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Four Years Ago Today

Friday, December 18, 2009

On December 18, 2005, I made my first real post on my own blog. It was, unsurprisingly, about Chet Baker, and it was called Chet Likes Ice. It featured a photo of a svelte, shiny one-year-old Boston terrier, poised on the brink of modest Internet stardom (but not an awful fall...)

Photo by Bill Thompson III.

Before he was a stah, when his ears still flopped over. Wish I'd been bloggin' then.

One Thousand One Hundred Forty-Three posts later, I am still rhapsodizing about Chet Baker. He is lying under the small tent made by my legs as I sit in bed, and he is chewing a Nylabone. He's a little gray around the eyebrows, and so am I. We've both done a lot of growing up.

After a certain point, it seems silly to mark a blogaversary. I'm in a reflective mood, but not enough to go on and on about what blogging means to me. I'm just glad you've been there to read and give me your feedback, to help me think about things that bug or amuse or outrage me. I'm glad I could give you a break from your day or a virtual escape to the woods and fields. I've tried to keep the quality and information content high, and if I wasn't up to that, to keep it light and happy and fun. I know there are five million other things you could be doing, and I don't want to waste your time.

I'm also glad that I started this blog when Chet was a mere year old. I have archives of stuff on him, the most bodacious dogjournal you could imagine, and the photos to back it up, all backed up. Hmmm.

Imagine...sometimes I do.

So I have a question for you, a little test-market thingie, kind of a fourth blogaversary present you can give me. 1,143 posts. And all I want is a lil' comment out of you.

If I wrote a book about Chet Baker, and it had a bunch of photos of him like you see here, and funny or moving or gripping stories like you get here, but it also had some really fleshed out thoughts about the human-dog connection, and what dogs mean to people, and the kind of comfort that dogs offer to us, would you buy it? If so, how many copies would you buy? :D

Please tell the cute doggeh. He wants to know. Is there a book in Chet Baker and Mether?

Because on down the road I'm going to have to sell this idea to people who may not exactly get that Chet Baker is the livin' end, the best doggeh in the universe, that you'd drop everything and rush out to buy a book about him so you could keep him and his cuteness on your bookshelf or at your bedside forever. I'll need your testimonials, your encouragement, to print out and throw at my skeptics in what I hope will be a fluttering blizzard of yeahyeahyeah!!!

In other news, I am using this fourth anniversary to give myself a break from blogging, to tend to health, hearth and home. The online life is fun, and I've loved it, but I need to regroup, get my nose off the screen, do some painting, drawing, walking, writing, thinking; to live with my family in real time.

If four years of Greyfriar's Bobby-like faithfulness to this odd unpaid job is any indication--showing up five days a week, rain or shine, storing posts madly even when I'm leaving on a huge trip--I'll probably come back sooner rather than later, bursting with new stories and images, so hang in there.

Thanks for everything. If you start jonesing, there are always those 1,143 posts in the archives to work through. Start in December 2005, work your way on through (remembering to start at the bottom of the page and scroll up) and enjoy!

Baker kisses,

Julie and Chet Baker, my Dogstar


huhhh?, people would buy a book about some lady in Whipple, Ohio and her Boston Terrier???... c'mon give me a break, Julie, next you'll be telling me that this thing they call the Internet might one day be popular...

I rarely comment, but I've been a faithful reader for a couple years now. I'm not even a dog owner, and I fully support a Chet Baker book! Other people's dogs have sweetened my life since I was a kid, and I count Baker as part of the sweetness right along with my in-laws' splendid poodle. Not only would I buy such a book and keep it around for when you need some visual comfort, it would make a great gift for dog-loving friends. You have a ton of great material to work with archived here; books based on websites are HOT lately, and I say go for it!

Yes, I would buy at least one copy (and possibly a few more to give as gifts). I adore Chet Baker, and I also enjoy Mether's silly/serious/thought-provoking/doting adoration of her beloved dog. Thank you for sharing him with the rest of the world...

I will miss your posts--they are always beautiful and thought-provoking. Yes, I would buy a book about you and Chet Baker. What's more, I would make sure that Virginia Tech's library gets a copy. I suspect many other librarians would buy it too. :-)

I've never commented, and have only read this blog since the New River Birding Festival, where I bought 2 of your books, and met Chet. I think any book you write about Chet Baker would be terrific, and then the film version to follow.... My husband would prefer a book on orchids--loved the recent post about the miracle bloom on the paph. Understand your need to regroup and will enjoy the archives while you take a break from blogging.

