land, sea and air. We’ll look at logistics in getting there, how “dog-friendly” these places really are and give some honest appraisals on whether it’s worth the trip or not.

We’ve already done some travels to spots in Maine, Quebec and Manitoba and we are happy to report that most places purporting to love dogs, really do.

According to a 2016 survey taken by the American Pet Association, 37 percent of pet owners are taking their four-legged friends on the road with them – up 19 percent from a decade ago. The travel industry, it appears is responding according to an article in the Chicago Tribune which said, “the [travel] industry is warming to four legged guests. The embrace is coming from hotels, restaurants, the airlines and even Amtrak, a longtime holdout.”

Chiclet and I can’t wait to find out more as we travel about.

Certainly, travel with pets does present some unique challenges, but the company of a furry companion does some amazing good to help de-stress after a day on the road or in the skies. If there is a comfy room and great meal waiting for the both of us at our destination – what could be better?

As we explore and report, Chiclet will help me rate destinations on a scale of one — dog friendly in name only — to five — dogs are treated almost better than guests — dog biscuits.

dog-bone-clipart-7caq69kcAWe’re also going to check out pet-travel gear and strategies to make trips easier, happier and safer for all involved.

It’s a big world and Chiclet is a tiny dog…┬áBelieve me, she’s more than up for the task!





Tiny dog travels

Tiny dog travels

I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I have become that person. The one you see in the airport with the special, soft-sided pet carrier with little eyes peeking out. Or the one at roadside rest stops walking a furry little buddy in the “pet-only” zone, eyes glued to my north-bound dog’s south-bound end, plastic bag at the ready. I’m also the one on hot days parked at the store with the car running and a sign in the front windshield, “Dog is fine, AC is on and she’s listening to music.”

In other words, I am have joined the ranks of pet owners who live by the credo, “No critter left behind.”

And it’s easier than you might think. Sure, it takes a bit of pre-planning when you include your furry friend and it often comes at a bit extra cost, but more and more places in the travel industry are acknowledging the popularity of pet-friendly travel and the needs of those doing it. And they are stepping up to meet those needs.

With the help of Chiclet — a 5-pound chihuahua/Yorkie cross rescued from a high kill shelter — we will track down and evaluate some of the best places to travel with your pet, how to plan that travel, accessories to make that travel safe and as trouble-free as possible and things to do to make sure you and your pet are always welcome back.

From time to time we’ll call on some of Chiclet’s travel-savvy friends to hear about some of their experiences and tips on how to navigate the world on four legs, fins or with feathers.

If you are ready, Chiclet is always up for a new destination. Let’s load up and head out!