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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Shyla Saturday

After a rough start to life, Shyla has reached a confidence level that makes me smile. She eagerly greets our contractors at the door, - and and she wins their hearts almost right away. She often brings them a toy as a welcome gift as they come through the door. Then, she stays nearby while they are here. 

As a young dog, she was much too terrified of strangers to even go near them. Seeing how she's changed over time is heartwarming.

What a sweet and wonderful dog Shyla is. Happy Shyla Saturday!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Feline and Nature Friday - Part 2 of "A Mountain Lion Scrape in 2020"

Last week, I shared a video of a very active mountain lion scrape. It ended with a female caterwauling at the scrape, trying to call in a mate. Many of you said that you were so curious to see how her vocalizing efforts worked.

This video picks up at that point, and the ending is super exciting!

Enjoy the video!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for this vision that has become reality. It's such a serene spot with the mountains watching over us. While there's lots to do to make the house suitable for us to live there full time, the setting is what stole our hearts.

Shyla is just as happy about it. This is her at sunrise on the ridge above the house.

Believe it or not, this was the first place that we'd even looked at an online listing for. The Runner found it, and he confidently told me that he'd found our new home. He was right. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

Here's what I saw during an early morning roll out from our Lab Valley house the other morning.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Moose voices during the rut

It is no secret that I am barely keeping up with things these days. With the remodeling of the new house and the traveling back and forth, I am overwhelmed. Add needing to apply for permits for future work to the list of why I'm overwhelmed.

That has extended to my trail cam work. I just recently discovered some footage from October that made me smile. It was from a cam that is pointed at a mountain lion scrape. However, our moose took it over in October during their mating season.

On one day in particular, they spent a lot of the day deep in the pine forest where lions like to leave their scent. I guess that moose have nothing to fear from mountain lions so they can hang out there without worrying.

The cool part of their behavior was their voices. The bull moose whined and sang with such a high voice that it was hard to believe that such a huge animal was making the sound.

Check out the video and keep your sound on!

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi's week had a not-so-great part and then a much better part. The reason was that we spent time at our old place and then at our new place. At our old place, the number of people on the trails has skyrocketed, and we were frequently meeting people. Some of them were wonderful people who we were glad to see and some of them were not-so-pleasant people.

Hachi's worst moment was when a person suddenly appeared around a blind curve in the trail during our evening hike. The person was well within Hachi's fear threshold - which means that Hachi was terrified. Then, this person kept striding straight at us even though Hachi was barking and lunging wildly. As this was happening, I was trying to get Hachi off the trail and far enough away that he could handle seeing an unfriendly person (he absolutely recognizes the difference between friendly and unfriendly people). The person got so close that it scared me but at least we managed to get out of his path. The icing on the cake was when the person snickered at us. - That incident replayed in my mind for days afterwards.

Fortunately, during a break in remodeling of our new place, we were able to go to Lab Valley for the end of the week. The peace and tranquility of Lab Valley is like balm to the soul. It is where we belong, and I cannot wait to be there all the time!

Hachi is a different dog at Lab Valley. He relaxes. No one seems threatening, and he can frolic happily.

We love our Hachi like crazy. He had a very bad start to life, and overcoming it is a huge challenge. He has made big progress, and I think that it will zoom forward when this transitional phase is over.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Black Dog Sunday

 From last winter...

Our Black Dog and I had a fun little outing during a snow storm. He was so happy just to be out having a little play time with me. 

On that day, like many others, he showed me that he never wept over what he couldn't do. Rather, he embraced what fun things he could do. We had such fun that day!

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Shyla Silhouette Saturday

A cloudy day with just a sliver of horizon visible is perfect for a brilliant sunrise. As I drank my coffee in the pre-dawn light, I saw the glow from the horizon. I dressed quickly so that Shyla and I would not miss it. We pedaled to a good viewpoint, and Shyla pointed her snout toward the sky. What a glorious sight.


As she howled, for the first time ever, a coyote answered her. They went back and forth a couple of times with Shyla looking shocked by his voice each time.

It was appropriate because I call this boulder "Coyote Rock" after a coyote who I saw on top of it years ago.

What a wonderful morning out in the forest with my muse, Shyla. Happy Shyla Saturday.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Feline and Nature Friday: Six months at a mountain lion scrape - males marking and females caterwauling

There's a spot in the forest on the edge of a meadow where mountain lions leave their scent. It was a very active place over the past year. Not only did the male lions "scrape" to mark their territory but a female desperately searched for a mate at this site. She was a vocal lion, trying to call in a male.

