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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Black Dog Saturday - Recall Races

The start of a recall race almost always starts with a tongue flick from one or both dogs.

When they get up to speed, it always ends with paws off the ground!
This is the Shyla and R era. We love both of them but today we honor the elder statesdog!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Flower Friday - From the Desert Archives

I had to go to the archives for these ones - desert spring flowers! In brilliant purple, this 4 o'clock flower opens everyday in the late afternoon and stays open until the following morning. It is pollinated by nocturnal insects - a neat trick for a flower that lives in such a hot area as the desert.

Behind Shyla, some yellow flowers were blooming at the base of a cliff. Rock wall bases are great for flowers because rain drips down off the wall onto them. I love seeing the combination of the red rock and colorful flowers!
Happy Flower Friday! Before too long, I should have some early mountain wildflowers to share!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Thankful for Puppy Madness

We had an impromptu puppy play date at our house recently. Our friends' yellow Lab puppy stopped by.

R adores puppies. He throws himself onto his back and lets a puppy, like this sweetie, wrestle with him.

He's not passive but he knows how to make a puppy feel comfortable.

When the puppy became bolder, R stood up to play, leading to amazing teeth gnashing.
This yellow Lab puppy is amazingly well socialized. She is so confident around other dogs and people who she doesn't know well.

They really loved showing each other their teeth!

Alas, the only part that made me a little sad was that Shyla actually wanted to play on that day but she didn't seem to know quite how to lure our puppy friend into playing. Shyla had been carrying around the bone that the puppy is chewing on, trying get the puppy to play with the bone together. It didn't quite work.
However, soon thereafter, Shyla and I met the puppy and her humans on the trails. On that day, Shyla succeeded in playing with the puppy! I tried to get photos but they were chasing each other too fast for me to capture them with my camera. It made me smile to see the two girls frolicking in the forest together.

And, seeing Shyla find the courage to play with a dog on the trails was priceless!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

His eyes melt my heart

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Desert Dreams

It's getting to be the time of year when we love visiting the desert so I am looking at old photos. This was sweet Shyla at K's Rock during a sunset just last spring.

I love K's Rock - and so do both dogs. R loves being my model for photo shoots. Here he was, showing off how great his surgical elbow feels at K's Rock. We are coming up on two years since he had the major CUE surgery that made his elbow feel so much better.

When we are at K's rock, I adore climbing up to a high point on my bike in the morning. It's a very long climb (more than an hour). Climbing is my favorite part of mountain biking so I love it. When I make it up to the viewpoint early in the morning, my shadow makes me look many times taller than I am!

At night, I love taking star photos at K's Rock. When I luck out, no planes go over for a long time, and I can capture wonderful time lapse photos of the stars rotating over K's Rock.
I am looking forward to some time out in the desert this spring!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Life with an Elk Herd Nearby

I remember when we first moved here years ago. I was completely fascinated with our winter elk herd. One of our neighbors who is now gone informed me that I'd view them as "nothing but a nuisance" within a few years. It hasn't happened.

The herd hung out near our house the other day, and I stalked them with my long lens. First, I focused on the biggest bull elk who is still with the herd. The biggest bulls go off on their own in small bachelor herds.

The remaining guy stood tall over his herd-mates.

He also stood tall over a much younger bull elk - a "spike".

The cows outnumbered the bulls by at least 10 to 1.

It is said that the elder cows are in charge of the herd. One lead cow decides where the herd should go and the route that they should take.

The less mature cow elk just clown around!
Needless to say, my neighbor's jaded attitude didn't rub off on me. I'll never cease to enjoy sitting quietly to watch our elk herd.

I have some footage from a trail cam that has been within an elk herd a few times this winter which I'll share soon. As a hint, what I love about the video is it demonstrates how vocal elk are. They seem to constantly be talking among themselves, especially at night when there are no humans around to hear them.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Snuggles on Sunday

These two are such a strongly bonded pair. I love seeing them like this.
R is literally the only dog on Earth who Shyla truly trusts. She often initiates snuggling up to him. I think that she finds shelter from the big bad world next to her brother.  R loves being a big brother, whether he's snuggling or playing with his little sister.

Here's to our Labraduo. I love them.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Happy Saturday!

It's a good day to snuggle up and relax. Sweet R is warm on our bed.

And so is Shyla.

We are all ready for a snooze after some time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine. When Shyla is happy, she loves to offer me a high five. It makes me smile ear to ear!
I hope that all of you are having a happy Saturday too!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Flower Friday

We don't have any wild flowers here yet but I saw a gorgeous flower at our friends' house. I believe that it was a type of Iris but I'm not certain. It made my heart sing because it was so beautiful.

We know that flowers will be coming up from under that dead looking grass before too long. They will have all the colors of the rainbow in them.
At our elevation, the waiting for springtime makes it all the sweeter when it finally arrives.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thankful for our Black Dog

Our Black Dog is ten years old but you'd truly never guess it based on his behavior.
He is the first to leap into silly playing. That's part of why he loves puppies. He also plays with Shyla almost every evening.

I've recently been asked by a stranger if R is a puppy. And, he's TEN years old!

