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Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday - Shyla's Arrival

Because I shared a memory of K with you yesterday, I thought that I'd share a photo from Shyla's early days with us, back in 2012.
She'd been with us for long enough that she'd look me straight in the eyes, even when I had a camera. It was the beginning of an amazing trust that would grow between us.

I feel so lucky that Shyla came into my life and has taught me so much about building trust and confidence.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Angel K

I remember visiting this 13,000' ridge several times with K. Each time, it was so special. There were views of lakes and high mountains in all directions.

But, most of all, I was sharing it with K. Those shared adventures helped make the bond between us unbreakable.
She lives on in my heart. And she's with me when I share our special places, like this ridge, with my Shyla.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mountain Spring - elk on the move

It's getting to be time for the elk herd that winters in our neck of the woods to move up to the high mountains. As always, they've spent time near our house this spring.

Here, two of them leaped an old fence left in a meadow.
And then they gathered, for milling around and grazing.
You can tell that summer is coming based on their fur coats. Their normally very thick and luxurious neck fur is completely gone.
And, the herd is starting to break up into smaller groups. Here, one group fled when some people got out of vehicles near them.
Isn't it funny that the elk leave for greener pastures just when things are starting to get green here?
It's all part of the yearly rhythm of life in the mountains. I don't understand why the animals do certain things but they've been doign them for far longer than I've been on this Earth.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Black Dog Sunday

One day recently, I had R with me, on his own, for a mountain bike ride. I know that I've said this before, but it's wonderful to spend one-on-one time with him!
Often, when I have the Labraduo with me, the two them focus on playing with each other rather than with me. That's why it's great to spend solo time with R. His behavior is always impeccable during our solo rides, and I get such joy out of seeing him run!
While were out, I found a new flower blooming - mountain bluebells. They are tiny and very low to the ground but the flash of blue caught my eye!
I think that we may have springtime before we know it!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Seashells in the Mountains

I participate in a Flickr group called the "Daily Dog Challenge", and a recent prompt was "Animal, vegetable, or mineral?". It prompted me to pull out a treasure, a fossilized seashell that we found deep in the Rocky Mountains a long time ago.
The shell fossil in the middle and upper half of the rock by Shyla's snout. It made the geological history of the Earth seem much more real to me, finding a relic from when the Rocky Mountains were under the ocean!

You can tell that Shyla was out in the rain just before I took this photo. Our mountain weather has not been the greatest lately. At least we don't have a drought!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flashback Friday: Shyla meets the desert

From Shyla's first trip to the desert...

When you're not sure of yourself, do exactly what your big brother is doing!
She learned that sunset is a beautiful time...
 And the scents float in the wind as the air cools down when the sun sets...
I am glad that Shyla has learned to love the desert like our whole pack does!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Angel K and I atop Hug Hill...
 Angel K's beautiful eye surrounded by autumn colors...
 Angel K modeled a hat that is still a favorite of mine...
And, her unforgettable eye - the star in each eye was exquisite.
I am so grateful that I had K in my life and I still have her in my heart. She changed me forever.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Today, we were remembering another era of our lives, well before Shyla was born, when we lived on the west coast. Some pine trees there produced the biggest pine cones that I've ever seen. We can't remember what species of tree it was but here's the pine cone!
It's amazing, isn't it? Happy Wednesday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mountain Lion Family of Three

You might remember that I captured this photo of a mountain lion next to our house.
Since then, I've checked some other trail cameras, and I discovered that a family of three mountain lions were in our neck of the woods around that time.

Here's the arrival of the first one in front of a trail camera about 3/4 of a mile from our house. Immediately, I noticed that he had fading spots, telling me that he's a kitten.
Just after him, his mother arrived. She is larger in stature and has no spots. They both sniffed beneath a tree where many mountains lions have marked in the past.
Then, to top off the party, another kitten arrived. Do you see the stripes on the inside of his front right leg? That's another sure sign that this cat is a kitten. Adult mountain lions have no spots or stripes. My guess is that these kittens were 4-5 months old at the time of these photos based on the visible spots.
The three of them sniffed the ground together. I must say that three mountain lion tails in a row is an intimidating sight to me when I'm standing next to where they were photographed!
Mom was the first to depart.
And then the trail camera captured my favorite photo of them all. The kitten who is looking at the camera actually looks cute! And he is so obviously a youngster!
There was clearly one larger and one smaller kitten. I'm not sure why they are different sizes. Perhaps one is a male and the other is a female. Or perhaps one is better at claiming his/her share of the food than the other.
Soon, all three had departed. I didn't get photos in any other locations of the three together, although I did get a few photos that could have been the mother by herself (like the first photo in this post).

This is the first time that my trail cameras have captured photos of a mother and two kittens in our neck of the woods. I hope that we get more glimpses of them as they grow up!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Snow

Shyla loves snow, even in May. For me, although I'm tired of it by May, it's better to ride my bike in snow than in rain so we decided to celebrate the changeover.
Happy Sunday!

P.S. I am going to be posting and visiting sporadically for the next little while. So please don't worry if I miss a post or two!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

First Bear of the Year!

