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Monday, February 7, 2011

The wind's fury

This morning dawned calm and cold. It was peaceful in the wake of yesterday's storm.
K and I headed out with me on the snowbike which rolled easily in the tracks that I'd worked so hard to lay down yesterday.
The animals have either evacuated our forest or are holed up. I saw no paw or hoof prints in my tracks from yesterday although coyotes visited our clearing last night.
Several of you have asked how our dogs react to wildlife in our clearing. If the dogs are in the house, they react with ferocious barking and raised hackles if they see anything bigger than a bunny in the clearing. If the coyotes howl, K barks at them but R joins them, singing with his head thrown back and his nose toward the sky. I have seen signs that the coyotes and dogs have a territorial competition underway. They each mark over top of the other's urine and scat. We're careful to leash the dogs near dawn and dusk. However, recently, the dogs almost took me for a long ride when they spotted a coyote fleeing our clearing while on leash. I barely hung on to my lunging dogs, and my spine paid a price the next day.

Out on the trails today, it looked as if no animals had moved around since the storm so my unattended wildlife cameras probably would have yielded nothing if I'd checked them. I go through periods after storms when I have no idea where the wildlife has gone. I do know that the animals don't follow their "usual" routes or visit their "usual" haunts when the snow is deep.
K spent a long time romping in the woods yesterday so I took her home early today to avoid stressing her paw too much.
In the ten minutes that I spent indoors with K before heading out again solo, mother nature unleashed her indomitable power. The evil wind began jetting off of the Divide, taking our foot of snow and whipping it through the air.
During one particularly ferocious round of gale, I propped my bike and stood still, waiting it out with my face hidden from the assault of airborne needle-like icy snow crystals. When relative calm returned, I looked up, and my bike had been floored by the wind. The wind's jet-like noise had drowned out any sound of my bike falling.
At that moment, I decided that it was good day to cut my outing short. I headed toward home.

A familiar landscape looked alien whenever the wind carried billows of snow into the air. On my way home, all trace that I'd ever skiied or ridden my bike over that same path had been erased by blowing snow. The wind managed that feat in a matter of minutes.
Winter can be brutal. We humans, dogs, cats, and horses with warm homes have it easy. We can choose when to go out into the storms while others have no choice.


  1. What a day!

    Great pics AGAIN!

    Thanks for sharing your special place!

  2. we see the coyote likes your path too
    Benny & Lily

  3. Beautiful but best seen from in front of the fireplace.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. I love the photo of the wind swirling around the trees. Just gorgeous!

  5. We find it so interesting to hear about how your dogs interact and react to the wild animals. So, I take it they are not afraid of the coyote? I wonder if the single coyote would be afraid of your two dogs together? All very interesting to us!

  6. You has da bluest sky where you lives...beootiful!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  7. I would never survive walking my dogs in the wild - they would take off so fast after those coyotes and deer and rabbits - I would be their sled and a very broken and battered one at that.

    I do wonder how all the animals survive the bitter cold. A good reminder to all of us for how thankful we should be for what we have.

  8. The early light of dawn photo is lovely as is the pines with the wind blown snow! You captured the feel of the day beautifully!

  9. We had an Australian Shepherd when I was growing up who occasionally howled with the coyotes. With Morgan here, I'm glad we live just enough in town not to see or hear them nearby. She'd drive us insane with them!

    I always wondered where the animals go during the bad storms, too! This winter has given me a new appreciation for my house, that's for sure!

    In our extended family, chocolate is the only Lab color not represented! lol I happen to think they're really pretty, too!

  10. The wind can make an otherwise decent day horrible... especially this time of year.

  11. You?? Cut your bike trip short?? I don't think I've ever seen those words on this blog!! :) BOL

    I can imagine that the wind would be brutal at that height. And we think we have it bad down here on flat land!

  12. Great pictures but the bike on its side made me think of a journey home with cold, icy handlebars and saddle. Bet the labraduo didn't even notice the storm.

