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Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Link between Dog Generations

Yesterday, I was cleaning out a closet and came upon a box of old dog toys. They were ones that I'd saved because departed dogs had loved them. Most had been in that box for at least five years but I still remembered them. I'm in a ruthless, save nothing phase, so I held each one, remembering the dog who had played with it, and then I tossed them out. With age, I've realized that my memories of my departed dogs have little to do with physical objects.

Many of the toys brought back memories of Angel K as a puppy. She adored toys at that age. However, she was very rough on them. Most of her puppy toys in the box were in a state of complete destruction.

Then, I came upon a stuffed moose-shaped toy that was in remarkably good shape. I remembered that it had been around for a long time, over the lives of Astro, Acadia, S, and K. I'd put it away at some point when our dogs had lost interest in it.

I didn't toss it out because I thought that Shyla might like it. I was right!

Shyla has carried it around almost continuously since I offered it to her. She even uses it as a pillow for napping. And, contrary to her usual behavior, she hasn't destuffed it yet!

Times have changed in many ways since the last time that this toy was out around the house. We had never seen a moose in our neck of the woods then, making a moose-shaped toy a novelty. Now, it feels as if moose are everywhere!

Even next to our house!
The main thing is how we humans smile watching Shyla carry the stuffed moose around, knowing how many of her predecessors played with that toy. It's like a link between dog generations, and we are so thankful for it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - From the Mountain to the Sea

Flying on Top of the World

Swimming in a Sea of Gold

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Golden World!

If I could have several months of June, I'd revel in it. It's my favorite month here. We rarely travel in June because our favorite place is our mountain home.

It's wondrous outdoors! Close to our house, a meadow that was grazed by cattle for decades has been allowed to grow wild. The result is stunning.

I cannot believe the field of gold that has grown in the meadow. I took R there today wanting to see our black dog romp in the gold. He did his usual "bowl over the photographer" move but it yielded a fun photo!
I've been loving riding my bike through the stupendous world although my spine is more painful than it's been in a while. I'm hoping that my medicine - movement - works again this time. It's been a decade since I had fusion surgery on my lumbar spine, and I'd like to keep that long quiet streak alive so that I can keep enjoying the outdoors.
Happy Golden Springtime!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A mother bear and her cub visit watering holes

Every summer, my trail cameras give us glimpses into the everyday lives of mother bears and their cubs when they're not near humans. They are just going about their everyday lives - and it's a thrill to get to see them.

This one is from almost exactly one year ago. Like mother, like daughter. Mom was marking a tree and her cub seemed to be trying to imitate her!
Recently, our local mother-cub pair has been visiting watering holes. You might remember the first footage of them at a watering hole. The cub got spooked and spent almost the whole time high in a tree.

Now, the cub is getting the idea of how nice it is to soak in cool water on a hot day. When they first arrived at a watering hole, the cub watched mom soaking in the water. Eventually, the cub got into the water.

This watering hole was where Bandit demolished a trail camera of mine (which I just received back from Reconyx - fixed!). Now, the trail camera is inside a "bear security box". Mom decided to check it out but did nothing but sniff it.

I hope that you enjoy this footage as much as I did! It's also available at Youtube if you run into trouble watching it here.


Watching mother bears with their cubs shows me that these animals have wonderful secret lives that many people never get to see.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Silhouette Sunday - Shyla Perched on a Boulder

At the risk of jinxing us again, I have to say how happy I am that Shyla can climb boulders again. For months, the side effects of her epilepsy meds made her too clumsy for me to allow her to do this.
Look at the wondrous beauty of a cloudy summer sky just after sunset!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Silliness!

Shyla made it through her mini-seizure and is okay now. We're hoping for a peaceful weekend. She seems fine now.

I hope that all of you find something that makes you as excited about life as Shyla was in this moment!
Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bursting with Color in Colorado

Right now at this instant, it is absolutely glorious in our mountains. I can't get through a bike ride without taking too many photos!

Even though it was warm, Shyla was in good spirits this morning. Look at the yellow and green all around her.

This is, bar none, my favorite time of year.

The beauty is leaping out at me, both in the form of flowers and in the form of Shyla!

And, to top it off, the first Columbines opened their buds and bloomed yesterday!!!!
I adore Colorado Columbines. I'll limit myself to one photo today... even though I took far more than one!

Happy Flower Friday! The flowers are bursting with beauty here in Colorado!

