What Are You Working On Right Now? #Mason’sQuestions

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

Mason asks his weekly question, “What are you working on now?” The complicated answer is … probably too many things. I have many Works in Progress, but I will try to share about only one. Aside from writing some new poetry and short stories for the blog and Reedsy and some articles for Vocal Media, I am working on a longer “Digory Mole” book.

The next picture book planned for the Creature Kingdom series features a little mouse named Hyacinth. Several readers of The Journey of Digory Mole suggested that my little mole needed more stories about himself, so I have taken that into consideration. I thought I could write a more expansive story as a juvenile/middle grade novel.

In this story, Digory goes back to visit his old friend, Houlihan Owl, joined by a new sidekick, Willy Lee Otter and meeting a lot of other animal friends, including a whole passel of beavers.

So far, my favorite chapter is titled, “Help From the Busy Beavers’ Guild.” An excerpt …

Cole and Elwyn Chipmunk were put in charge of building a campfire. Digory Mole agreed to go foraging for dinner, while Willy Lee Otter said he would go out in search of a birch tree for a canoe.

“How will you build it … without any tools?” asked Digory Mole.

Willy Lee looked down and about him. “Have you got a hatchet in your pack?” he asked Digory.

“I’m afraid I don’t,” said Digory, “though it seems like a handy thing to have now … if only I could pack it without it cutting a hole in my pack.”

Willy Lee pulled his whiskers. “Well, that is a problem. I am a bit of a boatsman, but I can’t build a boat with my bare paws. Where’s a handy beaver when you need one?”

“Right there,” said Digory Mole, pointing just over Willy Lee’s shoulder.

“Don’t tease me,” said Willy Lee. “We’ve left Oakley Beaver far behind.”

“Well,” said Digory Mole. “Oakley’s not the only beaver in these woods,” and then, calling to the unknown beaver, “Ho there!” He waved a paw.

The unknown beaver came trotting up to them. “You called?”

“Yes,” said Digory Mole. “We are in a bit of a predicament. We need a canoe, and our friend, the otter, is handy with making canoes, only … we haven’t any tools. So, seeing you are a beaver and that beavers have a certain reputation …”

The beaver puffed out his chest just a little. “I’d say we have a reputation. To be a beaver is to be a craftsman. That’s all there is to it. So, you need a builder, you say?”

“I could build it. I just need a little help doing it,” said Willy Lee Otter. “By the way, I know a lot of fine otters who are builders.”

“We don’t have a lot to pay you for your work,” said Digory Mole, “but, perhaps, you would accept a fish dinner with some forage?”

“Fish dinner?” The beaver rubbed his belly. “I would love to have a fish dinner with some forage. Fish and forage, what could be better? Living off the land like regular good chaps. Just let me gather a few of my cousins from the Busy Beavers’ Guild.”

“A few? … Cousins? … Beavers’ Guild? Uh … certainly.” Digory Mole chuckled nervously. The more help the better, he thought, but he was anxious about just how many beavers would be coming to dinner. “By the way,” said Digory. “I don’t think we’ve properly introduced ourselves. I am Digory Mole,” and, pointing out his friends, “this is Willy Lee Otter, and these are Cole and Elywn Chipmunk.”

“Barnaby Beaver,” said the beaver, thrusting out his paw.

Digory shook the offered paw, and Barnaby Beaver turned and left, presumably in search of his beaver cousins.

“Well,” said Willy Lee. “I was going to build, but I’d best get fishing before the cousins descend on us.” Willy Lee walked to the water’s edge.

Cole and Elwyn Chipmunk began gathering twigs for the fire, and Digory Mole began using his hat for a food bowl once more, gathering edible wildflowers, creamy yellow primrose and fragrant bergamot that made him think of having a cup of Earl Grey tea back at his burrow beneath the squirrels’ apartment.

Digory Mole looked behind him. The chipmunks had gathered wood and built a pleasant fire and were now looking much more chummy than they ever had, warming their feet by it and chatting happily. He then looked over to his left. Barnaby Beaver had set up a raised plank work station and had felled a birch tree. Another beaver with a tool belt about him had joined him there. Digory looked ahead of him next, towards the water, and, unlike their new beaver friend, Willy Lee Otter seemed utterly relaxed, lounging back on the stream bank with his fishing pole in the water and his hat tipped as if he would fall asleep.

Digory continued to forage and gather some dandelions and clover blossoms along with their leaves. “We will have a wonderful salad,” said Digory, “and it will smell as wonderful as it tastes and looks.”

