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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sunshine, moose, and mountain lions!

Sunshine, finally!

It makes everything look more beautiful.

Shyla and I enjoyed playing in the forest in the light of the rising sun.

On our way to see the sunrise this morning, we managed to ride right past at least two moose without me seeing them. The Runner wasn't far behind, and he spotted them. Shyla and I were lucky that they let us pass. I'm sure that Shyla was aware of them but she has proven that she is *never* going to chase a moose. She wants to stay as far away from them as she can after our scary experiences.

The Mama Moose, this year's calf, and last year's calf ("Lefty") have been living in a small radius around our house. I see the cavities in the snow where they sleep each night. Can you imagine being able to sleep in the snow in sub-freezing temperatures night after night? Amazing.

The sheer number of moose that I've seen so far this autumn and winter (at least different six individuals) close to our house is incredible. I find myself wondering if our state will end up regretting their decision to introduce moose here almost 40 years ago. The population has gone wild, primarily because they have no natural predators. A mountain lion can't take down a healthy adult moose.

A comparison of how small a mountain lion is compared to a moose explains why. Here's a photo of a mountain lion passing my trail camera.

Now, here's a moose passing the same camera, mounted in exactly the same place. The moose absolutely dwarfs the mountain lion. I cannot imagine a mountain lion killing a healthy moose.

Our wildlife authorities have repeatedly refused to help wolves establish themselves in our state. Wolves, working as a pack, do prey on moose. The moose population explosion in our neck of the woods has me pondering what will happen to our ecosystem in the future. Will the moose eat every last aspen and willow? I'm sure that there will be cries for more human hunting of moose but, personally, I'd prefer having wolves here.

Back to less serious stuff - Shyla and I truly enjoyed sunshine today - after a couple of gray days. It was super cold but the sun rays were warm. The moose didn't reappear so we had a very relaxed outing.

It was my favorite kind of winter day - below freezing, sunny, and a bluebird sky! The sun made the snow crystals glitter.
I hope that all the people in the path of the east coast snowstorm can find a moment to see the beauty in the snow and to enjoy the way that life slows down when Mother Nature takes over. It's a more regular occurrence here - one that we've learned to enjoy, tucked warmly next to our crackling fire.

Happy Thursday!


  1. We agree with you, wolves would be better than any hunter! Its so amazing that they are so close to your house!
    Shyla, I very seldom see you tired.. You are so happy that you just keep running and playing!

  2. We had a snowburst shower today that dropped a few inches. It was so pretty to watch it fly through the air and the yards were so pristine. But shoveling it off the driveway and my numb fingers reminded me why I prefer the warmer seasons:)

  3. Introducing or re-introducing any large animal with no predators is bound to cause problems. Seems so simple, doesn't it? Like you, I would much prefer natural predators who previously lived in the area to hunting and killing the animals. Glad you and Shyla enjoyed some sunshine today.

  4. There is a bunch to be said about the beauty of winter, especially in your little corner of the world!

  5. I love the lighting! I agree about the moose; adding in any animal without proper predators is just asking for trouble.

  6. Beautiful photos, particularly backlit Shyla and snow crystals.
    How interesting about the history of wildlife in your area. I wonder why you are suddenly, within 6 months (a short span of time) seeing moose so much if they were re-introduced 40 years ago (a relatively long period of time). What a sudden explosion of occurrences!

    There was a documentary about the reintroduction of wolves to Canada, I think, that I found on the 'on demand' tv and mentally bookmarked to watch, but it seems to be gone. I wish I'd watched it then!

  7. I didn't know that moose didn't have natural predators, and the wolves helping to keep their numbers in balance would no doubt make a difference -- I'd rather see their numbers controlled that way, than a "controlled hunt" or their starving.

    We are going to get hit with the storm this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited -- I just hope our power stays on!

  8. That's really poor planning to not have a natural predator to keep the population in check. After all the updated information on wolves, I am surprised that there is such push back in reintroducing wolves.

  9. Oh wow! Yay for the sun! We are still waiting for it here! Shyla is so shiny! :D

    The difference between the cougar and the moose is wild! (Pun intended) I can see how they wouldn't be able to take one down by themselves! It's too bad they won't introduce wolves. I agree with you that it would be a better solution than human hunting.

    I hope the sun sticks around for you for a while!

  10. I loved the comparison of the mountain lion and the moose, but the moose worry me. I agree, it sounds as if the powers that be didn't think things through.

  11. At least the wolves don't take the best breeders....

  12. The snow crystals are just gorgeous! We can't wait for the snow to fall at our house!

  13. oh what the sunlight did with your nose, that looks great!

  14. the only thing prettier than sunshine is you in the sunshine. wow, on cougar and moose. i am with you on the natural way to thin out what is not needed... nature takes care of itself if we let it

  15. Great photos! We are never big fans of humans killing critters.

  16. Moose: modern megafauna! At least we don't still have to deal with giant ground sloths! :)

    Be safe! I worry about y'all sometimes with those moose.

  17. The size of that moose is amazing! What a great comparison!

    The east coast is filled with Type A personalities. A huge snowstorm just drives them nuttier! I love a good snow storm, but prefer to get only one a season. So does my back ;-) Oh, and of course, anything over a few inches is way too deep for corgis!

  18. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy! Oh, mom says that song has already been sung . . . Me and Stanley had an adventure this morning when a deer came to see us!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  19. Nature is so in balnce, until people start messing around with it.

  20. It's neat-o to see how Shyla is so well trained to hang with you while all the wildlife roams nearby
    Lily & Edward

  21. Shyla is so attentive and focused. I agree that the moose population may have to be culled at some point. I'm not sure that introducing wolves wouldn't add another problem to a state that is rapidly being populated with more and more people and domestic animals. It's a blue-sky day here in the mountains with a reprieve from the cold of earlier in the week.

  22. I was amazed at the videos I've seen of what the wolves have done for yellowstone... amazing photos!


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