The News of the Day

We’ve had rain for part of almost every day for the past two weeks. Wonderful. The last year this happened was 2019 which was also the BEST Langlauf year so maybe this year???

I’ve been out almost every day with one dog or the other. This morning Bear and I took off for what felt like a hot and humid walk (though very serene and beautiful). It was uncharacteristically calm, but no Deer Flies (thank you powers that are in charge of all this) and one large Dragon Fly (thank you again).

Bear and I followed coyote tracks for 1/2 mile and saw where he/she had robbed a duck nest or a coot nest leaving a little sign saying, “Coyotes need to eat too!” I don’t argue with that. If it had been a coot nest, the mother coot would have let one of its young starve, anyway. I’m not questioning the inscrutable and perfect workings of nature.

There was a young man out there running — never see that, so it was very cool. If I could, I’d run there, too.

In Social Media diet news, I’m maintaining it. I like it. I’m starting to see the changes in me. They are interesting — last night I was reading and I heard — and then listened to! — rain hitting the fiberglass cover of the roof that shades a walkway by the back door. For a moment I didn’t realize what it was, then I did. And I thought, “Wow. This is something I’d go to Facebook and post about. I’d post, ‘it’s raining!’ but I wouldn’t listen to it.” THAT is exactly IT. Today out with Bear I took photos which I’ve also tried NOT to do since I started this thing, but it was such a different kind of day that I couldn’t resist.

I thought about what it was like going out with dogs before cell phones. It was more dangerous, absolutely. I thought of my first cell phone (2002? or so) and how it didn’t have a camera or anything. It was good to have that and I realized that right away even though I resisted getting a cell phone for a long time.

I also turned off the tracking app on my Apple Watch. I realized that — while it’s kind of cool — it also distracts me from the moment in which I’m living. Have I burned all the active calories I have “committed” to burning? Have I walked far enough? Ridden the bike-to-nowhere “far” enough? Am I going to get this month’s “award”? When I started using the app I already didn’t like this stuff but it kind of got its little hooks in me and then, soon after the Facebook break I realized that I felt like I was “answering” to my watch. It wasn’t helping me; it was making me feel pressured to achieve “goals” that I didn’t set for myself or even really care about. I thought of human psychology — that for some people that might be really great, but for me it was somehow offensive. I began feeling that way after my last cold when my watch was telling me that (after two weeks of being really sick) I could rebuild from my “losses” in 11 weeks. I think I even said to it, “Fuck you.”

I am also sleeping better now that I’m not reading what passes for “news.” Over this period of 3? 4? Weeks I’ve looked at the news (online, CNN) three times. I am not missing much.

I can’t say I’ve achieved much in this interval. I’ve done an interview with the director of the Rio Grande County Museum for Colorado Central Magazine and written it up. I’ve continued with the story I found in the folder. Because of the weather, I’ve put off some of the yard work I had planned. This break was never about achieving anything; it is more about regaining perspective and peace of mind.

So far so good. Here is the Refuge today.

There is a yellow headed blackbird, three Canada geese, and what appears to be a solstice circle. My guess (which has yet to be tested) is that the white stone marks the location of the sun setting on the summer solstice. I hope I remember to check that out. It’s not a big circle, just 4 feet or so in diameter. No idea who made it.

Teddy the Brave and Good (and adorable)

This morning — anticipating yet another day of Red Flag Warnings — Teddy and I went out to survey some land. There were several cars there already, filled with birders, long lenses and binoculars. One of them was even parked in OUR spot! The outrage! Still there was room for us so we parked and quietly closed the door to Bella so we wouldn’t bother anyone. We’re polite that way.

It was a pretty uneventful walk except for the people and for Teddy. As we all know, Teddy has a history of dragging his person face first across the road to say “hi!” to people he doesn’t even know. That led his person to arm herself by putting a head collar on the little dog and spending time training him NOT to do that, but, instead, jumping up into her (that is my) arms when a person shows up. These new skills had not been tested until today.

