May 23, 2019

End of the Trail

Ever since I was little girl, I have loved horses. Christmas gifts were easy: I would pour over The Encyclopedia of the Horse, learning the different breeds and memorizing the parts of the animal; I used up reams of paper with How to Draw Horses, trying to get the proportions just right. When I was eight, my parents took the family on a trip to West Virginia and on the way home we stopped at a small horse farm where I got to ride a pony. It was thrilling and even more so when I learned that pony would be mine. How my brothers teased me when I cried when my pony’s delivery date was postponed due to illness. At home my pony and I had access to approximately 600 acres of woods and fields and during the summers we would set off on our own “Billy and Blaze” adventures. I had that pony for 20 years until I married.

During the first 8 years of marriage John and I lived in Larchmont, NY and Madison CT and had three children. The focus was different but always in the back corner of my mind was the dream of having a small farm where I could have horses and hopefully give my kids the same life I’d enjoyed when I was young. We finally found our spot in Killingworth in 1985, a house, barn, three fields and all of this behind a State Park where I could ride. At age 8, Julie was taken on her trip to West Virginia by her grandfather where once again he purchased a pony, this time for her. And so King Midas was the first to come to live at Thirsty Boots Farm. Soon to follow was a horse for me, Aggie. We’ve been through many horses and ponies over the 34 years we’ve lived here: King, Aggie, Blue Boy, Chocolate Bars, Sailor, Rio. We’ve seen Aggie give birth to Holly. Boarders, Willy and Oreo joined in the mix. After Aggie died 11 years ago, Dandy came to stay at the farm. He was a bay just like my first pony and had my grandfather’s nickname. Meant to be? Six years later we got Doc, kind and patient, a retired school horse.

It has been a marvelous “ride” but as they say, “ All good things must come to an end.” Two weeks ago Doc passed on, leaving 22-year old Dandy alone to graze in our fields. There are no more horses in my future and so I made the decision to try and find a good home for Dandy where he would be loved, ridden and be in the company of other horses. I was lucky enough to find just the right fit for him and today we took our last glorious ride through the state park. I followed him to his new home and knew I had done the right thing when getting out of the trailer he whinnied expectantly at the resident horses.

The sunlit fields stand empty. The barn is quiet except for the swooping of the swallows. There is no expectant whinny for breakfast this morning.

On to new adventures, just not on a beloved horse.

February 3, 2016

Jay Blue - A Tribute to a Life

While at stretch class this morning, the conversation turned to the importance of breathing, the ability to shut out everything else and focus. One attendee remarked that a former yoga instructor recommended coming up with a word to concentrate on and repeat in order to put oneself into a relaxed, focused and positive frame of mind. In spite of an agonizing and painful job I had to do directly after class, I decided my word for the day would be grateful.

Early in the day, John and I decided to put our cat to sleep. In her 19th year, she was still sweet, cheerful, purring and patient with Harvey, but she was terribly thin and while appetite stimulants and B-12 shots and electrolytes had helped to keep her going for these last two weeks, she had finally stopped eating. And so we knew, that was that, the final telltale sign that her time was up. Rather than have her experience the confusion of decline, we decided to send her on her way while she was still a happy, comfortable and loving cat.

So why did I choose to be “grateful” and openly embrace the pain and heartbreak that was headed our way?

She was a sweetheart of a cat and for 16 of her eighteen and a half years, she was ours here at Thirsty Boots Farm. Like animals do, she touched and made better the lives of the humans around her.


Jay Blue was my mother’s cat, a Blue Point Himalayan born in November of 1997. She was purchased in New York City and for her two years lived in a high-rise apartment as my mother’s companion and bedmate. We never understood how she got her name. Perhaps it was because of her lovely blue eyes and the fact my mother never liked to do anything the way it was supposed to be done…Blue Jay became Jay Blue? Who knows?


My three children and their cousin Marina loved to play with the adorable little kitten when visiting Grandmother and Marina said Jay Blue was the only cat she ever knew who would play fetch.

