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Monday, July 6, 2020

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi is doing wonderfully well.
He seems lighthearted and happy. For the past couple of weeks, he wags his whole body when one of us comes into sight after being gone. His wiggling gets out of control when we start petting him.

Hachi gives us both the feeling that he's more content than ever before.

We went for a short camping trip fairly close to home last week. Hachi seemed more stressed out during that trip than when we're at home. He got some bug bites on his abdomen that we tried to look at. Nope - that was not okay with Hachi. He growled to prevent it. I can handle small incidents like that one now that I understand that he's reacting to the stress of the situation. In that case, the main trigger was that we were camping in a new place.

When we got home, he relaxed back into the content and happy dog who we love more every single day. His big sister loves him too. They adore playing.
As I wrote this, Hachi charged over to request pats and play. I am starting to think that love is winning over Hachi's soul.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Black Dog Sunday

There was good news for us on Friday - an ultrasound and chest xrays did not show any tumors in our Black Dog. His blood work isn't back yet but we're hoping that iron and melatonin will bring his red blood cells back to normal. His energy has surged in recent days after a down period, which makes us think that things are going in the right direction.

Recently, I've had a few chances to be in the flowers with him. He smiles non-stop (and so do I) while we lie in the grass. He makes monkey sounds which crescendo into a husky bark, which makes me laugh out loud. He is a funny dog.
Our Black Dog wishes you a Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Frolicking Moose Calf

I saw a moose calf recently, one who had been born shortly before I spotted him. It reminded me of one of my all time favorite moose videos that my trail cams have recorded. It's one worth repeating so I hope that you enjoy it. To me, it's quintessential summer footage!

Happy U.S. Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Summer Happiness

It is the time of year when the world is exploding with life. Everywhere I look, flowers are blooming. Yellows, whites, blues... And my sweet Shyla is full of happy energy.
I am filled with my usual summer joy. In the mountains, it is rarely too hot so I don't find there to be a downside to summer. Long days, warm sunshine, and happy mountain biking.

Life is little crazy right now with too much happening in our life. I hope to post daily but please don't worry if I miss a day here or there. There may be some big news in the near future. I hope so.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog is an endlessly happy guy.  It's impossible not  to smile along with him.
Our Black Dog is a very content dog.

For those who have been following along with Black Dog Sundays, he will be having tests done at the end of this week to try to figure out why his red blood cell count is so low. In the meantime, we are planning to enjoy these summer days with him.

We'll be taking a short blogging break and will return later this week.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Shyla Saturday

I can't help myself. I love the yellow flowers. Shyla and I play in them every morning. These are my favorite days of the year.

This morning, I was having breakfast on the deck, another thing that I love about this time of the year. As usual, I had the sliding screen door open by about a foot so that Shyla could go in and out as she pleased. When she was lying inside, I saw a striped rodent zip past me and into the house. A chipmunk!

I quickly moved Shyla to another room and closed up that room to contain the chipmunk. By the time the Runner and I returned to look for the chipmunk, he was nowhere in sight. We searched, with no luck whatsoever. The Runner smartly suggested that I go get Shyla because she'd find him. She came into the room, did not seem to smell a rodent, and began playing with her toy, Elmo.

We humans thought that maybe the chipmunk had gone back outside. We waited a few minutes. Shyla finally left Elmo to sniff a corner of the room. The chipmunk was under the baseboard heater in that corner. Shyla chased him back outside. Crisis averted! Shyla was the nosework hero.

Here's my girl this morning in the field of yellow.
I love her so much.

Friday, June 26, 2020

A Hapless and Cute Yearling Bear Cub

It is rare that I get footage from a trail cam that makes me laugh out loud. This one is of Blackie, the yearling bear cub who is on her own this summer. Family breakup was about a month ago, and she seems to be doing wonderfully.

Since family breakup, it has become absolutely clear that the black cub is a female, and the brown cub is a male. That means that "Blackie" will be sticking around! She will probably adopt some part of her mother's territory. I have started calling her "May Belle". It's partly in homage to the first sow who I knew well (about a decade ago) who I named "Mabel". This cub is almost certainly related to Mabel.

So, May Belle checked out a mountain lion scent mark but she put her own twist on her visit to this spot. I hope that you enjoy this short bit of footage as much as I did.

I think that she was a little embarrassed when she saw the camera. She checked it out - perhaps thinking "Oh no, I hope that wasn't recorded. It's so embarrassing!".

Here she is checking out the camera.

Here's the video.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Thankful Thursday

The glory of the mountains in the summer.
Being able to relax atop Hug Hill without getting cold is a gift. Having flowers blooming on this windy peak makes me smile. And, sharing it with Shyla makes it all so much better.

I am thankful, and I think that Shyla is too.

Wordless Wednesday

Fresh snow on the mountains

Columbines at our elevation

Columbine season is the best

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A female mountain lion traveling in daylight to find a mate

The female mountain lion who killed a deer on the edge of a meadow was continuing her daytime travels up to the day that she killed the deer. I am guessing that she killed the deer in daylight. With people nearby, that was a stunning move. (Before you get worried, let me say that she seems to have stopped her daytime travels now... having achieved her goal).

This is a fave trail cam spot for me. It's a small clearing about 30 yards from a trail. It's not a busy trail but it's one that I use frequently. The clearing is not visible from the trail but it is possible for an animal to see/hear movement on the trail from the clearing.