Today, our rain became snow. When we went out the door, it was pelting snow, and the snow was accumulating so fast that our tracks disappeared almost instantly.
It almost stopped snowing near the middle of our ride, and I saw (gasp) a sliver of blue sky. That was very brief. The weather forecast now says that we'll get another 5-12" of snow tonight.
The news says that there are mudslides and collapsed roads from the rain and snow that's been falling for a week. The creek flow is the highest it's ever been since our big flood in 2013. And, everywhere I look, the ground is covered in a couple of inches of water. Fortunately for us, we live high above any creeks or wetlands so we are warm and dry sitting next to a crackling fire.

Needless to say, rain or wet snow makes me freeze when I'm riding my fat bike at a temperature of about 35°. After I'd left Shyla at home, my goal was to get a couple of trail cameras in position for the parade of black bears that should take place sometime soon near their favorite marking trees. I was successful but I was cold for almost the whole ride.

My bear preparations were sparked by finding the first trail camera footage of a bear marking a tree the other day. I put together a video from the still photos and the video recorded by my cameras. You can watch the bear here or at Youtube.

The bear in the video was a female. At first, I thought that she must have young cubs hidden high in a nearby baby-sitting tree. A babysitting tree is a tall pine tree with high branches where young cubs rest when mom is busy. I was basing that guess on the fact that she obviously doesn't have yearling cubs with her, and she looks mature, although smallish, to me. Then, the Runner pointed out that there are no visible enlarged teats on her belly... so perhaps she has no cubs right now.

We may find out in future trail camera footage! I look forward to the emergence of the bears all year long because it's so fun figuring out which sows have new cubs, which sows will be on the mating trail, and which big males have made it back for another year in our neck of the woods. Perhaps we'll see Milton, Milton Jr., and Tiny sometime soon!

Yipee for the Bears!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fun on Another Rainy Day!

Yet again, we awoke to the sound of rain on the metal roof. That sound is powerfully sleep-inducing for me. In my sleepy haze, I wonder: why get up?

Over the past few months, Shyla has learned my daily rhythms and seems to have learned that I like to snuggle back to sleep when it's raining. When I finally dragged myself out of bed this morning, this beautiful face remained ensconced in toasty covers.
She seemed to say, "You go ahead and have breakfast. I'll just wait here until you're ready to go outside". Have I mentioned recently that I love this girl more every day?

We did eventually head out into a steadily falling rain. I always feel lost about how to get good photos in the darkness of a rainy day. One trick for cheering up a photo is to have Shyla carry a colorful toy.
Ever since the start of this deluge seemingly eons ago, Shyla has been incredibly happy on our mountain bike rides. She keeps me smiling even when my cycling shoes are squishing out water with each pedal stroke. She was especially happy in the section where last night's snow was still sticking to the ground.
I was happy that we eventually got outside, despite my reticence about going out in the rain. One reason was that I always feel happier after a mountain bike ride, no matter what the weather!

The other reason was this, which I'll elaborate on soon.
I'm sure that some of you remember that I am overjoyed when I see trail camera photos of the first bear of the year. And, this beautiful bear danced at the tree that's just behind her. I'll share that soon!!!!!

P.S. I sent a letter to the host of the worst copyright offender whose site I found yesterday. My materials were removed immediately. It is worthwhile to send those "DMCA takedown letters" despite the time it takes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rainy Days and Web Scrapers

We are in the midst of an endless deluge of rain, bringing back memories of the horrific flood in September of 2013. We are still doing our best to get outside each day, even if it's raining. I keep watching the data for our rivers and creeks - they are rising but still within their banks.

Today, during our bike ride, Shyla found a deer antler! She was very proud of her find. You can even see some of the raindrops falling out of the sky on the left of the photo but that didn't dampen her happiness!
Our spring flowers are staying closed all day long because it's been cold as well as wet. The hard part for them is that this rain will become snow soon. I hope the spring plants survive! And I hope that the lettuce that I planted the other day also survives!
Perhaps due to the weather, our internet was down all day. When I called the satellite internet company, they had me clear every cache and reset all my browsers on my computer, with the result that I'm "starting all over" with my browsers. They don't remember my usual websites or my passwords. And, after spending hours with them on the phone this morning, it turned out that the problem was on the satellite and not at our house. Argh.

So, to write this post, I Googled the name of my blog to find it quickly. Unfortunately, Google showed me that three more dastardly sites are stealing my content. The screenshot below is the worst of them that has pages of my photos and the RSS feed that goes with each photo.
I haven't had time yet to see if any of your blogs have been stolen in this way. I suggest that each of you Google the name of your blog to see what you find. This site will appear within the first couple of pages of results.

Each time this happens, I start out furious, and then I realize that I should feel sorry for anyone who needs to scrape content like this. They obviously have no content of their own to publish so they steal the content of others. I shall be sending a copyright infringement (and DMCA takedown) letter to them this evening.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. Our pack is happy, healthy, and living a full life. That's what matters to me, and bad people on the internet cannot affect us very much.