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Monday, October 15, 2018

Clouds Floating over a Golden Aspen Grove

We recently had a humongous change in the weather in a very short time. It felt as if I was wearing shorts one day but then needed a thick winter coat the next day.

The change started with low-lying clouds that swirled around our world.

I knew that this change probably signaled the end of the leaves so I flew to capture their beauty one more time.

Navigation was a challenge but the beauty was definitely worth the flight.

Indeed, the change in the weather stuck around, and Mother Nature dumped a lot of white stuff on us the other night.
Yes, in one fell swoop, Mother Nature painted our playground wintry!

I made a short video from above the aspen grove - enjoy!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Black Dog Sunday - Almost Wordless

I'd been holding back photos where R's blindness was too obvious - primarily because they break my heart. As part of me accepting this change, I'm going to start sharing those photos. These are a few images that I love from this autumn that I haven't shared yet.

The Labraduo in the golden leaves...

R looking at me intently from an aspen grove.

R diving into a high mountain lake for what was probably the last time this year. (It's supposed to snow 8-14" tonight).

And bringing back a ball that he successfully tracked down in the water. 
These images truly bring home the message that R is still living joyfully. We see the ophthalmologist with R this week so we'll get more insight into whether the meds seem to be helping slow the progression of glaucoma.

Happy Black Dog Sunday - we should all be as happy as R!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Silhouette Saturday

It has been a long time since I captured a good silhouette photo at sunset. I took this one on the evening before our weather suddenly turned wintry. The unsettled air made for a great sunset!
It's been stunning to observe Shyla relaxing more and more in our everyday life and standing tall like in this photo. I believe that our "play therapy" is helping her to take life a little less seriously. That helps her to cope with all the things that have scared her in the past.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Our Autumn Flowers - Aspen Leaves!

We've had a dramatic transition over the past week or so. It had been a sunny, warm, and gorgeous autumn. The colors were brilliant.
I love how tall Shyla is standing in this one!
On that last day of sunshine, Shyla took a bow in a favorite spot. These are usually among the last leaves to change color. I'm glad that they shined so beautifully before winter arrived.

Then, the low-lying clouds and fog arrived. The aspen colors popped out of the drab light.

As I pedaled through the clouds, barely being able to see further than 20 yards ahead of me, the aspen leaves popped along a forest road.

As the fog became so thick that I thought that I might get lost close to home, the aspens seemed to glow even more. It was astounding how bright the aspens seemed.

When I looked closely at the aspen leaves, the droplets deposited by the fog shimmered.

The leaves fell rapidly in the fog making our "aspen tunnels" into "yellow brick roads".

Finally, the fog and clouds turned into snow and rime ice.
Up until today, it looked as if this winter weather would be leaving soon - giving us a bit more sunny autumn weather. I had that forecast cemented in my mind... and then the forecast changed while I wasn't paying attention. More snow is now predicted for the weekend. Thank goodness that my fat bike worked great today - it was its first day on duty this winter.

We are joining the LLB Gang for their Flower Friday Blog Hop.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thankful Thursday - For Nature's Beauty

When our world leaps from warm autumn to freezing winter, it's tough for me to adapt. However, our Labraduo loves it. Shyla spent our ride today zooming in circles around me. The Runner said that R was full of joyful energy too, which is wonderful given what he's going through now.

My body wasn't ready to cope with the huge drop in temperature and the snow pelting out of the sky.

Shyla and I visited that wonderful red-leaved aspen tree that I have been showing you in aerial and closeup photos. It still had some leaves, much to my delight.

I kept thinking as my fingers froze,"Thank goodness it's beautiful". I repeatedly stopped to take photos because the sights were so surprisingly gorgeous and achingly frigid-looking.
I know that I'll adapt and today's temperature will feel warmish to me by a month or two from now. But, for now, I'm cold! And, this weather promises to stick around for the foreseeable future. R and Shyla will love it - that much is certain.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Golden Tunnels

Until snow started falling recently, our world was a golden wonder land. This photo and the last one were taken inside the "golden tunnels" in the aspen grove I photographed from the air.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

More Adventures of our Yearling Bear Cub

Our multi-colored yearling bear cub was exploring like crazy around the middle of last month.

A bobcat had marked in front of my trail camera, and the bear cub went crazy over the scent. He sniffed and sniffed. Finally, he started rolling in it. He's still a goofy youngster!

He finished at that site by marking a tree that no other bear has ever marked. The usual marking tree is directly behind the cub in the above photo. It's a broken pine sapling that the bears have ravaged.
The cam is now set to get footage of bears marking the same tree as the cub... We'll see if anyone else chooses to!

Next, the bear cub headed for a leaning tree that bears have marked a zillion times this year. He couldn't reach unless he climbed... so this acrobatic cub did climb!

He hung from the tree before letting go.

For contrast, here's a photo of Tiny, our biggest male bear, at the same tree back in June. He didn't even stand up to sniff the tree trunk where the little bear had to hang from the trunk to sniff.
Soon, I'll have some news of Tiny for you... he came back to our area early this year. Every year, he leaves after mating season to fatten up, and he usually returns in November or December to go into a den. He's already here this year.

Here's a video of the yearling cub as he moved through our area, sniffing and marking trees. The last sighting was 9/18... but I'm hoping that we get another peek before he goes to sleep.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A Huge Gold and Red Aspen Grove

Our fall colors have been brilliant. I've been flying over my favorite areas regularly, hoping to get photos and footage at different stages of autumn colors.

