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Monday, February 21, 2011

Dreaming of spring

I hiked with a friend yesterday who mentioned that she'd seen a couple of these furry canines out on a frozen pond.
Here was the part that surprised me. She said that they appeared to be mating. I said "Nah, it's too early." Then, I did some calculations in my head and realized that it might be just the right time. A coyote's gestation period is exactly the same as a dog's, 63 days. So, nine weeks from now would be around the end of April - a perfect time to have a litter of pups.

That little vignette cheered me immensely. We usually have our roughest period of snow in the next two months - and I've been bracing myself for it. But, realizing that the coyotes are already making new life for springtime made me smile!

K and I mountain biked this morning, seeking out the rare non-icy places to ride. Near the start of our ride, we saw the moon setting into a cloud bank enshrouding the mountains.
At about the same time, the sun was rising and K glowed in its light.
I can't ride very intensely on our trails right now - the conditions are too icy and dicey so K and I play a lot of training games and I take photos while we play. One of my favorite games is asking K to make eye contact and then attempting to distract her with treats, sticks, and evil antics. She's pretty good at this game.
Then, after spending time with K, I pedaled on the roads to other trail networks that have had better snowbiking conditions in recent days. Unfortunately, however, I'm not sure that good riding conditions existed anywhere today. Winter had truly taken hold of our forest again, together with the evil snow-blowing wind.
It was so cold that my camelbak froze, and I couldn't drink for my entire ride. I've been noticing that I get cold much faster when I can't drink due to a frozen water supply... probably because mild dehydration impairs circulation.

At least the sky was blue! And, I could visualize the vivid color of the wildflowers, including Columbines, that bloom under these aspen trees in the spring and summer.
Despite pedaling like a fiend, I was slogging through the windblown snow slowly enough to notice things like the pitch tubes on pine trees. These sappy tubes indicate that a pine tree is infested with bark beetles. In the one below, the tree successfully ejected the beetle which was frozen in the sap.
Alas, although the tree was successful with that one beetle, it had so many pitch tubes that I'm sure that it won't survive. It's sad to see vast swaths of forest being killed by the beetles.
I didn't last too long snowbiking on the trails today. I was too cold and the conditions were frustrating. So, I headed home to the warmth of the fire place.

In the late afternoon, the Labraduo and I headed out for our sunset hike. My energy was lagging but R's wasn't! How does he balance on his two front legs like that?
We headed up to Hug Hill to watch the sun set. The wind was buffeting R's ears, giving him the wild look.
K stayed out of the wind - she doesn't like the wind or the wild ear look.
We watched the sun set in the bracing wind before heading down the hill toward our fireplace.
I found myself dreaming of warm spring days and picnics on this hill.
Are you noticing a theme here? I'm dreaming of spring.


  1. Mango will say he can do that because he's a Labradork -

    As for Spring, we had one lone golfer out there today -

    I doubt there will be any tomorrow because it is SNOWING!

    Great pics!

    And yes, the coyote is one of our favourites!

  2. There is something to be said for the fun of cold days followed by time in front of the fire - a great rewarding experience in my book.

  3. Another beautiful day in pictures! We had more snow today and da bitter cold is back too. My mom is SO ready fur spring to come!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  4. I'm dreaming of Spring along with you! We had a weekend of warm, sunny days, but today it dropped twenty degrees while raining constantly. Back to reality, I guess!

    I love those two pictures of K and R -- R with the wild ears and K looking so demure and ladylike! I can't wait to see your columbine pictures. They're so pretty, but my transplants didn't last too long.

  5. Those sappy bark beetles are very strange looking - kind of like something out of a horror movie.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S.: If the coyotes say spring is on its way, it must really be on its way!

  6. Those late-day shots are so wonderful, KB! I always enjoy the photos of that aspen grove in any season. It was very windy here in Breckenridge, too.

  7. Can't wait tosee the beautiful spring pictures
    Benny & Lily

  8. Gorgeous photo essay! Thank you for taking us so deeply into your word -- it's really breathtaking, dangerous ice and all. Your dogs are beautiful - Jeannie is so used to Great Danes that she can't fathom a dog energetic enough to keep up with a bike for very long. Your nature and your animals are such amazing things to watch -- we're glad to have found your blog! :)

    - Mayli the Labridane (and Jeannie, the woman who's given her a voice!)