Oh my yes. Even though I'm a self described Crazy Cat Lady, I do love dogs too and hope to again rescue one or two after I retire and my current herd of cats thin out. I also have many Crazy Dog Lady friends who would love your book, along with folks I know in the dog rescue and fostering network. If they don't read your blog, they have certainly heard me sing your praises.

So, get along little doggie and start pulling it together!

Opps, I meant "git" along little doggie!

I trust you have your Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure deployed on the windowsill over your kitchen sink, Christine. Thank you.

I beg forgiveness in advance for even daring to bring this up, but this comes to mind: What do people react to most in "Marley and Me"? Could it be the end? I'm just saying. Maybe Chet's story isn't ready yet. (Thank goodness.)

Thanks for asking for feedback. You asked if I thought a book on Chet would sell. Although I don't know what the market is for books on pets, I will give you my opinion (dog owner, dog enthusiast, veterinarian). I have enjoyed your blog tremendously but, to be honest, I think the dog thing is a bit overdone. Now, don't get me wrong. I can see that you really love dogs, Chet in particular. And I can love him, too, just from your blog. I can see his spirit; I can hear him snort and smack his food; I can feel and smell his toes and foot pads; I can feel his smooth sparse coat. I feel like I am his neighbor or a companion on one of your walks. But would the general public be interested enough for you to make a profit on the sale of a book? Perhaps. Your blog and talks have raised interest in you and Chet and that would help. Perhaps if you made it more geared to children, you would sell more. Are you familiar with "Walter the Farting Dog" series? I am not suggesting anything so gross about Chet, but something unusual geared to kids and pets is popular. Also, I think if you added some of your art and relate it to Chet, that would help as well. Have you seen David Hockney's Dog Days by David Hockney, 1998, ISBN 0-8212-2331-3? That is all artistic works of his Dachshunds in various real-life poses and very nice. I pull it off the shelf occasionally to revel in the two neat dogs depicted there. Chet would be the same. One would look at the book periodically to 'experience' him as an individual and the breed. If his life story was made into just that, a story, then it would be read to/by children and adults who want to be children again. .....Anyway, this is a bit rambling but I hope it helps.

Dear Julie,

Thanks so much for all the blogging, which has been just outstanding. Though you of all people could make the Chet-book idea work, this reader wonders whether that's really your best option. You have such great gifts that it will be a challenge choosing how to make the most of them. The Chet-book doesn't seem the answer, though every writer will wonder about the bird in hand vs the two in the bush. But again, if anyone could make that go it would be you.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

Nick from Ottawa

Julie - I would buy at least 5 copies for people I know and 1 copy for me (autographed by Julie and Chet!?!).

I think the adventures and the journey that you and Chet share is compelling - the bond, the trust, the role he fills in your life. I believe the story is a universal one, filled with lessons and with examples -

I will miss you as you take a well-earned and well-deserved break. I will miss Chet Baker too, and will look forward to your return.

Peace and blessings to you, Chet Baker, the family and all you love.

"northern birder" makes a good point - nothing against pups, but this blog speaks to me in nature's tones... and my puppy would be jealous. There's a market for *anything* dog related though, so go for it if you will, but I'll wait for the general Zickefoose field guide and autobiography (even if it has a Chet chapter).

First -- Happy Anniversary. As the proud humom to 3 pugs, of course I would swoop up a Chet Baker book! He is so handsome and charming and has wonderful adventures (and his mom is rather clever too!) How many copies: one for me, one for my mom, one for my best friend -- at least 3 copies. And yes, of course, I would come to the book signing -- especially if Chet will put is pawing the book.

Julie -- I think if you did pictures/art there might be some wonderful Adventures of Chet Baker for kids -- and i daresay, a lot of adult kids who love dogs or Chet would buy it...

Some of my kiddie lit books remain my favorites and Chet has a memorable spirit and face that I think would make for a fabulous set of adventures/books and you would be JUST the person to do them both because you love to explore and you can draw! FWIW -- the woman who walked into the lilacs in North Dakota!

I would totally buy a book about the puppeh for myself. Especially if you illustrated it.

I love Chet, but I have found myself wondering in the last year when you have had the time to paint? How could you have, LOL! I don't know how people with kids and jobs do what they do so well...and I am in awe of y'all.

I always enjoyed your "tutorials" on watercolour. I hope that after you come back, we will get more of your paintings. Not to the exclusion of your other goings on, but you know what I mean. In the meantime, I will miss the heck out of you. Selfish me says come back soon. Nice me says take a nice long break.

Julie, do what you want with this book. It's yours. I'd buy more than a dozen for my dog loving friends.

Yes I would buy the book, actually 4 because our 3 grown children also love Boston's. Altogether we have had four of these wonderful creatures share our lives (Missy, Buddy, Sissy and Rudy).