He couldn’t resist looking back towards Barnaby Beaver. He had two more companions now. They had the beginnings of a canoe frame, just a single layer of wooden outline in the shape of a canoe. Two of the beavers were splitting tree roots for the lacings of the canoe. He looked nervously at Willy Lee Otter. The hat was off his head now. Was there fish in it?

Holding his hat full of forage, Digory hurried over to Cole and Elwyn. “Since your job is done,” he said, “perhaps, you could dig us a temporary burrow, just bare bones, enough for three leaf beds. At least … I think three … Where exactly do otters like to sleep?”

The chipmunks shrugged and laughed like he’d told a wonderful joke, and though he didn’t understand the joke, he laughed too. It was wonderful to hear them laugh rather than see them attack each other with canoe paddles.

Digory turned around and looked at Willy Lee Otter once more and then at the beavers at work. They were multiplying by the moment, and the group was now double with eight beavers busy at work on the canoe.

“Oh dear,” said Digory to the chipmunks who had begun to dig a burrow. “Do you think Willy Lee will catch enough fish for us and eight beavers? What if he catches nothing but boots?”

“Is it easy to catch boots?” asked Cole Chipmunk. He, apparently, knew as much about fishing as Digory Mole.

“It is for me,” said Digory.

“Does everyone do it?” asked Elwyn Chipmunk.

“No,” said Digory Mole. “I expect it’s a special talent I have.”

The two chipmunks exchanged glances and pulled at their whiskers as if pondering what sort of talent it was to catch boots and why anyone would want it.

Digory Mole returned to foraging. If the fish were lacking, perhaps it could be made up in salad. He plucked violets and fragrant honeysuckle and added them to the colorful collection in his hat.

The beavers were beginning to sing a kind of work song Digory Mole had never heard before, and their voices sounded more numerous than before. “From break of dawn to setting sun, a beaver’s work is never done,” sang the beavers. “If your bones are too weary and your fingers too thick, a beaver can do it, quick, quick, quick.”

“The beavers do seem to like to sing their own praises,” said Digory Mole. He turned and looked, and now there were 11 beavers. Several were working on a long thin sheet of birch bark, scraping off lichens and loose bark.

Digory Mole ran over to Cole and Elwyn, with his hat full of forage. “Here boys. Make a salad with these. If you add a little of Belle-Amie’s honey with some berry juice and some walnut oil, you’ll have a nice dressing, and, if you find any seeds or acorns, toast them over the fire and add them. As clumsy as I am, I must help Willy Lee with the fishing … or the frying of the fish.” Very abruptly, Digory Mole set his hat on the ground and went running towards the stream bank, groaning, “Ooohh, 11 beavers for dinner!”

© Susan Joy Clark 2021

YouTube for Animal Lovers

15 Different YouTube Channels to Enjoy for Cute and Funny Dogs, Cats, Birds, Hamsters and More.

Watching pets on Youtube can be relaxing and peaceful whether you are a pet owner or not. It’s one way to enjoy some very endearing animals. It wouldn’t be practical for most of us to own one of each of the animals featured below, but Youtube brings us closer to observing all of their funny antics.

These videos are good therapy if you need relaxation. I have used them to unwind when I have headache or have trouble sleeping. Some of these videos are real life adventures with pets and owners while others are pure fantasy — creative stories with animals doing “human” things. Others offer good information for pet owners. A few of these channels have varied content that don’t all fall into one of those categories, although the examples I selected are entertaining.

The videos are of varying length, some short and some a bit longer. You may want to save some to watch later or create a playlist.

Crusoe the Dachshund

Crusoe the Dachshund is involved in a lot of story episodes with his sidekicks, sister Daphne and cousin Oakley. Voice actors speak for the doggos as they go about some very human activities. In this episode, Oakley has a date with a Yorkie and gets a little dating advice from Crusoe and Daphne.

Other episodes include some parodies of movies like Home Alone, Jurassic Park and Ghostbusters, police and crime adventures, hobby fun, obstacle courses, birthday celebrations and more creative content than I can name.


This channel combines miniature making and fun with hamsters. First, you watch as the Youtuber creates cardboard miniature sets and then enjoy as his hamster interacts with and has fun exploring the set. In this episode, the little hamster has fun on a cardboard playground equipped with seesaws, swings and motorized merry go round, with plenty of hamster snacks sprinkled here and there. In other episodes, the hamster visits a miniature hotel, Tom and Jerry style house, sushi bar and more.