  9. What an amazing picture with the beatle frozen in the tree sap! Wow!
    I have to admit I am dreaming a bit of Spring too, the 2 days of warmer weather that we had last week spoiled me, but I know we still have a ways to go!

  10. We had a lovely few days here, too - but the contrast in weather isn't so stark as where you are. I do remember mud season being just around the corner when we lived in Maine. The days are fairly warm, leading to wet mud everywhere. Then the cool evening temps freeze that mud into great dips and edges...It's just around the corner!

    Our coyotes have been pretty active, too - they've got that special twinkle in their eyes, I suppose!

  11. KB
    I hope you don't get dumped on with more snow.. I know your biggest snow months are coming,, but even so,, maybe it won't be so cold? Well I guess that would be dreaming.
    Many of our forest trees around here also die from types of beetles. It is very sad.
    I love your sky photos.. so awsome.

  12. I suck at them contact, trainin' games...hehehe. Actually, I do know a few commands but nuttin likes da duo.

    It's hard to imagine ya'll ain't done withs your snow. Here it feels so Springy.


  13. Dreams of spring here too for sure. We saw our hyacinths trying to poke their heads through the mulch yesterday, seems a bit early for them, but they are ready for spring too.

    Be careful out there, no more falls needed.

    That last photo is spectacular - we seem to run out of adjectives.

  14. Spring teased us with 60 degree weather for a couple of days then we woke up to 1/2" of ice this morning :(.

  15. I'm dreaming the same dream KB! We have only a very light dusting of snow this morning, but I'd rather see wild flowers or just a little green.

  16. Riding with a frozen camelbak can't help you feel warm!! Be careful out there! Those sunset pictures are beautiful -- though the sky does look much more crazy-stormy than earlier in the winter. (come visit us later today. I haven't posted yet but Gizmo and I went to the snow. I tried so hard to get him to do the K pose, but he was having none of it!!)

  17. I believe everyone in the cool/cold climates are dreaming about our friend Spring. I can't wait myself. Last year she came one month early...March..hoping for this year the same. Cheers!

  18. Hi Y'all,

    What a beautiful sunset!

    Saw some beautiful tulip magnolias and cherry trees in full bloom when went to Bible study today...of course I didn't have my camera.

    We have aphid infestation killing our So Appalachian spruce-fir forest. It is so terrible to look up at the skeletons on the mountain above our house.

    Young sapplings struggle but will never reach the great majesty of their ancesters.

    Part of the problem is that they reproduce asexually. This makes them a very successful group of organisms. There are around 250 species that cause serious crop and forest distruction.

    These pests were introduced in the late 1800's early 1900's.

    Sorry, didn't mean to run on like that.

    BrownDog's Momma

  19. Kia ora KB,
    It always takes my breath away to come here after some time away and read your words and view your photos. At a time, when I am not able to get into the mountains, and going through some real changes I need all the inspiration I can get. This is one of my favourite places to gather myself. I love the deep blue sky and the snow covered peaks as you romp with K and R. It reminds me, that though travel is more difficult, and the days shorter and nights longer and colder, that winter is my favourite time of all in the mountains. Those thoughts make me smile, and I dream of my own reunion with my mountains when I am ready. Kia kaha e hoa! And if I am not around so much in comments for a bit, I will still be smiling in the shadows. Kia ora!

  20. Your pictures just take my breathe away with the beauty of them. Thank you! We are also dreaming of spring! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  21. How exciting about the coyotes. Good sign that spring is coming. Our trails here are very icy and dangerous and we can't walk the dogs on them anymore. Hope spring comes soon for us. March is usually our worst winter month, but maybe we'll get a break this year.

  22. Even though the cold and ice are brutal, you still go out. What an inspiration! I chickened out last weekend due to wind and ice. So no miles logged, darn it. Your moon shot and your sunset are incredible, as always! Looking forward to spring and baby animals!

  23. We are all dreaming of Spring! This has been a hard winter for all of us I think, especially in the Upper US. We have had sub zero temps, winds, blizzards, and snow up the wazoo! Brrrrr!

    The bad part is we can be cold well into April. But we stay here when we could move to warmer climes, maybe feeling a little heroic when we survive another one!

    Cheers and hugs,
    Jo, Stella and Zkhat


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