About 10 days ago, our world looked amazing to me. This photo is from fairly high. You can see the Divide in the distance, a lake to the left of center. Then, to the right of the lake, you can see a smaller hill with a burned top. The burned area extends all the way to the right edge of the photo. That was a fire that caused us to be evacuated a couple of years ago... it was heading for our house.

On happier topics, you can see the western edge of a huge aspen grove in the lower half of the photo. The trails in the grove are among my favorites, especially at this time of year.

This photo is facing in the same direction but from much lower so you cannot see the lake but you can see the Divide. Look at the colors in the aspen grove!

Just a little to the left of the last photo, the aspen grove extends up a hillside. This may be my favorite view.

A red tree close to the center of the above photo caught my attention. It blazes red compared to all the other trees in the grove. I was able to find it while wandering the aspen grove by using the images taken from the air, and I took many closeups of its leaves this autumn.

As of today, that tree was still hanging onto its leaves. However, if the forecasted snow hits, I bet that they'll fall. That's the hard part of autumn to me - it's so beautiful but it ends so fast.

After noticing the red tree, I caught a glimpse of a section of the grove that was particularly vibrant ten days ago. I had lots of fun viewing it from above.

I made a short video from the air of the aspen grove that I hope that you enjoy. It attempts to capture radiant beauty of autumn in the Rockies. If you look closely, you'll see that the aspen trees were blowing in the wind. It really wasn't all that windy but it doesn't take much to set those aspen trees and leaves quaking.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

I have always loved R's eyes. They glow deep brown, standing out against his black fur. More than anything, his eyes are so expressive. I can see how he's feeling by looking into his eyes.
We are still attempting to wrap our brains around what is happening to R's eyes. Of course, we can see that they look changed to us - they are a bit less expressive than before as glaucoma attacks them. But what matters the most is what is happening to his vision.

He's always been our SuperDog - the dog who can spring into the air and fly as if gravity doesn't affect him.

His elbow CUE surgery, now 2.5 years ago, preserved his ability to run and jump.

His over-the-top enthusiasm for running, leaping, and retrieving has always made us grin. This is R demanding that the ball be thrown into the lake for him about a month ago.

The end of each play session at a lake is similar - with him saying "please, please, please... just one more throw!". You can see the intensity and intelligence in his eyes.
Now, we are facing a probable big change in his life. In what feels like an instant, he's blind in one eye. The type of glaucoma that he has always affects both eyes. We are treating his good eye to try to slow the deterioration but we know where we are headed. So, we watch him incredibly closely to try to see signs of how vision loss is affecting him. Of course, we can see how his behavior has already changed due to lack of vision - but he's still an exuberant dog.

I've read that it will help him if we can teach him various verbal cues before he goes completely blind. These cues would be things like "step up" and "stop" to alert him to dangerous things in his environment. I haven't had the heart to start on them yet. Also, I'd like to resume nosework with him because it's something that he likes... that he can still do when he's completely blind. That's on my list of things that I'll do when I accept where we're headed.

The Runner has an idea for how to make a beeping retrieving object so that R can keep leaping into lakes and bringing back toys. That's one aspect of his life that is already affected by his vision loss. I hope that the Runner's idea works because it would make us all smile.
So, we are in a phase of contemplating and trying to accept the cruel truth of glaucoma. However, we suspect that R is way ahead of us in accepting and coping with it because he's still so happy. There will undoubtedly be big changes to our life as the disease progresses but now is the time to make the most of each day. In other words, we want to imitate R's life outlook!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Mountain Lions Prowling in the Night

Mountain lions have prowled through our area both at night and during the day. I'm going to focus on their nighttime patrols in this post.

In mid-September, a mountain lion arrived in our neck of the woods. He alertly stood tall as he passed my cam. What a magnificent animal.

He must have slept somewhere in our area during the day of 9/16. He was up and marking his territory by early evening. This marking spot always send shivers up my spine - it's very close to home and our evening walking route.
I know that, in the past, we've been out walking when a mountain lion was marking this spot so I've learned not to worry.

Then, another big Tom Cat came through in early October. He looked huge and tough when he first arrived in a marking spot.

But then, he decided to roll on his back in the spot where lions have marked multiple times. It made me laugh out loud.

Every now and then, a lion chooses to do goofy rolling. This may be the first time that I captured video of it! It's even better in action!

Autumn's "Flowers"

Autumn is brilliant here in the Colorado mountains. Not only is it beautiful, but Shyla also loves that the air is getting cooler. She can run and jump without getting hot.

Flowers have almost completely gone to sleep, resting for next year. However, I did find one hardy clover bloom next to a pond.

The real star of autumn is the leaves. I am constantly scanning for especially beautiful ones. I loved these leaves as much as any flower!

I found these gorgeous leaves while flying low above an aspen grove. The entire tree had leaves this color!  I plan to show you aerial photos an entire tree of leaves like this one in a future post.

Yes, autumn is golden, especially when the sky is blue!

Autumn is winding down here. Many of these leaves will fall if the forecasted snow hits us on Monday. In the meantime, I'll keep on enjoying the "leaf art" that surrounds us.
Thank you to the LLB gang for hosting this hop!