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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - Dwindling Autumn

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mother and bobcat kittens PLAY - Part 2

This is part 2 of that wonderful play session by the bobcat family. I showed you Part 1 a week ago.

You can watch the video here or at Youtube. Enjoy!

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi's first autumn was fun. He loved running in the golden aspens!

His recall is getting stronger and stronger. He runs so hard when we call him. Practicing recalls is so much fun.

It's pretty rare that he runs to us in a mellow way, like in this photo. Usually, it's full speed ahead!
I've never previously had a dog who engendered such conflicting feelings in me. When I am alone with Hachi or I watch him play outdoors with Shyla, my heart is filled with love. When I see him afraid of something, my heart is filled with empathy and love. But, when he turns an angry eye at R, I feel angry at him. I know that showing my anger won't help and will likely hurt so I hide it... but that feeling is inside me.

One person commented that, someday, Hachi's "issues" will seem like a distant faded memory. I hope so!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

I had some time outdoors with the Labraduo before the golden leaves fell. We played silly games.

I tell them that they can launch the treats with their release word. Usually, Shyla moves first but R beat her this time.

I know that R can't see little treats moving fast but he has the routine hardwired - flip the treats, tilt nose upward, and open mouth. He still occasionally catches one.

And they both look equally crazy as the treats fall around them.
I need to get out with the Duo more often. They adore each other, and their fun-loving spirits make me smile. I feel so lucky to have this pair in my life.

Happy Black Dog Sunday.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Shyla Silhouette Saturday

On one recent evening walk, I saw the sky lighting up to our south, which is a cue that I may be able to get good silhouette photos of Shyla. We have a few favorite boulders for silhouettes. All that I do is take Shyla to the base of a Boulder and say "go, go". She climbs up to the top and then does what she wants.

My job is simple. Get the exposure right and wait for my beautiful girl to do something photogenic. She rarely lets me down.
This is a classic example of how rotating your camera to make the frame be vertical can improve an image a lot!

I love my Shyla. I'd be lost without her. No need to think about that.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Nature Friday

During a very long mountain bike ride this summer, I spotted this beautiful Columbine standing guard next to the trail.
It never ceases to amaze me that such delicate looking flowers can survive the high winds, hail, and torrential downpours at the highest reaches of the Rockies. I think that their toughness combined with their beauty is what makes me love them so much.

Thanks to the LLB gang for hosting Nature Friday.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Thankful Thursday - For the Stars in the Sky

I love the zillions of stars int he sky. And I love our galaxy, the Milky Way.

This was an interesting evening this summer. We were down in the San Juan mountains, and we stopped quite close to the road to sleep for the evening. A group was camping nearby.

I set up to photograph the Milky Way when the group lit a campfire and turned on lanterns around their campsite

I had no idea that their campsite would look like a wildfire later.
And, there's a shooting star just to the right of the Milky Way, looking like it's going to land in their campsite.

I m thankful for every one of those stars!

Thanks to Brian for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Mother bobcat plays with her kittens - Part 1!

A cam had a very nice surprise for us. My first view was a kitten leaping up a tree (upper right of photo).

Mom showed up soon thereafter, and the kitten came down to meet her. The second kitten leaped into the scene too - and the three rolled around together.

The smaller kitten wandered off at some point. Mom kept playing with the other kitten.

The video is more fun than the still photos. Check it out if you have time. To keep it shorter, I split the bobcats' play session into two parts. Today is Part 1. The second part will be coming soon.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi certainly is capable of looking dubious. His side-eye is wicked.
I loved the time that I had with him out in the golden aspens. We've worked very hard at his training for stays and recalls, and it showed! He's a smart and obedient dog. His issues all revolve around fear.

