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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frosty world

Yesterday evening, the pups and I hiked through an autumnal forest, enjoy the warm touch of the air, knowing that a chill would invade overnight. We hiked to our sunset lookout, and the sun had just dropped below the snowy mountains.
Orange and gray clouds floated over the Divide, foretelling the transformation about to occur.
Overnight, while winter invaded, a coyote visited our territory, his handsome visage captured by our wildlife camera.
Then, this morning, R visited exactly the same spot. R doesn't stand much taller or carry more muscle than the coyote. Coyotes, usually working in packs, have killed and injured dogs in our neighborhood. So, I'm forever vigilant about avoiding them and teaching my dogs to recall away from them.
This morning, we awakened to frigid air (24°F, -4° C), and tiny snow pellets tumbling from the sky. An icy fog had coated our world in sublime frost.
The dogs and I headed out for a mountain bike ride, equipped with every stitch of warm gear that I own. It's funny - by January - this temperature won't feel cold anymore because my body and mind will adapt. For now, 24°F reminds me of the Arctic Circle. Our adaptability astounds me.
On the trails, K has mastered the trick of staying nearby and making frequent eye contact. Eye contact earns her a treat every single time. I use this technique to keep my dogs focused on me even in the forest, where so many interesting things can distract them.
R, who rides in the forest with me much less often than K, is just learning how well this trick works for earning treats. He mimicked K today, in earnest pursuit of a tasty tidbit, but his eyes look slightly crazed, don't you think?
As we rolled along the trails, rime ice coated everything, including yellow aspen leaves that will almost certainly fall from the branches in this storm.
And, an aster flower that went to seed weeks ago became a clump of icicles.
Sadly, I found two chipmunks, curled into fetal positions, frozen in the middle of the trail. At about this point in the autumn, they usually retreat to their dens, not truly hibernating, but dozing and periodically eating stored seeds underground. These two might have frozen to death but it seems unlikely that they both would meet their demise from hypothermia simultaneously. Neither was injured so I started wondering if they were poisoned. So sad.
Despite the vet's findings yesterday, K still seems energetic and happy. One theory is that she has a very mild kidney infection that we're heading off early. A second theory is that her urinary tract, including her kidneys, was damaged to some extent by her recent urinary tract infection, causing her to excrete casts (conglomerations of damaged tissue and cells, as I understand it) in her urine. In any case, my vet has placated this worried client, and we're retesting K on Monday after a few days on high dose antibiotics. My fingers are crossed that this health scare passes without any more worries.

We ended our day with a walk in the snow. It looks surreal with the flash highlighting the floating snowflakes! Snowflakes, imagine that!


  1. I loved R's eyes. He really seems to say, "Well, if that's what it takes here I am. Now where's my treat?"

    It's hard to imagine 24 with ice and snow. I agree about adapting to the weather. When we lived in WI, 15 seemed almost balmy after a week of sub-zero days.

    Hope K's infection clears up completely. She deserves a break. And so do you.

  2. Yet ANOTHER post where I heard my mom go "OH WOW"

    Tank woo AGAIN fur sharing!

    I'm sending my bestest K-SibeVibes to your K fur healthy LabVibes!


  3. Your frosty photos are wonderful, KB. I love to see how responsive treat-trained dogs are! They are really "seeing" you! Poison - I hope not!

  4. KB.....AMAZING ! I felt frosty just viewing this! Hope you can get K on a healthy path soon! :)

  5. Frost! It only seems like last week you were writing about the arrival of spring.Anyway, bet the dogs love the cooler weather.

  6. I don't always enjoy the temperatures to go along with it, but a snow-covered forest is just about the most beautiful thing in the world.

  7. We were hitting low 30's last week, but then the heat wave has hit us this week. We are sitting at 63 at the moment. I have restless Sibes wondering where the cold is. I see nothing cold coming for the next week either.

  8. I agree- the 1st few cold-weather rides of the season are so cold. I always think, "I'll never be able to stand a whole season of this..." but then of course a month later it's no big deal.

  9. Many of you agreed with me about how the body and mind adapt to the cold. Well, today was a good example. It was about 30 degrees when I started riding, and it felt balmy! The adaptation has begun.

    It *is*, as mentioned by commentors here and on earlier posts, amazing how long the winter is here. That's why my posts become so frenzied about getting out and enjoying summer during it's very brief visit in July and August!

    One way or another, winter *shall* come - no matter how we feel about it!


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