Vlog After College (with Corgi Gatsby)

Gatsby the Corgi has more real life adventures with his owner Ryen. In fact, Ryen’s vlogs can contain all kinds of content like cooking and recipes, ukulele playing and fitness. Still, Gatsby is a big part of each vlog, and you can enjoy watching these two play in a park or at home, go on walking adventures, go shopping for dog toys, even cooking dog-friendly meals or enjoying a burger splurge.

Aaron’s Animals

Aaron’s Animals seems to be creative stories told with real animals but with the help of some special effects and animation. Videos feature cats, a pug dog, ducklings and a mouse. The stories are pretty varied from “A dog and cat road trip” to a cat cooking show and many more fun episodes.

Emma Massingale (With Mini Ponies)

Below is one of the more whimsical videos on Emma Massingale’s channel, where two dogs, a cat, a pig and a miniature pony get the spa treatment, including nail treatments, facial masks and hot stone massage. Emma has more content along this line but also features more down-to-earth adventures with her animals like hiking with her mini ponies or rafting while pulled by black stallions.

Topi the Corgi

Topi the Corgi does a variety of human activities on his channel. These might include acting as a lifeguard or a surgeon, working in construction or as a police officer. His occasional sidekicks are these two little long-haired chihuahuas who join him in the camping fun below.

Tucker Budzyn

This golden retriever’s videos are all captioned hilariously with the new dog lingo of the Internet. On this channel, you can watch as he tries new foods and treats, interacts with new toys or does quirky behavior (like trying to climb in the bath tub with his owner.) Reading his inner commentary is half the fun. In the episode below, I enjoyed seeing him interact with a mechanical toy roach where it seems he can’t decide whether he wants to attack it or run away from it.

The Secret Life of My Hamster

The “dangerous” hamster maze in the video below might look suspiciously like animal cruelty at first glance, but this contraption with all its traps is made from harmless cardboard. Other videos from this channel feature creative mazes, obstacle courses, races and even a parkour course for hamsters. A few of these have gaming themes like Minecraft and Super Mario Brothers.

Griffin the Frenchie

Griffin the Frenchie and his sister Haru have a variety of interesting experiences with their owners. They try out different snacks, show off how well trained they are as well as their behavior quirks, try out strange gadgets for dogs or explore a 24 hour dog grooming cafe, among other things. They also try intellectual puzzles and obstacle courses. In the video below, the two Frenchies enjoy a kiddie pool, some bubbles and watermelon.

Erin’s Ark

Erin has a lot of adorable animals in her care including guinea pigs (about 11 of them,) skinny pigs, bunnies, gerbils, hamsters, a dog and a cat. That might sound like animal hoarding, but Erin lives on a farm, and all of her animals have quality hutches and homes, lots of space and plenty of tender loving care. Erin has some informative videos for owners of small animals, but I find it peaceful to watch her go about her routine with the animals, feeding all of them or making changes to their abodes.

Peekaboo Parrots

There have been several parrots of different varieties on this channel, but the star seems to be Bowie, the Indian ringneck parakeet. He has a voice just like Elmo, and one of his favorite phrases is “Tickle, tickle,” because that’s what his owner tells him when she scratches his head. The doggy of the household, Pai Mei, has his own channel.

What About Bunny

This amazing sheepadoodle named Bunny has been trained to use buttons to communicate. The buttons are from Fluent Pet and pronounce words when they are pressed. They are arranged in interlocking tiles on the floor. There are other video examples that better introduce the system, but I thought this particular video below gives pretty good evidence that Bunny understands what she is communicating.

Major Hamster and Friends

Major Hamster and Friends is another channel that combines ingenious contraptions, story telling and animals. In this one, Major Hamster runs in his wheel, sending out marble missiles against the tank army of his frenemy, the cat. Videos show a variety of challenges for Major Hamster and his friends with mazes, obstacle courses, remote control cars and contraptions involving dominoes and marbles with adventures themed after dinosaurs, robots, zombies, volcanoes and more. Major Hamster’s friends include a cat, dog, chinchilla, rat and bunny.

Tiny Hamster Official

One of the major themes on this channel is tiny food. You can watch this hamster feasting on tiny burritos, tiny barbecue or in this video, tiny tiki party fare, and in fun, miniature settings. Although “hamster” is the only animal listed in the channel’s title, you will find a few others here including bunnies, a chameleon and a hedgehog.

Bini the Bunny

Bini the Bunny has been trained to do a number of cool tricks like paint, play basketball with a small ball and net, work a dustbuster style vacuum cleaner or a small vending machine that dispenses carrots. You can also watch the channel for helpful information on keeping a bunny as a pet.

I hope I have introduced you to some fun animal viewing on Youtube. Please, tell me which of these is your favorite.