Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stunning Peacocks

One of the wonderful things of having peafowl is turning a corner and coming across one unexpectedly.

The peacock's bright and unbelievably beautiful plumage stands out like a beacon, the tail newly grown, longer every year.

The wind whips his tail, and I stand in awe of this beautiful bird. And they are more than just beautiful. I love listening to their morning contact calls, and watching them watch the world.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sara Stalks

Saturday was sunny and warm, and seemed the perfect time to get initial control over that barrier to travel, the Himalayan blackberry. I started on the path next to my lower pasture, between the fence and a strip of woods. It's easier to snip them to the ground while they are still in semi-hibernation. In spring and summer I wouldn't want to take a nap near a blackberry patch, for fear of waking in the middle of the stand.

Sara, a kitty who came to me years ago after being dumped at a friend's farm, moved into the bird building during the snows. She has been a totally outside cat since we moved here (her choice), but the snow was too much for her. She hasn't as much as poked her nose out since.

Until today. I left the door open to air out the building, and Sara decided to join me in the woods. She quietly stalked around, re-familiarizing herself with the great outdoors.

And basking in the sun. It was fun having her outside with me again, but she went back in when I declared myself finished with the berries.

There is a surprising amount of snow damage to the trees. Many branches are broken close to the trunks. It seems the trees aren't much more prepared for heavy snow than the people and buildings of this normally mild northern clime.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Colorful Morning

I think it may have to do with the rarity of clear mornings in winter. If there is a beautiful sunrise I must take pictures, and I must share them. I love documenting the movement of the sun, now again heading north.

Monday, February 16, 2009

St. Helen's Sunset

Moss, Ferns and Lichen

I have difficulty getting grass to grow, haven't succeeded with flowers or even bamboo, but I have wonderful moss gardens. Not that I have had much to do with their success...

Millie in the Mist

Resting in the Sun

Is this just a comfortable position, or is 30 F too hot for him? Jesse the clown, enjoying life.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bantam Delights

My Sebright bantams - silvers, golds, and some crosses.

Natural Beauty

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Queen is Dead. Long Live the King.

Ursa December 24, 1994 - February 13, 2009

Ursa was my friend, companion, and protector for nine of her fourteen years. She taught me so much. She continued to do her job until the day she died. When she was unable to sit or stand, she lifted her head and smiled at me with her eyes.

Ursa watched the sun come up and transverse the sky and as it started to set, she crossed the rainbow bridge very peacefully, with me beside her. (Thanks Veryl, for that wonderful sentence!)

She chose a spot with a good view, well protected by her friends. I was able to get her onto a rug, and covered with blankets. We spent the day together, Ursa nobel and uncomplaining as always.

Early in the day a raven landed atop the nearest tree and spent several minutes singing a chortle song. 

Ursa's Last Day

Berna stood watch from the northwest, the back of the house.

Jesse and Charlie watched from the top of the hill.

Even Millie, who was always challenging Ursa's Queen status, stayed by us, guarding from the south.

The geese came by, either to pay tribute, see what was happening, or to steal water. I'm not certain which.

But they spent most of the day nearby.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random Thoughts

Cold night
standing still
watching stars.
Hard to imagine
half a world away
heat, fire and devastation.

Shining Points of Light

Clear and dark night sky
Gibbous moon not yet risen 
Stars in full glory.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Samoyed Reading List

The Samoyed email list SamFans is friendly and helpful. The people are as full of life and love as the dogs they share their lives with. The list is also blessed with the presence of a very talented and funny man, Dave Wiley. We are all waiting for his book of humorous stories to be (written and) published. Dave does sports writing online, and has stories published in Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul. He has kindly agreed to let me share this post.

As always happens on dog lists, someone wrote asking for reading material. Below the question is Dave's response.

I would also love recommendations for Samoyed reading material, if people have any favorite books or websites.

My Sammie's like to read anything by Dr. Suess.  A few of their favorites include - Cat in the hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, and the Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

To generalize, I think as long as you purchase books that rhyme, contain some sort of enemy or edible animal, or food related items, Sammie's will enjoy them.

I also went ahead and laminated the books, since the doggy magazine rack is exposed to the elements.  I tried putting it by the door, but then everyone would forget his/her book and I'd have to let them back in and out.  Then they'd leave the book outside and I'd have to send them back out for it.  It was just too much of a hassle.

Really the hardest part of picking out Samoyed reading material wasn't the content, it was teaching them about the silent E at the end of a word.  I don't have any idea what that is so hard to grasp for a Sammy.

Dave Wiley

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who's Been Walking on MY Path?

I no longer jump for joy at the window when snow starts falling. That wonderful sense of elation ends about the time a person starts driving. However, I am still delighted with many aspects of snow.

As snow starts melting it really takes footprints well. When I started down the hill to feed, I had to run back for my camera. Only in snow is the hill highway so obvious. Big footprints -compare them to the big paw prints! The Peafowl have been on the move.

Peafowl, chickens, and raindrops have all left their marks here.

Aren't these great? Any ideas? These are from my Toulouse geese. They look like the dance step footprints embedded in the sidewalk on Broadway in Seattle.

Some of the responsible parties.

Snow and Snow Dogs

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Another February Morning

As the morning got lighter, it was clear the valley was covered in fog. These clear mornings it's hard to get in the car and drive away.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Morning Dogs

Can we come in?

Welcome, morning. Sun is coming.