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Friday, August 31, 2018

Late, late summer "flower" sights

Tis the season when raspberries hang in multitudes from bushes. Shyla stops unexpectedly many times during a mountain bike ride to delicately remove raspberries from a bush and eat them one-by-one. She adores them and so do I!

Alas, the arrival of our wild berries comes with a huge sense of urgency that we must fit in all our summer fun very quickly... for autumn is coming. I took this photo on August 10th!

I love the gold leaves but I'm not ready for them!

Fortunately, I love the sight of "golden" grass (a California euphemism)!  The pups don't mind it either although I check them carefully after each ride for foxtails.

I do miss these days....

Thursday, August 30, 2018

So Thankful that We Knew Them

S, R, and K - R still tilts his head to that same side!

After S was gone, the new-old Labraduo: R and K

We're so grateful that R knew our previous generation of Labs. He's the bridge between generations.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Water Fun!!!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Our Favorite Sow Takes another Bath!

Our favorite bear sow bathed again in the stinky water hole. She seems to adore soaking herself in the water and rubbing her head with her paws.

One of you pointed out last time that she seemed to particularly rub her left ear. Sure enough, it seems to be true again in this video, recorded just a few days after the first one. I hope that her ear is okay and is healing on its own,.

She also blew bubbles whenever her nose went under water.

Enjoy this video. I loved seeing the footage!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Labraduo on Sunday

A recent morning dawned smoky and sunny, like so many mornings this summer. Shyla curled on her bed, appearing as if she was content to sleep the day away.

But, it was another lucky day when we had her brother with us for a ride. The Duo galloped through gorgeous golden grass in a meadow. Shyla was feeling brave and actually led a fair number of recalls. R has done his job of giving her confidence super well!

I just love seeing them run side-by-side.
They are best friends, and they make our lives so much happier!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Flower Friday - Purple Tinged Meadows

It is the crazy purple time of year here where the Bee Balm goes crazy in our meadows.  They are tall - R's head barely rises above them.

When I get close to the flowers, I can hear the eternal buzz of industrious bees. Hence, the name of these flowers mades sense!

The flowers are super pretty if you can see them before they start to fade.
Purple is my favorite color so I love this phase of our meadows. There is a purple tinge to everything in them!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thankful Thursday - For the Elk and the Stars

In May, we camped in a very high meadow that had an elk herd living within it. One night with a full moon, I was taking photos of the sky all night long (using a programmable shutter trigger while I slept). Much to my amazement, the elk herd wandered over in front of my camera. They seemed to move around all night long - but just short distances withing my camera's field of view.

In the video, you'll see ghostly tan butts (of elk) milling around under the sky full of stars. The stars were spinning around the North Star.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

Three Moose Vie for a Water Hole

The trio of moose who I showed you swimming in a pond last week has been hanging out together. They are seeking out water but sometimes the sources are not as big as a pond. Recently, they visited a water hole together, and it appeared that they had a squabble over water rights (just like the people in the west!).

When they first arrived at the water hole, the female went in the water and drank. Then a bull arrived and cow moose amicably shared the water hole with him.

He arrived like a mack truck, barreling into the pair of moose and making them move out of the water.

The male in the pair who was just bullied out of the water looked hard at the moose who had thrown him out but no fight broke out. The moose who had successfully claimed the water was definitely the biggest of the three.

Then, the biggest moose monopolized the water for the rest of their time at the water hole. He lay down in the water and did not budge even when the others paced past him. Finally, when he saw the other two leaving, he abandoned the water to follow them. I hope that they forgave him.

Here's a video of the trio at the water hole. You can watch at YouTube:

Due to technical difficulties, you have to click the link to see the video! Thanks!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

I had the pleasure of having both halves of the Labraduo with me for a bike ride recently. They stood atop Hug Hill together with the Continental Divide behind them.
And yes, those are some yellow leaves behind them. Oh my... the stress of the dry year is making autumn creep up very early.

I do love the golden grass... and R galloped through it beautifully!
It's always fun having our Black Dog join me and Shyla for a romp in the mountain meadows!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Flower Friday

In wet parts of the forest, coneflowers have blossomed recently. Due to the lack of rain, they started fading very fast after opening. However, the alert butterflies fed on them before they faded.

Every year, Fireweed blooms at about the same time as the coneflowers. I adore its brilliant pink color!

Although I hate to admit it, the blooming of these flowers usually means that the end of the flower season is drawing near. It always feels like wildflower season is too short.
Happy Flower Friday! We'll enjoy the flowers for as long as we can!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thankful Thursday - For the Stars Spinning in the Sky

One night that we were camped out earlier this summer, there was no moon and the sky was perfectly clear. We could see zillions of stars in the ink black sky.

I made a time lapse of the stars spinning around the North Star. It is very short but I think it's amazing to see how many stars were visible that night.

I am thankful for every one of those stars!

You can watch the video either here or at Youtube.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Dreamy Day

I wish that the gorgeous days could go on forever!

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Moose Trio Play like Kids in a Pond

During a hot spell, a trio of moose who have been traveling together played in a pond.

They swam  a lot!!!

I couldn't capture it in still photos but they didn't just swim - they played and frolicked.

I did make a video of their pond play which you can watch here or at Youtube. They splashed and galloped and seemed to purposely hit the water surface with their hooves - making big splashes! Enjoy!