A little Chet goes a long way with me. So while it doesn't surprise me that you'd like to write a book about him, I would probably not be in the purchasing camp. But I'm one of your secret male readers so I'm not sure how representative I am of your readership in general. I much prefer your blog when it's more nature centered but maybe that's just me. Have a good blog-rest, Julie.

Yes, Julie, I would buy a book by you about Chet. :)

You have a lot of skill with words that I enjoy listening to on NPR. Your posts (and not just those about Chet) are wonderfully introspective. I find your observations of your environment and Chet funny and gratifying, since I live in the concrete suburbs.

Have a nice blog vacation. I have yours on my feedburner so when you're up to posting again, I'll be here.

Well, seeing that I purchased 10 of your previous book for myself and as gifts for family and friends, you can be sure that I would do the same again. The stories about Chet are fantastic, and yes, some of it has to do with the dog himself. But it is your writing -- passionate, funny, storytelling -- that brings me here everyday, whether or not you are writing about Chet, the Orangatangs, your walks with friends, the Big Sit, the creatures you meet on your property, your kids and husband. . . I find myself reading them out loud to my family more often not, 'cause we love the way you can tell a tale. Write whatever you want; we will buy it. (And face it out at local book stores)

Wayne, PA

I'd buy at least three... one each for me, my mom, and my sister. :) Keep teh Baker-ness coming!

I second what Heather said.

Well, I see most folks are lining up to buy said book (me, too) BUT--folks--did you hear. Julie is taking a break.
NOOOOOOOO--I need my JZ fix which includes Chet Baker info, Phoebe and Liam growing spurts and all their doings, the Swinging Orangutangs (why the G at the end of orang-utans?)etc. etc.
But, you need your break. I really do understand.
But (sniff) I will miss you.

Yes, Julie I too would buy a book about Mr. Baker, I will miss reading your blog, but understand needing a break. Don't know how you get everything done that you do. I've been reading your blog most every day for quite awhile and really enjoy all the different things you write about, and will really miss your posts. Wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year.
Jeanne (Leslie's mom)

Well, I mostly borrow books ... but I think the people I borrow from would buy a Chet Book.
Chet is a fine fellow and fun to read about. I think you have a project that will work. Enjoy your break. I broke for a while while working on my National Boards Certification and I really missed posting ... could not wait to get back to it as events happened that I wanted to share with the blogosphere.
Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

I already own a book written by a Boston, so of course I would add a book about Chet Baker to my collection. I love your Chet Baker posts, usually read with my 5 and 7-year-old daughters squealing over the pictures and my own Bossie, Zeke, sitting in my lap. We will be eagerly awaiting your return.

It's a no brainer! Of course I'd buy a Chet Baker book so long as you oare the author and maybe even do some illustrations as well as photos. Your book would be different because you have a huge context in which to feature CB, e.g. your birds, kids, friend, Ohio, the country, the world, etc.
Go for it!

Yes, a Chet Baker book would be great. Also, do you think at some point you would consider doing a long-distance Boston Terrier reunion, so that all of us with Bostons could compare pictures/notes? :)

I would buy a least one copy. What you write about Chet are things folks can relate to. I know I certainly do. I thoroughly enjoy what you write about him and how you write. It's hilarious at times and at times it tugs at my heart. It's actually therapeutic reading about Chet at times as the things he does sometimes are things our deceased pets have done and it brings back fond memories.

I would encourage you to write a book about Chest not just for the reasons above but also some school systems are encouraging children to read books to dogs to improve their reading skills. Reading books to dogs about dogs would be awesome.

Sandy A.
Marietta, Ohio

We named our own dog Charles "Mingus" because you inspired us with "Chet Baker". Our own puppy is 9 months old and we love him HEAPS though he is a Cairn and not a Boston Terrier.

Love all of your posts but reading about Chet especially puts a smile on the face. Perhaps one has to be a dog person. Hey, there was that guy that wrote about the hound he found and he sold books ... I read it, my sister read it and enjoyed it though we didn't agree with his whole phylosophy. But we are dog people. Since getting a dog I sure notice the difference between dog people and non dog people!!!!!

Enjoy your break and family party-ing. We'll all pop on back when you are ready to get going once again.

I will miss your blog while it's on hiatus, but you deserve your break and I hope you enjoy it! And I for one would love the chance to buy a Chet Baker book. I love dog books of all sorts (just finished the New Work of Dogs on your recommendation) and will happily make space on my dog bookshelf for yours when/if it becomes available!

i would definitely buy your book and give 5 more away to other dog people. There is something so endearing about Chet. I feel drawn to him and tell my family how I love this dog that I never met. He is so dang cute. I love your stories and look forward to buying the book...

