My Name is Rylai

Be on the lookout for the story of the adorable chinchilla Rylai, owned by the Faranda family of Croton.   Rylai’s story will appear in the online children’s magazine Kids Imagination Train this September/October.   It’s a free children’s magazine!JoeandRylai2


Kids Imagination Train

We are so happy to be distributing our flyer for KIT to libraries and schools in this area.  Our goal is to hit all 50 states! I’d say it’s pretty ambitious.  Here’s a copy of our flyer.KITdoc3



A Squirrel’s Lucky Day

Saratoga Springs Squirrel

Magic happens all around us.

Hurrah!  Finally dear readers, a poem I wrote entitled “A Squirrel’s Lucky Day” has been submitted to Kids Imagination Train and accepted for publication in their online     children’s magazine this July/August.  I am most grateful to Randi Mrvos, Editor of Kids  Imagination Train who worked with me and never gave up hope that this poem would meet the requirements of their excellent children’s magazine.  Thank you, thank you Randi, for believing in me.  The poem will follow.

           A Squirrel’s Lucky Day

I live in trees

       and on the ground

I hunt for food

    and race around.

We squirrels enjoy

the great outdoors.

We have big nests

and nutty chores.

The park is full

this time of year

with lots of picnics –

Spring is here.

I hope to find

some tasty scraps

like cheesy chicken

sandwich wraps.

A baseball game

has just begun.

The kids rush off

to join the fun.

But wait! What’s that

beside the tree?

An  ice cream cone

left just for me?

Hurry! Scurry!

Down the branches.

Creatures don’t get

too many chances.

Grab it! Take it

up the tree.

Hurrah!  I made it.

Yeah! Yippee!

This treat is heaven,

so cold and sweet.

Even acorns

cannot compete.

Why do people

stare at me?

Can’t a squirrel

have privacy?

So Mother Nature

will you please

make ice cream cones

that grow on trees.


Read to Me

sad dog

Read to Me

by Regina Montana

An article about a new program sponsored by the ASPCA recently appeared in the newspaper.  It described how volunteers are reading to abused dogs in preparing them for adoption.   I was very moved and wrote the following poem.

Read to Me

People hurt me.

I never knew why.

I want to forget.

I have to try.

I’m in a shelter now.

It’s different here.

They bring lots of books.

I have less fear.

If you read to me,

you’ll see my heart.

Your voice will heal.

I’ll find a new start.

I’m just a dog.

Don’t throw me away.

Please read to me.

I’ll be whole one day.




Black Racer arrives

On July 2, 2016 an uninvited guest showed up in our front yard.  I was aghast as my husband called out to come quickly to the top of our driveway.  He had been weeding alongside a small evergreen tree when his gloved hand came within an inch of a four-foot long black snake that then slithered away from us as we looked on in amazement.  But not before it stopped and coiled up, ready to strike in case we dared come any closer.

I grabbed my iPhone and began to videotape the snake as he made his way toward cover, narrating for my grandson the arrival of this most unwelcomed visitor.  Attempting to mask the fear in my voice, I told him the snake was just being a snake and trying to get away from us.   We watched as the nearly 48-inch-long, maybe even 60 inch-long, black creature disappeared into some low-lying brush.

My cousin, a Master Gardner, later said it might be a Black Racer and if it were, it would be beneficial for our yard since this species will eat small rodents, frogs and voles.  I have to admit it’s a very cool name for an animal that does not summon a lot of positive feeling when seen in the wild, or in one’s backyard.  I like to think of my surroundings as a haven for robins, cardinals, chipmunks and squirrels, not crawling reptiles.

I prefer to see them in a controlled environment – behind glass in a zoo.  I have no problem with an occasional garter snake;  they are fairly cute.  Last year one made his home in a narrow opening between a sliding door and cement step leading out to a patio.  I could peer out at him every so often and see him in the crack where he apparently enjoyed some welcomed shade.   I made up stories about him for my grandson and named him Sherman.  When we no longer could find him, I explained he had most likely returned to his family in the woods.

This year may be different.  I’ll have to come up with an endearing story, this time about the four-footer.  It won’t be easy, but calling him a Black Racer (even if he is not that species) will light up the eyes of this five-year-old, hopefully making him less fearful and allowing his imagination to run wild, conjuring up all kinds of possibilities as to the snake’s whereabouts and activities.  I, on the other hand, will be very happy never to see him again.  The reality is, however, that he is very likely somewhere in the yard, as afraid of meeting me as I am of him.

Black Racer makes it into our local newspaper, The Gazette

Black Racer.JPG



turtle inspiration

I try to keep small inspiring messages all around me.  Here is the inspiration for my

story,  “No Turtle Soup.”  A few photos to follow.