Amazing Delights from Year One – Harvests & Thanksgiving.

So, we’ve reached the second year of my life. Where to begin? I suppose I should start at the beginning like I did with my first year. However, there were numerous things I didn’t get to tell you about that first year. So, I think I’ll get some of those off my hairy chest. (Yeah, I have hair on my chest.)

Here goes with the initial one. I want to report that we went to Hilton Head Island for Thanksgiving that first year. We drove from Vermont to South Carolina in James’ car. He bought a special crate that fit in the back. They stuck me in that crate the entire drive. Of course, I didn’t mind – not really. So long as I didn’t have to do any of the driving, I was chill.

The condo James and Ron rented advertised a fenced-in yard where they wanted to put me so I could do my business. Well, when we arrived, the area of this sorry excuse for a yard was only slightly larger than my crate. As such, James and Ron took me for walks.

During the first four days, these walks were in the rain. That’s right. It rained Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Now, this wasn’t just any rain. It poured. I looked like a wet dishrag every time we came back. James and Ron were protected by an umbrella.

Oh, yeah, I was six months old at the time. Little did James know I could definitely make it through the night. But noooooo. James woke me up every morning after only six hours of sleep so we could, yet again, go out into the rain.

The best part of the trip, other than when it quit drizzling, was that Jackie came down and stayed with us. She was at Skygate Farm the very first day I arrived, and I hadn’t seen her since. It was such a joyous treat. (What could James be thinking? He has yet to give me a treat. I’ll think of something.)

The next best part of the trip was on Thanksgiving Day when we went for a walk on the beach. It was my first time frolicking in the sand and saltwater. Oh, and other canines were hanging out on the beach with whom I got to play.


(L2R: Ron, Ollie, and James posing on the beach at Hilton Head, South Carolina.)


We had our Thanksgiving meal at a friend of Jackie’s whose name is also Jackie. She has a lovely condo much closer to the beach than the one James and Ron rented. Of course, they had to lease one that was “dog-friendly.” The second Jackie was incredibly kind to invite me along for the day.


(L2R: New Jackie, Ollie, and Jackie kneeling in front of the Thanksgiving spread.)


Looking at all that food reminded me of one of James’ poems. He wrote it as a request from Mimi Neff to read at the Old Parish Church in Weston, Vermont. In it he discusses the abundance of food Vermonters harvest at the end of the growing season. I hope you enjoy reading it.


           My dog, Trek, sits patiently watching me as
                                    I scurry about,
                        ensuring that the seedlings
                           are safe from a late frost
                 as the planting time of year unfolds.

                    I plow the vegetable patch with a
   neighbor’s tiller, borrowed after a casual exchange
           where one is mentioned as being needed.

                It’s with the assistance of neighbors
                               and acquaintances
                                    that gardens,
                             both edible and not,
                                   are sustained.

       There are times these same people spot me
             in the plot and stop to chew the fat.
           Soon they are beside me weeding and
                        admiring, like the bees,
    the flowers that each plant displays which will
               provide the desired nourishment.

          All summer we chat about the progress,
              anticipating the precise moment to
pick and pluck; for the Vermont harvest suddenly
        arrives with an overabundance of wealth
                      such that we are all sated,
                              for a little while.

       Beginning with the prepping for planting
                        through to the harvest
                       we are aided by others.
                           These same people
               share in each successive bounty.

                       The getting of help and
                         the giving of produce
        also harvests friendships along the way.
                                Friends who,
                  while not put up or canned,
                       remain fresh and true.

   Such are the pleasures of a Vermont harvest.

James wrote that poem while he was living at Popplewood Farm with Ron and their best friend Trek – my BFF when I first arrived on the scene. I love how James included Trek in the poem. (Finally, a treat, and I wasn’t even trying for one.) This poem is included in James’ book of poems entitled Pleasures & Seasons of Vermont.

Speaking of pleasures, all this harvesting reminded me of something else that I’d like to tell you about that took place during my first year. Come back in two weeks and find out how I grew fond of visiting the vet. You read that correctly. Hopefully, it piqued your interest.

Until then, feel free to scroll down and make a comment, letting me know what you think of my blog and James’ poems. I always like to hear from you, so please leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


“Harvest” printed with permission, originally published in Pleasures & Season of Vermont, © James Stack 2013
Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2018 unless otherwise indicated

One thought on “Amazing Delights from Year One – Harvests & Thanksgiving.

  1. Dragon and I enjoyed this recap of your first Thanksgiving, Ollie. Dragon reminisced about her younger days in the sands of a desert, but she says that saltwater was something she did not experience until she was . . . quite a bit older. We both enjoyed your poem, James, especially the line about harvesting friendships along the way. Looking forward to the next installment of your memoirs.

    Liked by 1 person

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