path through snow

We’ve had rather a lot of it, haven’t we? Today it’s raining and the snow is super-saturated and heavy (this is the Voice of Experience speaking, as I went out and shovelled) and it’s altogether miserable and nasty. And yes, I know that it will melt, but it WILL MELT A LOT FASTER if one shovels. Continue reading “Weather”

Time for a walk

frost on windshield

Well, it’s a cold day, that’s for sure.

ice pellets on branches

Ice pellets everywhere! Evidently they didn’t turn into freezing rain last night—and a sheet of ice—as they did where we live.

ice pellets and frozen drops on branch

Quite lovely on the branches: pellets and frozen drops.

ice pellets on dead leaf

ice pellets on snow

Quite lovely everywhere, actually.


Nice crunchy trails in places.

ice on puddle

And the first puddle ice I’ve seen!

Really, one couldn’t ask for a prettier day for a walk.

trail with dog

Morning decks

chair and decking

We’re having new decks put in to replace the old ones that were rotting away (which is what happens when the builder uses untreated wood, grrr). They’re not finished, but they’re good to go as far as sitting out in the morning goes. For everyone.

dog lying on deck

Today I walked a new trail.

dog on very overgrown trail

This, however, is not it. This is an old trail that I walked first. It’s, erm, a little overgrown at the moment.


Does Our Dog care about that, though? Nah!

dog foot in moss

Gratuitous photo of Our Dog’s foot in moss, just because both are so pretty.

trail through moss

And okay, here’s a picture of part of the new (to me) trail. It’s a pretty one.

Oh look, turkeys!

dog staring at turkeys in the yard

So the other morning I pushed back the office door curtain and… the feral turkeys. Seven of them, two adults and five poults. Our Dog was already out, and eventually responded to all the warning clucking that ensued when I opened the curtain and they noticed me.

He’s a good dog. He didn’t show the slightest interest in chasing them, though he did eventually trot over to investigate more closely, but what he really wanted to do was just sniff the ground where they’d been, while they all went “Cluck!” and ran off toward the bushes. And then they decided discretion was the better part of valour and flew over the fence; I’m not sure he even noticed that they were gone. Nice to know they were never in danger from him.

Hazards of the trail

garter snake on trail

I’ve been taking Our Dog out for early runs with my bike because he’s ten now and doesn’t do so well in the heat. But this is one of the hazards of doing so: garter snakes that have stretched themselves out across the trail and just lie there, still sluggish with cold. I do NOT want to ride over a snake and kill it, so I’ve come to screeching stops for them several times this year. I generally encourage them to vacate the space (I don’t pick them up to move them as often as I used to because they always seem to pee on me if I do.)

close up of garter snake

This one was particularly sluggish; Our Dog trotted right across it and it didn’t so much as twitch. (Luckily no big golden retriever feet came down on it.) So I was able to stop and take some pictures.

garter snake leaving

Though it did eventually decide that discretion was the better part of valour and do the “I’m outta here” thing.

golden retriever snoozing with daisies

Oh, and bonus golden retriever pic.

Winter hiking trails

hiking trail with small lake across it

Well, yes, actually, this is the trail.


And so is this. Winter hiking is when you find the weak points in your Goretex footwear liners.

dog chewing up old wood

Bonus photo: ah, the soothing quiet of the forest… but hark, what is that sound? Ah yes. The mobile mulcher eating another stick.

Interesting mud. Really.

hole in dirt with sunken pebble

When it’s this cold for this long, you start seeing holes in the dirt, with things lurking in their depths.

What’s in the holes? Pebbles.

This is what the soil is like underneath:

muddy dirt with frost crystals in it

These crystals are called needle ice, and have lifted a layer of dirt right up. The overall structure is quite fragile and the swollen frozen ground will collapse when you step on it.

Either the pebbles warmed up in the sun faster than the surrounding frozen soil, and sank into it, or they were too heavy for the needle ice to lift. I’m not sure which explanation applies (maybe it’s both of them).

The depth of the frost heaves created by needle ice can be quite significant: here’s a chunk with three sections built on top of each other.

ice needles

This makes cold-weather trail cycling quite interesting, I must say.

But someone likes all this frosty stuff!

dog rolling on frosty moss
Nothing like a roll on frosty moss to get the blood flowing!

By request

What happens when a cat licks a sleeping dog's face
Strange things happen when a cat licks your face when you’re asleep.

I’ve recently had complaints from at least two people that I haven’t been posting enough pet pictures. (I note that the complaints were species-specific—the dog person did not request cat pictures, and vice versa!) So by request….  Continue reading “By request”

Going slow

shady trail through woods with golden retriever
This is where we go for bike rides. Aren’t we lucky?

It’s hard to be a longhaired dog on a warm day. Especially when you’re nine and don’t have the energy you used to. Especially when you really, really WANT TO GO FOR A WALK and your people want to go for a bike ride.

So compromises get made. The bikes go, but they go very slowly.

dog drinking from cloth water bowl
There are frequent stops for short rest and water breaks and everyone has their own water dish.

We stop for a loooonnnnng rest at the lookout. That way the people can eat an energy bar and look at the flowers.

field of daisies
Daisies! Invasive, but awfully pretty.

While the humans are doing silly things like taking pictures (well, one human) the dog gets to relax in the shade. (And maybe be a bit goofy and eat a stick that was home to a bunch of ants.)


It works out for everyone.

happy golden retriever
See? I told you you’d be happier if you took me with you.

Before the snow

looking down at feet on very narrow snow-covered trail between salal
Feets, don’t fail me now.

Yes, I know, that’s snow on the ground. But it’s last week’s snow, still hanging about and getting a bit grubby. I just threw all my snow pictures promiscuously together, whaddaya gonna do about it?

Anyway. The broken foot has meant I haven’t been doing much any walking to speak of for the last couple of months, but I’m trying to get going again. I have to walk slowly and take shorter strides and constantly remind myself to PAY ATTENTION in order to avoid limping*, but I am beginning to gain back strength and flexibility and what could in the most clinical medical terms be described as oomph in my foot. (I can actually walk down stairs with both feet now, sometimes without hanging on to the rail—a triumph!)

I decided that trail walking is probably actually very good for the foot, as it forces all those little muscles to compensate for irregularities in the ground, so I’m trying to get out and do more of that. Hence these pictures from yesterday’s walk, which wandered along one of my favourite trails (one of the narrow ones) and lasted almost an hour. I didn’t cover a LOT of territory, but hey, it was quality.

blurred dog on narrow trail
Fun! Fun! There’s snow! Fun!

Our Dog certainly thought so. He was delighted by the snow and as you can see it was hard to get him to hold still for a picture.

Well, maybe one.

handsome golden retriever on trail
What a perfect day for a walk!

* Who am I fooling? I limp.

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