P.S. Unfortunately, I jinxed the seizure situation with being "thankful" for Shyla's lack of seizures yesterday. She had signs of an impending seizure all Thursday evening, including twitching like in a true seizure and teeth chattering. We've given her extra medications, and now we're hoping for a calm night. Epilepsy sucks. (Sorry for the language but this disease calls for it).

This flower part of this post is in memory of our friend Bilbo and is for his family. May they all find peace.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thankful Thursday - Shyla

I am so thankful for Shyla's good health. Her epilepsy medicines have side effects that I don't like but they do control her seizures. That is a gift.

Despite some side effects, she is always happy while we do nosework or other training together. She adores that stuff! And she adores running through meadows.
We had a lot of choices back when we adopted Shyla, and I'm so glad that we chose her. I think that she needed (and still needs) a ton of attention, and that's what she's getting here!

Here she is with one of her favorite people on Earth. Shyla and he are an unlikely pair because he's extremely tall and has a beard... but Shyla constantly wants to be snuggling in his lap when he's visiting.

We love her and so do many of our friends!
We are thankful that Shyla is part of our family!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

A Very Muddy "Tiny"! I have some news about him in the coming days.
A non-muddy Shyla resting in a sea of yellow

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Funny Faces

Can you guess what kind of game we were playing when I took this photo? Yes, it did involve treats. Only treats could make Shyla open her eyes so wide on a bright day!

Here was the next photo in the series, as I tossed Shyla a treat. She seemed to be looking the wrong way!

We also played the game where she balances a treat on her nose and then flips it into the air.

It was a good day for games like these ones. My spine was hurting so dog games were more fun than too much riding.
I hope that you're having a better start to the week than I am!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Living in the Mountains - The good, the bad, and the good

I love spring so much. I love the flowers, the long days, the birds, and the butterflies. In fact, I've been known to chase butterflies all over a meadow trying to photograph them. Needless to say, I've had almost no success with that strategy!

This morning, Shyla and I were sitting atop Hug Hill. I just happened to have my macro lens on my camera, and a swallowtail butterfly landed right next to us. It was drinking pollen from a "wallflower", and it stayed a very long time. I captured many photos, enjoying every moment of sitting in the sunshine next to one of nature's finest works of art.

So much of life is simply get out there into the world and seeing what happens. Some days, I'll have a good, but unremarkable, day. Other days, a swallowtail butterfly lands next to me.

As I sit here typing, the hummingbirds are drinking sugar water at our feeder. The feeder has six holes and all six are occupied by hummers. The hummers are drinking sugar water faster this spring than any year in recent memory. I love trying to photograph them as they move a warp speed in the air above my head.

Those are the things that made me smile today. However, a couple of things discouraged me. It was a weekend day, which meant that there were visitors to our beautiful area, some of whom were dirtbags. Some bad visitors brought pictures of people and then shot at the pictures. I found those shot-pocked pictures. I found them to be too disturbing to show photos of them here. Some people who visit here are incomprehensibly messed up.

Then, as I pedaled onward from the shooting site, I found that a group of transients had set up camp in a truck camper that a homeless group abandoned more than a month ago. The area was already strewn with fresh garbage by the new "campers". I have repeatedly asked that the truck camper be hauled away so that it wouldn't become a hotel for bad campers. Obviously, I lost that battle. However, the larger fight goes on...

No matter what, I adore this area and the life that we have here. Aside from my spine pain, I feel like I'm living the dream version of my life.
I ride my bike with Shyla by my side through fields of wildflowers every morning. It's almost too good to be true.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday Sweet Things

I have two good things to tell you on Sunday.

First, we have a very sweet dog visiting. She has beautiful brown eyes, and she doesn't scare Shyla! This is the first time that we've taken care of a visiting dog since Shyla arrived. This brown-eyed girl was the perfect choice as the first because she is so sweet with everyone, including Shyla.

Second, I saw an incredible moonrise last evening. It was the smallest full moon of the year because the moon is further from us than at any other full moon in 2017. Also, it was called a "Strawberry moon". I've actually seen more reddish moons in the past but this one was beautiful nonetheless.
Happy Summertime Sunday to readers in the Northern Hemisphere. Happy Snuggly Sunday to all of you "down under"!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Mother Bear and her Cub

It is truly springtime here in the mountains, when the wildflowers bloom and the black bear cubs appear. I love this time of year more than any other!
At a secluded spot deep in the forest, a mother black bear and her solo cub have been staying near a spring with a bear marking tree next to it.

These are photos taken of the pair just a few days ago. Mom checked a bear marking tree with her cub in tow.

