Monday, December 29, 2008

Pine Siskins

Two hour hike in Cascade Lake Park. 40 degrees, beautiful and sunny. Only sign of life was a determined female Downy Woodpecker searching for insects in a standing dead tree, back by the old beaver pond next to the AT trail. I heard a few little birds at the top of the trees, Pine Siskins and Gold Finch, I couldn't find them. Two kids on a dirt bike and a Quad went by, and Petey wanted to kill them. He still goes nuts at even the sound of a motocross bike, but is able to now sit next to me and wait for them to pass by, a year ago this was not possible. Other then the two kids, who were very nice when they stopped to talk, we had the place to ourselves. Still no sign of any Beavers, so disappointing, I truly miss them, I saw them on a daily basis and guess I took for granted that they would always be around. My funniest memory of them was the day that Petey decided once and for all he was going to get the big one, who would often be on shore at dusk when we walked. Petey would chase them in the water every time, and that evening decided to swim after the Beaver. Well the Beaver gave Petey several tail slap warnings...and being a young Doberboy Petey didn't head them. Next thing I know the beaver is swimming right at Petey, and then dives down under him! The look on Petey's face was priceless, his eyes bugged out and he had this look like what have I done now??? Petey swam to shore very quickly got out of the water,had an air of indignation, and never again chased the beavers! He still is nervous swimming in that part of the river. Anyway disappointing bird day until I arrived home, look outside at my own feeders and low and behold a large flock of Pine Siskins! Too funny!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

60 Degrees in December

Petey and I got out for a nice two hour hike up in the Co. Park. It was cloudy and very windy, but warm, a pleasant surprise for my aching bones! Paths were muddy, streams flowing heavily from the snow melt. It was a very peaceful hike, just the sound of the wind and the streams flowing, a walking meditation. Petey is the perfect hiking partner, not a sound out of him, never do I have to call him or wonder where he is. Not too many birds were out and about, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmouse, Chickadees, a lone turkey vulture and Redtail. I saw a raccoon sleeping in a hollow tree, every couple of weeks he is in that same tree all curled up and snoozing out the daylight hours. The edges of the pond are all defrosted, Petey waded in the water up to his chest, he really needs to go all the way in...getting a little stinky as the weeks go on! We were treated to a spectacular sunset, the sky was layered with striking bands of different colors of blue, it got more intense as the hour went by.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Count

40 degrees and cloudy. Today I helped my friend Dennis with the Christmas bird count in our area. We were out for around seven hours and tallied about fifty different species. Notables for me were Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Rough Legged Hawks, light and dark phase, lots of Bluebirds, hundreds if not thousands of Robins and a yellow rumped warbler.

I was not able to hike with Petey today, so hubby took him for a nice hike up to Cascade Lake Park. Hubby told me that Petey was super excited to be back up at that park, we tend to avoid it during hunting season.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow shoeing!

Every Christmas eve for more then a decade I have decorated a tree with treats for my feeder birds. This year I put up ears of dried corn, millet sprays, pine cones with peanut butter coated with hulled sunflower seeds,and sunflower heads. This year for the first time I put the decorations in my new Crab Apple tree. The birds love having another spot in the yard to feed.

I went on my first snowshoe of the year up in the Co. Park with my brand new Christmas presents from hubby! The step in bindings work excellent and the boots are very comfortable! Bobby and Petey came along, and we all had a terrific walk in 34 degree weather. Petey was so excited to be out there after a long week of being stuck in the house. He kept running back to us and just had this look of total joy, I know it is his way of thanking me for taking him out. Lots of birds at the very end of the walk, all feeding right around the road that is now closed for the Winter. Pine Siskin, Gold Finch, Am. Robin(25), W.B. Nuthatch, Starling, Golden Crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, T.Titmouse, Chickadee. Beautiful day! Tomorrow I have the Xmas count.

Yesterday was the best Christmas I've had since losing my Dad 4 years ago. He gave me my favorite life gift, my tremendous love of nature and the natural world. When I get out there, it brings me closer to him.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I've been a very bad Dobermom.....Poor Petey and I have not been on a hike since the 19th of December. The passing of my FIL, getting ready for Christmas, and work has taken every available second of my time. Petey has been a DOLL, nothing phases this beautiful boy! He spent Xmas day surrounded by our family having a ton of fun, and showing all his Xmas gifts off. Mommy got an awesome gift from Daddy, new step in snow shoes, and insulated pants! We are going out tomorrow!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Here is the last photo of my Father in Law. After his dog Belle was PTS back in May, he continued to go to *puppy time* he took the neighbors dog Willy. Willy would run across the street to Bob's house and scratch on the dog to be let in. He would then race around the house before being taken over to play with the other dogs. I will always cherish this photo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sad Heart Today.....

