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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog had tons of fun on our recent camping trip. He ran to lakes and through meadows of wildflowers with the Runner. Then, around sunset, I played with him in the wildflowers almost every day. I adore how his fur shines and his eyes glow in the sunset light.

We feel so lucky that, despite elbow dysplasia and a number of near-death experiences, he's still romping like a puppy!

He's a funny dog. He got so jealous when I took Shyla out to play with her in the wildflowers that he couldn't keep quiet. Then, when his turn finally came, he couldn't contain himself!

Believe it or not, R was considered to be the LEAST intense of the puppies in his litter. Look at his eyes in the next photo. His focus is laser sharp.
I suspect that he's going to be a "10,000 Volt dog" (a trainer used that term for him) for his whole life.

Here's to many more wonderful camping trips with our Black Dog!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bathing Bear Time of Year

'Tis the season when bears love to take baths. They are so cute and hilarious as they scrub and soak their bodies.

A sow, perhaps "Mohawk", arrived at a small water hole and headed straight into the water.

Mohawk is a youngster, probably about three years old, who is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. She dove right in and took a thorough bath.

Her mother taught her well. She scrubs her face magnificently. She used her paws to rub her face repeatedly during this bath.

She scratched her chin with her hind paw.

She took breaks to shake off the mud. She shook so fast that her body was a blur!
Mohawk's bathing behavior reminds me of a bear who I named "Dot" a few years ago. Her name was for a white dot on her chest. Sadly, Dot was killed by a car nearby as she traveled from one feeding area to another. I never wrote about it because I was too sad about losing her.

I truly hope that Mohawk stays away from people and roads. She consorted with Tiny and with other male bears during the recent mating season. If she comes out of this summer fat and healthy, she'll have cubs in her den this winter. I want to see Mohawk with her own little ones next summer!

I picked the best parts of Mohawk's 4 minute bath for a video. Enjoy the antics of this amazing bear!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Flower Friday

This was one view of our wildflower paradise campsite. Do you see the LabMobile?

The white flowers, "Osha" flowers, were tall. Here's Shyla in the understory of them with a red Indian Paintbrush.

Columbines also bloomed in the midst of the Osha flowers.

Indian Paintbrush have truly shined this year. I adored their deep red color near our campsite.

Red Indian Paintbrush, combined with the Lupines, make a beautiful tapestry.
I love the time year when the flowers are so numerous that I can barely mention all of them!

Thanks to the Gang at LLB for hosting the Flower Friday Blog Hop.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Gratitude

We visited a magical place recently. I am so grateful that places like this still exist.

We camped in a high mountain meadow full of flowers some of which were as tall as me. In the distance, a lake sat at the base of a gully that cut through the middle of the meadow.

The purple lupines looked absolutely stunning in the sunset light. So did Shyla.

We were in this spot on a date that I can't help but remember every year. Angel K died on July 15 six years ago. I can remember K with a smile and a huge amount of gratitude for the years that I had with her. She's a star in the sky now. I still miss her like crazy.
So much to be grateful for...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Shyla Can Fly!

My girl can fly!


But she can't walk on water!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Summertime Bliss

This is the definition of summertime happiness in the Rockies for me - incredible flowers and singletrack that I can ride all day long together with Shyla!

And, of course, I love stopping to play treat snarfing games with Shyla in the tall wildflowers.
Life is good.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A New Bear Comes to our Neck of the Woods

We just had a new male bear arrive in our neck of the woods. He has ear tags, and I suspect that he got into garbage in town because some uncaring person didn't secure their food/garbage. Then, they called wildlife authorities when a bear got into their food/garbage or birdfood. This is the typical scenario but I don't know whether it's true for this bear.

Anyway, as he walked toward my trail camera, his head looked really big. Then, I saw the ear tags, and I sat frozen with fear that the bear was Tiny. Ear tags mean that a bear has "one strike" against them for a transgression in the vicinity of humans. The bear will be shot if he gets in trouble again.

When the new bear sniffed the marking tree, it became clear that he was much smaller than Tiny. I don't know why the fur is missing from his hind legs but it does make his hind legs look very skinny.

This is Tiny in exactly the same spot. His nose reached the same place on the leaning tree when Tiny was SITTING on the ground!
The new bear had better steer clear of Tiny!

Here's video of each of them checking out and marking the tree.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

One of R's most endearing features is his eyes, especially when their deep brown glows in the sunset light.

This is the look that he gives me when he's contemplating veering off his recall to go explore something more interesting than me.

Later in that same recall, his focus was back with me. For R, keeping his focus on me is key to preventing him from running amok.

His attention never strays when he's racing his sister. On this one, she got ahead by a nose... but R eventually made up the distance to win the recall. His competitiveness is over the top.
I love getting out with our Labraduo at sunset. Watching our Black Dog and Shyla play in the sunshine is so wonderful.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Flower Friday - Still Blooming!

It's Flower Friday, and we still have plenty blooming!

The wild Blanket Flowers are having a party.