Jay Blue and my mother moved here to Thirsty Boots Farm in 2000 and so Jay’s country education began. It was slow and cautious and yet not without curiosity. Upon arrival, when carrying her into the house from the car, she heard birds singing for the first time and instinctively her head perked up, swiveled here and there as if to say, “What is that? I’m supposed to know that. What do I do about it?”

As she became acclimated to her new surroundings (inside), she ventured to staring out the storm door. No more grey buildings and sky to look at but green grass, trees, birds, dogs, and people walking about. Wanting to satisfy her curiosity, we opened the door. “Want to go out, Jay Blue?” “No, thank you. I am perfectly fine where I am on this side of the door.”

And so we took to leaving the door ajar five inches. After one week, she lay with her body was half way out the door.

“Want to come out Jay Blue?”

“No, thank you. I am perfectly fine where I am,” and sometimes she would even turn and retreat unhurriedly into the house, feigning complete disinterest. Another week or two with the open-door policy, and she was out on the deck, sitting, mind you, six to eight inches in front of the door (it’s always good to plan an escape route in case of danger).

And so her cautious education continued until Jay Blue became an indoor/outdoor cat. And she had lots to learn. Her owner and bed mate left here. There were animals to put up with. The dogs – she tolerated them all. The horses – no interest – too large and smelly.


The barn cat who tried to make friends – Jay Blue became territorial and would have none of it. “You live there and I live here and never the twain shall meet.“ The birds on the feeder – Watching from inside, Jay’s lower jaw would chatter and her butt would wiggle. Watching from outside, she would situate herself directly under the bird feeder for a good view and then after a time wander away wondering, I’m sure, why there were no birds. Birds on the lawn - all safe. Jay wasn’t very fast and she wouldn’t have known what to do with one if she caught it so why not just leave them alone. The mouse that got into the house – she watched and supervised from my bed while I chased it around the room and finally caught it in a plastic deli container.

Then there were the chipmunks. That was another story. Jay Blue always seemed surprised and startled by a scampering chipmunk. “Did you see that? What was it? Should I do something?”

Jay Blue, the Mighty Hunter, had two ways of dealing with chipmunks: 1. Sit beside their hole and stare at it for hours on end. (It worked. They didn’t come out… at least at that "door") and 2. When she saw a chipmunk scamper into the pachysandra, she would focus on the spot where it disappeared and after a five second pause, pounce. And oh, what a pounce! It would be at least a foot off the ground and the arc in her flight would rival a high jumper in the Olympics. Both the chipmunk (who had by this time run partially up a tree) and I would laugh when she came up out of the undergrowth with a puzzled expression and empty handed.

Yes, Jay Blue was happy here at Thirsty Boots and we will miss her. We are grateful for all the laughs she gave us, for her regal and calm demeanor, for her warm understanding blue eyes, for her friendliness toward all visitors.





We will miss her playing with tin foil balls, going crazy over the cat brush, gracefully lying in pools of sunshine, sitting in John’s lap with her motor going while he watched the evening news, sitting on guests’ laps without invitation, playing hide-and-go-seek in the cupboards – Thomas and James delighted in looking for her. Is she in the laundry cupboard, the upstairs or downstairs bathroom, or my cupboard where I keep my handbags and weekend bags? How many times did I find myself in airports horrified to find myself covered in cat hair.

We will miss Jay Blue’s routines - lying at the foot of my bed and keeping my feet warm, then coming up to snuggle under the covers (I with one arm around her and the other holding my book), then deciding we were both warm enough and retreating to the foot of the bed until the middle of the night when she would curl up behind my knees.


Jay Blue has now joined her Thirsty Boots friends who went before her and quietly rest beneath the paddock garden waiting for the spring sunshine and flowers – dogs Miles, Lady, Lucky, Toot, and Puddle and our cats Cotton and Tippy. She became a true Thirsty Boots Farm cat and will remain so forever.

