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Monday, November 29, 2010

A flying black Lab

Many of you commented on my new banner art by Harriet Peck Taylor. Her art highlights the magical, mystical, whimsical, and exuberant world of animals. Do you recognize the dog with the flopping ears below?
If not, maybe this photo will help. It was taken today, in a snow squall, as R galloped through a golden brown meadow rather than a forest of wildflowers.
My day started with a walk next to the head-bobbing K. I'm not sure why she's limping so much - whether her limp is caused by pain or adjusting to having fewer toes. I'm anxious to get the final pathology report that will hopefully lay my worries to rest. Regardless, she seemed happy to be able to sit tall above her kingdom this morning.
We explored the base of a jumble of boulders that our friend the bobcat loves. If clouds had not surrounded us, you'd be able to see snowy mountains behind K.
As we walked slowly, I noticed an unusual sight - a spider walking across the snow. The temperature hovered around 15°F so I was amazed that this animal could move at all. Unlike most other animals, spiders move their legs using a hydraulic system of body fluids. I'm surprised those fluids weren't frozen solid.
As K and I walked toward home, we passed an aspen grove that was covered in deep green leaves when her paw ordeal began. It seems like a lifetime ago. I recently took a photo of her in that grove at dusk with the aspen tree skeletons and an inky dark sky behind her.
Today, after leaving K at home (a concept that still feels foreign to me but K seems to accept it), R and I rode into the forest on icy trails with snow drifting out of the sky. It was cold, so bitterly cold that I struggled to keep my fingers and toes from going numb and to stifle coughs provoked by the biting air. We stopped briefly atop Hug Hill for R to stand tall on a stump. Soon, however, we were rolling again. The cold crept into the seams of my clothing and my fingers lost feeling whenever I stopped moving.
After my short time with R, I bolstered my armor against the frigid air with more layers and multiple chemical heat packs per foot and hand. I rolled out again, this time alone. It was still snowing and a fresh carpet of white soft flakes paved my path.
As I pedaled, I spotted the elk herd, more than a hundred-strong, spread out across an endless meadow. Before they spotted me, almost the entire herd was resting, lying on the cold and snowy grass. As soon as the alarm sounded, they stood one-by-one, waiting to see if they needed to flee. I snapped a quick photo and disappeared to save them the trouble.
Near the end of my ride, the veil of gray started to lift to our northwest, and a mountain shimmered in the sliver of blue sky with dark ominous clouds drifting past it. It looked like an apparition to my frozen brain and to my eyes that hadn't been able to pierce the clouds all day.
I arrived home completely frozen but happy that my wrist was better than yesterday. I guess it is just a sprain, thank goodness. We don't need another injury in our pack!

To emphasize that the Year of Bobcat is not yet over, Mr. Bobcat visited our clearing (or is it "his clearing"?) last night but my camera captured only his derriere as he sauntered confidently away.
Here's to the bobcat spirit! He's looking strong, fluffy, and very well-fed!


  1. I meant to comment on the new header yesterday...

    I love the Flying R piece!

    Great pics - again - or is that as usual!

    Khyra says here's to the nice khytty!

  2. The new header is really cool.
    Benny & Lily

  3. The new header is amazing! Everytime I comes to vist you I am blown away by your pictures. You lives in such a beootiful place!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  4. That Bobcat is an expert at not showing his face! Your photos of your wintry world are wonderful, KB. It's bitter cold here in the mountains - I'm not sure what the windchill is, but it's too cold to be outside for long. Though I don't "love" spiders, I like the pic you took. I also caught one walking between my cross country skis one wintry day a couple years ago. I'm thinking of K and hoping your girl isn't feeling pain from that lost toe.

  5. Love the art!! I learn something new almost every time I visit your blog. I didn't know that about spiders' legs. It does make sense though. :)

  6. The header is beautiful.


  7. I'm toasting my wine to the bobcat spirit as I write. And toasting K, and R, and you and the runner as well.

  8. I love the new header, too. And I really love those flappy ears!! That mountain photo with the sliver of blue sky looks like a painting. Healing thoughts coming K's way from chilly (for us - 50's) So. Calif.

  9. the new header and artwork is fabulous!

    is it possible she's limping because her leg is kind of atrophied right now? Maybe she's just babying it? Is the paw tender to your touch? She's probably figuring out how to use it.

  10. I forgot to tell you how much I loved the new artwork yesterday...Love the kids smooching ;)
    That path covered in snow is sooo inviting - very jealous here.
    It's funny that you tried to disturb the herd. When T was younger, she'd run at the birds to watch them fly away. I would tell her to stop as their lives are hard enough without us scaring them...funny memory.

  11. I'd recognize those spectacular flying ears anywhere! I can never look at R and not smile! K, either, for that matter.

    What kind of snow is your favorite to ride in? I know you'll ride in anything that doesn't seal the door closed, but I'm guessing you have a preference.

    I hope the Year of the Bobcat goes on and on! Maybe for a decade or so!