Here is video from six months at that mountain lion scrape. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Thankful Thursday

After the day that we had yesterday, I am grateful for the simple things that can be found out in Nature.

The morning's golden light never ceases to wow me and Shyla. And the peace of sunrise is a welcome break from the rest of life.

I am thankful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

Shyla at Sunrise

Sunset over Lab Valley


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Part 2 - Life within the Elk Herd during the Rut

The elk rut happens when the world is still somewhat warm, and life is easy for the elk. Since it was warm during the rut, the elk love ponds. While the bull elk is so serious about the rut, the younger elk still want to play. Sometimes they play in the pond and sometimes near the pond.

Today's video is from a pond almost adjacent to the one from last week's video. However, the tone within the herd was quite different. The bull elk was standing in the water banging the water, kicking the water, and then destroying a bush with his antlers. Meanwhile, the females and calves were chasing each other, seemingly swirling around the rest of the herd. I found it to be mesmerizing to watch the whole scene.

Check out the video if you have time.

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Hachi Chronicle

Happy Hachi!


This was another good week for Hachi. He loves Labrador Valley so much. Running like this a couple of times a day helps him to relax.

We made an interesting observation this week. While we were out on a hike, Shyla paused to pee. Hachi attempted to tackle her to start a wrestling match at that instant. Shyla was not pleased. She barked out two serious barks. Hachi backed away, waited for Shyla, and then they played. That showed me that Shyla can tell Hachi when he's out of line without him getting aggressive. I was previously pretty sure that Shyla could correct Hachi without him over-reacting but it was super to see it with our own eyes.

Hachi's history of resource guarding has made us very nervous about using any treats for training when Shyla is present. Unfortunately, the result of not using treats was that their recalls were getting weak. Over the past two weeks, we've reintroduced cheese for recalls when they are romping together. Our routine is that the Runner calls Hachi first, and gives him cheese when he arrives. Then, the Runner keeps Hachi while I call Shyla and give her a cheese reward. It has worked beautifully, and both of them are coming when called about a million times more enthusiastically. We are not seeing any signs of Hachi being upset about Shyla getting treats. We are so pleased!

We are so happy with how Hachi is doing. When we finally can live at Lab Valley without going back and forth due to construction, this is going to be a happy pack!


Happy Hachi Monday!

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog loved the snow. He galloped through this 2' of fresh snow last winter. He was so happy to be out in it.

He also adored when the snow got packed down, melted a bit and then refroze. It would reach a perfect texture that only he could judge. When it did, he'd throw himself onto the ground, roll onto his back, and wriggle on the snow. 

He loved doing this so much when the conditions were right that it was almost impossible to cover any distance on a hike. All that he wanted to do was wriggle! The only time when he refused to wriggle was if I tried to photograph him. He'd leap to his feet and act as if he hadn't been doing anything at all.

What a joyful dog he was.

Happy Black Dog Sunday! His relentless optimism and hope is a good attitude to imitate.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Shyla Saturday

The morning dawned cloudy but with a glow burning from the eastern horizon. That often means that it will be a beautiful sunrise. 

My mind was spinning, trying to think of where I could shoot a silhouette photo of Shyla in Labrador Valley. It was one of those moments when figuring out every little thing about our new place felt overwhelming. I almost gave up and stayed inside.

But, if you don't try, you never learn. When I'm not in a sleep-fog, I can get excited about figuring out all of the new things. In retrospect, I am very excited about it.

We did finally sprint out the door to try to find a spot where we could see the sunrise before it was over. After a wildly exhausting gallop up a steep hill, we did. It's not the perfect spot yet but it was good!

It occasionally crosses my mind that I have no idea how I'll function when Shyla cannot do these small adventures with me. Then, I push that thought out of my mind and enjoy that she can do them today.

I am thankful for sweet Shyla being by my side.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year

Early in 2020, I saw this view at sunset. It looked ominous with the fire-like glow on the horizon, perhaps portending how our world was about to change.

Although we had tough times in 2020 both individually and as a society, there were moments of great beauty.

Comet Neowise was a wonderful surprise of 2020. We had such fun watching it. On one of our outings to a mountain lake to watch it, we took R with us (and left the others at home) as a special treat for him and us. I am so glad that we did. In a sense, it was one last adventure with him.

I am sure that 2021 will hold both wonder and sadness like most years do. I hope that wonder wins in our hearts.

Happy New Year.