I would buy that book in a second. Julie, I love to read all your stories about traveling to and fro. Some of the places, I've been to and it's up lifting to see them again thru your eyes.
You are a true artist that sees thing in a different way than us non artist people. The shade of the sky, the rolling hills... Some times I need to slow down and look around to see what's really there. You do that for me, everytime I read you're blog. You truly are blessed. I would give anything to live where you live. What wonders you see and I want you to know I am very thankful that you take the time to share. I have no idea how you make the time, to do the things you do. I barely have time for breakfast. Every night I look forward to your posts. They ground me. I hate getting on the computer, on the days you don't blog. I just wanted to thank you for sharing so much with us.
NOW to Chet Baker.... I love him so..... much.
He makes me smile from ear to ear. It also gets me to play alittle longer and hug alittle longer. For you see I have a Boston too. "Cooper", but "Cooper Do" to everyone who meets him. Always with a toy in his mouth, I am always happy to take time for him.
I guess I get on your blog to hear what Chet has been up to. I'm sometimes a little disapointed when he's not on the blog.
Sorry I commented so long.....
I would buy "The Life and Times of Chet Baker" in a second. All my friends would get a copy too. Thank you for letting me go on and on. (Like you had a choice HA HA) I guess when it comes down to it YOU make me SMILE, but Chet makes me laugh out loud. Thank you, go rest. You've earn it.

To be honest, I would be less excited by a Chet Baker book than another nature-themed one. I was telling my girlfriend about your idea and she agreed, stating that you are the Erma Bombeck of the nature-writing world. But I would still buy a book about the Bacon because I'm a fan of yours. I do agree with some of the other comments--a book about Chet Baker needs artwork by Julie Zickefoose.

Enjoy your hiatus!

My two cents: a book on Chet would get lost in the mainstream stores. It wouldn't, however, in the bird/nature stores. You have a following and you write beautifully, and Chet is terrific.

Much peace during your hiatus.

I've been thinking you should do a Chet book for some time! Glad to hear you are considering it. Our Boston is three and so much like Chet, but no one here can write the way you do. I'll be waiting patiently for my next Chet-fix:) I've read all of your blog already, but my daughter and I enjoy looking back at Chet's antics.... Enjoy your off-screen time, but know that you will be missed!

You certainly deserve a break from blogging, but to be totally selfish - I'm going to miss your posts.

I would buy a book about the Bacon - God knows I love him. But it is not Chet that would make me buy the book; it is the way you have with words- the way you weave strings around my heart and tighten them until a tear or two, a giggle or two or a great big smile breaks out.


I think a book about Chet is a fantastic idea! I read your first book when I found it at our local library a couple of years ago and then I found your blog and have been enjoying it ever since. My college-aged daughter also loves your blog and it comes up in our converstation often... "did you read about Chet today?". I have my own copy of 'Letters from Eden' now so I can enjoy it whenever I want. I would definitely buy a book about Chet, and one for my daughter, and one for our library! It's a wonderful idea (I always wondered how he managed to stay out of your first book!). Enjoy your break from blogging. You deserve it and all us faithful readers will be here when you get back.

Isn't it so special to know that there are folks around the world, that you haven't even met, discussing your latest story about Chet's antics over their breakfast, lunch, or dinner? LOL! Wow.

Yes, I would buy one.

A Chet Baker book of Mether's wisdom? Yes, yes, yes!!! Please! I know I'd buy at least one copy for myself, probably others as gifts.

THE DAY it came out to stores I would buy it! And I would also buy it for about 4 different people I know that would adore it also!

As far as the archives go, I've been trying to catch up since I started reading about you and Chet a year ago! haha

A book is a fabulous idea and now I am so looking forward to it. I wish you the BEST of luck with the idea and hope that it does happen!!

Lots of Love, Dana

Well, in all honesty, I would probably buy three copies of the Whipple phone book if you wrote it--five if you painted the cover.

That said, the Chet Baker book is an excellent idea. I've read your blogs and I've read Letters from Eden. You are a wonderful writer, a superb artist, and an excellent illustrator. Those talents, when combined with a most charismatic canine, will produce much more than just "another dog book," just as Letters from Eden was more than just another nature diary book.

You write wisdom works, books and blogs that meld together the keen observational skills of a naturalist, the dispassionate eye of science, whimsy, and the heart of a woman deeply in love with her world--a world that embraces friends, nature, and most of all, family, two-legged and four,

Write it.

