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Monday, August 2, 2010

Finding the light

I have to be honest - I'm having trouble foreseeing a positive spin to put on this blog post. So be it. Maybe I'll find the light as I write this.

One interesting thing that I discovered on a wildlife camera memory card yesterday was the previously featured doe and her fawn in full flight up an extremely steep hill in the evening. Except for the flat bench trail, this hillside is so steep that I use my hands to help me clamber up it.

First, the mother deer appeared but had already exited the frame a couple of seconds later.
It took a full 17 seconds for the next animal to blur through the camera's view. I'm 99% sure that it's the spotted fawn who we saw a few days ago in a wildlife photo.
Here's the photo of the pair in the same spot a few days ago.
Don't worry. I didn't get photos of any predators chasing them but the mountain lion who swaggered through a few days ago isn't far from my mind.

A host of things have me stressed out, including some legal stuff, R's unexplained loss of appetite, and indiscriminate shooting in the forest.

As for the shooting, during yesterday's mountain bike ride, I found teenagers, barely old enough to drive, preparing to shoot along a forest road. Believe it or not, they stood at one point on the road, their target was 50 yards further down the road, and they were just about to start shooting. It's a road that I use as part of a loop. Due to random good luck, I chose to go counterclockwise, which meant that I came up behind the shooters rather than behind the target where I could have been shot. I politely pointed out the folly of their shooting plan. Their response, with their vehicle next to them showing the stupidity of their reply, "we didn't think that anyone uses this road". Fortunately, they seemed to listen to me and I didn't hear any shots while I was in earshot. However, as I rode past them, I felt distinctly scared - every iota of power is in the hands of a shooter, not an unarmed mountain biker.

As one friend pointed out, the only person who is safe in that situation is the one shooting the gun. There's something wrong with a law that endangers unarmed citizens who want to quietly enjoy nature. I don't think that the 2nd amendment was designed to protect the right to shoot beer bottles, littering the ground with glass smithereens, and endangering hikers, runners, and mountain bikers who are quietly taking advantage of their unalienable rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

I also mentioned R's loss of appetite. We can't explain it although he'll haltingly eat "special" foods but not his normal kibble. We have a vet appointment for Wednesday and are hoping that our fabulous vet can figure it out. Nothing else seems wrong with him - no GI upset, no lethargy, no other signs of illness. It's very odd for a Lab.

Here's R moving in his usual zooming forerunner mode in our meadow.
To his east, the stormy skies told us to hurry.
This morning, K and I had a quiet ride together with no tumultuous events. I tried very hard not to let my dark mood affect how I acted toward her - she's such a sensitive girl. This pose, with her dark silhouette against the mountain backdrop seemed to sum things up. A beautiful dog full of love but my view is slightly dark at the moment.
I did, however, notice the gorgeous interplay of the clouds, green slopes, and craggy mountains in the shafts of sunlight.
I also noticed the gorgeous reddish chocolate color of K's fur against the mountain skies. I'm biased but I love it.
On our path, K and I found a massive rock flipped by a bear within the past 24 hours, for what appeared to be very little food beneath it. K is standing on it for scale. You can see the area where the rock was before being flipped in the lower left of the photo.
To test its weight, I jumped on it with my 110 lb weight, and it didn't even wiggle. So, I was curious about how much it actually weighed. I used my arm to guestimate its dimensions and used the density of granite to roughly calculate its weight. I got 117 kg or 260 lbs (yes, you now know that I'm truly a geek). Imagine how strong a bear must be to randomly flip a rock that huge, without knowing ahead of time that a feast awaited him/her under the rock. Wow. Thank goodness that most bears are timid rather than aggressive!

As I did my solo ride after dropping off K, I noticed that the last of the wild columbines had dropped their petals in yesterday's rain. I'm sure that the columbines are still blooming up at higher elevations - but for now, I have my very own columbines to enjoy. I planted them from seed a few years ago and they finally bloomed this year. They still have many buds nodding from their slender stems. What a treat!
I think that I found the light while thinking over my day. I had the good fortune of having the time and the physical capability to do some things that I love today. And, I have columbines blooming outside my door!


  1. Never had labs, so can not say with certainty, but Siberian Huskies are notorious for regulating their own diet (like all generalizations, there are plenty of Sibes who are fat, but go with it). Natasha, in particular, will often miss several meals in a row just because. She is fine, but has just decided not to eat. This most often occurs in the heat of summer and I think she simply does not feel like eating.

    Hope that is all it is.

  2. Great pictures. We think we would be afraid romping around in the woods. You are one brave soul
    Benny & Lily

  3. I will concur with D.K.'s comment - Kyrye used to keep herself at 'her' pre-determined model weight - if she felt like she was .00002oz more, she'd not eat fur a day or two -

    Then back to normal...

    Despite the dark and gloomy fill in your world, thanks for sharing such great info and pics!

    Bravo on your shooting commentary too!

