Friday, December 31, 2010

The Sunny End

The last day of 2010 was sunny and cold, crisp and clear. I love the mountains in this weather. These photos were taken from the road to my place.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Zander On Guard

Learning the ropes. A very serious Zander sits where he can see clearly, and checks each direction regularly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Cactus

I know, I post lots of pics of my cacti - but they are so beautiful, and they bloom so frequently, it only seems right.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


A very old soul resides behind those eyes

Zander and Hannah - best buds

Not so much with Trey

Being Beautiful

Friday, December 24, 2010


Millie continues to improve her shelter and it's surroundings.

Under the Clouds

Sunday, December 19, 2010

More Zander

Zander, contented with his day's work.

More Millie

Millie is very happy to again have her room with a view.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Moon and Mountain

I love the winter moon, particularly wonderful because it has been so cloudy lately.

A closer view of the nearly-full moon.

And a closer view of Mt Rainier behind the trees.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Possible Dream (moving hay #2)

Keep in mind as you read this and look at the pictures: we have had an amazing amount of rain, over a long period of time. My clay ground has lost it's integrity. This level of mud is not normal here, even in winter. The worst part of this mud is that it is clay. As you step into it, it surrounds your foot and holds tight. To move one must be completely present, aware of each foot, the mud, and the suction. The angle required to let air in and release the boot so it rises with the foot.

The hay bales are stored in the carport on the left. I roll them through that shiny mud into the pasture where you can see Belle munching on a bale destined for the far field. It is slightly uphill to where this bale resides.

One bale has just been rolled near the shelter for the two horses in this field.

The lane of transit is just behind the twisted hot wire. This part of the journey is uphill.

The last leg of the field. Slightly downhill to the gate.

Past the gate into the woods. Uphill right after the gate, then downhill again in the woods. See that bale? Moved there by me. Alone. 500 lbs. Through the mud.

These Glorious Mountains

Perhaps the best thing about winter is the crisp, clear air that provides such glorious views of the mountains.

I love backlit clouds, especially when they outline the mountains.

These dark clouds make this look like a literal "ring of fire." Mt. Adams really isn't smoking, and Mt. Hood, hidden in the distance, isn't belching blue smoke.

The ubiquitous clouds, now stacked up behind the mountains.

Mt. Rainier glowing in the late afternoon sun.

The South Cascades holding back the morning clouds.

The same area in the afternoon, now free of the billowy cover.

Working Dogs

Charlie being serious about his work.

Millie being unhappy about my attempt to re-cover her shelter.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Mountains

It's such a joy to have clear skies I'm overwhelmed with the need to share.

I love these clouds that hover along the edges of the mountain, so you see the shape but softened, like it has been coated with cotton wool.

And this cloud on the left looks like it is mirroring St. Helens, trying to be a twin peak.

It was cold last night, and there is new snow on the foothills this morning.

It's a Beautiful Morning

The "Pineapple Express" has kept us dark and soggy for a week now, with only occasional breaks in the cloud layer. This morning dawned reasonably clear and with actual sunshine. Once the skies clear, it is always beautiful. This year I've been amazed at the variety of clouds that accumulate around a mountain.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


With all the rain we've been having, Charlie likes to come inside for some drying and snoozing time. Zander absolutely adores Charlie, and wants to be friends with the alpha dog. As you can see, this isn't going so well for him. Charlie's response does not dampen Zander's enthusiasm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ridin' in the Car

Today's Break

There wasn't much time today when it wasn't raining. While I was out and about I did catch a sliver of blue sky for a few moments. This is looking over a local dairy, up more or less towards my property. There is still sky beyond the clouds.

Looks dark you say? Time is about 3PM. Making plans to celebrate the solstice.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Break In the Storm

Clear sky appears! After days of clouds and rain, rain, rain, the morning dawned with some blue sky and sunshine. Unfortunately the afternoon brought torrential rains once more, but the land got a chance to drain some and I surely appreciated the light and sun.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Polly and Zander

Polly was fast friends with my first working LGD Natasha. She has maintained a good relationship with all dogs since, and is now seeking out Zander's company. I often find her hanging out with him, and he seems to enjoy her company as well.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sheltering From the Wind

More Clouds

Well, it is cloud season after all. However, the clouds hanging around Mt. St. Helens have been most unusual, and very, very lovely.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Millie's Remodel

It seems Millie felt a need for some air-conditioning for the winter. Admittedly this was a temporary shelter, but it seemed to be working well until today, when Millie decided to open it up a bit.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Good Dogs!

This morning as I brought my coffee to the front room I could hear the Peafowl sounding off with their distress calls. The dogs were barking intensely. Millie was looking up at the roosting tree and alternating between howling and barking. What, I thought, was this?

I put on boots and stepped outside. I could hear Charlie down by the lower building. Jesse was barking his "Come Help!" bark (and when a Samoyed is intent on getting help, one can't ignore it!) about half way down the hill. Millie continued howling and barking up at the tree. I could hear at least one pea from the tree, one from near Charlie, and one from near Jesse. Time to check things out.

As I walked down the hill Jesse came running up, and led me to a peacock standing looking shocked. He was OK, but obviously upset. Jesse was very pleased with himself. Further down, protected by Charlie, was the other peacock. Charlie was alternating barking at the woods behind the fence and looking at the upset peacock.  I gave both dogs big hugs and praise. By the time I got back up the hill, both peahens were on the ground. Everyone accounted for - upset but alive and well.

I don't know what scared the peafowl out of their tree, but my three working dogs were doing their best to keep them alive. I suspect it was an owl - I've heard several different varieties of owls hooting recently.

I love my dogs. They can't protect the birds from owls, but they can make sure that nothing gets them once they are on the ground. And they can make sure that the human occupant knows something's up.

Cloud Mountains

This morning the mountains were closely limned by clouds. St. Helens looks soft and fluffy.

All the mountains seem to have acquired cloud cloaks. A very interesting cloud morning!

Then this evening the clouds blanketed the mountain range, hiding their forms.

But St. Helen's is still standing tall and clear, crater and snow coat crisply visible.