Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rainy Day

Having two very big, physical dogs that need exercise every day no matter what the weather is doing, does have it's pluses. It gets me up and outside every day with few exceptions. Today it was cold and rainy and I dreaded lacing up the hiking boots and going out into the cold. Was I sorry when it was all over and I was soaked to the bone, not a chance. I had a wonderful time as always. So much nature to explore and so little time in this life to do it, can't waste a minute. It was gorgeous out.

Bird of the week here at home, Fox Sparrow. Always a pleasure to see one of them.

We are down sizing our Xmas celebration. No more wasting money on gifts that our kids, friends and family...really won't use or want. Unless we know someone really wants/needs something specific, we will be giving gift certificates. I am making my own cards too. I'm already enjoying the holiday much more then ever before. I am also going to be celebrating the Solstice instead of true Christmas. It has more meaning for me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Quality Life

I've had dogs in my life since birth. They have always been treated well,lived as members of our family. All of my own personal dogs have been what others consider spoiled, I've never considered any of them spoiled, its the least I could do for their wonderful companionship. It wasn't until my Petey's diagnosis with Dialated Cardiomyopathy that I began to question what constitutes a true quality life for my canine companions. It is a question that everyone who has a dog should be asking themselves. It is up to you to give them the best life possible. Unless there is a miracle Petey will not grow old. It is up to me to fill his days with great experiences that make what ever time he has left, wonderful. I also need to make sure he has a great life for my own good too. I don't want to lose him and have any regrets that I should have, could have. In all honesty, each of us only has today. We have no guarantees that there will be a tomorrow. Knowing that Petey is sick has made me look at his days and ask myself...what else does he need? What would make this day more special? We miss very few opportunities to get outside and hike, because that is what Petey seems to love best. Most days we change the trails we go on, so that there is more variety, more to see and smell. I feed raw, and love to give him new meats, bones, and raw treats. Every time I have an errand to run, I bring him with me. When I book a vacation, we get houses that dogs are allowed, and while there, find hiking trails to explore each day. He has comfortable beds and baskets full of all kinds of toys. The best change that I've made in Petey's life is taking him to work with me. He loves it. On work days he immediately knows we are going. He sees me ready his bag and water and his excitement builds. Once in work, he immediately wants to go out of the office building and into our garage to get one of his Pig Ear treats. I unlock the garage, Petey runs in, goes up the stairs, rummages through the box, pulls out an ear, runs back down the stairs and heads back to the office. He settles on his bed and eats his treat. After finishing, he spends most of his day sleeping, only getting up to greet different people who come in the office just to say hello to him. I love looking down and seeing him laying next to me. I saves me from worrying about him. It is amazing how much more relaxed Petey is all the time now that I rarely leave him. Being a Doberman, his life work is to be the constant companion to a human, to protect them. He takes his job seriously and wants to be with me 24/7 no matter where I go or what I am doing. Although knowing about his disease has been heartbreaking for me, I am happy that I have a chance to make his life incredible and at the same time....enjoy my own life so much more. My puppy Monty has really benefited, every day is a new adventure for him. New smells, tastes, experiences and lots of fun!


1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me. Train me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being. Believe in me, I will do what you want.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10 On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to be thankful for your dog(s). Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without them by your side.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Early Hike

Got my butt out of bed, chores done, and headed out for a early morning hike with the boys. We went to the top of the Park. It was truly gorgeous out, and the boys enjoyed every moment of our 2 hour hike. We had the park entirely to ourselves, which is always a bonus of hiking early or in weather.

Last night we got out at dusk and there was a lone bat out at the lake. Lots of Winter birds at my feeders, Juncos, Chickadees, Nuthatches and T.Titmouses. Love their cheery calls, nice to have them here for the next few months.

Hawk Watch

Another Hawk Watch season has come and gone. It was an amazing year for all of us volunteers, several records were broken and we had ten weeks of good weather and lots of great company. My final day was cloudless and windless, not real conducive for seeing and counting migrating raptors. I did make the best of the quiet day and lack of company by spending it reflecting on how I spent the last year and what I want change in my life for the coming year. There was little distraction and I was able to go deep into thought, something that rarely happens in my busy life. Being out in Nature is a healing balm for my soul. It helps me to balance my life and get my priorities straight. I am proclaiming Monday 11/15 as my personal New Years. It is a month before my next Birthday and for me the end of the Fall with the Hawk Watch's final day. I'm turning over a new leaf before the holidays this year, out with the old ways and in with the new. The need to simplify my life and get my health and fitness back on track is making me short tempered and unhappy. I'm sick of feeling sick and tired, something has got to change, and that change has to come from me. I have no one to blame but myself. Time to get off the computer put down my wine glass, get my hands out of the junk food and GET OUT THERE AND LIVE! Time to eat better, MOVE, Learn new things, and enjoy the real world more. I've wasted too much time sitting on my fat rear in cyberspace. Happy New Year to me!


After work driving to pick my son up from school, the color of the sky blew me away, had to stop and take a picture. Amazing how beautiful the world is.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day Light Savings

Today is Daylight savings, We gained an extra hour. I decided to take my Petey up to Turtle Point Road for a leisurely walk around our property. No crazy puppy to bother us. For once,thankfully I remembered my good binoculars. This is the very first time that I really took in the lay of the land and took my time exploring the edge of the river and listening to hear what birds were around. There were lots of birds to see. Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebirds and Robins were very busy gorging on the Winterberry berries. At one point a small flock of Cedar Waxwings were very close to me, the best looks I've ever had on that beautiful bird. There are at least two pairs of Bluebirds, and seeing them reminded me that we need to move the Bluebird houses to the other side of the river. I'm pretty sure if we do, we will have successful nestings next year. I also saw Hairy woodpecker, Juncos, Titmouse, WT Sparrows, a lone Song Sparrow singing his little heart out, Sharpshinned Hawk,Blue Jays, Crows, heard Pilated Woodpecker.

I have only one more shift at the Hawk Watch. I can't believe how the months have flown by. I will miss it. I will also miss the people who come up and help with the counts. They make it so much fun. We are having an amazing year. Today we may have broken 12,000 birds, that will make 2010 one of our top years of the last 50! I had a Golden Eagle on Friday, and we are now almost 2x the record of Bald Eagles, which is 45, today we are up to 86. What a great group of volunteers we have.

Backyard birds have been excellent. I purchased two new thistle feeders and haven't been disappointed for even a day. First I got in dozens of Gold Finch, next came Purple Finches and the last few days Pine Siskins. Most of them are all gone already, a few lingering. I also have a Red Breasted Nuthatch hanging around. I'm hopeful that we get the promised Irruptive year with lots of Redpoles.