My blog site

The Ernie Chronicles

New friends might not know this, but for many years I ran a very large no-kill animal sanctuary. We used to pull dogs from all over the United States and find them homes. Many places in this country still have amazingly high kill rates. We targeted shelters that were over 90% kill and tried to help them see that lives could be saved.

Some of these places didn’t care at all. Some of these places cared very much, but were helpless for many reasons…or there would be a small group of people doing everything they could to save these lives. Some of these people drove 22 hours straight to get dogs to us, in places that were 97-98% kill. It’s hard to believe that there are places like that still existing in this country but there are. Many of them. More than you would believe. Some making no effort at all to find homes for animals, basically just serving as a killing center. Some don’t even hold your lost pet for more than 24 hours before killing them.
I am tempted to go into stories of such places, there are so many. There are tales of horror that I still lose sleep over, and there are beautiful tales of people who did their best, and struggled daily to save lives, in a system that was terribly, horribly, and almost irreparably broken.

Ernie found himself in one such place. Continue reading…

The story of Kipling

Earlier this year, on June 10, 2018, we lost a dog that was very precious to me.
I’ve always LOVED that name. He was a dog that completely stole my heart…and broke it when he left. I’ve wanted to write this blog for a long time, but I just couldn’t. It just hurt too much and I couldn’t seem to get the words out. As I was looking at pictures of him this week and thinking again of writing this blog, I came across dozens and dozens of photos of him out hiking with me, running with me, snowshoeing with me and laying on the couch with me. I really, really, really loved this dog and it was difficult to let him go. One of the posts I came across was this one from a few years ago:

Continue reading…

Never Forget

It’s been 16 years since that awful day. Sixteen years. It’s such a long time, and yet it seems like yesterday. It’s amazing now to meet people that don’t remember it. They were too young, or weren’t even born. That really is difficult to believe, because to me it is the biggest, most significant event – probably in my entire life.

And we are told to “never forget” and “always remember” and frankly I wonder if people understand what is really meant by that.
Do they mean never forget how hatred can destroy us?
Never forget those heroes who died trying to help others?
Never forget all the other people who died?
Never forget how America was ONE true united nation on that day?

What exactly does the phrase mean? I always wonder when I hear it. I guess it means all of those things, and yet to those of us that were in some way involved – either peripherally or in actuality – it’s nonsense. None of us will ever forget a single, solitary, moment. Not one second of that horrible time. It’s etched into our brains, into our memories, it is cut into our skin and into the fiber of our being. No one who was there will ever forget. No one who even watched it on TV will likely ever “forget’ and certainly no one that sat huddled for days awaiting some final word about a loved one…will ever “forget”. I both hate those slogans and sayings…and I love and respect them. It’s quite the conflict of emotions.
Continue reading…

Eulogy for my father

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 7.57.54 PMI want to start off by thanking you all for being there for us these past few months. Calls, texts, visits, you made us feel we were not alone through any of it. I know no one WANTS to go to a funeral, and that you come here to show your love for us. I know that some of you travelled very far to be here, to honor my dad, to show your respect, or just to give us a warm embrace.

Throughout my life I’ve come to understand that time is the most precious commodity we have, and so on behalf of my mom, and my brother Billy, and my brother Michael…we sincerely thank you all for YOUR time today. Continue reading…

Catching a swarm

Two of my hives. Right one is one of the new swarm hives.

Last year was my first year with bees and I certainly learned a lot. If it wasn’t for my bee club and for some bee friends I made there – I think I may have given all of this up within six months. But there is something addicting about beekeeping. It’s more of a science than a hobby, and the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.

So my first year went well…I think. I learned that one of the main purposes of the hive is to propagate – so every year they will try to grow big enough to send out a swarm and start a second colony. The problem with this is that if a beekeeper doesn’t catch that swarm, up to 80% of them don’t find a suitable home and they will die.

Right now that is pretty devastating to our environment and there are lots of steps being put into place to try to protect honeybees. Continue reading…

Dog Law – NYS

Kipling - Once declared a I would like to say something here for all my canine friends. Never, ever, ever, ever, allow your dog to be taken away by an ACO (animal control officer).

