The day dawned with blue sky overhead and ominous clouds on the western horizon. My dog, K, and I headed out to explore the woods. My mountain bike easily traversed bare dirt trails in places where sun and wind prevail. Usually, at this time of year, snow covers everything. Then, a short distance away, deep snow halted our progress on a shaded slope.
Yesterday's high winds had subsided. But, we found a mushroom, previously stashed in a tree by a red squirrel, that had blown down. I found it before K thought about eating it - but we know from experience that these mushrooms aren't poisonous.
When I was on an exposed ridge with no snow in sight, I began to notice how many dried out flowers still persisted from last summer. On the left, you can see the trail that I've just ridden, and on the right, one of many dried flowers. It's possible this flower is Yarrow but I'm not sure. Many of the distinguishing traits disappeared as it dried.
Throughout my ride, the day gradually became grayer, colder, and more humid. It felt like the snow was going to fly but so far only a few flakes have fallen.
Upon returning from my ride, a new bike awaited me! My snow bike, a Fatback, had arrived from Alaska. My first reaction was to laugh out loud. The tires are enormous! That's the idea - bigger tires float better in the snow. After putting it together, my husband took an inaugural ride around the living room, which sent the dogs into a frenzy of barking.
So, if we ever get some snow, I'm ready to roll!
Despite the excitement of the new bike, the pups and I headed out for a sunset hike, except that the sun was missing. The younger dogs became extremely excited about a scent in the meadow - although I never saw the source. They both responded beautifully to recalls so we did an impromptu training session. I like to train them when they are almost over-the-top with excitement due to wildlife scents since it provides 'real life' practice of a critical situation. Both dogs did beautifully. I'm amazed by R being so reliable at only a year old. I think that it's partly that he follows K's lead. It's also partly that we learn a bit more about training with each puppy that we raise. R is our sixth in a long line of wonderful Labradors.