On rabbits and drought

When glancing out my window the other day, I briefly thought someone had tossed a rabbit carcass in our yard. Happily, this bunny was very much alive. The same can’t be said for our “lawn.”

May 15, 2022

The neighborhood has been bunny-rich for the past several years and they’re slowly eating away the grass, leaving behind larger and larger bare spots. Fine by me. Colorado is in extreme drought (I learned this morning that the current statewide snowpack is 53 percent of median) and none of us should be dumping water into lawns. The good news? We’re supposed to get rain (and snow!) on Friday. I’m hoping for more rain than snow because the trees and shrubs are leafed out and that extra weight will break limbs. Still, let it rain OR snow! Whatever needs to fall from the skies is one hundred percent welcome here!

Here’s one more bunny pic to calm the climate anxiety. These two started fussing with each other and became so aggressive they frightened the above dirt-lounger into hiding. They chased and tussled all over the place, including in the iris fans and lavender.

Here’s hoping they’ll be tucked away somewhere warm and dry during Friday’s storm.

Update: treading lightly

After another burst of pain earlier this week, I finally made an appointment to have my finger checked out. Today, the orthopedic doctor was pleased the tendon seems stable and believes the pain is only due to inflammation that can’t settle down. She offered a steroid injection and, while I’m no fan of sharp needles, I said YES, PLEASE!

We’re hoping that shot is a one-off and that my left hand will fully recover. I’ve currently got my two fingers taped together and will do so for the next few days, but then the tape comes off and I (hopefully) will resume my regularly scheduled life and activities (that will include gardening!)

May 22, 2020

Until then, I’m going to follow the lead of this butterfly and tread lightly.

Who knows where the time goes?

Somehow it is seven o’clock and the daylight’s fading fast.

April 20, 2022

Here I am , still wearing the running togs I wore on the trails this morning, hair a mess and body somewhat odiferous.  In between that run and this blog post, I did some stuff, mostly little bits of this and some of that. But instead of feeling anxiety at the end of such a piecemeal day, I’m at peace.

Who knows where the time goes? Who cares?

Listening to the trees

April 20, 2022

I like to take the time out to listen to the trees,
much in the same way that I listen to a sea shell,
holding my ear against the rough bark of the trunk,
hearing the inner singing of the sap.
It’s a lovely sound, the beating of the heart of the tree.
~ Madeleine L’Engle

Twofer Tuesday: antelope edition

Last week after leaving the Crow Valley Campground, we drove the 21-mile Birding Tour in the Pawnee National Grasslands. Alas, due to strong winds and dust, there weren’t a whole lot of birds out and about (aside from a huge number of Horned Larks which we’d never seen before plus some hawks on the ground that were too far away to identify).

However, we were gifted with antelope sightings. This small herd ran away from us as we sat idling on the road way far away from them. It seems antelope do not take any chances and will bolt at the first sign of danger.

April 21, 2022

And here they are after reaching a distance far enough away to feel safe. They stopped and wheeled around to watch us.

The scenery for that entire bumpy drive on the gravel roads was brown-brown-brown and we constantly scanned for movement. My (hopeful) eyes were often tricked into believing I saw running antelope, but it was almost always tumbling tumbleweeds blowing across the desolate landscape. Those tumbleweeds moved very quickly and I would’ve loved to see one blowing alongside the running antelope in order to compare speeds.

The antelope, though, brought me the most joy. No contest.

Bee calm

A little reminder to focus on the tiny, intricate miracles all around us.

September 12, 2020

This sedum isn’t blooming right now and I doubt many bees are currently buzzing in my yard, but . . .  someday soon.  In the meanwhile, I can gaze upon this image and will my mind and system into calm. *deep breaths* Maybe it can do the same for you. 💚

Twofer Tuesday: prairie dog wisdom

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.        ~ William S. Burroughs

South Boulder Creek Trail. March 1, 2022

Now I know the things I know, and do the things I do;
and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you.
~ Dorothy Parker

Allow me to explain

As previously mentioned, I’m having vision issues and haven’t been taking photos because focusing is a real struggle. However, earlier this week I took my camera with me to Standley Lake where I walked with a friend. The day was windy. So windy we got sand in our mouths. So windy, I didn’t want to take time to mess with camera settings. So windy, the gusts buffeted my camera as I took shots. So windy, I didn’t really worry about photo quality. And it shows.