They do NOT have that power unless you give it to them.

Refuse to allow them to take your dog!!!

At that point (your refusal) they must get a COURT ORDER to seize your dog and you have an opportunity to get a lawyer and fight it. Once they HAVE your dog, it is very difficult to get your dog back. DO NOT EVER ALLOW ANYONE TO TAKE YOUR DOG FROM YOU. Very few people understand that an ACO or a police officer DO NOT HAVE THAT AUTHORITY without a court order.

They lead you to believe that they do and will even call the police to come and assist them if you refuse. Even the cops rarely know animal law. They will say they have to take your dog and they will tell you that you have to surrender him.


Put your dog inside, away from view, refuse to surrender, and tell them to come back with a court order.

Once they have your dog – things get extremely difficult.
Continue reading…

O Great Rain

O great rain,
What would my wilderness be
Without your sweet company?
O greatest music of all,
The sky’s kiss on the warm soil,
O blesser of thirsty lips,
Heaven’s tears when nature weeps…
O greatest lover of all,
You give without asking more,
Abundantly to all fields,
And the mountains and all hills…
Stay a little…

O great rain,
What would my deep sorrow be
Without your sweet melody?
Come and soothe my lonely soul,
Which smolders like burning coal,
Come and blow your cooling breeze,
For my wounds and pain to ease…
O greatest seeker of all,
With each drop you reveal more
Than a thousand mysteries,
The wisdom of centuries…
Stay a little…
Continue reading…

Advice to new beekeepers

Or…how not to make as many mistakes as I did.

  • Get a mentor. There is just too much information out there. Every question you ask will be answered differently by every beekeeper you ask. Find someone that has bees that are thriving, and ask to work with them. You’ll develop your own methods too, as time goes by, but in the beginning the help of one or two people is worth it’s weight in gold. If you go online and post questions to forums, you will wind up so confused and disoriented that you may just give up bees altogether. So go ahead and read online, but go to your mentor for help.
  • Join a bee club. It’s one thing to read books and to watch charts and know when the “nectar flow” is on, or what the price of honey is in your area…it’s much better to have your bee club president tell you what you should be doing this month, what you need to be looking for this month, and what you need to start to do to prepare for next month. It’s also good to talk to other people in YOUR area because what you read online may have little bearing in your state. One example is southern beekeepers over-wintering their bees.They may have no concept of what northern beekeepers deal with – the local club does. You’ll also meet people that are coming up with great new designs, innovations, inventions and ideas.
  • Continue reading…

Send In the Clowns – this IS my circus and these ARE my monkeys!

What a day it was today. One of those days where everything that could go wrong – DOES, but in my case it all went wrong in hysterical ways.

So, Tom is working today and I have to get three of the five horses that are here at our house to a scheduled vet visit over in Pine Bush.

No problem!
I can handle this alone.
I’m an independent and efficient woman!
Hear me roar!

horses Continue reading…

The trials of a new beekeeper

beesI first thought about becoming a beekeeper after reading an article about how for the first time this year, the almond growers in California (who provide 80% of the world’s almonds) were struggling to find enough bees to pollinate the almond trees.

I was surprised and started reading more. The articles were frightening. Since 1950 the population has decreased more than 50%.That means that the number of bees we have now is less than HALF of what we had in the 1950’s and we’re feeding THREE TIMES the number of people. Bees handle 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. Scary.

The more I read, the more frightening it all became. 3/4 of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Yet, this CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) was rampant, not only here in the U.S. but all over the world (although the rest of the world shows about 20-30% loss and we are showing 50-60% loss). There seem to be many theories about why – pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, diseases, etc but most scientists seem to agree that the two most prominent causes appear to be pesticides and habitat loss.

So after all this reading I figured, “Hey, we have a bunch of land here, what would it take to help out a little and put up some beehives? Let’s help the little fella’s out.”

See? That statement is where it all started to go wrong.

Continue reading…