His ability to recover from being worried continues to grow - this one was from just after the "side-eye" worried one. Thanks to those of you who pointed out that recovery ability is a sign that things are going in the right direction!
Hachi will be turning one year old this week. Happy Birthday, little guy!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Black Dog Sunday - Birthday Edition

Our Black Dog is about to turn twelve but he still looks so much like a puppy to me. I remember the day that he arrived in a crate after a long trip. He was covered in poop - because he couldn't hold it in the crate. It was December, and he was wet and freezing. The Runner was driving so I took our puppy and put him inside my winter jacket, keeping him warm.
One day of poop being inside my jacket (plus an incredibly cute puppy) was well worth all these years of love.

Happy Birthday to our wonderful, lovable, zany, and loyal Black Dog!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Shyla Saturday - She Loves Autumn!

Shyla is happiest when the weather starts to cool down in autumn. The brisk air makes her smile and frolic.
Autumn is always a little sad for me because my favorite part of the year is ending. The bears, the most colorful personalities among our wildlife, are going to sleep. And riding my bike becomes much harder in the deep snow. But - Shyla's happy attitude keeps me smiling too!

She howls among the golden aspens to announce her joy!
I love Shyla Saturdays because I love my girl so much!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Nature Friday - Mountain Wildflowers

As it is getting COLD here, I have more time to spend with my computer and the flower images that I took this summer.

It was a brilliant summer in terms of wildflowers in the Rockies. I have never seen them so vibrant before this year. We carved out some time to spend up in the mountains, and the flowers lining the trails reminded me of a Monet painting as I glided past them.

For me, the craggy mountains in the background make the flowers even more beautiful. The days that I spend among those flowers with my pack are the very best of the year. I know as they are happening, and I try to savor every instant.
In past summers, I've take a lot of "macro" style flower photos. This year, my aim was to take photos that didn't show just one flower but instead showed the flowers within their home environment. I still have a lot of room for improvement but it was a fun project!

Thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Nature Friday blog hop.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Setting Moon

On the day of a recent full moon, I got out of bed at O'DarkHundred to ride my mountain bike to a spot where I could see the moon set over the Continental Divide.

It was glorious to see.
The sky was purple-tinted due to a faraway volcano erupting and spewing particles into the air. Our skies have been purplish at dusk and dawn since August. It's amazing to see!

The moon wasn't positioned where I hoped, over our most dramatic peaks. I believe that it will set in the perfect spot in December.  It should be in the center of peaks behind Shyla in the next photo in December.
I have my fingers crossed for a clear dawn in December. I know that it will be cold!!!!

I am so thankful for all of the beauty around us. It keeps me going even during difficult times.

Thanks to Brian for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A gorgeous mountain lion sniffs a scent post

A mountain lion visited an area where there is a long line of scrapes left by previous mountain lions. It's an astounding place, with about 20 yards of innumerable scrapes left by generations of lions.

It is not surprising that lions are obsessed with the scents in this area. In these photos, he was standing over old scrapes - but he was sniffing the air and a branch hanging down barely into the frame.

Then, he walked forward and left his own scrape just barely out of view of the camera. That's the problem with an area visited so often by lions - you can't be sure exactly where they will choose to scrape.

In any case, I was thrilled to get such a good look at this extremely muscular and healthy lion. I don't know if he's our new top tom cat (remember that our tom cat was killed by a home owner last winter)  - because it appears to me as if the lines between territories may be being re-written. This guy may be the new top cat for the part of the territory to our west, and the part to our east is still being squabbled over. Time will tell...

This video is quite short but let's you see what a beautiful specimen this cat is!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

I've been spending some time outdoors alone with Hachi, having realized that he's really nervous when the Duo isn't with him. I did do solo walks with him throughout his puppyhood but it seems that his fear of being the only canine has grown anyway.

On one of these outings, we found where the rising sun hits the drying grass on our land. Hachi is already amazingly well behaved when I want to take photos of him. He understands "stay" really well, and he swivels his head around as things (or smells) catch his attention. This head-swiveling is called "hypervigilance" by his behavioral vet - it's a symptom of his anxiety but it also makes for nice photos.

Then, a smell caught his attention. When we walked away from this spot, I saw 6 deer fleeing just upwind of this spot. Hachi was so good to stay!