I would buy it. But I have concerns about popularizing any breed of dog. You would need to add a section about good breeders, rescue, and how you should never buy from a petstore or the classifieds, unless you want to perpetuate the horror of puppy mills.

Congrats on your 4 years of blogging. I am always delighted or at least entertained by your posts. Of course I would buy a Chet book. I would buy several because I think my family would enjoy it too. Especially for those difficult to buy for people that have everything.

I would buy a Chet book, especially if it were a children's picture book. His personality lends itself perfectly to that kind of whimsy.

I will miss your blog postings, I have learned from and look forward to, your writing about flowers, birds, nature around us, most of all at the end the day. Chet is fun to read about, but what I treasure is the Science Chimp stuff.

I hope you will be continuing with the NPR spots as well, they are wonderful.

Merry Christmas wishes to you and yours.

Darn, you will be much missed. I really come to read about Chet and will miss knowing how his day is going, plus your lovely photos.
You must know BT lovers are fanatics about the breed. I'd buy your book in a minute and tell all my BT friends about it too. (There is a BT group on Ravelry with 405 members so there's THAT many books sold right off the bat when I spread the word! The kids who started Ravelry have a BT, Bob.)
Are you familiar with the book, "Skitch, the message of the roses" by Vincent G. Perry, published in 1975 by Denlinger Books? Of course, it's OOP but you should definitely chase it down for yourself and the kids.
There's also a Boston breed magazine, The Boston Quarterly, published by Hoflin -- a small ad there would ensure lots more sales.
Maybe you are already aware of this -- if so sorry to bore.

Hope you come back soon

Do you remember the "Good Dog Carl" books that were so popular in the 80s I think. An example of a good series of dog books for kids.

I don't remember who published them but they were a big hit among doggie people.

Without question…a book about Chet Baker & family adventures - a GO!

You needn’t worry whether folks will buy, because you see, when you write - be it about Chet Baker; or bees; or orchids; or cool-clumpy, weather-worn box turtles; or beautifully descriptive woodland treks; or warblers; or grand ole’ oak trees; or gorgeous family shared sunrises; deer, wildflowers or deeply private things, like love of family, animals & nature - it’s like gawping at a seriously hypnotic, mesmerizing, watercolor - any single, descriptive sentence, a carefully placed, thoughtful, sweeping arch of your #12 sable brush. A reader sees vividly through your eyes, living that moment. Your piece about Chet Baker and the cliff…good grief I was there - with you…..scrambling madly - side by side - breathless!

My dear G. Retriever, Madison is my ’Chet’ as are loads of cats (with loads of character), horses and a multitude of critters needing respite. Breed and species are, in my opinion, irrelevant. It is not so much about species, breed or type…as it is your wonderfully descriptive ’Chet’ tales.

Three copies for me please…two for dear friends, one for me - mine naturally needing personally signed. And where will my ’Chet-eared’ copy reside? Filed between R. Frost and J. Herriot….despite the Z. :-)

Rest up Julie - see you soon!

Crys xo

P.S. ‘Traveler’…a great tale from an equine perspective.

This secret male reader would most certainly buy a copy. Don't be gone too long now...

Ohhhh,noooo, you're not blogging? I will surely miss my daily dose of Zick writings, but you deserve a break and I will look forward to the day you start blogging again. It has been a treat to be able to peek in on your daily life. My favorite blogs have been the ones about birds, and I will have to rely on your articles in BirdWatcher's digest and other magazines, Bill of the Birds, and re-reading Letters From Eden, for my birding updates from Zick.
Thanks for all your wonderful blogs so far. Take a good rest and we'll be looking forward to hearing from you again.

I've only commented a handful of times, but have read every single one of your posts & own a copy of Letters to Eden. Though drawn to your blog initially for the bird posts, I do enjoy your Chet stories as well. Having said all that, I must be honest and say that I likely would not purchase the Chet book (I'm just not that big of a "dog person"). However, I'm sure it will be a success -- as suggested by all your followers above who say they will buy a copy! :)
Hope you and yours have a great Christmas!

I would so buy a book, Julie. Two, one for me and one for my MIL.

Um, DUH. A book about Chet?
I would buy at least a round dozen. Easy.
Hear that, future publisher? YES. DO IT.

I will miss (so MUCH) reading your wonderful posts about your children, dog, and the marvelous land you live on. Thank you for the past four years, and yeahyeahyeah I'd buy another of your books! :^)

Have a good little rest from your loving readers.We will all look forward to your return to your singular reporting. XXOOM.

I was wondering when you'd need a break. Take it and enjoy it.

