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Posts tagged “nature

Eerie

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Neena

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Neena was the first to hear it and let slip a warning growl; a low rumble that started softly and built quickly into a “back off” bark that meant business. In the still seconds before the other dogs sounded their alarm I heard it too: the distant shrill yip of dancing coyotes. Immediately Hazer followed Neena’s lead, leaping to his feet, moving toward my bed and barking ferociously while Gus howled an alarm from his crate in the living room. It’s an eerie sound to hear at 4 o’clock on a crisp fall morning. The pack must have been pretty close for humans to hear them through our closed windows. I lay there thinking about the horses. Coyotes aren’t a real threat to a small herd of healthy equines. But still. And while the sound of yipping coyotes can seem a bit creepy, I can’t help picturing them dancing and playing in the moonlight or running and cavorting through dewy fields and mossy woods. That’s not a frightening vision at all.

The coyotes and dogs carried on for the better part of twenty minutes. There was no stopping them.  Neena didn’t seem to carry on very much, but the boys were thoroughly caught up in the vocal chorus. Gus was especially reluctant to quiet down and continued to bark and growl for some time after the interlopers had moved on. Our first fall serenade.


Moving On

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Psalm 77 by David Nevue

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I generally don’t make a fuss over New Year resolutions. I may reflect a bit on events that occurred over the last year and think a bit about some things that I might want to strive to change. But I don’t get too worked up about the stuff that didn’t live up to my expectations or make any grandiose announcements.

I made some good progress with Dharla this year. I’m very glad that I decided to bite the bullet and get some professional training for her. While I miss having her at home, she’s not far away and I still see (and often ride) her every day. It’s been a great experience being at a bigger barn. I’ve met some very nice people and I’m learning a lot of really good stuff. Sometimes I feel a bit pulled in different directions.  I still have the responsibility of caring for the animals here at home, but so far I’ve been managing to divide my time and attention equally. And it’s not forever. I expect I’ll bring Dharla back home come early spring.

I fulfilled a year’s commitment with an online nutrition program. While it’s sad to see that come to a close, I’m anxious to get back to doing things on my own. I’ve never been much of a group joiner, though I made an exception for this program because I felt it was important to experience the program from the inside before I recommend it to others. I got some good ideas and tips on food prep and meal planning that I’ll probably continue to use on my own. I can’t say enough about Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program. It’s not cheap to do, but I saw firsthand via my own group of 150 or so members that it’s a life-altering approach to exercise and nutrition. Now I need to get cracking and get my own Precision Nutrition certification done. This winter should be a good time to hit the books and do it!

This year was a (fairly) healthy one. No eye surgeries or other major health issues, which was certainly  a welcome change. We started the year off with the loss of my father in-law, but as sad as that was we’ve  managed to get through all the “firsts” without Pop and survive. In early spring I had a very dear friend lose his home and entire life belongings in the Colorado Black Forest fire, and I experienced the helplessness of not being able to offer much more than an ear to bend when the burden became too heavy.

The animals have stayed healthy and grown a year older. Gus continues to tickle my funny bone daily, and at age 9 the cow dogs are still as energetic as ever! I closed the year by adding another horse to our small herd of horses. Rascal continues to impress with his easy-going nature, and I’m eagerly looking forward to getting out on the trail with him this spring. After all, it IS the year of the Horse!

Word has it we’re supposed to get socked in with another snow storm tomorrow. Time to hunker down and knit!

I hope everyone has a healthy, safe New Year!


Layers

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Like most things in life, nature has many layers. Sometimes things seem straightforward and uncomplicated while at other times more like a mosaic of twists and turns. This fungus, with it’s many layers of color and texture, was quite an interesting discovery. It appeared soft and velvety, slightly fuzzy from a distance, but upon closer inspection I found it  rather slimy, and not nearly as inviting to touch as it looked.


Balance

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Certainly not my best effort, but I get a kick out of the symmetry of the Great Blue Heron and it’s reflection in the pond.


Hanging Out

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This was quite possibly one of the largest webs I’ve ever shot, and it was a bonus that the architect happened to be home. The weather has switched back to hot and humid. That means some early morning fog, which can make for some interesting photos.

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Motherhood

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In nature, motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes. While not my favorite, this mom stuck around for hours after her brood hatched, watching over them. And it was quite a brood!


Get Down

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I’m inclined to want to search the trees for hawks to photograph, but occasionally it pays to look down. I found this little salamander making his way across the back yard one drizzly, humid day last week so I focused on him instead.


Twice As Nice

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Not only are the butterflies visiting in droves, the re-blooming lilac is living up to it’s name! That’s a win-win for them and me!


Channeling Mom

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Every couple of years we get a pair of hawks that mate and nest somewhere close to our property. Two years ago a striking pair of hawks raised their young in the woods across the street. This year, they picked a big old white pine out behind our new barn and built their nest in the crotch of the tree. There’s always lots of activity when the young are being raised, but it’s nothing compared to the racket once the chicks have fledged. Apparently, like teenagers today, the juvenile hawks stick around for the summer and harass their parents into feeding them. They chase their folks from tree to tree, calling out pathetically for morsels of food and parental attention. The result is four loud, frantic, very large birds flitting from tree to tree all day long. At first I thought it was pretty cool. No matter what time of day I stepped out I was likely to find one or more hawks perched on a low branch nearby, screeching back and forth to each other. But that was back when we were in the throes of a heat wave, when all my windows were closed, the air conditioning was on and I was spending as little time as possible outdoors. Now the heat and humidity have moved on and I’m trying like crazy to get caught up on the gardening and lawn projects that got shelved during the heat. To say the hawks are distracting is a mild understatement. I’m torn between throwing down my gardening tools and bolting for my camera or grabbing ear plugs. I thought it would be easy to capture a few photos of the family, but so far I’ve traipsed all over tarnation and I’ve had very little success. A few days ago we had a grey, misty morning and as luck would have it, I heard one of the youngsters calling plaintively from the willow tree out back. I grabbed my camera and tripod and holding my breath, crept out the basement door. Would the hawk sit still long enough for me to fire off a couple of frames? Barely, but this is one of three photos I got. I would have liked a few seconds more to really get the camera better focused, but it wasn’t to be. Young hawks are especially leery of people and it didn’t stick around long enough for me to make any corrections. Better luck next time I guess!

Note: I don’t know why, but you have to click on a photo now to see better resolution. Anyone know what’s up with that? Annoying …..


Amazing Graze

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Horses live for the green grass of summer. Unfortunately, it’s been so muggy and buggy that they haven’t spent much time in the pasture. They venture down between rain storms and graze for maybe an hour or so, then head for the shelter of the loafing shed. I feel a little sorry for them. I know they’d much rather be out grazing instead of hovering around the barn. But with bugs the size of a small dog I can’t blame them for giving up. I’d like to think it will get better soon, but the weather pattern has set the stage for a very buggy second half of the summer, and it will probably continue well into the fall. Oh well. Better luck next year!