These are American Coots, riding the waves. Standley Lake doesn’t usually have whitecaps, but it did that day.

April 12, 2022

Here’s a coyote my friend spotted across the lake. We’d kept wondering why the coots chose to stay out in the rougher water rather than sheltering in some cove. Maybe they knew this predator was roaming the shore.

We heard a Western Meadowlark and turned to see this perching bird. A quick snap of the camera before I ducked my head against the wind again. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was an American Kestrel.

Lastly, here’s what I believe is a Bald Eagle. This photo is garbage, but I can still remember the thrill of standing there on the sand as it flew directly toward us before veering off over the trees.

All in all, a successful outing. A nice walk-and-talk with my friend, nearly 4.5 miles of walking, and some wildlife sightings. (Not to mention the free microdermabrasion treatment as sand blasted our faces).

Tranquil memories

Despite the scattered evidence of beavers’ handiwork, I recall the tranquility of this spot. We didn’t see any beavers that day, but their lodge is visible where the water comes to a V at the center of this not-great photo.

Uncompahgre National Forest. July 29, 2019

That was a good hike and beautiful day with Zippy and Emma, and I’m grateful for the memories.

Feathered friends

Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued what is basically its final warning to governments (“it’s now or never” regarding greenhouse gas emissions), and my heart is pounding as I type those words. We the people need to rise up and demand radical action. Unfortunately, here in the U.S. our so-called leadership is actually talking about ramping up fossil fuel production. It’s insanity.

And when reality gets to be too much, I turn to nature. Today, it’s birds. Here’s a Limpkin I had the honor of communing with at Kapok Park in Florida:

May 6, 2019

Here’s a petite Bushtit outside my Colorado window:

September 24, 2021

Here’s a Turkey Vulture doing its important clean-up work in Cave Creek Canyon in Arizona:

May 15, 2019

Finally, here’s a Common Grackle singing its song in Nebraska clover:

June 2, 2020

And now I’m going to use the energy I’ve borrowed from those wonderful birds and head out for a run on the trails where I’ll drink up more of this glorious world.

Bad news good news

Earlier this week, I wore my Marmot raincoat while walking in the rain and by the time I got home, my shirt collar was soaked. Turns out the inner coating is deteriorating. Bad news.

Good news: Marmot has a solid warranty policy.

Bad news: despite my obsessive habit of keeping ALL receipts (which came in handy several years ago when the tent we purchased from REI in the early 90s had a broken zipper and REI fixed it at no cost), I have no record of the Marmot raincoat purchase. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Not on paper or electronically.

Good(ish) news: I’ve narrowed down the year of purchase by locating a photo of me wearing said raincoat while camping on June 11, 2019. And while that photo was low-quality, this one was taken at the same time:

State Forest State Park. June 11, 2019.  (Photo by Zippy)

I may or may not get my raincoat replaced but, in the meanwhile, can gaze at this lovely image and relive some happy memories.

Update: Bad news…looking for that raincoat photo was too much focusing activity for my eyes and I’m now feeling sick to my stomach. The good news is that despite this setback, I am making progress with my various therapies.

I receive these gifts

This morning, I ran on the trails for the first time in a while and my heart soared. A Red-winged Blackbird sang its song as I chugged up the first hill, but from then on out it was a magpie-rich experience. They raucously called from trees and flew overhead. One perched on a bush next to the trail and I watched it as I ran closer, regretting that my approach would startle it away. The regal corvid remained there until I was nearly within arm’s reach before flying across the ravine.