I think Chet is the bee's knees, and I hope to meet him in WV in the spring. That being said, what I really enjoy is your take on your world, whatever fills it on any given day. I'd read your book about Chet because it would be so closely about him and so clearly about so much more.

In my line of work, we'd say you're taking a sabbath ... a time of rest, and a time of deep, active, and meaningful reflection. I'm going to miss you, but I think it will be worth it.

I would buy it. I share your Chet posts with my sons. Hence is such the small world of the Internet that I talk about Katdoc (whom I've only had the chance to meet once) as 'my friend, the vet from Ohio'. When I was at Portage Glacier, AK last spring, my uncle (who is an ardent birder) had his binoculars with a leather strap slung around his neck and on the strap were the letters BWD. I said "I KNOW the people from that magazine!!!"

I understand your desire to tend to other things but I really hope you don't disappear. Your blog is one of the things I read daily - and I've already read the ENTIRE log of past posts.

Holly-who is snowed in in DE, we haven't had a snowfall of this magnitude in Dec in DE in over a hundred years. DE does not do well with snow...

I can see a Chet book along the lines of the Good Dog, Carl series. I didn't have that series as a child but I found them for my kids and I LOVE them. The illustrations are a perfect foil for the storyline. But you need to write and hopefully illustrate it. No one could come close to your connection with him. And you have publishing connections already that most people fight to establish.

Selfishly, I am going to miss you so much. I thought Chet would be a part of my daily online routine for a long, long time, along with Liam and Phoebe.

A Chet book! Yes!!! I thought it before I'd even gotten to that paragraph. I'd buy it. I will buy it. Several copies.
I found your blog after Chet's puppehhood, but I feel as if I know him, and your kids, and you and Bill, as much as someone can know people they haven't yet met. And I want to know more. So take your break, and do what you must. But please be sure to come back -- if not here, then wherever feels best to you -- and tell us all the 'guess whats' you've been storing up. 'Cause I'll pay cash money to read them.

(1) Put me down for three or four.

(2) I haven't felt this way since Calvin and Hobbes went away. But leaving is brave.

From a fellow Science Chimp -- I will miss you! Yours is the only blog I read regularly. But you deserve a rest. Enjoy it!

I would buy several copies of a Chet Baker book.

Ummm, lemme see, do I want to buy and read a book about a dog who has all kinds of crazy funny nicknames, who survived a fall that could have ended badly, who loves his family beyond measure, who is smarter than the dickens, who has a great big personality? All I can say is that you better teach Chet how to sign autographs. Between the dog and Mether's writing, any publisher would be crazy not to bite on such a book idea. Now, go rest up and recharge, be with nature and your family. We will be waiting patiently until you return. Blessings to you all!

I'll miss your blog and I would buy the book.

Yes, I would buy it for myself and probably give as presents, too. I would love reading your view of dog dharma and us. As the babysitter of 2 grand-dogs, I have spent a lot of time in Seattle dogparks watching people and dogs and reflecting on just that topic.
I think your break is a very healthy idea. But I do hope you come back to us when you are able. I've rather adopted your children, Chet, and the farm as part of my life and will miss them, your thoughts and lovely photos.

Are you kidding? If you write it, it will be fantastic! You could write about coyote poop and have the reader completely mesmerized. Do it, and do it your way, because your way has always been beyond anything else that is out there. I will definitely buy this book for myself and for others.

Count me in. I definately want three or four copies. G Felter

Dear Julie a day without a JZ post is almost like a day without the sunshine. I have been a faithful reader of your posts. Yuo have certainly enriched my appreciation of nature and all the glories therein. When i walk the woods and see things i say to myself "what would julie write about that" Yuo are the only person/writer/naturalist who could describe a tree sprouting from an old beer can and make me want to be there with you. I have always been in awe that you are able to accomplish so much personally and professionally and still blog. You sure deserve a hiatus that i pray will not be permanent. Thank you for all that you have contributed to all our lives. Bill

No matter which way you write it, I'm in for a dozen Chetbooks. But I have to say that my favorite thing about Chet stories is when you "make him talk", and I've always imagined that The World According to Chet Baker, a series of paintings or photos of him in various settings, with that marvellously expressive face of his, and the narrative proceeding as a Chet voiceover, talking about his life and adventures...wouldn't that be a wonderful thing to have? I never realized how clearly I was visualizing this, but I have always thought of a Chet book being geared toward a younger reader, but becoming a beloved classic with readers of all ages.