There was a nice man — and his car — stopped beside the road. A little ways back his wife was walking toward him. The couple appeared to be about my age. I greeted the man and said, “My dog loves people, but you might not survive all that affection!” He laughed and Teddy and I kept going. I’m sure his wife heard us. Teddy and I stopped to say “Hi!” to her from a distance.

She was very taken with Teddy who stood on his hind legs beside me with my arms wrapped around him. “He’s very friendly, but I’m going to hold onto him or he’ll lick off your face.” She laughed. We started talking about dogs and I learned all about the ONLY dog she’s had, a Border Collie her little boy had seen and fallen in love with at a pet store. I heard all the things the dog could do, the story of the dog’s last days and how now he is dog Heaven. The woman said, “I couldn’t go through that again. I know it’s selfish but I couldn’t.”

Meanwhile Teddy remained in my arms and made no move to go to the woman. I told her a little about how Bear and Teddy play and she said, “He’s wonderful. What a loving little dog!” I agreed. If there’s one thing Teddy is it is affectionate.

I enjoy hearing people’s dog stories. They bring out the best in everyone.

Meanwhile another walker — a woman who is often there — passed us. We said our hellos and, again, Teddy made no move toward her. Everyone went their way, and we had the Refuge to ourselves for a little while.

I’m very proud of my little dog.

Meanwhile, here’s what our morning looked like out there. No snow but even so it’s not completely ugly. 😉


I started real work on the Native American Rock Art article yesterday by interviewing and taking a short hike with a local archeologist. The best parts for me were that when I arrived there were a couple small busses of kids who were there with their summer program, I got to see a hidden piece of art — and, best of all — I walked stickless on a narrow, uneven dirt trail with no problems. Because of THAT I had the best time. I felt at home and free and happy. Little voices called to me from the rocks and chokecherry bushes, “That’s it, Martha!” That is freedom, for me.

The focus of the article is on rock art in Penitente Canyon which is a world-renowned rock climbing destination. It’s the kind of place that would be very useful to wandering hunters — one, it has food in it; chokecherries and piñon. Then, it wouldn’t be too difficult to trap animals in any of the canyon’s small alleys. My story will be mostly on the art and the challenge of protecting places like this from vandalism while still giving people the chance to see it and learn from it.

It couldn’t have been better. The kids — I’d guess 7, 8, 9 year olds — were wearing climbing harnesses and going up and down rocks. Then, they learned about the rock art and that was so fun for me to watch and listen to. One of the little girls came up and offered me her slice of watermelon. They had five young people taking care of them, teaching them, leading them, all reminding me of my life as a camp counselor.

Because of my personal interests, I want to know what they painted WITH but my interviewee didn’t know. Even though someone came with a fancy instrument to evaluate that, the person never gave the local archeologists the results. There’s also the thing — they are realistic within the range of the artist’s materials, and informative of a moment in time and a use for the immediate world. While there’s no way to know if the artist were reporting something that happened or giving instructions for the use of the world. Either way, I paint for the same reasons. The archeologist took me to see another painting, one that’s secret and not protected, and I found it very moving in its simplicity. It was (as much as remains) several upright straight lines — people. There was more paint in the small area, but it was impossible for me to discern what it was. I didn’t photograph it because, somehow, it didn’t seem right.

I love rock art and at another time in my life traveled all around Arizona looking at whatever I could. I honestly never cared much about what it meant; I figured I couldn’t possibly know. The first rock art I saw was in Montana in what is now Pictograph Cave State Park. Of course back then it wasn’t a state park and no one went there. The admonition I got from my mom as I went out the door was, “Watch for snakes.”

Anyway, I should probably start the story. Have had to look up the meaning of “sinecure” it seems to me that writing for the magazine is one, for me, especially with this article, “a position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.” It is kind of cool to introduce myself saying, “I write for Colorado Central Magazine.

But the trail…I want to go back with Bear. 🩷🐾


Took Teddy out for a ramble yesterday on a HOT afternoon (the day after snow???) As we were driving toward the exit of the Refuge on the one way road, I slowed down to look for a pair of geese who are usually hanging around in a lacing of ponds off a stream.