This week, the vet increased one of Hachi's short-acting anti-anxiety meds. We humans think that Hachi generally seems calmer. However, I have seen more incidents than usual of Hachi acting aggressive toward R. Increased aggression is a side-effect of this med so we'll have to keep an eye on this tradeoff. It's interesting to realize that aggression is controlled chemically - it makes me less upset with Hachi himself when he's aggressive, and it makes me more hopeful that we can get his chemistry right someday.

I am feeling more patience about this process this week. We have the management side of the equation (i.e., keeping R safe) working well so it's okay if Hachi's behavior backslides a little as we try out new meds.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog is into walking and running again. He took it easy for a few days while a med for pain kicked in. Then, he started wanting to run again.

We, and especially the Runner, are so happy about this change.

Our vet has known our goofball Black Dog since he was 8 weeks old. That meant that she could zero in on the aspects of him that seemed to have changed over time. We really believe in the value of having a good long-term vet. Our vet has been through so many ups and downs with us that she feels like a part of the family.
This crazy looking guy just keeps bouncing back, much to our delight.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Shyla Saturday

Shyla's incredible transformation over the time that we've known her (7 years) inspires me to believe that Hachi will eventually come as far as she has.

Here are a few examples. Shyla is my photographic subject almost every day. There's nothing that I love more than capturing a dog galloping powerfully.

She is usually so excited to play the "games" involved with my photography but sometimes she gets bored. Due to her much increased confidence, she now sometimes modifies the game herself to make it more fun. In this case, she got tired of doing recalls so she turned the game into fetch. Of course, I joined in - I love that she has the courage to take initiative!

I love simply letting her choose what she wants to do when I set up to take her photo. Early this summer, she started wanting to bark or howl for the camera. So, I went with it. It seems like letting her be the leader helps her feel so much more confident!
That was the sky before the storm front hit. It did snow, the wind did howl, and it was so cold that Raynaud's Syndrome made me cry in pain over my white and frozen fingers. But, my Shyla licked my face and helped me to get through the freeze (the first is always the hardest).

Shyla has become the best friend that I could ever ask for.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Feline Friday - The bobcat family encounters a moose

The bobcat family - mom, one big kitten, and one little kitten - arrived at a dried up water hole where we've seen them before.

Mom went directly to exactly the same patch of grass where she went last time. Last time, I thought (probably wrongly) that she was licking water from the grass. This time, it was clear that you all were right that she was eating the grass. It must be tasty!
Also, the general behavior of the two kittens is shown here. The big one is independent while the smaller one stays very close to mom.

Suddenly, mom was alert to something beyond our view. The bigger kitten seemed to have heard it earlier than she did, and he had sprinted away.

It turned out to be something MUCH bigger than them - a moose! The bobcats acted very scared and disappeared in a hurry.

Check out the video of the bobcat family if you have time!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thankful Thursday

Today was warm and sunny. I rode my bike in shorts, soaking up the warm sun on my skin. As I pedaled through meadows, grass hoppers popped out of the golden grass in front of me. It was a glorious fall day.

Now, the thermometer is plummeting. It will be frigid tomorrow, with a high temperature of 22°F and a low of 12°F. And, it's going to snow. Winter is arriving in a polar blast!

We spent the late afternoon preparing the garden for the arrival of winter - harvesting all of the remaining crops and draining hoses. My new greenhouse, which was ready for business around the third week in July, produced a surprising quantity of tomatoes given how short its season was. I am excited for a full season next year.

Today, I am grateful for the beautiful autumn that we've had.

Shyla and I had a zen-like autumn of morning mountain bike rides. She was full of zest, and she made me smile every day.

I am holding out a tiny bit of hope that some leaves will still be on the trees when this arctic blast is over but it's probably not realistic.

This path is leading to winter, although there surely will be more warm days coming our way before we reach a state of permanent freeze.
I am thankful for the beauty of the season that is passing and for all of the fun that I had with Shyla this fall.

And, thank you to Brian for hosting the blog hop.