Travvy lying down

Trav chilling on deck

From where I sit to work, read, write postcards to voters, and (don’t tell anybody) play too many games of Spider solitaire, I have a clear view out my front door. My front door is mostly glass and opens onto a little deck that I came to think of as Travvy’s outdoor crate.

Whether I’d been gone for one hour or six, Trav’s nose would be sticking between the bars when I came up the outside stairs, biscuit in hand. This is one of the many things I miss now that Travvy’s gone — but this post is about how he remains a presence on my deck, so read on.

Notice the loose fur and grooming tools in the photo above. Malamutes and other northern-breed dogs blow their undercoats a couple of times a year — with Trav the big blow was in mid to late spring and the lesser blow was in late summer. The accumulation in the picture is negligible compared to what comes out during a serious blow. What comes out during a serious blow can fill two or three grocery bags.

earrings and necklace

Malamute-fur jewelry

Malamute fur can be spun into yarn (I’m told it’s easier to spin when mixed with a little sheep’s wool) or felted. I’m not crafty myself but I know people who are, so of course I have some mal-fur jewelry and several fridge magnets. Mal-fur gloves and caps are reportedly very warm, and a mal-fur sweater might be too much for all but the coldest climates.

bird on water dish

Dog dish birdbath

This is nesting season in my neighborhood, and the neighborhood birds know a good thing when they see one. I’ve kept Trav’s outside water dish (the one from which ice disks are made) full of fresh water because the birds use it for a birdbath. Since mid-April the neighborhood titmice and chickadees have been making regular trips to an overturned wastebasket of malamute fur. I’ve got a perfect view from my work chair, and every so often I’m quick enough to take a picture or two.

I doubt I’ll get to see a nest partly lined with Travvy fur, but I do like knowing that the fur Trav left behind will help keep some chicks warm this spring.

bird with fur

Tufted titmouse grabs a beakful of fur.

Not satisfied, titmouse goes back for more.

bird with fur

Titmouse prepares to lift off with bigger beakful.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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6 Responses to Nesting

  1. Jennie says:

    I love how his fur will bring a home to baby birds. That is just wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In an adjacent tree, just below the floor level of my deck, I can see a nest with (at least) two eggs in it. I’m leaning over the railing, and the angle isn’t clear, so I’m not sure how many eggs there are or whether there’s Travvy fur in the nest, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Ann says:

    We have horses – and sometimes find nests around our farm made of horse mane and tail hair. You got some good shots there! adorable…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. marjorie561 says:

    Sweet, sweet reflections. my daughter in law spins alpaca wool and sheep’s wool, and makes gorgeous shawls, as well as stuffed animals. So sorry for your loss and glad you will soon have a bundle of energy to fill that big hole in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful, dog-filled legacy!


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