Wednesday, November 29, 2006

St Helens Steams

It's hard to see (I so need a better camera), but there's a steam plume in the center of St Helens, adding interest to the shades-of-gray winter's day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snowy Sunrise

Monday, November 27, 2006

Why Working Dogs Have Double Coats

Ursa's lovely warm coat keeps all her body heat inside, not outside melting snow. The red lump on her jaw is a non-cancerous tumor. At 11 we weren't willing to put her through the surgery to remove it. She enjoys every day of her life, in spite of the tumor and serious arthritis. Posted by Picasa

Snow Dogs

What? There's work to be done. I need to check on the birds! Posted by Picasa

It's Snowing!

Let's go play!
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Winter Protection

The dog at the bottom of the picture is lying in a hole. His chin is resting on the surface, the rest of him is almost level with the ground. It is raining.

I'm not sure why a self-dug low spot out in the open is better protection in wind and rain than a covered shelter with a raised platform and a soft, warm blanket, but Tor obviously thinks it is.
 Posted by Picasa

Doggie Dilema

Sometimes a dog just doesn't know what to do. I love watching dogs figure out how to solve problems; I just wish I always had a camera on hand.

Ursa, the 11 year old Caucasian Ovtcharka, loves to guard her food. She eats slowly so she'll have a plate full of food when everyone else has finished eating. She growls and snarls her superiority, protecting that food from all canine predators.

Until I put on my jacket to go outside. Now she has a problem. She's hungry, having barely eaten a kibble, she has a dish full of food, she wants to go outside, but there are dogs who will be left inside - with the full food dish. She looks at me - I'm obviously not going to wait for her to eat. She looks at the other dogs - they obviously can't wait for her to leave her food. She looks at her dish - and picks it up, not spilling a kibble, smiling hugely with her eyes, and joins me outside. She takes her dish down the stairs and to her favorite outside hole, sets it down gently - again not spilling anything - looks at me once more, lays down and eats. Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Sound of Winter

Winter. Rain, wind, mud, cold. It's difficult to adjust to winter weather after the glories of summer. I find myself reluctant to leave the house, not wanting to face the rain and wind. Once I'm out I feel invigorated, alive - the reality is much better than the expectation.

After redigging a trench around my outbuilding, I decide I need a change in attitude. I walk to the top of the hill and stand overlooking the valley, looking for what is good and special about a stormy winter's day.

And sounds come to me. Amazingly loud, but so pervasive they can be ignored. The fir tree is a full-bodied baritone. The maples are tenors. Leaves clap and small tree trunks beat a syncopated percussion. The world sings the song of the wind, each element in its own voice. Ravens fly by, adding a deep, rough accent note. Higher in the sky hawks soar, effortlessly riding powerful currents. The clouds look like sand patterned by waves.

The wind rushing past my face has crossed an ocean, rustled palm trees in Hawaii, teased white caps off of Pacific waves. Where will it stop? Does this wind move tropical air up to the arctic? How long does the journey take? In another month or two it will march back south, bringing cold, crystal clear days and icy nights.

This world is a wondrous place. I turn my back to the wind and return to my warm house.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The sun overwhelms the clouds, streaking down to earth. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Winged Migration

What a movie. I watched it with longing in my heart and tears on my face. I yearn to take off with my fellows and head north, to fly high above the land and sea, watching the world from on high. Flying in formation, aware of wind and wing. Floating on a river, bathing, searching for food. Flying, calling, feeling the pull of the north, watching the signs on the way. Following always the path. Again.