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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Solstice is Coming!

It's amazing how motivated I am to be outside for sunrise at this time of year. It's a bright shining part of a winter day. The extra pain from the injection the other day is dissipating so I was feeling almost chipper this morning! I still can't tell if the steroids did any good...

I think Shyla feels chipper every single day. She's in that amazing prime of life when her energy and enthusiasm seem endless. When I call her to come to me, she leaps small buildings and gallops like a maniac to get to me as fast as possible!
Sunrise is our special time together, and she seems to enjoy it as much as I do. We've had a lot of wind lately (gusts up to 75 mph) so we like to hide in the forest near sunrise some days to avoid the incredible force of the wind which can literally knock me over. As you can see from the look in Shyla's eyes, she doesn't like it when the wind grabs her ears and flaps them around.
While we've taken refuge in the forest, I've discovered that taking photos pointed toward the rising sun, filtered by the forest, can make some surprising images! The spots of light behind Shyla in the next photo are the rays of the rising sun shining through the trees.
Our wildlife activity has changed over to winter mode completely. I see coyotes frequently (they are not as active in the area close to our house in the summer as in the winter). I have to be very careful with the dogs around sunrise and sunset so that they don't tangle with any coyotes. When I'm on my bike, Shyla stays in a heel in the morning until the sun is well above the horizon. This beautiful coyote visited our clearing next to our house.
I've been fascinated to see how driven Shyla is to "mark" in areas where the coyotes mark. In fact, Shyla is my first female Lab who has ever lifted her leg to urinate in the forest, and she seems to do it only in areas where coyotes mark. Isn't it odd - Shyla is my least confident Lab yet, but she is the first female leg lifter?

Bobcats are another animal who are active near our house and trails in the winter. They love to walk in my snowbike trails so I see their tracks all the time. They also come very close to our house in the winter. One bobcat has an obsession with a rabbit who lives under the wooden walkway that leads to our front door, and I'll share some fun video of his stalking of the rabbit in the future. Here is a photo of a bobcat that I captured before the snow was here to stay.
Last but not least, with the arrival of the elk herd for the winter, more mountain lions have been patrolling our area. I'll save my trail camera photos of them for a future post.

Although I enjoy some aspects of winter, I am excited that the solstice is only a few days away. I always want to have a huge celebration on that day because I know the days will start to get longer. Somehow, knowing that the light is glimmering at the end of the winter tunnel cheers me immensely!
Just a few more days until the days start getting longer here in the Northern Hemisphere!


  1. Your pictures always make me want to go outside, although it is about -15 F here this week, so it wouldn't be for long!

  2. Quite the bokeh you have in those sunrise shots! And oh, is that sunrise/sunset photo cheery!

    I, too, have been rejoicing in the approach of the solstice.

    I am so sorry to hear you had to have an injection due to the pain. I do hope it helps; pain makes longer hours of darkness just a little harder to tolerate...

  3. she has such beautiful eyes. glad you are feeling better!

  4. she has such beautiful eyes. glad you are feeling better!

  5. I just love her ears in those first few pictures. That's interesting about her marking where the coyotes have marked. She's pretty brave. Most dogs would avoid that, right?

    What a beautiful coyote and bobcat!

  6. When we lived in WI I also loved the solstice and the fact that the days were getting longer if only in millisecond increments. Here in NC we have plenty of sun unlike the endless cloudy WI winter days. Interesting that Shyla is a leg lifter. Lovely photographs.

  7. So happy to hear you are feeling a bit better. We had an almost spring like day here with temps near 60! Crazy weather. Gorgeous photos as always.

  8. We are more than anxious for the solstice to come-- longer days is what we need.
    The wind is sooo strong-- look at it flap Shyla's ears! We see her joy!
    Such beautiful photos!

  9. I love that bokeh in the third Shyla pic!

  10. How beautiful to have all this incredible wildlife so close to your house. I would love that. The photos of Shyla are beautiful, lovely bokeh!

  11. we cannot wait for the solstice so our days get longer

    Stop on by for a visit

  12. Wonderful colours in every photo. somehow in winter the sky shades are extra strong.Glad a steroid top-up might be helping. Fond greetings, Jean

  13. I completely share the sentiment of anticipating the solstice, knowing that every day will be getting longer (or - depending on my mood - that the darkness will get shorter).
    What a fantastic privilege to live amidst so much wildlife, and you are so respectful and appreciative. Thank you for sharing your photos!

  14. I rejoice, just as you do, at the lengthening of the days, albeit in tiny little tidbits of time each day.

  15. all of your photos are wonderful. shyla is the BEST model EVER! i really enjoy seeing your other wildlife, too. our coyotes have been very active since the cold weather has come in. stay safe, all of you!

  16. Beautiful wildlife. You tell'm whose boss Shyla! The sun rises and sunsets have been amazing here too

  17. My sissy Cinderella sometimes lifts her leg too. She says that just because she's a princess doesn't mean she can't do some good marking!

  18. We just love all the wonder you feel chipper.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  19. Horray for the solstice!! We must have a celebration! I love when the dogs are lighter longer. It's a little better here further south, but still dark by 6 ish. I'm glad you are feeling better.

  20. It's very thoughtful of you to make the snow bike trails for the bobcats. :-) Seriously, do they walk in them to help hide their footprints, I wonder? They're a predator, but there are bigger predators out there. Animal behavior is so fascinating, and your photos and observations of the wildlife that life around you are just fascinating!

  21. Of course I missed that you had to get a shot because you were feelin' so bad...wells, I'm glad you are feelin' betters now! And, those shots are just amazin'!!
    Ahhhh, is what Ma always says....
    Ruby ♥
    pees: I lift my leggie sometimes too!! butts Ma's Angel Maggie used to do it ALL the time!

  22. Wow...this is my first visit to your blog...and I was just blown away by the gorgeous photos. Really nicely done!

    My Medi doesn't care for the wind all that much either, I think it spooks her that she can't hear if someone is sneaking up on her. Probably fall-out from her time in the wild.

    Speaking of wildlife, that is awesome that you got to see a live bobcat. :-)

  23. I love the flapping ears picture. Shyla does not seem to like it lol. I don't blame her.

    Anne and Sasha

  24. We can see the aggravation on your face because the breeze is messing with your ears, Shyla. We hope today's sunrise is less windy for you and your mom!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly


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