  4. I'm frightened of guns. Guns in the hands of teenagers is even more scary! Glad your ride and the great scenery plus the company of your dog friends has lightened your mood. My Columbines in the garden are blooming like crazy right now. There will be lots of seeds for next year!

  5. I'm frightened of guns. Guns in the hands of teenagers is even more scary! Glad your ride and the great scenery plus the company of your dog friends has lightened your mood. My Columbines in the garden are blooming like crazy right now. There will be lots of seeds for next year!

  6. Sorry KB - something weird happened and it posted twice!

  7. Our pack does the same as the Herd and Khyra. Some days neither of them eat much, (and the other is a border collie). Especially in the summer. So scary about the teens with guns, we have seen that a lot here on the river hunting for gators when I am out hiking with the dogs. Scary. Scampi has a bright orange vest he wears, not that it helps much. At least I can see him. I especially hate walking them at night when we are camping, sometimes it can be downright scary with just a flashlight.
    It is always darkest before the dawn, do not let your fears conquer you or those you love. They can read every emotion we have.
    ~Kira The BeaWootiful's Mom

  8. Your columbine is beautiful. I hope you're able to continue to find some light amidst all the stresses.

    I'm ignorant when it comes to guns in the forest (was shocked this week to find out that hunting is allowed in our local forest) but aren't there restrictions? I remember a recentish law that lifted the ban on guns in National Parks and Forests, but it seems like there should still be restrictions. Off to do some research...

  9. I agree with what others have said about R's weight. Our Hawk would never get past 78 pounds, even though he looked a little rangy to me at that weight. But on the rare occasions that we got him up to 80 pounds, he'd get sick and lose down to 75 every time! None of ours are eating great with the heat, either.

    As far as the kids with guns goes, it's just too darned bad that common sense isn't common anymore. My dad had guns when we were growing up, and there were many serious lessons about how to handle them and use them and we knew there were lines that were not to be crossed. Not if we didn't want to be in the worst trouble of our lives! Now, I guess any idiot can be turned loose with a gun and it's our fault if we don't get out of the way. It's craziness!

    I miss our Columbine. I brought some seed home the last time we were in Colorado, but they only bloomed for about three years and then they just vanished.

  10. We love what Kira's mom said - it always darkest before dawn - a great message for all of us. Glad your day took a better turn.

  11. Paws and fingers crossed here that everything is all right with R.

    I know how you feel about the guns. Now that they are allowed in our National Forests, I am very frightened. I just know there is going to be a beer-fueled heated argument at one of the campgrounds. Or some reckless idiot shooting for the heck of it, not realizing the trails are winding and criss crossing all over the place. Or some other idiot shooting at some innocent wildlife just to see if he can hit it. We've always stayed away during hunting season and now we stay on more well-traveled (and not nearly as exciting) trails.

  12. Are you able to post any of this property ? I know here if a farmer won't allow hunting, he can post it, and call a sheriff if people are out there. But I know that the sheriffs are all busy people and not always able or willing to respond. All very scary to me, too!


    Jo and Stella

  13. i would be concerned about R's loss of appetite too...just not a normal thing for a lab, as you said....but, with no other signs of lethargy, or GI upset, maybe it is just a fluke....
    my Tahoe had diarrhea for a other issues...finally took her in for some bloodwork and a checkup...all was normal and about a week later it clear up....stumped(i also dewormed her early on) fingers crossed for R....
    guns and kids, guns and anyone, scares me....i'm sure that was very unsettling for you....hopefully next time they will consider their location...yikes!
    beautiful K as always, posing so regal on her rocks and stumps!

  14. I hope R is feeling better soon! I know when my S dog didn't eat his breakfast one day, I took him in to the vet right away - for him, I knew that meant something was wrong, even if he seemed otherwise okay. It turned out that he had a UTI, which was easily cleared up with some antibiotics. I hope that it is something as simple as that for R.

    Scary about the teenagers with guns shooting down the road! Yikes!

  15. I have to agree about the eating statements. Our German and 2 Boxers both have strange eating habits. They are fed at the same times everyday, same amount but sometimes don't seem to care. Unlike me, they must eat only when they are *gasp* hungry! Hopefully, it's just self-regulation and nothing serious.

  16. I hope that R is OK. Maybe it is just the season or something.

    That is SO scary about the shooters. I cannot imagine.

  17. Know you're worried about the eating thing but hopefully its the heat. As for guns why they sell them to folk who don't have an iota of common sense is something remarkable.Having nearly been killed by an Italian hunter it makes my blood boil. Hope the light is brighter tomorrow.

  18. You seem to have a lot of instances of being in exactly the right place at the right time. In this case, traveling in a direction that kept you safe and allowed you to hopefully educate a bunch of kids who should have been educated before being allowed to go out with guns and who hopefully will learn from the experience and not be so irresponsible in the future.

    So it seems you have also had yet another opportunity to educate. Keep up the good work!

    I, too, am a firm believer in "always darkest before the dawn."


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