The geese were nowhere to be seen, nor were their duck compadres. Then I saw something that looked like a broken, old fencepost, a nubbin, maybe 9 inches high where I know there isn’t one. “Huh,” I thought, and just then the fencepost spread its wings and showed me a Peregrine Falcon. He flew off low in front of Bella and I thought, “I just got another lesson from this amazing place.”

The lesson? If the usual ground-nesting birds have vanished, there’s probably a predator somewhere on the ground. I’m sure there are nests there and maybe hatchlings. I suspect so.

Parts of the Refuge are starting to green up, but it’s still mostly blond and blue 💚 Colorful enough for me.

Though a little on the warm side, it was beautiful out there. Other than birds and animals, Teddy and I had the Refuge to ourselves. I savored that. In the background of my life a lot of serious stuff is going on that I can’t do anything about, and my mind feels “noisy” right now. I welcomed the solitude — well, I usually welcome the solitude because my brain is a pretty busy place.

Here’s what a psychologist has learned about people and solitude. I happened on this article yesterday — it’s kind of interesting, but it’s so strange to me that solitude needed to be studied, or that people need to learn that time alone is important, even need to learn HOW to BE alone. In China, where no one had time alone physically, the Chinese had a way (and a word I can’t remember) for giving others solitude even when they all had to be in a tiny apartment together. I’m curious, now, about other people. How many people fear solitude?

It’s as strange to me as learning that the Anglican Church had to come out approving people being single.

Where have I been living all this time? 🤣

Or are people just getting grants to study stuff that doesn’t need to be studied? I thought about that, too. There seems to be a lot of that.

Speaking of solitude, I recently got Patagonia’s catalog/magazine and it said, in enormous letters, something I feel very strongly. “Not Mars.” It’s true that environmentalism is a marketing strategy of Patagonia but that’s OK with me as long as they are doing what they purport to do — and they do.

When I see photos of the Mars exploration, I think of all the people on this planet who are having hell’s own time putting a life together. I think of the preventable diseases. I think of crappy education hither and yon, of a principal in Florida who’s fired for showing students one of the great works of the Western World. I see rabid consumerism as a (illusory) short cut to happiness. I hear, in the back of my mind, the stupid arguments about climate change. I think of the wildfire I lived through in California and all those that came after — and now? A season called “fire season.” How fucked up is that? I see people who don’t know how to go out into the natural world because no one taught them, people who treat nature like a commodity and regard natural beauty as a kind of plastic amusement park. I see gratuitous wars and people dying. I see a lot of things that need attention (IMO), I see the whole scarcity myth. So, Mars? Why?

Maybe people just need to be alone. 🤣

That said…yesterday I learned one of my poems won a third prize in a contest here in the San Luis Valley, Message from the Hidden Lake the publication of the Alamosa Public Library. I submitted my work in the midst of long Covid brain derangement so I didn’t even remember WHAT I’d submitted. It appears this poem won, a poem in praise of a sign of environmental success:

Walk with a Mayfly

Mayfly riding on my shirt, frail beauty
against early autumn’s gray and clouded light
With her big red eyes, she looks up at me.
What does she see? Here, in her life’s one flight,
She rests in her fleeting, urgent frenzy
Carried on the soft breeze of a fall day, 
She shares her short airborne time with me
I’m humbled, awed. “Little Mayfly,” I say
“You honor me. Your mayfly flight is just three
days, and you ride on my shirt,” but she stayed,
Transparent upright wings, still watching me.
I can never know what she would have said, 
If she could. Maybe (and these words are true),
“Three days for me is a lifetime for you.”

A Really GREAT Day

Yesterday I called Elizabeth and invited her to go with me to see the renovations and new exhibits at the Rio Grande County Museum. She was up for it, so off we went. I hadn’t been yearning to go to the museum at all, but once I was there?