I've only recently (re-)discovered your blog, but over the past several months, it has become one of my favorites, and I check it daily. For selfish reasons, namely the enjoyment and wonder I gain from reading this blog, I'm a little sad that there will be no new posts from you for a while. However, it's much more important that you have fulfilling experiences (and non-experiences, by which I mean time for relaxation!) and not feel tethered to this piece of the internet. Like someone else said, I hope that we will someday hear of the adventures you have on your hiatus, but all that really matters is that you are happy and have fun for yourself; after all, you are not living this life for the benefit of us strangers--you just happen to have been kind enough to share! I hope, too, that you'll get to flex your artistic muscles more; I'm constantly inspired by your work, and I think people with creative souls must constantly exercise their talent in order to feel truly fulfilled.

As for the Chet Baker book, I shop for books almost exclusively at used book stores, and so I probably wouldn't purchase a copy for myself (for a few years, anyway)...but I'd definitely get copies for friends. However, if it contained illustrations of yours (whether in a full-on children's book, or simply interspersed throughout text and photographs), I probably wouldn't be able to resist!

Blink of a browser & my post is gone!
But what I wanted to comment most of all is:
Congratulations on 4 years & Thank You.

Will miss your blog selfishly.
You are a one of a kind writer, Julie! I look forward to hearing your voice on NPR.

And if you do this book, I hope you'll consider an audio version also. Although that wouldn't have your beautiful artwork, hearing you read your words in your own voice would be special.
Look forward to your return as your insight is priceless.

Oh Noooooo. Your's is one of the blogs I read faithfully. Gonna miss you. Sign me up for a copy of your Chet book.
Enjoy your time off to regroup and to enjoy your family most of all and the other activities you enjoy.

I will need several copies. One for me of course! My family is full of readers and most of us read The Dogs of Bedlam Farm by Jon Katz. Great book and I think you and the author probably share many qualities that make you the kinds of writers who can write meaningfully and lovingly - stopping short of sappy slobbering - about your pets and the many experiences they've led you to or seen you through. Although I will DEARLY miss my daily dose of the Ohio landscape and virtual travels with you I'll be looking forward to the fruits of your offline labors. Enjoy! I sure have - so much so that I may have to go back and read everything AGAIN. Merry Christmas to you and yours Julie!

Hi Julie:

Put me down for one. Sam can read over my shoulder.


I think it's a great idea. I think it would be especially fun to read if it were written from Chet's perspective. I also like the idea someone else mentioned, the Adventures of Chet Baker for kids, illustrated by you, along with actual pictures.
Deb G.

As much as I like Chet stories I think it would be a small market Julie.
Baker blogs are easy to relate to, probably because I've met the handsome little gentleman. I admit I skip some of the flower posts as they aren't my thing.
As much as I like Chet I believe it would be a much smaller market than it was for Letters From Eden.
Letters was diverse were a "dog" book might be limited to canine lovers.
You would need a great title to get the general public to pick it up and give it a try.
I would buy a copy as I love all things JZ, blog, art, music etc.
Letters from Eden was/is excellent. I still pick it up and re-read various stories and based on the quality of your story telling I'm sure I would do the same with a Baker book.

"Walter the Farting Dog"? Baker could hold his own, no problem. Fart on dude!

I remember when you were just "guest blogging" for Birdchick.
Except for vacations I have read almost every post, even a few flower ones, and will waited with baited breath (who ate worms to originate that saying?) until you return.
What worries me is, how will we know you've returned?

BOTB, the pressure is on, you have to pick up the slack. Dude, you have a problem.

If you use the words a) Mether, b) chiptymunk, c) roo, d) doggeh or e) any combination of the above, I will definitely buy a book.

yes, yes,yes. I would buy at least one if not more. Enjoy your time off, reflecting, painting, gardening, walking, documenting, spending time with your family, knowing that we all will look forward to more adventures, especially of the Baker variety. He was the original hook. The rest of you kept me hangin' on. Cheers!

Posted by sarah koopus December 21, 2009 at 5:40 PM

I would buy. And not because I am a 'dog person' as some people above have said buyers would be but because of your writing (although I do love dogs). I didn't read Marley and Me (waaaay before the movie) because I was a dog person but because of the story and the writing. Don't read Herriott's books because I am a vet. I read for the pure pleasure of reading, especially when the author is close to their subject, whatever that may be. (The fact that the subject is Chet doesn't hurt!) I will buy it whether it's a children's book, a small series, adult or whatever. Because YOU are writing it.

I am going to miss you very much. You have been, much like your meadow walks are for you, a part of my daily routine for several years now.

Ric Dude, it's bated breath. No worms were harmed in the making of that phrase!!!