She went to sleep in John’s arms today. He was always her favorite after Grandmother. It was peaceful. The vet said, “This is the part that sucks about loving animals.” Yes, we are grieving but so grateful for all that this wonderful and beautiful animal has given us in our lives. The memories and the gratitude got us through today. And will continue to do so.


May 17, 2014


Dear Tucker,

Thank you for not being awake that day I first saw you in that little mass of puppies. The kids wanted the white-faced one that was asleep. Thank you for standing against the fence and showing me your freckles.


Thank you for adopting Lady as your mom when we brought you home. That was smart...chewing on her ears wasn't.


Thank you for all the flowers you returned to me after I planted them. Thank you for eating my tomatoes off the vine. I knew someone would appreciate my efforts in the garden. Thank you for ridding our lawn of all those moles. Did you notice after all those trenches you dug, they moved elsewhere? And how did you know I loved frogs legs? Not to worry, how could you know I preferred them on a plate and not hanging out of your mouth? Thank you for keeping my chickens in line.

Thank you for loving my children and grandchildren. Thank you for sitting in laps.
Thank you for encouraging me to keep up during your agility course. Thank you for ignoring those who called you an idiot….you and I really knew who was the smart one. Thank you for letting me run my finger up your forehead between your eyes, over and over. Thank you for your velvet ears that I could stroke forever and ever.


Thank you for your laps around the house whenever my car came down the driveway. Thank you for walking (or was it wiggling?) sideways to greet me and every other friend that came to the house. Thank you for wagging your tail at super speed. Thank you for being so kind and never growling at anyone. Thank you for welcoming every rescue I brought into the house – 14-year-old Lucky (who just like to sit),


Toot, Puddles


and Harvey.


You looked upon each of them not a competitor or an annoyance but as a new friend to play with.

Thank you for playing and staying young for 13 years. Thank you for keeping my feet warm when I lay on the couch to watch football. Thank you for letting Thomas hug you and not budging when he wanted to lie on you. Thank you for coming to us when you felt sick. Thank you for trusting that we would take care of you. Thank you for your last lick today. I love you too, and that meant so much to me. Thank you for being such a d--- good dog….Thomas’ Tuckah.

January 11, 2014

Edward Rapp August 20, 1918 - January 10, 2014


It is with some sadness I announce that Ed Rapp died last night, January 10, 2014 at the age of 96.

All will be sad but I cannot help but marvel at what Uncle Ed did with his life. He lived it just the way he and his wife Laura wanted to. Both couldn't sit still for very long and the many jobs they had and houses they renovated took them on many adventures and to many countries around the world.

He was a terrific writer. He had a sharp mind, a quick wit, terrific sense of humor right up to the end. His daughter Elna siad just last week he was talking withher about New York's Mayor DeBasio. Uncle Ed lived for almost a century. If you had a conversation with him, you knew he was talking from first hand experience.

Uncle Ed's politics are mine were at opposite ends of the spectrum, he a fierce liberal and I more conservative. He sent continuous "Letters to the Editor" to many newspapers but especially to the New York Times (which he read everyday) and the Washington Post. When he mentioned to me six years ago that he actually got a letter in return.....asking him to stop sending letters, I suggested he write a blog. And so this website where he could air/vent his opinions was established.

And so he continued to write....over 1400 posts which he entered here. Until I figure out how to get them off this blog and saved on a disc, I will continue to support this page. Take some time to read some of his opinions. he had a knack for taking an issue and reporting on it in a few paragraphs. I always loved his closing lines.

Yes, he will be missed but I can't be too sad. What an extraordinary life he lived with Laura and his children Elna, Cammy, and Tim. I'm so grateful for the decision I made 15 years ago to help Laura and him drive their Airstream cross country from Nashville to Laramie. Many stories were told but I was reconnected with a unique and remarkable person.

I was fortunate.

