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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Flying labs

Yesterday evening, the whole pack hiked just before sunset. Recently, a mountain biker made a jump out of a downed tree, and we used it to capture fun photos of our pups flying. First, K stretched her trunk and limbs, trying to reach as far as possible.
Then, I caught R as he started to gather his limbs for landing.S declined to do any flying leaps but I photographed him wearing his vibram-soled boots to help his hind paws stick to our hardwood floors. As his hind end has lost strength and sensory feedback, his hind paws have tended to slide outwards as he tries to stand still or stand up after lying down. So far, the boots seem to help. In the photo, you can see that he's also altered his stance to help with stability - he now keeps his paws in a wider stance, just like humans do when they're feeling uncertain of the footing.
Today dawned as winter, with dark skies, spitting sleet, and a cool wind. K and I rolled silently through the forest, listening to the sounds of springtime in the wintry landscape. Despite the chilly air, peepers hoarsely called, in low tones, likely due to their cold calling muscles. I thought that I might've heard one of my favorite migrants, a Cordilleran Flycatcher, near a buggy shallow pond but I wasn't certain.

We ascended to our favorite viewpoint, Hug Hill, but the mountains had vanished behind the clouds. As we climbed, we passed the eye-catching neon spotted stump that I highlighted yesterday. Thanks to the help of The Watcher and Dog Geek, I've figured out that the neon orange brain-like stuff is a fungus. Yesterday, I failed to mention that the fungus inhabited a conifer stump, which means that it's Dacrymyces palmatus, or 'orange jelly', as opposed to the very similar 'Witch's butter' that grows on hardwood stumps. According to the websites that I've perused, it's 'edible' but I'd have to be starving to taste it. It looks like an alien lifeform to me although it does brighten up a rotten old stump.

Later, I passed a small herd of deer, grazing in the same meadow as the huge elk herd. I've never thought about how deer and elk might socially interact. In this case, they seemed to peacefully share the same meadow but did not directly acknowledge each other.
By the end of my ride, the sun shone so brightly that the flowers opened wide to greet their pollinators. I saw multiple bees and flies on pasqueflowers and dandelions. Spring is truly here!


  1. Love the photos of the leaping dogs! That's quite the stretch they've got going. I'm trying to catch up on all your posts. I hate to miss any. As the days get nicer, I tend to be outside more, but that's a good thing.

  2. Amazing that the snow is all gone! I love the Labs a leapin'

  3. You are a lucky owner to get your dogs photographed happy , carefree and in flight. All I manage to get , if I'm lucky, is one of them sitting down looking glum! Great pictures.

  4. Wow! Those jumping shots are incredible. That's wider than any triple in agility for sure.

    The closeup flower photos are amazing too. You should make greeting cards out of them.


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