Black-billed Magpie out my window.  September 1, 2019

Just up the trail and around the corner on the approach to what we call the Bunny Run (because, you know, bunnies frequently seen there), two more magpies perched on either side of the trail, silhouetted against the sky. That sight prompted me to open my arms wide and proclaim out loud, “I receive this. Thank you!” And as I did, another gift appeared.

Photo by Jim Kennedy (Metzger Farm Open Space)

A coyote about 50 feet away, loping through the brush behind one of the magpies. The dark-faced coyote* stopped to watch me. I stopped and watched it, speaking in a low voice. Reassuring it that I came in peace. Then it took off again and I resumed running. When I reached the top of the Bunny Run, I stopped to look back. The coyote had also stopped to watch me. I waved, shouting my thanks and good wishes, and resumed the run with a smile and a little more pep in my step.

Farther up the trail, I saw two people. As I got closer, I realized one was sitting. In a chair? And then I noticed a hawk circling overhead. I watched the hawk as I ran, wondering at the flash of white underneath the wings. And just as it hit me that it wasn’t a hawk, I heard the loud buzzing sound. That non-hawk was a drone. Ugh. No more bird sounds. No more solitude. No more smile on my face.

But after grumpily running past the people and their drone, I reminded myself of all I’d already been gifted. So I less-grumpily continued up to the turnaround point at the top of The Slog (because, you know, never-ending uphill) and did my stretching. Then I raced down toward the people who sent up an even larger and louder drone right as I passed, and focused on the joy of movement. The only thing that mattered was being out on the trails again. Moving. Alive.

Thank you, universe. I receive these gifts.

* my search for images of dark-faced coyotes was unsuccessful

Crowning glory

It’s snowy and gray out my window, so I went in search of a little color and warmth. Enter the Queen’s Crown.

August 28, 2019

I photographed this on a hike at Square Top Lakes and am warmed by its colorful and intricate self. My identification research tells me that the succulent leaves turn red in the fall and you can just see the tips beginning to turn. This wildflower is very lovely, but I’m glad we’re currently headed into spring rather than autumn.

Round and round we go

Despite today’s frigid temperatures, spring is around the corner, and I’m warming myself with memories of a hike in the open space last June. We’d gotten lots of snow last winter and so the flowers were magnificent.

Here’s a burst of color from a type of blooming thistle that’s probably invasive and somewhat annoying when it scratches my legs as I run past on the trails. But pretty, right?

June 24, 2021

I don’t have the time to identify these yellow wildflowers because, well, there are sh*t-tons of yellow wildflowers. But it’s a lovely little wheel, isn’t it?

Here’s another probably-invasive thistle which is also scratchy-scratchy when I run past, but right now reminds me of a burst of warm, pink sunshine.

Lastly, here’s a delicate specimen that, despite its straight-forward appearance, defies identification. White and yellow wildflowers definitely test my skills.

This latest snowfall is priming the ground for another glorious wildflower display and I look forward to exploring with my camera in a few months.

Happy Monday, I mean, Tuesday!*

Just popping in to wish everyone a good week!

South Boulder Creek Trail. March 1, 2022.

It was sunny and warm here in this part of Colorado, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get outside with a friend. We walked a somewhat muddy trail that passed through a small prairie dog town with some gregarious inhabitants.

*I truly thought today was Monday. Oops…

Warm memories

We cut our neighborhood walk short today due to rapidly falling temperatures. When we left the house, it was about 39 degrees.  Approximately ten minutes later, it was 28 degrees. At least, that’s what Zippy’s phone said when he checked it. As for me, I couldn’t see much of anything because my cold nose was buried in my neck gator which then caused my glasses to steam up. All this to say, I’m craving warmer weather right now and making due with looking at summer hiking photos.

Here’s some flora and fauna from a Square Top Lakes hike:

Rocky Mountain Parnassian on a Wild Aster.  August 28, 2019

Ahh, I can practically feel that sunshine on my shoulders.