Kathy Thompson McCurdy

Ed and Cammy

Ed and Elna

Ed and I

June 26, 2011


April 10, 1999-June 26, 2022

This morning at approximately 7:30 a.m., our wonderful Labrador Retriever, Lady (aka Ladykins, Ladybug, Ladybuggles, Baby Girl), died.

We had Lady for just over 12 years. She came to us the day of Heather's graduation from Northfield Mt. Herman. I remember that beautiful, sunny, blue-skied day well. Leaving Northfield, we stopped at a nursery and bought Heather a red rose bush to commemorate the occasion and, when we arrived home, we quickly unpacked the car and headed down to Clinton to pick up our new puppy. I can see that little black ball of fur with the red collar calmly sitting on the passenger lap now, leaving the only home she had known.


Lady had a great life at Thirsty Boots Farm. She loved to play and there were plenty of people who loved to play with her.


She loved to retrieve sticks or tennis balls. It was her regular routine that when a visitor got out of the car, she would dash off to find her stick or ball which was then dropped at the visitor's foot. She'd look up with those brown eyes...."Go on! Throw it!" This instinctive habit of hers continued even when she lost the use of her right rear leg due to an ACL injury and we had to beg people not to throw things for her.


Lady loved to swim. At first it was in the pool. I remember that requiring some repairs to the vinyl lining. She learned that was a no-no and moved on to the pond. She loved to glide after us when we were in the rowboat and we'd order her to "go back." She loved swimming out through the lilies to retrieve her stick or tennis ball. She could go forever.

She loved digging the dirt out from under bushes and lying in the cool spots she had created. Up went fencing. She loved food and had greater finesse at stealing from the table than Tucker. In fact, I'm sure Tucker got blamed for a few of Lady's thefts. She loved her own mealtime. She was the best alarm clock I had. When she came over to me and sat in front of me and stared at my face, I knew it was 3:00 p.m., dinner time.

She loved the couch. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep the dogs off....electric pads, spiky pads...forget it. She particularly loved the couch or loveseat if you were sitting in it. She'd hop right up and put her head in your lap (or her entire body). She loved John's side of the bed where she got to sleep when he was away on business.


Lady loved people and animals. When people arrived, she would often break into a huge grin, something that was a little disconcerting to those who did not know her well. I remember two deliver men who refused to get out of their truck. She hated the UPS truck but loved the driver with his cookies. She loved the horsie vet who often greeted her with a piece of his morning doughnut. She loved being in the middle of holidays and family gatherings. I have many mental pics of her surrounded by mountains of wrapping paper. She loved Tom Wells, our neighbor across the road. She loved the chickens and every once in a while would bound after them pretending to chase them. At the beginning of her life, she liked the horses but after she got kicked one day, she'd bark protectively whenever she accompanied me out to the barn at feeding time. Ahh...Lady hated squirrels.

There were three places Lady particularly loved to sit and survey her domain. One was on the hill lawn looking down at the pond. She'd spot things moving we could not see and bark, "Stay on your side." She loved sitting in the entry doorway, with her front paws hanging over, watching the comings and goings on the driveway and across the street at Tom's house. Her most favorite place was in the sun out by paddock gate.


This morning was a normal day for Lady. She went outside and came back in to eat her breakfast. As I came down the stairs, Lady had her first episode (which the vet tells us was a heart attack) near the bar door. She fell and began breathing raggedly. I gently placed her legs under her and rolled her on her side. Her breathing stopped and she stared fixedly ahead. I called John and as we stroked her and massaged her neck and told her she was a good dog and all was OK, she heaved three huge breathes and came back. In another minute or two she was lying normally. She continued to improve and got up and went into the den. We gave her water which she drank. She sat at my feet and thumped her tail as only a lab can do. After another few minutes she decided she wanted to go out and it was on her way through the hall with me she had her second heart attack. She took three breaths and went down. On her side and with me beside her and stroking her, she drew her last two breaths. It was quick and her last thoughts were of going outside and of a voice telling her she was loved.