Last night my father in law passed away at the age of 72. My hubby and his brother went down to FL to be with him as he passed over. It comes as a shock to us that his life here on earth is now done, we weren't ready for the suddenness of his death. We had hoped for more time. I got up this morning feeling really down. I decided to get myself together and get out in the woods with Petey. We have a pretty major snowstorm coming in, so I wanted to get my boy out before it hit. We did the loop in the Co. Park. It was very hard to stay in the moment. Hard to focus on anything more then thoughts of my hubby and his great loss. How much I'm going to miss Grandpa Bob in our lives. Being with Petey did help,every time I looked at him I had to smile, his joy of being alive and enjoying his hike is contagious. He has no idea why his Daddy is gone, or why his Mommy is so sad. He just lives for today...a lesson I could really use to learn. My FIL never got to meet Petey, but he did know him through lots of pictures and emails, I think he must have really liked him, because when I was at his house in Florida back in April, I saw a framed picture of Petey on his office wall, it really touched me in a way I can't explain. Grandpa Bob was a man of few words, but the picture spoke volumes to me. I was so happy that I had shared my precious dogs life with him, that some how I shared a connection with him that had nothing do do with his son or grandsons. My FIL and I had one really good thing in common, we really loved our dogs. His dogs were treated like my own Petey, as family. When his beautiful Mini Pin Belle passed away a few months ago, I know his heart was broken, and that didn't help his health. I hope when he passed last night that Belle was waiting at the Bridge for him, also his beloved Doberman Brandy, that he is now happy and pain free. God Speed, Grandpa Bob, I will always miss you, my heart has another hole in it, I'm sad that you won't be here to see your grandsons become men, and will no longer get to share your sons life here on earth. You are loved beyond measure. Todays photo is the one that is hung on my FILs wall.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

61 degrees, cloudy and windy. Petey and I headed up to the Co. Park for a two hour hike. All the ice was melted off of the trees, and you could really see the damage that the ice storm caused, many trees are snapped in half and a lot have fallen over from the weight of the ice. Woods are just full of widow makers. Hard frost is out of the ground, and there is mud everywhere! Ice is off the streams, vernal pools and the pond. Birds today, G.C. Kinglet's, Pipits, Brown Tree Creepers, Bluebirds, R.T. Hawks, R.B. Woodpeckers, Downys, Chickadees, T.Tit Mouse, W.B. Nuthatch. Also saw four deer.

I spent my time reflecting on how wonderful the last year has been for me. I was fortunate to travel a lot and spend a tremendous amount of time out in Nature, birding and animal watching. I saw more animals this year then ever before, I don't know if that is because of the amount of time I spend outside or that I was just lucky. For the first time ever I came across three female Wood turtles all with in a months time, just truly awesome. Petey helped me find two of them! I saw many bears, owls and raccoons. I got a super AM life bird at the Grand Canyon....the CA Condor. No matter how I feel before I set's too cold, windy, hot, buggy, rainy, etc....I have NEVER been sorry that I went out, and I always come home with a smile. It fills my soul up like nothing else in my life. I am also grateful for my constant companion Petey....he truly makes every day a joy for me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cascade Lake Park

Deer hunting season is finally over so Petey, Bobby and I were able to get out to Cascade Lake today. We avoid the area during rifle season. We did a 50 minute loop. Bobby tried to ride his mountain bike. It was tough going, as there are trees and branches down everywhere from the ice storm. Few birds were out, Chickadees, Pine Siskins and W.B.Nuthatch. Very sad to see that there are no beavers in the lake. I searched around the whole pond, and found no evidence of them having taken any trees nor had they eaten any bark. I think the last time I saw them was in July. I think someone must have trapped them.

Full moon was spectacular last night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm so lucky....

I live in such a beautiful town. I have access to so many hiking trails only minutes from my front door. Today it is 36 out, and the trees are all covered with ice, looks like Christmas. We had a rain/ice storm yesterday, that lasted in to this morning. There are trees down everywhere including the county park where Petey and I went hiking today. It was still quite windy out, lots of branches falling off the trees. All the streams are flowing again, very full from a couple of inches of rain.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nice day.........

