a rare event

Rising from the breakfast table this morning I caught a glimpse of an animal passing by the corner of our house.  It was a cat of some sort and I soon realized it was a large bobcat, not a regular visitor certainly as I had only seen one other in the wild in my life.  In a stage whisper I called Jeanne to move slowly and come see it.


The large bobcat had just killed a gray squirrel that was dripping blood as it dangled from his jaws.  Less than a hundred feet from our sun room windows the cat crouched down on the lawn and began to eat.  We could see the hapless squirrel’s tail swishing back and forth but it obviously was very dead and the tail motion was from the vigorous chewing of the hungry bobcat.


Looking for more
Looking for more

The big cat seemed oblivious to us while he devoured his squirrel. I fetched my camera and shot as many pictures of him as I could through the window glass.  My long lens got the best results.  It’s not a thing you expect to see and it made our day.

A last look
One last look

I turn seventy-one tomorrow, and it has been five years since my wife and I retired from our business…  Where does the time go?

I’ll tell you this: Wherever it goes it goes fast.

But I’ve had more satisfaction and enjoyment in these past five years than I’d had in a long time.  Sailing on the wide open sea, visiting islands in the sun, meeting fascinating people and then returning to our home in the cool, green mountains of Vermont.  I’m a lucky guy and the years just don’t matter.


photos: copyright 2015 Robert P. Kirbach (bobkirbach@gmail.com)

white gold

Just a dusting.

There has been a marked swing toward colder weather this past week with a few flakes of  snow sticking to the grass last Saturday afternoon when a blast of Canadian air swooped down on us.  Nothing out of the ordinary in Vermont of course – where would we be without snow?  It didn’t last much more than an hour melting as quickly as it came down but it made us realize that serious weather is nearly upon us.


Killington, the ski area, which is about fifteen miles from here turned on their guns, made a little snow and opened for the season.  They do it every year just to be first.  We laugh but skiers from down-country believe it.  Today the temperature is in the fifties.

Tinmouth, VT

On Sunday we took a ride for one last look at the Fall foliage before  wind and rain knocks the leaves off the trees.  This year has been the best for color that we can remember.  We drove south through the little towns of Tinmouth and Pawlet then crossed over the New York border into Granville before heading back home.  It’s remarkable how much more beautiful the scenery is in Vermont. 😉

Jeanne and I finished covering up our sailboat after winterizing it’s plumbing and engine for the season.  It had been two years since we had had to do the job and it took us five full days, being complicated by an accumulation of Stuff that had to be brought home.  We had all summer to have done that chore but of course didn’t and remnants of our life on board remained hidden in lockers and drawers all throughout the boat.  Seashells, strange seedpods, maps and pamphlets for tourists have been gathered up and now are here at home waiting for disposal, or more likely just a new cubbyhole for their final resting place.  We’ve come to the conclusion that our heirs can clean it all up…


The new cat I wrote about last is becoming less and less skittish around us.  She may make a good house cat yet.     Halloween is nine days away and she looks the part.

Oh, before I forget to mention it, the re-caulked woodstove works great!

rpk, 10/22/2015

life in the country

Fall has arrived.  This year in our part of Vermont the tree leaves have suddenly turned brilliant, some maples are so red they hurt your eyes.  The woods around our house is like an impressionist’s canvas.  A week ago we were starting to think that there would be little color but thankfully we were wrong, it is one of the finest displays ever.


The past few nights the thermometer dropped into the thirties and we even had frost, not a killing one but frost nonetheless and the advancing cold is hurrying us along with our chores.  I had been piling up brush and other wood debris in the small field behind our house for over a year and the time was ripe to burn it.  I got permission from our town fire marshal Wednesday morning and by noon had a rip-roaring blaze going that continued all day.  burning.2By evening the pile had been reduced to a scorching hot mound of coals with thick white smoke pouring out of it from soggy pine logs still smouldering underneath.  That went on all night and the next day.  In fact, it’s still emitting small threads of smoke like a dormant volcano.  The smoke was so thick that it penetrated the house even with tightly closed windows.  My mistake, I should never have left the pile go so long before burning it.

Walkabout, our sailboat, was hauled by the yard this week and now is on her stands waiting to be winterized.  She had been in water since we launched last November down in Grenada and her hull was thick with barnacles and weeds.  No wonder we couldn’t win a race.  So now she will get a long winter’s break and some needed maintenance.

Jeanne got her wish and we have a new house-cat.  Pet angel Kristi Koch brought us a one year old black female feline two weeks ago, much to my wife’s delight, and it’s taken that long for the little thing to get used to us and come out from hiding under a bed all day.  lulu.2Kristi, bless her, takes in kittens and older cats for rehabilitation and socialization and this was one of those “damaged” animals.  This one shows signs of mental healing, perhaps, and may make a decent pet, eventually.  She, the cat, has six toes on each front paw, handy for walking on snow.  I called her “Digit” but Jeanne says “Lulu” is better.

Our family lost Betty Dougherty Tiemann who quietly passed away this week from old age.  She was my mother’s younger sister, the third of four girls who grew up in New Jersey.  Aunt Betty was a nurse, taking up the profession at an age when most people would be looking forward to retirement, and sticking with it for the rest of her working life.  She was our ‘no nonsense’ aunt and very much loved.