She now rests near her favorite sunny spot and next to the Northfield roses. She joins our dogs Ben and Miles (her first TBF buddy), and cats Tippy and Cotton. We are so terribly sad and are missing the great black presence in the house but are so grateful for her quick and "easy" death. We will miss her more than we can say, but are so grateful to have had this happy, loving, devoted "Ladybug" with us for twelve years.

Thanks, Heather, for the headstone.

January 27, 2011

Got Hit Again! another foot of snow last night....yes a foot. The yardstick disappears in parts of the lawn. There are some who don't mind the snow and just want to play......

Oreo decides he wants to roll.

He's under there.


That felt good!

Let's do it again!

The other side and Willy gets into the act also in the back field.

You called?

Getting out to the barn

and back to the house.

January 12, 2011

Blizzard of 2011!

Yikes! We knew it was coming. School was cancelled yesterday, the weatherman were talking it up and said we'd get about 20 inches and this time they were right. Here's what we woke up to this morning:


From one horse.......

IMG_8291.jpg another.

Need the horses to trample the snow!

Dug out the chickens but they won't come out! Smart!

There is a Mini Cooper under there.

Buried horse trailer


To the house

To the barn

Going out

Not at all interested! Dashing back to the house!

1:15 p.m. and it is still snowing! Out to shovel to the barn for the 5th time.

Don't you want to come back to New England, Heather and George?

November 1, 2010

Half the Year in Review

I can hardly believe that my last post to this website was four months ago. The simple fact is that the ease with which one can upload photos to Facebook and the limited space for comments encourages one to be lazy. Here's my chance to catch up.

There was Easter......


We miss Cameron terribly.

A visit to Florida to see Uncle Ed, aged 93!


Uncle Ed and my cousin Cammy

And a visit to the Proias in Gainesville.

We saw the Igoes in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island also.

Getting back home it was time to concentrate on the wedding.

Found the dress!

Then it was time for showers.....Aunt Barbara's was the first one.



Then Gretchen's

This one given by Heather's bridesmaids....



Instant aunt

Last fling before the ring!

In between the party there were some other things that happened! We joined John and Lynn Adams in Windham, NY. Who knew it ws Irish Arts Week?

Look closely at the sign.

We visited Joan on Cape Cod.

My nieces and Lily came for a sleepover......

...and discovered chicks had been born!!

We fostered Lou.....

...who loved following Tucker into the pond!

There was Joe and Katie's engagement

Then time for mailing the wedding invitations

A September visit to Middlebury for Murphy's football game

John published a book....

...and emceeed at his 50th reunion.

There were:

Boat rides on Heather's boat...

a birthday and Sushi...

a Choate speech...

a reunion in Florida...

a visit to Epcot...

A new nephew! FJ and Diyari's son Liam!

Julia's arrival

and oh, yes...the wedding!



Extended family

It was a great year.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!


Here's to a great 2011!

July 9, 2010

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

It may be summer but here at Thirsty Boots we are busy....relaxing, beautifying and having fun!

Michelle and Andrew have made the flower beds around the house look a lot better.


Andrew trims the 40 year old yews.

The final result. You can just see the fencing, meant to keep Tucker out!




New seating for the terrace

A baby raccoon got separated from mom.

We lost our beautiful swans to a coyote but gained this cormorant:


Lucky enjoys an early morning walk.

The horses enjoy the early morning.

Lady continues to be optimistic.

Kim came up to relax on July 4.

John joined him in cool relaxation.

Hamish and Ellie were here with Rowan and Heath before they move to Portland Maine.

Hamish takes Rowan for a row.

Heath charms Kim.

John chooses the pond to cool down.

May 25, 2010

Life Is Good!

This little guy surely lives up to his name.


How did we get so "Lucky" to have him in our lives? (if my dad were here, he would be correcting me that the correct word is "fortunate!")