Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Just to make my day complete I had to hunt down my Alpaca boys this afternoon. This is the three of them, happily eating my neighbor's hay field. His fence has rotted and fallen down in places, and they found their way in. It took grain and alfalfa to entice them out again. They are now in the corral until I can figure out why my temporary fencing isn't working - a project for another day. 

Decisions and Consequences

Waiting to take my shower until after moving the round bale to the lower field is the best decision I've made today. That gives you an idea of how the rest of my plans have panned out.

Continuing with my desire to be self-sufficient, I didn't ask for help in moving the bale. I've done it before on my own, and while not easy it worked. This bale had no flattened side, so was relatively easy to move, and after all it's all down hill. Indeed.

I got it positioned perfectly. It should roll straight down the east slope, and not run into the south fence. It did. It rolled very well, gathered lots of speed, and hit the east fence hard enough to break the supporting rail off and most of the top welds of the wire. "Ah. Well. I can fix that. Later."

The broken fence. Definitely fixable.

I was also able to push the bale back up away from the fence and turn it to face the south gate. This was not easy, even these small rounds are mighty heavy. I was actually very pleased with myself at this point. I shooed the horses away from both sides of the fence and gate, and was able to get the bale through without any critters changing sides.

That was when the plan went awry.

The bale hovered right where I wanted it. I watched as it inched beyond that, gained speed, and took off down the hill. My thoughts went something like this (as sheep scattered below):

"Oh, this isn't good.
Well, at least it's headed straight for the big stump. The stump will stop it.
Ah, how did it miss the stump? Maybe it will stop at the edge of the pond.
Well, that was a stupid thought.
There's the neighbor's truck firing up, and heading down the lane.
You wanted to be independent. Here you go."

The intended final destination

Really, wouldn't you think one of those stumps would stop the bale?

I closed and latched the gate before walking down the hill to see the damage.

The bale lodged in an inlet, so was mostly out of the water. I gingerly stepped into the pond to see if I could push it out. Yes, I did know better. I have trouble pushing these bales over bumps on flat ground. I did discover that one foot from the edge the pond is deeper than my boots are tall. I stepped back to assess the situation and come up with a solution. I tried pushing it again.

Finally convinced that adding futility to stupidity wasn't clever, I cut the mesh holding the bale together and started peeling off layers, walking them up to high ground. Through the bog.

Lodged neatly in the inlet.

The horses were standing watching me curiously. The sheep had disappeared. Anyone directing round missiles at them, no matter what said missiles are made of, is not to be trusted. And people think sheep are dumb.

I kept trying to push the bale out, seemingly deluded into thinking I would get stronger as I went along. Finally I was able to turn the bale around and then tip it over so it was out of the pond. At least the bulk of it. The remaining layers came out with difficulty, hay being very heavy when it's wet.

On it's way out.

Somewhere along the line I lost the enthusiasm to haul the hay beyond the bog. It is at least mostly out of the water, and the sheep will eat it from there. Maybe later I'll get back to it.

Onto solid, if boggy, ground.

Just this morning I was thinking I needed more aerobic exercise. Having those thoughts is rather like saying "May you live in interesting times."

Gathering Storm?

Any day the mountains are showing is a good day. I love the ever-changing sky.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunny Day Sights

I never tire of the brilliant surprise that peacocks provide.

A murder of crows, awaiting feeding time.

The beautiful Mt St Helens, wearing a rather racy cloud.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

May we help you?


A moment of light in a dark and dreary day

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Closing Lid

Today was gray
the lid over the sky 
firmly in place 
a solid sky
leaking rain
The edges lifted slightly
showing potential
then closed
locking in
the gray
and the wet

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Code Name: Intrepid

Groucho doesn't like water anymore than any other cat, but she's willing to brave the flooding to do her job. 

Said job seems to include secret inspections of the trunk as I unload frozen food into the freezer.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cat For Hire

No job too small. Or large.

More Dogs...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Floating Mountains


Berna and Zander enjoying their morning patrol, keeping the world safe from predators.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I always enjoy watching animals blend - or attempt to blend - into the landscape.

One of the less successful at this is the Peacock. Hidden in the woods.