  13. The cold I can handle but when the wind gets up it feels twice as cold.

  14. omd, that first photo is gorgeous with the lighting and the low range of colors...

    now i understand why in a post back you mentioned "leashing R" before taking him to pee for 5 minutes (i think it was when your pipe broke)... i kept thinking: why would she leash trained dogs who are often off-leash for a simple potty break just outside the house? now i know why, especially if it was dusk or dawn out... the coyotes as gorgeous as they are, are frightful for our dogs. sigh.

    love that R hollows right along with them... too funny. but gives me the heebee jeebees thinking he'd be silly enough to fall for their pranks if the opportunity arose... i know juno would and so would loki. yikes, heebee jeebees again thinking about it.

    thanks for your comment about exercise induced... i agree. i would like more blood tests and ultrasound on addomen again, focusing on digestive tract. dog knows that juno has "masticated" enough items in the house... so i'll probably go that route. then if not anything there, persue orthopedic surgery OR Physical Therapy with osteopathic care... sigh... like anyone but the internet and my friends are really helping me with a plan for her...

  15. that wind can be fierce! you're a brave soul to venture out in that! i always think of the animals that live outside in cold....
    doesn't surprise me that R joins in the singing!

  16. Great peektures as always! I've always wondered about how the wildlife dealt with the wrath of Mother Nature as well, pretty cool how they always adapt to the environment huh. Pepsi would probably hide behind me if I walk him in the wild.


  17. I love that picture of the trees with the snow blowing!

  18. The photos are beautiful! The thought of being out in the cold with that wind chills me by just looking at the pictures! I wonder where all of the wildlife does go when the weather is like that. Lots of love, Holly and mom

  19. I, too loved the wind whipping the snow through the trees.

    Do you ever see Sundogs? That was my mother's favorite phenomena in the winter time.

    Keep warm, we're down for 36 degrees below zero WINDCHILLs!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  20. Sometimes, I envy you your place in the world. You have such great beauty there. Today, after reading this, nah, not so much!

    cluck, cluck, cluck -- that's me.

  21. This extremeness is so exhilarating. I love the cold especially when all bundled up. A good sojourn is so good for the soul. Wind is down right annoying most times but if you can shield yourself then the experience you just put yourself through is so good for your psyche!

  22. Wowee! Lookit all your snow! I sure wish I could come play in it. But if I ever do, could you make sure the wind is turned off, please? I do NOT like the wind - not one little bit.

    We're getting a little bit of snow today. But it's too cold to go out and play in it. Maybe tomorrow.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  23. Wild Dingo: You are absolutely right about why we leash the dogs for a pee just outside the door. We've found that the first minutes after we emerge from the house are the most dangerous in terms of wild animals. After they hear us outside, the wildlife flees so things become much safer. So, our rule is that we absolutely always leash the dogs for their potty breaks. And, we can't have a fenced in potty area because so many of our wild animals can scale a fence.

  24. As your words described the mother nature swirling the snow, I felt I was there. I could feel it.

    Oh what I would give to be able and enjoy your day- for just a little bit.

    And I would love to build a snow cave.

  25. The wind is generally the part of winter that I dislike most. There are many cold winter days here that wouldn't be nearly as bad without the wind. I'm sure this is multiplied numerous times where you live. Stay warm!

  26. Great pics as usual - that wind is really the killer during the winter weather. If it weren't or the wind, I can tolerate pretty cold temps. Add wind, and I'm a weenie!
    Interesting thoughts between you and Wild Dingo - I also feel, no, I know the girls would chase any large wildlife is off leash. we've had several encounters with coyotes and if they wanted to, I'm sure they could easily lure the girls into the brush and away from us. Scary thought, even when the smallest o the 2 is around 50 lbs. When we have run into them, and the dogs have seen them, the girls stand stock still, while we are either backing away, or also standing still. The coyotes simply trot off in the direction they were headed, or increase their speed. Only once did I have one stop and turn to look at me, but that time I wasn't with the girls. Pretty amazing creatures!


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