P.S. My posts may be erratic over the coming weeks. Please don't worry about me if this site is quiet. I will get back to my usual schedule before too long!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

Does our Black Dog still look like a puppy? To me, he does. His eyes are so wide and ready for some play!
Yesterday, he definitely behaved just like a puppy - very mischievous. Perhaps all the debris on his face tells part of the story!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Caturday: The Mountain Lions are still Thirsty

A couple of days ago, I had the very strong feeling that a mountain lion had come through our neck of the woods. I hadn't yet seen a clear-cut sign that I consciously noted... but I must have noticed signs subconsciously.

Then, I started paying close attention to the places where I know that mountain lions mark. Sure enough, big "scrapes" had been left under Ponderosa Pine trees where a male mountain lion had kicked backward with his hind paws and then urinated in the scrape. Males do this very frequently while females rarely do it.

Later, after I'd left Shyla at home, I checked my trail cams on the route where I thought that the lion had traveled. Bingo, I'd hit the jackpot. This was where my cams captured the first video footage. I bet that this site is starting to look familiar to regular readers!

The lion made a circuitous route to his favorite drinking spot where I've shown you mountain lions drinking a number of times.

And, to my surprise, he was still active in the middle of the day. He must have been hungry. And, I was not too far behind him - I really didn't expect that he was still awake close to noon!
The photo above caught my attention because you can see the paw pads on the hind right paw. As someone who loves to track, it was cool to see the paw as a lion walked!

Then, he was still in the nearby area after sunset that night - again taking a long thirsty drink of water.

He looked in that direction, and then he departed. I hope that he found something to eat that night.

Most of this was from video cams. You can watch the videos either here or at Youtube. Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2018

August Wildflower Friday

I love summertime flowers... and seeing my pups playing in them. We are lucky to have a gorgeous meadow within a 5 minute hike from our house.

A little while ago, many of our meadows had a late season yellow flower in them. Now, we have a few of those yellow blossoms left but very few compared to a few weeks ago. One day, those flowers had beautiful Lady Bugs on them.

I loved the combination of yellow and red so I made lots of photos of the Lady Bugs. Doesn't that front dot on on the next Lady Bug look like a heart? What a beauty she is!

Another glorious red sight has been our Indian Paintbrush. They are almost finished blooming at our elevation but they had a banner year! They were numerous and their red was incredibly vibrant.

Their color looked great along with Shyla's fur.
I have been so surprised by our year of amazing wildflowers. They've somehow thrived despite the dryness. I have smiled at them almost every day this summer!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thankful Thursday - So much to be grateful for

I am grateful for the beautiful red sunlight at sunrise.

I am grateful that we have only smoke and no active fires near us. That is the Continental Divide behind Shyla, and you can barely see it through the smoke.

I am grateful for the breaks from the smoke when we can see gorgeous blue sky over a meadow with an amazing singletrack trail beckoning me to pedal up higher.

I am grateful that fate let me find my wedding ring, which I lost in the forest on an extremely cold day last winter - 7 months ago. Today, I stopped to check a trail cam, and there it was, lying at my feet. I've been wearing a replacement one... but I'm so glad to have the one that the Runner slipped onto my finger all those years ago.

Can you believe that my eyes picked out the ring from the forest duff on the ground?

Lastly, I am grateful for our current Labraduo. As we walked in the forest this evening, my heart swelled with gratitude for this incredible pair.
There was a day when I would've never visualized R as the big brother who guides his fearful sister through life - but that is his role and he fills it perfectly.

There is so much to be grateful for when I pause and think about all the parts of my life!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Colorado's Sole Lighthouse

My favorite part of Colorado is the mountains. I enjoy them every single day.
Shyla and I love playing in full view of the Continental Divide.

I do occasionally miss the ocean, living in land-locked Colorado means that the seaside Labrador romps of our earlier life don't happen. I also thought that we had no lighthouses since we have no coast. I was wrong.

Because today is National Lighthouse Day (much to the delight of Madi and her Mom), I decided on a whim to google whether Colorado has any Lighthouses. Believe it or not, we do! It's by a large reservoir and is the highest lighthouse in the country, sitting at 9017 feet above sea level. It is actually used for navigation on the reservoir. I've never seen it with my own eyes but here is a photo from the web.
I learn something new every day!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Bears Swim, Eat Ants, and Mark Trees at this time of year

The bears endlessly fascinate me throughout the summer (and during the occasional winter when I find an occupied den). Every year in June, they swarm to certain routes lined with bear marking trees for mating season. Then, mating season ends in early July, and they head toward the hyperphagia (eating) phase of the summer when they eat tens of thousands of Calories per day to prepare for entering the den in autumn.

We are now in hyperphagia phase. I've never completely figured out where the bears spent their time in this phase. This year, I have trail cameras in new places where I've seen bear sign to see if I can catch a glimpse of them.

So far, it's been a success. I've learned that they love to swim and bathe at this time of year, one of the hottest times of year. This bear was about to slide into the pond for a swim.

They like to dig for ants at this time of year.

And they even mark trees at this time of year.
I'm guessing that this guy is wandering outside his normal haunts because I don't recognize him. He's a classically handsome black bear, with a brown snout and dark fur.

I made a short video including the footage of them swimming, checking out an anthill, and tree marking.