28 degrees and cloudy. Every Winter we share our breezeway with a pair of Carolina Wrens. They sleep in an old Paper Wasp nest that is hung on the wall. On cold evening we leave the door open until after dark, giving them the chance to come inside the protected breezeway, so they can stay warm. In the morning we have to remember to open the door so they can get back outside before someone forgets that they are there, and accidentally lets them in the house! Over the years this has happened on many occasions, the most recent two weeks ago, my son came bursting in the breezeway too quickly, scaring both birds and they ended up flying inside our home. This was a first for Petey, he didn't know what to do while it was going on. He has little interest in birds, squirrels or chipmunks. I think being exposed to them at my feeders since he was a puppy has conditioned him to ignore them. Thankfully both were easily coxed out, but turning off all the lights in the house, and leaving the outside ones on.

Today Petey and I had a wonderful one and a half hour hike up in the county park. It was a bit warmer, around 36 degrees, but windy and cloudy so it felt much colder. We jumped a herd of six deer who were taking refuge in the park from hunters. Although there is no hunting where we hike, I know that the rules aren't always followed, there was fresh blood trail yesterday, I can't wait until the hunting season is over so I can stop worrying about Petey or I being accidentally shot. Upon seeing the white flags of the deer all running, Petey looked right at me as if asking....what do I do? I told him to COME which he did immediately. He has come a long way with his off lead recall. We then continued up the trail, Petey just glancing at the direction the deer ran. We continued on to do a loop around the fields, immediately upon coming out of the woods there were two women who had three dogs, all on lead, Petey again looked at me for direction, I told him leave it, and pointed where we were going, he happily ran ahead with out a moments hesitation. I didn't recognize the women or the dogs, so we steer clear of unknown dogs now. Petey has had too many run ins with aggressive males. There weren't too many birds out today, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Chickadees, W.B. Nuthatches, half a dozen Horned Lark, Goldfinch,Canada Geese, a lone gull and a Turkey Vulture. We scared up another doe at the very end of our outing, Petey again looked at me and then looked back at the deer, and did not take chase. I am very happy with him today!

For some reason I always end up wanting to own multiple dogs, I'm not sure why this is. On one hand I feel like Petey would be very happy with having the companionship of another dog, but on the other hand...he wouldn't be able to go as many places with me. After only two years our relationship is getting to a really wonderful point, all that I have ever hoped for and more. He is my favorite dog of all. It's almost as if he can read my mind and knows what I want him to do. There were only two other dogs in my life that I felt could do that too. One was Khan, who was my first dog after leaving home. He was a G.S. Wolf cross. I gave him to myself for my 20th birthday. The other was Uno, a Weimaraner. During the time I had both of those dogs, I also had second and third dogs after having them for about 3 years. Once another dog was in the picture, it changed the relationship. I have to try and remember this every time I start cruising! Having one dog is really nice, the only down side is when they die, it is devastating to not have another to help you through the loss.

Off to go and do a little decorating for Yule!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Petey my hiking buddy.

Petey is a two year old Male Red Doberman Pinscher. He was born on October 27, 2006. His sire and dam were imported from Russia. He has a nice stable temperament and is a wonderful family dog.

First Post...

This is my first blog about Petey and I. Although Petey and I don't do a traditional dog sport together, we do love getting out to hike most days of the year. He is a wonderful hiking companion, who never fails to bring me joy while watching him enjoy his hikes. For now hiking will have to do as our sport, as there isn't enough time in the day to do any thing else. I don't think he suffers because of it, running free, trailing scents, jumping, swimming and being with your master who has a huge smile on....what more could a dog ask for? Well maybe a snack when he gets home! :D

Today was a very blustery 19 degrees out. It is sunny and the sky is filled with lots of clouds. We aren't quite used to it being so cold. Lots of birds are gathering at my feeders including a very determined hungry Sharp shinned hawk. It took a couple of tries, but she finally got herself a nice meal of a Mourning Dove. I am also playing hostess to a cute little Red Squirrel, as well as a half dozen Gray Squirrels. Petey slept in all cozy and comfy....not in any rush to get up and out until much later in the morning.

10am Petey and I hiked up in our County Park for about an hour. We did our typical loop. Not too much was out and about, including other people and dogs. We did see Cardinals, Gold Finch and Ruby Crowned Kinglets. At my favorite little vernal pool, I could see the Marbled Salamander Nymphs that hatched a couple of months ago swimming around under the ice. Amazing that they are active all Winter in such cold water. They will be full grown and ready to leave the vernal pool by late Spring, beating the feeding competition of the Spotted Salamander Nymphs and Wood frog tadpoles that will be hatched by early Spring.