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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Shyla Saturday

On one of the last days when the aspen leaves were on the trees, Shyla and I had lots of fun doing photography. I cannot imagine a more cooperative model.

She happily galloped through the aspens, and I happily tried to photograph her. We laughed and had fun! These times with Shyla make me so happy.

Within another 48 hours, the temperature plummeted and the wind blew so hard that many people, including us, lost our power. The leaves all came down from the trees. Then, it snowed enough to stick for more than 24 hours. That marked the end of autumn and the start of winter.

Most years, I am super sad at the end of autumn. This year, I am surprised to find myself looking forward to the darkness and cold - because I need a rest.

We are going to take a short break. Hopefully, this break will give us a chance to catch our breath.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Teeny Tiny plays with his mom in a water hole

Teeny Tiny's mom is a bear who I've followed since she was a cub. It's been cool to see her go from a silly little cub to a caring mother. 

I don't know how she ended up with only one cub this year. It's not ideal because a solo cub has no other cubs to play with. As I've watched the clips of his mother in a water hole with him, I've been so impressed with how she plays with him.

In this video, watch mama bear and her cub interact. It's really fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thankful Thursday

Autumn is ending, although I still have lots of photos of it to share. I am so thankful that I have a little greenhouse. It is filled with plants that would not thrive in our high altitude weather without the warmth of a greenhouse. My absolute favorites are tomatoes. We've been eating greenhouse tomatoes all summer and fall. 

We've also discovered that home grown cucumbers are sweet and amazing! My huge crop (ha ha) has included two cucumbers so far. Growing them was an experiment. I am hoping to improve my yield next year!

Thank goodness, after a full day without power, it just came back on. Otherwise, the 15°F temperature predicted for tonight would have killed everything in the greenhouse. I have a small heater in there to help keep the plants from freezing on the cold nights of autumn.


I am also thankful for the valley that we call "Lone Ponderosa Valley". The Lone Ponderosa is in the upper right of the photo. It is where the ashes of our departed pups are buried. During the spring, summer, and fall, Shyla and I rode there daily. We'd bring a bottle of water to help the Columbine seeds that I planted over the graves last fall. The great news is that the plants are doing beautifully. We'll have blossoms there within a couple of years.

Last, I am thankful for our generous neighbors. This photo is from their land. We truly lucked out when we moved in next to them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

The leaves are falling fast and so is the snow! I'm glad that I visited this spot before winter arrived!


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mountain Lion in Broad Daylight!

Mountain lions took an extended hiatus from my camera sites for the spring and about half of the summer. This was true both at my new and old places. Finally, around mid-summer, a female lion graced two scrape sites quite close to where we used to live.

She came out in daylight on a couple of occasions, showing us her fur and shape in glorious detail. Enjoy the video!

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Hachi Chronicle

We had a very helpful appointment with Hachi's behavioral vet last week. We discussed how to get Hachi veterinary care despite his terrible fear of vets, strangers, and unfamiliar places. While we plan to continue to work on all of the elements of eventually taking Hachi to the vet without being sedated, sedation is the best strategy for now.

The behavioral vet's goal (and ours too) is to figure out a tranquilizing medication that we can give so that he can walk into a vet's office with minimal fear. Then, the vet will rapidly sedate him with an injection to his butt. Of course, we have to figure out the right medications by trial and error.

We tried out the first tranquilizing medication last week. The Runner medicated Hachi. Two hours later, they arrived in the parking lot of our vet, got out, and walked toward the door (all the while, the Runner was giving him yummy treats). Hachi was noticeably less scared than when he did the same thing the previous week without any tranquilizing medications. 

The Runner thought that Hachi would have walked in the door but they didn't do that this week (we are taking teeny tiny steps on this journey). Now, we'll report to our behavioral vet, and she'll probably add in an additional medication so that he's even more relaxed.

In other news, Hachi is doing great with visitors to Lab Valley. He still barks when they first arrive but rapidly calms down. He's gone on walks with a number of visitors over the past couple of weeks. He seemed relaxed!

Hachi is such an intense dog. He's watching me SO carefully so that he can blast toward me when I call him. I love his intensity.  

We love our Hachi.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Black Dog Joy

Winter is here! We knew that it was coming this week with 20° lows forecasted for later in the week. Then, all of a sudden, the forecast showed a low of 26° for tonight! We still need to finish harvesting all of our outdoor garden beds so we went running out into the cold windy darkness to cover the garden with frost blankets. 

I came back inside, cold and tired. There, on my computer screen was a photo of our amazing Black Dog.

Black Dog Joy warmed my heart.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Shyla Saturday

Shyla and I have been reveling in autumn together. I love the colors, and she loves the cooler air. We do our trail ride, stopping frequently for photos.

I love the aspen groves where a range of colors glows. This one had green, golden, and even red leaves! Shyla struck her favorite pose in front of it.

But, most of all, Shyla loves to run. She looks so happy this fall!

Shyla's birthday is in the fall, and she's going to turn 10. It feels like I met her just yesterday so that number seems too high! But, she has come so far partly because she's had so many years to do it. She's reached a point where she loves to have workers around the house. She runs over and greets them like long lost friends whenever she sees them. I am glad that they seem to like her as much as she likes them.

