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Monday, July 19, 2010

Smooth sailing

Everyone seems to have returned to normal after our weekend of veterinary events. R bounced back from his anaesthesia in the blink of an eye. K spent all day yesterday sleeping and snoring. By evening, she enthusiastically headed out for a hike, acting perky and excited about the scents.
She sat among the wildflowers in the setting sun's radiant light. R was much too busy zooming among rodent holes to sit for a photo!
Overnight, R practiced a new talent that he's refining. He has yipping conversations with the coyotes who visit our clearing in the dead of night. He's learned to sound just like a coyote, and I'd laugh about it if it weren't usually at 3 AM!

This morning, R went for a run up in the alpine zone with the Runner in our family. I decided that K needed a "normal" day so we headed out on our trails behind our house. I could tell from her first bouncy steps that she felt like a new dog!
You can see the dark clouds enveloping the Continental Divide behind K despite the early morning hour (it's usually clear in the morning). We dodged raindrops and enjoyed the cool air with K romping ahead of me through flowers that seemed to glow in the dark ambiance.
Gumweed flowers were one of the brilliant gems lighting up the meadow.
After a break at home waiting for the storms to pass, I headed out on my own, covering some known territory and some new ground. I kept waiting for parts to start flying off my bike and to tumble to a stop. You see, I replaced a bunch of worn out bike components yesterday, and I'm NOT a good mechanic. Thankfully, my bike held together and even seemed to glide along smoothly, except for the rubbing disc brake pads which I stopped to fix. In celebration of my well-functioning bike, the mountains briefly looked peaceful before a new round of storms invaded them.
As I pedaled along a new trail, pink fireweed blossomed gorgeously against a rock cliff and blue sky. Fireweed is a late summer flower... so it was bittersweet to see it, knowing that our short mountain summer is speeding by.
Another sign of summer's rapid pace is that the Rufous Hummingbirds have arrived. I know that they've arrived when I hear the distinctive metallic whir of the males' wingbeats that is very different from the high pitched trill of our male Broadtailed Hummingbirds. Here's a Rufous in a photo not taken by me.
These amazing birds migrate up the west coast from central America in the spring, breed in Alaska, and then return south by following inland mountain ranges in the "late summer" (i.e., now). Thus, by this point in the summer, these rust colored missiles have already flown to and fro Alaska. They're aggressive defenders of food sources so the ones stopping to rest here during their migration drive all of our breeding population of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds away from our feeders. Fortunately, the wildflowers are in full cry so the vanquished hummingbirds can sip nectar from natural sources.
So, we're getting multiple signs of the waning of summer. I'm holding out hope that it's not quite over!


  1. Glad every buddy is feeling back to normal. Maybe if you howl like a coyote it helps. BOL
    Benny & Lily

  2. Glad everyone is feeling better.

    R - The Herd used to have regular conversations with our coyotes who live on the ridge above us, but they finally got bored with it. The coyotes talk and the Herd now yawns.

  3. Cool air, did you really say cool air??? Please send it east to us - we sure could use a cool down.

    Glad to hear the pups are doing well again.

  4. Yah for healthy pups! It's funny that our winters and summers seem reversed. I always hold out hope that winter will last another few weeks, then mope awhile when summer comes, knowing it may not be until December that we get reliable relief from the sun!

    Love K in the meadow!

  5. Glad both K &and R are feeling more chipper. How funny that R is "trying out" for the coyote chorus. Please don't say that summer is waning! Somebody on yesterday's hike had already seen a Gentian - you know what that means! We had storms this afternoon, too - just after Bob washed the windows.

  6. Waning summer? Already? Sheesh! you had blizzards in May!

    At least R is talking to somebody at 3AM! Lilac just barks to herself!

    I work at one of those year-round schools. Hence the early return today!

  7. Cool air, dry air - both are welcomed here!

    Great pics!

    Love the flower pics with all the purples and pinks!

  8. Hooray for the healed pups! I hope they stay well for the rest of the good weather.

    I won't mind winter coming. I have always missed it when I was in another climate. At least I can say that now when its warm!

    Your flowers are lovely!


    Jo and Stella

  9. Wow..look at them birds! The scenery's pawsome and the flowers too! Amazing!


  10. Glad the labraduo have recovered from their weekend travails.

    Great pictures of the hummingbirds. First cool breeze of the season sweeping down from the Pyrenees this morning. Great for the cyclists on the Tour but a reminder that summer is finite.

  11. Very glad to hear things are looking up! I knwo what you mean about the bike mechanicky stuff!

    Fingers crossed!

    Happy wednesday

  12. Glad the Duo are back in form and that you know what to do with bike tools! Great photo of K sitting among the wild flowers.

  13. didn't your summer just start last week?!
    glad the dogs are back strong...when it rains it pours!

  14. I, too, am so glad the labs are back at it. I was shocked by the number of fireweed I spotted over the weekend. Seems a bit early for such dazzling displays! And awesome that you are able to wrench on your own bike!!! I'm such a tool wimp!

  15. Glad that both R and K are feeling better.
    Very beautiful photos! Love the one with the hummingbird.

  16. I'm glad everyone is on the mend (or that it seems so, for now). Love those bird photos.


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