I am so thankful that we got his elbow fixed and gave him this bonus time of crazy happiness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday

Was she making a statement to me?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hiding and Peeking with Shyla

My Shyla still hides sometimes. When we meet people or dogs who she doesn't trust, she literally vanishes. She's very good at doing it without anyone noticing. People who don't know me are not aware that I have a dog with me.

If I look around really hard, I sometimes catch a glimpse of her peeking out from behind a tree...

... or behind a boulder. I don't tell the scary people that she's there because I feel like I'd be giving away Shyla's secret strategy. It would scare her if everyone turned and looked at her.

Then, after the scary people and their dogs have left, I call her. She bursts out to sprint to me.
I am so happy that Shyla trusts me so much, and she's learned strategies to deal with the scary parts of life. I am, however, sometimes wistful, just wishing that the world wasn't at all scary to her.

No matter what, I've got her back.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fox in a Bear Den with Sow and Cubs

Almost exactly two years ago, a red fox went halfway into a bear den that contained a sow and two tiny cubs.

This was the arrival of the red fox at the den. The den entrance is triangular in the far right of the photo.

Then, the fox started to go in!

This was the furthest into the den that he ever was. You can see his tail and butt - and that's all. The cave is not huge so I'm guessing that he was face to face with the sow.

I was terrified that the fox would back out of the den with a cub in his mouth but he didn't. He backed away and then stood stock still, thinking. Soon thereafter, he departed.
Of course, I don't know what happened inside the den because there was no cam in there. However, based on the observations of others, I'm betting that the sow literally lay on top of her cubs so the fox would have to go through her to get to them.

Thank goodness that they both survived the fox's visit. Here's a photo of the family from later in the spring of 2016. Seeing the love of the sow for her cubs is breath-taking.

I have the fox's visit in a video. You can watch the video here or at Youtube.
I don't know where the cubs ended up. The black one was a male so he should have left our area by now looking for a home range of his own. The brown one was a female so she likely claimed a fringe area of her mother's range as her own. My trail cams haven't seen her but she could easily be living outside the area where I have cams.

Because sows have cubs every two years, this sow should be escorting cubs around our area this spring!

Happy Wildlife Monday!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog is the one dog who Shyla trusts so much. He's earned it with his loyalty and kind soul.
We all love our Black Dog!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Glowing in the Sunrise

When we find a patch of snow on the ground at sunrise, I love to see if I can get a good backlit photo of Shyla kicking up her heels.

Because she is such a dynamic dog, she surprises me with her leaps and enthusiasm!

Go, Shyla, go! 
Photography is really the only artistic thing that I've ever loved doing in my life. It is such a challenge and so rewarding, especially with a dog like Shyla as my model.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Funny - Sleepy Sunrise with Shyla

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, sunrise is creeping earlier and earlier. I still try to get out for it with Shyla on occasion. A recent outing started out well, with Shyla looking perky and happy.

But then she began to crash with sleepiness (I felt the same way). Eye lids and head drooping.

Drooping more...

Then she gave up and took a nap. I joined her.
When there's not snow, the forest floor can be soft enough for a wonderful nap!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thankful Thursday - A Hint of Color on a Gray Day

Some days in the Rockies are not bluebird days. Clouds descend and color the world in a drab light.

Every once in a while on a gray day, the sun will momentarily burn through the clouds. That happened while I rode with Shyla one day recently. She hopped up on a boulder, and it was fun to see her silhouette with the sun directly behind her.
It almost looked colorful. That was enough to elicit a smile from me on a gray day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Winter had better not be over yet!

Seeing the frost that Shyla jumped through inspired me

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Accidental Photo

That photo is the best one that I've ever taken entirely by accident. Shyla and I were just about to do a nosework search. When I saw it on my phone, it took a long few moments for me to have a clue when and where it was.

What have been your best accidental photos?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bold Lions out in Daylight

Mountain lions are cruising our forest frequently and boldly. Unlike usual, they've even been nearby during the day.

At a mountain lion marking site where big males have left deep scrapes in the ground, a young mountain lion stopped to sniff. First, she sniffed the ground.

Then, she sniffed the air. Soon, she was back to air scenting with her long lithe neck craned to get her nose as high as possible. The wind was wildly whooshing out of the west, and she clearly smelled something. In fact, it might have been Shyla and me. We were generally upwind of her at about that time.

Then, she bore a hole in the camera with a stare.
Two things make me think that she's young and a female. First, you can faintly see her kitten spots under her fur. They are more obvious in the video. As for being a female, I am basing that on the fact that she did not mark this spot. I think that a male would have.

It was so cool to watch her bound away in a kittenish way. I have *never* seen an adult mountain lion do anything but a lumbering walk.

Just two days later, a mature male mountain lion showed up at the old elk carcass from almost a month ago. Look at the size of his paws!

He meticulously sniffed every detail on the ground, and then he sniffed the carcass.
I'm betting that his cat has a kill nearby. He headed further downhill with a purposeful gait when he departed. Moreover, look at that full stomach hanging downward.

I think that he's a male because he left two marking scrapes out of view of the camera. Usually, males mark and females don't. Also, his bulk makes me think that he's a male.

I made a video of the visits of these two mountain lions to my camera sites which you can watch here or at Youtube. If for no other reason. watch it to see the young mountain lion bound away. It was amazing to see!

Happy Wildlife Monday!