Happy Shyla Saturday!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Teeny Tiny the bear cub is crazy about his toes!

Watching Teeny Tiny via trail cams has been a highlight of the summer and fall for me. He is a hilarious bear!

He's going in the water holes more often now, and he seems enamored with his toes. He is so cute. Check out a video of him and his mom taking baths.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for the autumn glory all around us. The trails and forests in Lab Valley are awing me.

Since moving to Lab Valley, I've been working on laying out trails for mountain biking. For the first part of the spring and summer, I rode with Shyla, just following my nose to figure out the best routes to visit different parts of the land. At the end of the summer, I started putting out trail markers so that I'd always follow the best routes. The trail markers were small flags like surveyors use.

Then, a bear sow started bringing her cub to Lab Valley to eat chokecherries. The cub is playful and whimsical. On the mornings after their visits, some of my surveyor's flags were moved. It was hilarious!

Mama bear with her mischievous cub (in the shadows)

Sadly, most of the chokecherries are eaten now, and Mama bear and her cub have moved onto the next part of their fall feast where ever that may be. I am sad to find my flags in place each morning.

But, the upside is that the trails are truly coming along. I love them!

I am so thankful to live at Lab Valley.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Teeny Tiny, a cub of the year, marks trees like a big bear

Teeny Tiny, probably the son of our biggest bear, Tiny, is a cub who is way ahead of normal in every way. First, he's huge for a cub of the year. That is probably partly genetic and partly due to being a solo cub. Second, he walks with a swagger that is normally seen in only the dominant bears in the forest. Third, he is already marking trees like a big male bear.

Oh, how I wish that we were going to be able to see him grow up. Alas, as a male cub, he'll leave the area next spring to search for a new territory away from his mother and female siblings. We can hope that, somehow, he chooses the Lab Valley locale as his destination. That would be like winning the lottery!

Check out Teeny Tiny marking a tree like a big bear in this video!

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Hachi Chronicle

I took Hachi out on a mountain bike ride. That is one of the amazing gifts of living where we do. There's so much private space that a reactive pup can be off-leash with me!

It was the happiest that I've ever seen Hachi during a solo outing with me. He didn't seem worried. He didn't seem wary. He ran like the wind and with such happiness.

It was a slice of time with Hachi that I used to only dream of.

It's Happy Hachi Day!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Black Dog Joy

As I ride my bike through our glorious autumn world, I am stopped in my tracks by the beauty. These days, the autumn joy makes me look back at other joyful parts of my life.

And, of course, one of them was our Black Dog. As beautiful as can be.

I remember the day that I took this photo so well. It was in the early phases with Hachi in the pack, and his issues were stressing me more than I ever admitted. I took our Black Dog out for a little stroll. We ended up in an aspen grove playing silly little games. For a few minutes, my stress evaporated. Our Black Dog could do that to me.

Black Dog Joy will never leave me.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Shyla Saturday

I must say a huge thank you to commenters who pointed out that chokecherries can be poisonous to dogs after I wrote about Shyla gorging on them. I'd erroneously assumed that chokecherries are fine for dogs because bears and coyotes both eat them. Dogs are in the same family as those animals, which led to my false sense of security. 

Here's an example of a bear scat at this time of year. It is composed almost entirely of chokecherry pits. And it's the biggest black bear scat that I've ever seen! That's my foot next to it.

After your comments alerted me to the danger of chokecherries to dogs, I searched the internet, turning up site after site that said that they could be fatal. I don't know how Shyla dodged that catastrophe despite having poop that looked almost like that bear's. But she did, and I am so grateful for it. Thanks to all of you, we are not allowing her to eat chokecherries anymore. That is a challenge, since the bushes are all over our land but we're managing to do it.

Over the past week, autumn has arrived, and Shyla is here to enjoy it. She loves the cooler weather. She dashes through the aspen groves in a picturesque way that causes me to pull out my camera.

She's healthy and happy. And I am so grateful for that.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Autumn Trees and Autumn Elk Rut

The weather has turned, and it is truly autumn here. The trees are racing toward peak color. And it's been cold and foggy for a couple of days.

A couple of nights ago, both the Runner and I were out getting the garden ready for the cold and for the bear. I was putting frost blankets on our beds, hoping that the frost would not kill everything. The Runner was putting up an electric fence, hoping to deter the bear from eating the whole garden. We both succeeded.

As we worked, we heard the ethereal sound of an elk bugling on the hillside above us. His high pitched bellow echoed off the valley walls. It is the season when elk are busy making calves. One male gathers a group of female elk, and he works so hard to keep them with him and to prevent other bull elk from mating with them. Indeed, a bull elk who successfully keeps a harem with him might not survive the coming winter. He even forgoes eating in his quest.

Bull elk also adorn themselves with mud, grass, and urine to attract the cow elk. That started in late September in two wallows in a side valley near our house. Check out the crazy behavior of the bull elk in a video from very close to our home in Lab Valley.