Much harder to spot is this fawn I found while looking or my Alpacas. 

And then there's mom. She saw me stop near her baby and immediately went into stealth mode, moving slowly but steadily at an angle towards shelter, on a path that put her behind the fawn. She made no noise and did not look in our direction, trusting camouflage and quietness to hide her. In moments she was hidden and the fawn darted into the bushes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Eagle's Tale

I knew there was a raptor in our airspace because Millie had gone into launch mode, where she tries to catch birds out of the air. I grabbed the camera as I slid into my boots and went to investigate. While I picked my way through the mud a beautiful Bald Eagle flew overhead and landed in the top of the tallest tree.

Last night a neighbor called to tell me of his exciting day. It actually began New Years Eve.

Jack and his dog were walking through the fields when he spotted something white some ways away. He thought it was a plastic bag and was about to walk off when he admonished himself about laziness, and went to pick it up. The white bag turned out to be a Bald Eagle, out cold, with some blood by it's beak. The bird was warm to the touch, so Jack got a bag from the barn and took the eagle back to his house. He was certain it would die overnight, but felt he had to give it a chance.

The eagle was still alive in the morning, so Jack began calling for help. New Years Day, everyone was closed. He finally located a rescue group in Olympia that agreed to come collect the bird. The next day they called to say he'd been moved to a government facility near Blaine. It seems part of the eagle's lunch had lodged in his throat, choking him unconscious. When the vet removed the obstruction the eagle immediately was up and walking around.

Fast forward to yesterday, February 9. Jack received a call from the Olympia rescue asking if he'd like to have the eagle released back into it's home environment. Of course he said yes, and in an hour they were walking back into the field, bird in hand. The eagle immediately flew up to a tree, where he sat for  several minutes taking in his surroundings. He then took off, circled around the release crew, and flew away.

Is this that eagle? I'm only 6 miles from the release site as an eagle flies. I like to think this is him, re-establishing his territory.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Special Beauty

Each day brings it's own special beauty
Unique to the moment and the place

Territorial Dispute?

The rains have returned, reminding me it isn't really spring and Jesse's shelter still needed re-tarping. Groucho sauntered by to oversee my work, and checked out cushions as I put them in. By the time Jesse came to see how I was doing, Groucho owned the shelter. A working cat needs a base of operations, after all. She's not as concerned at the dozen bones I removed as Jesse is, but she may not be willing to share cushions.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Oh, Deer

The Alpaca didn't want to go up the hill. I couldn't figure out why they were just standing around looking bothered, so I went up to see. These two deer stood right at the edge of my horse field, looking annoyed that I was bothering them. I wonder if they are the reason my horses were acting high strung, instead of their usual mellow selves. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Quad Kitty - Load Up!

Groucho has found her purpose in life. She's training to be a Border Collie.

She rides with me out to the horses, checks out the surroundings, then follows me into the hay shed.

Once the shed is thoroughly inspected, she moves out into the woods, or sometimes into the horse area.

When I'm ready to go, I pat the seat and tell her to load up. She doesn't actually care who's driving - it's the quad she's in love with.

Any load's OK by her. This area is muddy, so she's not getting down to explore. We'll start herding lessons in the spring.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Moonrise, Sunset

There is a special magic when the sun is reflecting off Mount Rainier and the Moon at the same time.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunlight in Seattle

Seattle is one of the world's beautiful cities. Driving home last night it was truly at it's best. Here are some of my favorite things about the city, viewed from I-5.

Blessed Sacrament Church, a block from where I lived in the University District 

The kind of view available from many parts of the city (on a clear day). This is one of the reasons we put up with clouds and rain.

Mt Rainier behind the north slope of Capital Hill

Lake Union and the Space Needle - built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Needle never gets old to the eyes

Puget Sound set afire by the sun


Saturday, February 04, 2012


Once again the day begins
The sun sets the sky aglow
Light returns and darkness sleeps
The word is born anew

Friday, February 03, 2012

Softly, In Pink

Softly, softly the day is ending
Blue sky and white mountains
Highlighted in pink
Dragonfly clouds
Wing their way west
Night is on it's way