Then, they turned and went the other way. Solo cubs are fairly rare, and mothers taking cubs to marking trees during mating season is also rare. I really hope that the single cub is nursing enough to prevent the mother from going into estrus. That has happened occasionally - and the mother mates again, often to the detriment of the solo cub who might get lost or hurt during the process.

Pushing aside those worries, my cams caught delightful footage of this pair at a spot where there is a bear marking tree and a spring right next to each other. I have two cams there, one pointed at each spot.

First, you'll see the cub arrive at the bear marking tree. It is comical how tiny the cub is compared to the bears who mark the tree. Many of them are taller than the tree itself!

Then, you'll see mom taking a bath about 10 yards away. As mom bathed, something spooked the cub who then climbed the tree that my cam is mounted on. After the mother finished bathing, she first examined the cam closely - making me momentarily scared that she was going to attack it like Bandit did with another cam.

Then, mom started calling the cub down from the tree with soft grunts.  Be sure to have your volume turned up so that you can hear these sounds that humans very rarely get to hear!

Enjoy the video either here or at Youtube.


I hope that seeing black bears going about their everyday lives makes you smile like I do!

P.S. The cam that Bandit appeared to have destroyed was fixed by the trail cam company for a low cost. That made me smile too!

Friday, June 9, 2017

See Beautiful: Wildflowers going wild!

The wildflowers here are bursting into bloom all of a sudden. Shyla and I visit meadows filled with yellow flowers frequently.

Blue Flag Irises have also started blooming in the meadows. Whole meadows have a purple tint thanks to the flocks of irises shining.

I love the vibrant purple of irises...

...and the intricacies of their incredible petals.

Every year, I find spiders on irises. Usually, they are yellow spiders but today's spider was different. Whenever I brought my lens too close, the spider made a string of web and rappelled down toward the ground. When I backed away, he climbed back up onto the petal.
My reading tells me that spiders lurk on flowers so that they can capture and eat insects who come to the flower for the pollen.

I adore the meadows at this time of year. On the edges of meadows, the chokecherries are blooming now. In the late summer, these blossoms will be bright red chokecherries that bears gorge upon.

After Shyla and I finish playing in the meadows, we often take forested trails to get back home. Our resilient orchids, Fairy Slippers, are still blooming! You might remember that they first started blooming in late May. Then, we got a huge snowstorm (36" of snow fell), and they survived against all odds. I think that they are nearing the end of their time to shine this year so I'll show you one more photo!
In the meantime, I don't think that the meadow wildflowers are even close to peaking yet. I'm hoping that the late season snowstorm didn't hinder their development because the meadows usually have much denser yellow flowers by now. Time will tell!

I adore seeing Shyla gallop through the wildflowers at this time of year!
I especially love when she makes a funny face while doing it!

Happy Friday!!!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thankful Thursday - An outhouse is wonderful in a hail storm!

Today started out gloriously sunny and warm. Hummers were dancing in the air as I ate my breakfast.

Shyla snoozed in the warmth of the sunshine, show her well-earned silver fur at age 5!

We headed out for a ride through fields of wildflowers.

When we finished, there were still no clouds in the sky. So, not surprisingly, I forgot my rain jacket when I headed out on my own for a bike ride. It stayed sunny for a while although I could hear rumbling from a storm to my northwest. Then, the sky turned black, and huge hail started pelting me. I hid in an outhouse!

Years ago, I met a wonderful couple who own a mining claim that was on today's riding route. They have no structures on their land except for an outhouse. They told me that I could use the outhouse whenever I needed to. I'd never gone into it until today. I was SO grateful for the outhouse today. It saved me from a pummeling by Mother Nature.

The hail was hitting the outhouse roof so loudly that I could barely even think. Thankfully, the storm passed quickly. I peeked outside. Compare the hail size to the pine cones!

I picked up a hail stone, and it broke. However, the photo still gives you an idea of how big it was.
I hurried home, with only a few small hail squalls hitting me as I rode as fast as I could.

After my sprint home, I was amazed to find that it was sunny there. There was no hail on the ground - and someone else confirmed that it hadn't hailed at our house. What a crazy mountain world we live in!

This is the first time that I've ever felt so grateful for an outhouse!


Thank you to our friend Brian for organizing a Thankful Thursday Blog Hop!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Springtime!

On Top of the World!
Springtime in the Meadow

Last Elk Sighting - They've migrated to the high mountains for the summer
Bonus Question: Do you see the subtle but funny thing in the first photo? It's oriented almost vertically.