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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Life is good

We had a wonderful, cool but sunny, hike with the Labraduo yesterday evening. They rambunctiously practiced recalls.
I love K's ear position in the next photo. I wish that there weren't a shadow on her face!
Yesterday, I mentioned R's "conversations with coyotes". In contrast, last night, R gave vociferous speeches to a bear. We were sitting on our deck, just after dark, watching a recording of the day's Tour de France stage (an infuriating stage...but that's another topic), when our dogs started ferociously "bear barking". We scanned the forest edge with our headlamps but saw nothing.

Later, just after I drifted to sleep, our dogs went certifiably nutso. They reserve this level of insanity for bears. We scanned again with headlamps and spotted a small black bear wrestling with our bearproof garbage can. With the spotlight on him, he started to roll the can into the forest to work on it without an audience. We shouted and clapped our hands, prompting him to flee. He didn't return again last night. The good news is that he didn't even come close to opening the can. I think that these bearproof cans are the real deal. The bad news is that he must be getting garbage someplace to trigger this behavior... Oh how I wish that people wouldn't set up bears to get killed.

This morning, K and I headed out into a misty world with a splattering of raindrops here and there. It was chilly - I wore mittens to protect against Raynaud's syndrome! That was very hard to believe after the scorching past 5 days or so.
As I checked my "bear-berry" remote wildlife camera, K charged a few steps into the forest while aggressively barking on two occasions. By her own choice, she guards me carefully while I check wildlife cams or take photos. There were no photos of wild animals stored on the memory card but, based on K's behavior, I think that a large animal was lurking nearby - I'm guessing either a bear or a mountain lion. The bear-berry cam is set up within about 100 yards of where the mountain lion cached his mule deer last January on an animal trail leading into an expansive berry patch. The next photo shows K on guard duty. She looks serious, doesn't she? Would you mess with her? As an aside, she once treed a mountain lion... so I put great trust in her.
I noticed a tiny pine forest gem, Prince's Pine (Chimaphila umbellata, Heath Family), which has finally burst into blossom. These tiny plants maintain green lance-like basal leaves all winter and bloom briefly in the dark pine forest in the summer. They're beautiful survivors!
When K and I emerged from the pine forest, the clouds that had enveloped us had begun to part, like curtains being opened to display the mountains.
I captured two photos of K while the mountains jutted up out of the clouds.
But then, the curtains began closing again.
K continued her upward health trajectory, carefully guarding me whenever I took photos or became distracted by nature, but then zooming around me while I rode. I love seeing my K feel better and better!

As I rode through the beauty of summer, I realized that I was obsessing over relatively trivial issues and not fully appreciating the world around me. I managed to drag my brain out of its rut and noticed a gorgeous juxtaposition - a columbine with buffalo berries emerging behind it. The part that I couldn't include in the photo was the best. The ground was covered in wild strawberries. I lay down my bike and sat by the trail eating strawberries while gazing at columbines. Once I quit obsessing over trivialities, I usually realize that life is good!


  1. The usual awesome assortment of pics and stories!

    Thanks for sharing!

    The image of the bear having his trash can to go made me smile!

  2. Mmmm... wild berries. Sounds great.

    Most of my days lately are consumed with worry or annoyance about one thing or another (as you'll see in the rants I have planned this week), but the truth is that all the medical scares over the last year have worn me down.

    Still, I try to remember that it won't always be such. And, if that doesn't work, Tom makes me do a wild voodoo dance to shake the junk off/out and get on with my day.

  3. Mom got some good action shots of you guys. Hope it was fun
    Benny & Lily

  4. Wow - lots of thoughts.

    I love R's silly grin in that first picture. That is total enthusiasm.

    Agree on the responsibility we have to bears not to set them up for failure. I caution our vacation renters all of the time to keep garbage secure. When I get the reaction that its ok because the renter will be gone at the end of the week, I remind them that the bear will not and the approaching of human houses will get him/her killed. The look is usually shock at that realization.

    Finally, K. About that treeing the mountain lion. We are impressed with your bravery, but you might want to rethink how that could go very wrong.

  5. Glad everyone is doing well. Haven't commented much but I never miss your wonderful posts. I'll start doing better letting you know how much I enjoy the photographs and narratives like this one.

  6. I think R must be the life of every party! He sounds so darned funny. I imagine that bear was rather annoyed to be foiled yet again!

    K is such a charming enigma, sweet and sensitive, and yet tough and fierce when she feels the occasion calls for it. What a gem she is!

    I'm in envy of your flowers!

  7. K looks like she is trying to look like Orion in that ear picture.

  8. Pictures of happy dogs with their ears flying in the air. Happiness distilled.

  9. Hey there KB
    I took some time this morning to relish some of your recent blogposts...your photos are truly exquisite. Your sentiments about nature and the way you have presented its beauty really touches my heart...because I echo those affections. Thank you for sharing your world with us all.
    I am sorry to hear about your Veterinary scare over the weekend. From the sounds of things your duo is back to their frolicking, energetic selves. What an incredible pair in the way they look out for you.
    I must say too that that hummingbird pic is exquisite! (I know you didn't take it, but it is quite amazing). We don't have them here in SA, so I am always enthralled.
    Take care of yourself, dear friend. Hope the pain levels are manageable and keep your head up high!
    Sending lotsaluv

  10. Sitting on a mountain trail, eating wild strawberries and watching the clouds open and close, with K at your side...what could be better?

  11. I always enjoying catching up with you and the pups...

  12. I had to do a recall of my own to figure out which day of the Tour was infuriating, and then I realized, Oh, THAT day! Yeah. But I guess what more did we expect from him?

    I love the photos of your dog and the flowers. While waiting for The Lizard atop Vail Pass during the Triple Bypass, I was marveling at the number of strawberries that should be just about ready to meet the same fate as yours did by now!

  13. Oh - you lucky gal! Columbines AND wild strawberries! A neighbor visited us tonight to report that the bear broke into their garage while they were gone - the police were called. I dread what will happen to this bear - and it's not even gorging time!


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