But even if it's small market, I think you would get pleasure from a CB book Julie. Are you thinking about it because of the money you might make or because you would just enjoy writing about CB? I get the feeling it's the latter. How will we know, as RR asked, when you might be back online, or should we just check the blog every day? Which I will do if need be. And will you be making an announcement if/when you go forth on the book idea?

I've been a reader here for a good year or two. I loves me the puppeh, and - although I'm not generally a dog person (I'm a cat person) - I feel like if I had a dog, I'd want a Chet Baker sort of dog.

That said, I feel like maybe Chet stories work better on the blog than they would as a commercial book. Should that be the case in a perfect world? Nope - CB stories are way better than most commercialized drivel out there. But I just don't know if even the Bunneh Chaser Supremo could pull off the numbers needed to make it in the cut-throat world of publishing.

Are you kidding me?
I would LOVE a book about your boy! I always talk about Chet to my 2 rescued Boston boys - they would love to see him.
Great idea - get to writing missy!
Thanks - Tammy S in Maryland

Thank you for so regularly enlarging my life, amazing me with the quality of the blog, your writing, your sensibilities, family. You've been nothing less than a blessing.

Julie, I can't figure out how to use this dang comment feature, but I'm leslieyosh in other formats. Your blog is a joy, a trip, a renewal, a reminder, a connection, a celebration, an insight, a reverance, a celebration all wrapped into one place with such expertise, professionalism, devotion, knowledge, not to speak of pure fun, love, honesty, awareness, insight. These just come to my head, there are deeper, deeply satisfying, heart-opening, mind-blowing aspects that leave me speechless, in tears, like the latest sunrise/Phoebe story that left me crumpled from the force of it.

By the way, the week I was going thro. and jetting stuff I'd saved from the basement archives: pediatrician statements, checks, hospital bills, receipts, from the 60's (the kids are in their 40's), your were feeling lame for keeping stuff from 12 years ago!

I've felt over the past year that I found this place that I am getting away too easy here. I should pay for this, I would pay for this place. And I wish that when I had a young family I had a place like this to turn to for inspiration to live fully in the moment, to just get up and go and see and learn and experience together, to celebrate all life and living. This place is so juicy for me as a grammy of 6 who lives to be outside.

I thank you so much, I am grateful beyond words. And I encourage you to let the creative juices and your zest for living carry you, your voice, your heart, your head, your marvelous way with words and seeing to wherever it leads you next. They haven't failed you or us yet. You Rock!

I have to say that the real reason I started following your blog was because of Chet Baker. I am a birder and my wife and I have been going to the MBS since 1994. This is where where we became aware of Bird Watchers Digest and your family. I have had 3 Boston Terriers and raised one litter of pups (once was enough for us and our Vet). I always heard that people that owned this breed of dog were "absolutely crazy about them" I have found this to be true. My daughter has a Boston which she took to Germany with her when her and her husband moved there. He wasn't sure about the dog at first but you should see him with "Winston" now. Anyway the book is a great idea, especially if you could weave in birding and nature. I loved Kenn Kaufman's "Kingbird Highway" and "Flights against the Sunset" and of course your book "Letters from Eden" which you signed for us at Lakeside at MBS 2009. I was the one that asked about Chet Baker. Write the book I don't think you will regret it. Maybe some other things with Chet on them (shorts for example :) )

Yes please, a book about your doggeh would be splendid indeed. Make it a scratch and snip book and I'll buy a bunch!

I would love to see a book about Chet. He's such a lovely fellow and anytime I need cheering up I always pop on the web to see what he's up to :-) I can't have a dog where we live, so I've been living vicariously through Chet Bakers adventures instead. It would be marvellous to see his larger than life personality immortalized in a book! Long Live Chet :-)

If you let "Chet" write the book it will be a huge success! I'd like to advance order please.

Just so you know, I'd follow your blog even if Chet was not a part of it. Count me in on at least one book.

Let me be the 91st commenter who will definitely buy a book about Chet Baker. I will especially like it if it is in Chet's "voice." My son got me your "Letters From Eden" book for Christmas, and I read all of the Winter essays Christmas night...I have to put it aside so I can savor it through the seasons...or I will devour it all in one sitting! Thanks for the beauty.

Posted by Gina in NE OH December 26, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Hi Julie,
Happy New Year and happy blogiversary! I'm just catching up after busy EOQ at work and the mad rush to finish holiday gifts.
I would love to see a book about Chet Baker -- especially with your brilliant captions. I would purchase 3 for sure -- 1 for me, 1 for my mom and 1 for my brother!

I would buy the book--and another copy for my son who also happens to love Chet Baker. It would especially be appreciated if Chet's thoughts be written down--such wisdom he has!

Posted by Anonymous January 5, 2010 at 9:46 AM
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