  12. K R and KB
    Love the R-work!!! The flying R... Aroooo! I sure hope K's just getting use to fewer toes... paws still crossed here.

    Well keep this in mind when your body is chilled to the bone. We would never get to see elk herds, silver lined mountains or follow the unbeaten path if it wasn't for you.

    PS and in return.. there's plenty of turkey packs running the streets here.. I'll try to capture a pic for you.

  13. I am in love with the art work of your friends. Splendorious art work.
    Oh it was easy to identify that beautiful R with the flying ears.
    And all your photos,, each one of them just tells a story, and is so spectacular.
    Oh it looks so very very cold.
    We are hoping K is just "adjusting".
    Maybe she is tenderfooted since her foot was protected so long.
    We continue to send healing thoughts.

  14. I sure love that picture of K at dusk. And the elk, WOW!!!

    Your pal, Pip

  15. EEEEK! A spider! But those elk are so cool!


  16. Beautiful pics and artwork too. Can't believe you ride when it's that cold. I know you've said that it helps you feel better... but most people would pop a pill and crash on the couch. You should give motivational speeches:)

    Tank's Asst.

  17. yes, your new header and the pic of "flying ears R" are really cool!
    how do you motivate yourself to ride in such cold weather? i'm impressed you have the drive to get out there in such cold temperatures...i'd be wrapped in a blanket by the fire!

    the booker man and asa's mama

  18. Love the new header! Very cool!

    Keeping all paws crossed it is just taking K a little time to get use to her new toes.

    Holly and Khady

  19. How about wrapping up K's surgered foot until she grows some new furs or fats or whatever. I bet the cold is very uncomfortable on that foot.

    I love the picture of R streaming across the field. Ms. Taylors prices for prints are very reasonable too.

    Jo and Stella

  20. Things like spiders in freezing snow fascinate me. I could watch ants work for hours. so weird, i know!

    Looks like K is doing well. i read through a bunch of the posts i missed since my brother was here this week. I sure hope she's just adjusting to her missing toe. i'm anxiously awaiting her lab results too! but she looks good!

    R and THOSE EARS. flopping ears are hilarious. love 'em!

    and yes, i love the new header!

  21. Our thoughts on the limp were anticipated: it's the leg that's still weak, not the paw itself; or maybe the paw is more sensitive still, after being wrapped up so long. If she doesn't flinch when you handle her foot and/or leg, she shouldn't be feeling too much pain.

    The picture {? are these painted? prints?] of R really captures his joie de vivre. Maybe someday she can do a show, with K & R as honorary guests.

    Seems like this pathology report is taking forever!

    Jed & Abby

  22. Your header is beautiful, but the spider picture is absolutely outstanding!

    I always enjoy your posts and updates on K. I always laugh over R flying along your paths.

  23. Hi Y'all!
    We of the shorter length floppy ears don't need surgery to make them stand up...we just put on our wings and fly!
    My Human Momma wishes she could be riding those mountain trails like you do, but she is such a wimp...guess I'll have to settle for the Eastern "hills".
    K is still in the Humans' prayers and I'm keeping paws crossed.
    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  24. Your header is a beauty! and the flying black lab is my kind of banner 'cause I relate to floppy doppy ears! Spiders and elk with all that beauty...sooo verrry fortunate you and your pups are...thanks for this!

  25. As usual a great post & fantastic pictures. We always enjoy visiting you all. Loved the new header & the artwork!! Wishing the best for K. R is very handsome with flying ears...

  26. We love the new header too! We hope that K will get to be more comfy soon. Thank you for the nice photos as always.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  27. I love the snowy singletrack picture. Just a beautiful winter scene!

    I'm glad your wrist is on the mend. I think you snow bike riders are a special breed =) You inspire us when you're out there!

    Question about your crazy flying lab: How do you contain/control R's energy on the trail. I've been hiking with Kona on her long leash and she's absolutely *insane*. She's with it enough to respond to most/some of my cues but there are times when I need to bring her insanity down a notch and I haven't figured out how to do this. Have you experienced anything similar with R?

    ...made another moon wish for K this morning.

  28. Oh, gosh, that banner is just Most Beautiful!

    I'm so happy to get back and see that K's cast is OFF! It's prolly just gonna take her some time to gets used to walking around without that extra toe. But I bet in no time, she'll be walking around like nothing is different.

    I was super amazed by that spider! Gosh, nature sure is surprising, isn't it?

    Wiggles & Wags,

  29. Harriet's artwork is so lovely, and I recognized R's flight-ready ears right away, without any help!

    I'll be curiously awaiting to see what's up with K's limp.

    Stunning photo of Longs Peak!

  30. Beautiful photo of the mountains with the tree branch in foreground! Temps are starting to drop here too. I need to stock back up on hand and feet warmers.

  31. I love the R banner and wif ever single one of your pitchers... I am in awe.

    K is and all ways will be in my prayers. Give that Sweet Girl a hug, a kiss and some ear scritches...

    wif love from the Luke

  32. The banner and the art you posted today... awesome!


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