She entered the clearing with her nose down. I think that she was sniffing a bobcat scrape. It's also been a scrape (scent marking) site for lions in the past.

Very quickly, something caught her attention out toward the trail.

As she watched or listened. She decided to sit next to the tree. She sat there for almost two minutes.

Then, she got concerned enough to depart quickly. My cam only got this moment in photo form. It was restarting the video recording at that instant.

Just a couple of days later, the lion visited another popular lion site in the early evening. It is also close to a trail. I loved how the bright sky behind her turned her into a silhouette.
It was near here that she eventually found a mate. But first, she killed the deer in the meadow. A busy lion...

Check out the video if you have time. It's very zen to see this lion moving so slowly and calmly. She knows that she's the queen of the forest.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi had a big breakthrough this week.

For Hachi's lifetime, we've had someone help with cleaning every couple of weeks. She, or other workers in the house, completely freak him out. They are very nice people but Hachi has not been able to accept that outsiders might come into the house and roam freely as they work. His response has been to bark hysterically and not ever calm down - even if the people are in the house all day long.

To give you an idea of how bad it has been, we've gone so far as to use a sedative to help him get through days with outsiders working in the house.

When the pandemic started, we canceled every outsider coming into the house... until last week. After more than 3 months of no outsiders in the house, someone spent last Wednesday here.

Drum roll please.... Hachi was fine with it. He spent the day up in the Runner's loft office, and he was quiet the whole time. I thought that maybe he was "shut down" (i.e., scared but not expressing it) but he definitely was not. He had a happy play session with me in the midst of it and then after the person was gone.
Maybe the long break from having visitors stress him helped. Or maybe he's starting to learn.

Now is the moment to remind myself that this is not a linear process. Hachi may not be as fine with the next outsider in the house. However, this week's breakthrough gives me hope.

As these photos show, Shyla and Hachi still love to play when we can find a time and place of solitude to cut them loose. 

We love our Hachi.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog continues to think that I'm 10 feet tall. I have to keep making sounds to remind him that I'm way down on the ground along with him. When we play in the flowers, I often see this look which is directed about 8 feet over my head.
Our Black Dog has been lagging a bit this week. We had his hematocrit (red blood cell count) tested, and that gave us an explanation. It's much too low for a dog who lives at high elevation. Our vet will consult with R's oncologist to figure out a course of action. We may need some more testing - because one worry is that he has another tumor. The first indication of his spleen tumor was a low hematocrit.

Knowing that he lacks red blood cells, it's not surprising that he's been low on energy during our evening hikes, sometimes even digging in his heels and refusing to go further. So, I've hesitated to ask him to visit the yellow flowers with me.

Finally, last evening, I asked the Runner to give R and me a 15 minute head start on the evening hike. I thought that we'd find a nearby patch of flowers to play in. But, lo and behold, R was peppy and happily walked all the way to my favorite yellow flowers. Yipee!!!!!
I was so glad that R could rally and enjoy some flower time with me. I told him jokes while we lay in the flowers, and he looked at me dubiously. If anyone overheard my end of our conversations in the flowers, they'd think that I was insane. They'd be right but it's a happy kind of crazy - Black Dog Crazy!

A dog like our Black Dog brings out the best in everyone around him, including me.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Shyla Saturday

My morning bike ride with Shyla is often my favorite part of my day. We get out early, and the sun shines on us.  The yellow flowers are blooming like crazy. We have so much fun together - two girls who are best friends!

We often take a break to watch birds. Shyla is so patient, lying next to my bike in the shade. Watching me take photos must be as exciting as watching paint dry. Perhaps she likes this break in the cool grass. This is a Flicker who seemed to wave at us from high in an aspen tree!

It's been such a slow process for Shyla to gain confidence that I have a tendency to take her happiness for granted. I remember when her ears were consistently pinned back because she was terrified. Not anymore.
I love this girl like crazy. From our morning bike rides to our daily snuggles, she's the best friend in the world.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Sneaky Magpies Pull Vulture's Tail Feathers

Not all of the cool stuff at a deer carcass involves large mammals. While the animals ate the deer that was recently killed by a mountain lion, some bird behavior was super cool.

A Turkey Vulture showed up at the kill along with the magpies, ravens, and crows. A Turkey Vulture is many times bigger than a magpie so the magpies resorted to sneaky tricks to get the bigger bird to leave. They pestered him by pulling on his tail feathers. We saw this once before when magpies pulled on the tail feathers of a Golden Eagle at an elk carcass this winter.

A courageous magpie sneaked behind the Turkey Vulture and pulled on a tail feather. Look closely - you can actually see it happening here.

After that, the vulture was paranoid about the magpies. He repeatedly tried to scare them away by flapping his wings.
This pestering seemed to work. The vulture didn't eat as much of the carcass because he was watching the magpies, and it seemed like he finally departed to get away from the magpie pests!

The more that I watch magpies, the more I like them. They are feisty creatures.

At the same scene, two ravens seemed to do a "bow and click" dance. It looked synchronized which made me think at first that they were friends. But, it turned a little antagonistic. One of them flew away while one remained to eat.
I think that it's super cool that birds can work out their differences in such ritualized non-physical ways.

Check out the video if you have time.