The "Variable Checkerspot" butterflies are happy about it! This one hunkered down on a Blanket Flower on a very windy afternoon.

And a pretty beetle also loves the Blanket Flowers.

I think that Shyla might like them too!
Thanks to the gang at LLB for hosting the Flower Friday blog hop!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

I love meadows full of wildflowers with my dogs playing in them!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Silly Sliding Shyla!

This is another goofy way to get Shyla comfortable with trying scary surfaces. In this case, I was working on teaching Shyla to stand on things that slide.

Here's an example, the grand finale of our little game. Shyla stood on cardboard and stayed on it as it slid on our driveway.

Here's a video of the steps that I used to get Shyla to this point. It was much easier than I expected! I'm glad that it was easy because it was very tough on my back!

Notice that I started with her mat, which she knows. I let her lie down the first time that I slid her on her mat. Then, I transitioned her to standing as she slid. The third step was switching from the mat to a big piece of cardboard, and having her slide on the cardboard across a smooth floor. The final step was taking her outside to our rough driveway and having her slide on the cardboard. Notice that I started with very short bouts of sliding. Then, I increased it a little bit at a time.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Adventures of Tiny the Black Bear

Tiny is my favorite black bear, after only Milton, who I fear is dead. Tiny is so huge that he dwarfs other bears in our area.

Over the past couple of weeks, the bear mating frenzy has died down. Tiny is alone most of the time. One of his favorite things to do is find water to drink, bathe, and swim.

His choices for finding water are limited as many water holes are completely dried up. He did find a stock tank. He took a long drink and then climbed in. Will it be big enough? You'll see in the video.

The next night, Tiny found a much better place to swim - a real pond! He swam in circles, looking as if he was simply enjoying cooling off, like a human! And, discovering that he swam in this particular pond solved a mystery for me of why he was regularly showing up at a certain marking tree soaking wet.

When I last posted about Tiny, someone commented "I'd hate to meet him on the trail". Within an hour of reading that comment, I got a note from a friend saying "Met your big bear. HUGE!!!!". Amazingly, I discovered that I had a cam in the vicinity of that encounter.

Here was Tiny running from my friend.

And here was my friend continuing his commute to work after recovering from the shock of meeting such a huge bear.
Even though Tiny probably weighs about twice as much as my friend, Tiny fled from him. That fact made me SO happy. As long as Tiny is afraid of people, he stands a much better chance of staying alive.

Here's the footage in the form of a short video.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Goofy Black Dog Sunday

Our black dog and Shyla were out at sunset with me. I was photographing them in that glorious sunset light when R needed to shake.

His jowls started flapping...

And then he launched streams of saliva at poor Shyla!
Notice that Shyla even closed the eye closest to R to prevent the missiles from going in her eye! The look on her face is priceless.

That's our goofy Black Dog!

I have a busy week ahead of me so posting might be sporadic. Don't worry if this space is quiet.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Caturday: An Amorous Mountain Lion Pair

Last week, I told you about the mother mountain lion and her two kittens who were in our area. I haven't seen them recently but a new saga started after they departed.

It began with this photo. I am focusing my trail cams on our remaining water sources now because so many natural springs and water holes are dry. This lion stopped for a drink. By itself, that's not unexpected.

Then, there was another drink by a lion. I didn't know if it was the same one or a new one.

When this third bit of footage appeared, I was thinking that a lion had a carcass stashed near this spring and was stopping for a drink on his way to and fro the carcass.

Then came one of the most surprising mountain lion images of a lion that I've seen in a long time. Look closely at the upper left corner. Yes, that's the nose of another mountain lion who was licking the drinking lion's fur.
I believe that the left mountain lion is a male and the one who is drinking is a female. The male repeatedly licked the fur of the female.

Then he got more forward and tried putting a paw on her back. The female growled - by far the lowest and most scary sound I've ever heard from a mountain lion.

Obviously not as impressed as I was by the growl, the male kept licking her fur and making small overtures as the female drank.

Then, the female growled again for good measure just before she got up to trot away. The male was on her heels.
This is almost certainly a mating pair of mountain lions. The above black and white photos were from the only footage of them together but each of them came to the spring in the days before and after they were together.

Here's one lion at the spring, the male I think. He'd drink and then crane his neck to look over his shoulder. I suspect that the female was somewhere back there. He is distinctive-looking with his whitish chest.
This pattern was still going on when I last checked the camera at the spring. A mating pair will spend at least a week together, if not longer. If the female is impregnated, she'll give birth in about three months - in October.

I have footage of this amorous mountain lion pair. I made two versions of it. The first is very short - it shows only the time when the two were together at the spring in front of my trail camera. The second is a bit longer, including snippets of the visits of the cats to the spring around the time when the pair was together on camera.

The short video:

And the longer version:

My trail cameras are incredibly time consuming but the amazing footage that they get makes the effort very worthwhile.

The Runner thought of quite a few one-line jokes to go with this footage. Can you think of any?