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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life is good

Can you imagine how scary it is to be a rabbit living in the forest? As a rabbit, you'd be a prized meal for almost every carnivore in the area. In our forest, your enemies would include weasels, pine martens, bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, and coyotes. That's not even including the aerial assaults by hawks, eagles, and owls.

One of my wildlife cameras keeps getting photos of this little rabbit, with a notch in his ear. I visualize that one of those predators almost captured this little guy. I'm rooting for him. He gets my medal of courage for today.
At a nearby camera, I frequently get coyote photos. It's a deadly game of canine and rabbit.
Every day, I try to spend some time exploring our forests, off-trail, searching for signs of animals. Two days ago, the Duo and I found undeniable signs that a mountain lion had visited a discrete overlook above where K and I watch the sun peek over the horizon at dawn. The lion had left behind a scrape in the snow and dirt, created with his gargantuan hind paws. For good measure, he'd also left some scat. I'm contemplating whether I should put a wildlife camera in that spot, for I know that lions have visited it regularly (but that can mean twice a year or twice a month, depending on the incomprehensible minds of the lions). While I investigated the scrape that the lion had made, K propped herself on a boulder, gazing down at our sunrise lookout spot.
It gave me the chills to see K adopt that classic predator pose because I visualized that a lion would do exactly the same thing. He'd be invisible from below but would have a view over a large plateau that deer and elk love to visit.

In the meantime, K and I are slightly more "on our toes" as we watch the sun rise. Today, the wind was blowing off the Divide, and K's ears flapped in the gusts.
Because K doesn't like the wind, I shepherded her to more protected spot.
I asked her to do a trick that she learned as a puppy. But, like many tricks, she had the misconception that she needed to stand at my feet to do it. So, for the fun of it, I've recently taught her to "take a bow" without scooting to my feet first.
K is a poster dog for positive training methods. Given her delicate disposition, she'd wilt under the pressure of "corrections" or me looming over her as the all-powerful alpha. Instead, we've developed a partnership, based on gentle teaching, that works for both of us. It's worked so well that I use it with R also, even though his disposition might be able to tolerate tougher training methods. I prefer the partnership and positive approach. It's much more fun than the alternative!

Today, after K and I took a snowbike ride together, I pedaled by myself to visit another trail network. Along the way, I saw a splinter faction of the elk herd. When the whole herd is together, they number well over a hundred. This year, I have the impression that they are under increased lion predatory pressure, based on lion tracks that I've seen near the elk. Perhaps that's why so many smaller groups of elk are wandering our forests and meadows.
As the sun emerged from behind some clouds, I passed a meadow dotted with aspen trees.
I rode through pine forests, catching glimpses of snowy mountains through the gaps.
And, finally, I emerged from the dense forests and saw glorious snow, aspen trees, and the deepest blue sky that I could imagine at an elevation of almost 10,000'.
That was my turnaround point. I rode home with the wind at my back and a nearly constant slight downhill pulling me toward home. I love snowbiking!

As always, the Duo and I headed out for a short sunset hike later in the day. R did a trademark enthusiastic recall, kicking up snow crystals behind him.
K let us know that she was not impressed.
Then, the sun fell low in the sky, lighting up the clouds in brilliant orange.
I captured the Duo in that sunset light.
Life is good.


  1. K is doing downward facing dog!


  2. HELLO!! Your pictures continue to inspire and intrigue me--Life certainly is good and inspiring--K & B certainly show that too!!

  3. Hi Y'all,

    What a wonderful day y'all had.

    K is looking straight at the camera; it's like she is looking through it and can see us gazing at her from the "cloud".

    Such a beautiful world.

    BrownDog's Momma

  4. Great pikhs - as always of khourse!

    Khyra approves of The Doga -

    AND I'm sure Mango will be shaking his head at R's Dexter look!

  5. We keep trying to tell the rabbits around here that our yard is not a good place for them with TD the hunter around:( Wish we knew a way to keep them outside the perimeter.

    So many beautiful photos you have here today, just wonderful. But we do love that play bow shot.

  6. Look at K's muscling, in that early picture where she is in predator position! That's one fit dog. Your deep blue sky is amazing. That's a color we never see around here.

  7. Life is good! Tanks fur sharin' yours wif all of us! :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  8. Just when I think you've taken the best ever picture of the Duo, there's another one that pops up like the second to last one today! They should be on the cover of a calendar somewhere.

    When you talk about training K, she always reminds me so much of Blueberry!

  9. Don't worry about the rabbit. Remember that rabbits feet are lucky and that rabbit still has four of them. If he suddenly does not have four of them, then he is in trouble and his luck ran out.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  10. The rabbit must have been a fighter to be able to escape with the notch in his ear! I love the duo peekture :)

    I just learnt the "bow" trick too! But in my furmaily it's called "Qiao Pi Gu", which is raise your butt in the air in Chinese. Hehhehee.


  11. This is funny. You were visiting me while I was visiting you!

    I hope, after reading your rabbit thoughts, that you will have time to read my post tomorrow. It fits right in with what you are saying!

    These pictures of the duo, once again, are stunning. And you captured that awesome sunset I missed because I was working.

  12. We wouldn't want to be anything tiny in that forest
    Benny & Lily

  13. I am rooting for that little rabbit, too!! Not that I don't like coyotes, too, but I always root for the underdog!

    Your pal, Pip

  14. I continue to say the same thing and it's so true..your photos and blog are absolutely beautiful. It is so much fun to get away from this city and go there and follow you! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  15. I have to agree with you, life is good! You have a wonderful way of capturing this!

  16. Life is good - especially getting to see all the pretties you share with us. Thank you!

  17. Amazing photos! Thank you for the incredible sunset photos! Especially enjoy K & R posing togethers...their eye gazes!

    Sweet hugs,
    Sierra Rose

  18. OMD, KB. That final picture of the duo... You nailed it. Beautiful shot.

  19. Such beautiful photos. We are cheering for the bunny too!
    We are looking forward to the weekend where I can come back and visit the posts that I have missed.
    They are too good to not look at! They are the highlight of my life.
    I am a little behind in reading and commenting ... shame on me....
    and that job, that takes all my moms time

  20. Wind, motion and dogs ears make for marvellous action packed photos. The speed and fun is palpable !

  21. you mean you don't use a skillet for training like me? dang! I knew I was doing something wrong...

    those photos are breathtaking...

  22. Beautiful Pictures!!! You do have a wonderful life!!
    Have a good week end!
    Bambi & Fern

  23. The pictures were just great, the duo in the last one, K's bow, the elk herd, all soooo splendid!


  24. Life certainly is Good and your little trio has managed to win the hearts of many people out here. Continue this path along the Divide and into the hills of your countryside. CHeers!

  25. Indeed it is!! I'm a fan of your Aspen trees. They're so pretty. Love that shot of K and R in the sunset. Gorgeous!

  26. The older buck rabbits where i come from(England) have torn ears,this has been documented to come mostly from fights with other bucks.Very,very rarely a doe will also have torn ears but predators go for the neck or shoulders.....

  27. Thanks for the trek through the woods. The orange sunset was beautiful. A friend has invited me to go bike riding in the snow this afternoon. We'll see. I know from reading your blog that it's a lot of work and I don't have a special bike. But then, we'll follow snowmobile packed snow. I'm still trying to talk her into skiing instead.


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