Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Songs and Spring Flowers (outside)

This delightful little song sparrow has taken up residence right outside my back door. Little bird, big voice.

The Indian Plum is in full bloom - in the snow. This is the earliest blooming of the native plants on my property, and this one is again right outside my back door.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Feathers

Peacocks make such beautiful spring displays. Mating season has begun, and the cocks are doing their best to attract a mate. 

The view less often photographed - but displayed with pride - is from the back. Doesn't he look wonderful?

The hens don't look impressed. One, off camera, is sauntering away.

Spring Flowers

Well, inside spring flowers. I'm so ready for flowers and gardening and warmth and sunshine, and at least I have potted plants to satisfy some of my desires.

I got this Bougainvillea from my mother when she moved to an apartment. This spring it is surpassing itself, brightening the room with its lovely pink flowers. Plants grown outside in warm climates flower much more heavily, but this isn't bad for an indoor plant in a northern clime.

My cactus reliably fill my world with color. They bloom and bloom and bloom.
These flowers are actually much redder than they appear here. It is my favorite cactus. Looks pretty as apricot instead of red too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Raven Song

Sitting beside my dying friend

heart filled with sadness,

I watched a raven fly in

and land atop the nearest tree.

Wings partially outspread 

he sang.

He sang a chortle song

and sang some more.

Then, having honored a dying foe,

he flew away. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Peahen Parade

Wind Song

The power went out this afternoon, so I decided it was a good time to walk down and feed my birds. As I stepped out of the house, and the sound of the wind surrounded me. It was a felt sense as much as a sound, filling the world. Then I heard a crack that out did even the wind song. I turned and watched one of my huge deciduous trees crash down the hill. 

Watching a tree fall is an amazing thing. The power of nature, the power of the wind. Fortunately no one was in or near it, although Charlie was headed that direction. He looked at me and we shared a moment of awe.

The power came back on in about half an hour (thankfully!) and when I went back outside it was sunny and calm. Now it's snowing. The weirdness of this winter. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beautiful Pre-Spring Morning

When I stepped out the back door to let the dogs out, the full moon was just setting through the trees, as dawn was breaking.

As the sky lightened, Mt. Rainier stood out against the pale sky.

Trying out my new zoom lens on Mt. St. Helens, against the soft apricot morning sky.

Here's St. Helens at "normal" size, with the surrounding foothills. These lovely mornings take my breath away.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Eagle Tales

There is a wonderful series of eagle photos circulating through email and the web. A photographer caught two Bald Eagles trying to catch a duck, ending up fighting each other, and one of them being stunned, dropping into the water. Great photos, telling an interesting story about life on the wing. The earliest posting I've seen of these photos on the web is at NewsCannel 10 Viewer, with author listed as Randy Elms. I hope that's correct - these are stunning photos with well written commentary, and the photographer/author deserves full credit.

While hunting down a reliable source for the eagle aerial combat photos I came across a home video posted on by gmelhaff showing two eagles harassing and eventually catching  another hapless duck. It does make you realize the life of a duck isn't such a safe one! 

It's amazing to think that not all that long ago Bald Eagles where endangered, and now within a month there are two wonderful series of photos taken by folks in residential areas of eagles living their lives in the lower 48.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Dog and The Goose

Mornings can be interesting.

I had tossed out some chicken drumsticks for Charlie (his favorite food - the dog who guards chickens, go figure), when the geese came over and tried to steal a piece right out of Charlie's mouth. Now, this is wrong on so many levels I just stood and stared. I thought my geese were basically vegetarians and here they were stealing meat, and geese - big birds, but very small for dogs - trying to take food out of a Pyr's mouth. One was grabbing for the food, the other pulling Charlie's hair right at that tender spot in front of the hind leg.

Charlie had enough of that. He dropped the chicken leg, turned and grabbed the goose causing him pain. That big goose half disappeared inside Charlie's mouth. The sounds were deafening: Charlie was roaring, the geese were making loud goose noises. I stood dumbly, just watching. Charlie turned back, grabbed his food, crunched loudly and swallowed. The goose shook himself, put his beak up in the air and complained noisily. Chickens stared, waiting, I'm sure, for someone to drop food.

No wonder Charlie runs through the geese whenever he gets a chance. Obviously it hasn't made them afraid of him. 

The goose? He wasn't even wet. 

Friday, March 06, 2009

Long Suffering Dogs

This is Jesse's crate. He likes to sleep in it. I often find him in it during the day, or when I come home from work. He likes his crate.

So do the chickens. I've shown them sheltering from snow and rain inside, but I didn't realize until yesterday that they are also using Jesse's crate as a nest. Chickens are not great respecters of personal space.

I have to say, it's handy. The crate isn't too far from my front door. I could walk out in the morning and collect breakfast. 

Not sure what Jesse thinks of it. However, the eggs are still there. Both he and Charlie love eggs, so I'm grateful they haven't done my collecting for me.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who's Messing with MY Sheep?

Life is all about choices. Our choices, in many ways, define us. Charlie recently made a choice that defines working LGDs.

It's axiomatic that, given an open gate, a Pyr will go through it.

My hay supplier has a buyer for rams, and knowing I had a few extras, came by to help me catch them so he could sell them for me. Guardian dogs aren't very useful when you are trying to catch sheep, and given that I had to open my double gates for my neighbor's rig, I shut Charlie into my lower building. We had caught and sequestered 3 of the 4 rams and were about to catch the 4th when a large white dog made his presence known. Charlie had opened the double garage door - which is right next to those double gates - and slipped into the much further away paddock to see what the heck we were doing to HIS sheep. The young man doing the catching and heavy lifting looked down and said, "that's a DOG? I thought it was a sheep!" Heck no, my sheep are much smaller than my dog.

We managed to get the last ram into the truck before Charlie figured out what we were up to, and I got us out and him locked into the paddock so we could get the truck out and the gates closed.

Charlie got special treats for dinner. What a good boy. Well, I'm not so thrilled he knows how to open my big garage door, but I'm glad he made for the sheep rather than darting through the gates to patrol the perimeter of the property, as he is wont to do. I guess he only does that when there isn't something more pressing at hand - like people messing with his sheep.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Art News

Today I learned of two wonderful art-related events from two great friends.

Veryl in Hawaii finished a stunningly drop-dead beautiful quilt. No words can describe this, it is gorgeous. Don't take my word for it - see for yourself: Fiber in Paradise, Starry Skies. While you're there scroll down to take a look at other wonderful fiber arts she's created, the masks Glenn made, and the beautiful plants they live with.

Kerin in Oregon just got a book deal! She's another great artist, specializing in found object art - transforming found items into amazing works of art. The book deal is announced here Remnants of Olde, Book 'em Danno, but take a look around the web site at the creatively beautify art. Some of it's for sale at the Remnants Etsy Shop. I love the flying raven. Heck, I love it all.