Only three other people were there besides the two of us which, for me, was good. Lyndsie and Kathleen have been working on the museum for the past six months, digitizing the collection, ripping out old carpets and putting down more durable and modern floors. The changes were great. One of the changes is turning the former director’s office into a small library for people who want to do research. All the books (and it’s a lot of books!) are there. The gift shop has been reorganized and I was thrilled to see my little notecards displayed beautifully. “Wow,” I said, “You made my day. I feel like a million dollars seeing this!” By then I’d exhausted my portfolio of appropriate cliches.

“Well, you should, ” said Lyndsie.

Then I asked when the stage coach was coming and she said, “It’s here!” and led us to it. I was thrilled to see it. It’s a great stagecoach with good stories.

It happened that Elizabeth’s and my next stop was an exhibit of Indian artifacts. As I looked at the display, and listened to a local archeologist talk to a couple of other people, I looked at the display and there, beautifully displayed were…

My mom’s moccasins.

I was so happy to see them. I gave them to the museum four years ago because I love them, they’re beautiful, and I didn’t want the day to come when I shirk off my mortal coil and they end up in a thrift shop or the landfill. When I gave them to the museum, I couldn’t see they had much relevance to Rio Grande County. The Crow don’t and never have lived down here. My mom may or may not ever have seen Del Norte, but I figured, at least there they would not end up dumped even if they never saw the light of day.

Crow Moccasins, Rio Grande County Museum, Del Norte CO
Native American artifact display, Rio Grande County Museum

My friend Louise, the director at the time said, “But you live here now. They belong here.” OK with me. I personally feel that with some larger or smaller differences, the story of the American west is ONE story. The sod and log home my born was born in was replicated all across the frontier. The stagecoach in the museum? Another one just like it appears in a 19th century painting of Mt. Shasta, CA.

So there they were. My heart was in my throat. I said, “Those are my mom’s moccasins.”

The archeologist said, “What?”

“Those. Those were my mom’s.” It wasn’t clear that I’d given them to the museum. I wasn’t very articulate. I did, finally, manage to say that I’d given them to the museum.

“They’re Crow moccasins. The beadwork is supposed to be a wild rose the kind that grow along the Little Bighorn.” And all over, but…

“I didn’t know that,” said the archeologist. How could he? “I knew they were Native American.”

“My mom was a teacher on the Crow Reservation in Montana.”

I was so happy to see them, I don’t remember ever feeling that way. My mom was a complicated and, for me, difficult person. She didn’t really like me but I liked her — sort of a model for my future love life, ha ha. I loved that she was a teacher on the Crow reservation. I loved her stories about that time in her life, WW II, she was still in school. Teacher training then involved one year studying, the next year teaching, and so on for eight years. She had good friends among the Crow some of whom I met in 1968 when I went to Crow on a church mission trip.

And THAT trip gave me one of the happiest days of my life even though I ended up in terrible trouble. I thought it was cool that we were there with the Indians; my mom’s stories had primed me. The leaders of the mission trip were not of a similar mind. But I made friends with a Crow kid and we took off one day on horseback and rode along the river for a couple of hours. For that I was punished in the classic style of those times; the promised trip to Yellowstone was cancelled. NO one got to go because of what I had done. OH well…

So, the moccasins. What a wonderful thing.

My mom when she was teaching at Crow Agency. She’s wearing a Coups pin. I wrote about that here…

Pretty Random

I recently went back to the story I was writing a year? Two years? ago. The story about the painter Benedetto with his donkey, Gaspar. I worked and edited and pondered and then I hit the point where I stopped whenever that was. I saw why. Damn, no idea where to go now, either, but I think I’ll push onward.

Yesterday one of the little literary anthologies published in the San Luis Valley — The Circle Book; A Conejos County Anthology — appeared in my mailbox. There are three little magazines — The Circle Book, Messages from the Hidden Lake, and The Willow Creek Journal. Every year I submit to all of them. I know perfectly that any audience for my work is going to be within this ring of mountains or a little outside. It’s fun to read through them. This time was particularly fun because I had no memory of what I’d submitted since that all happened when I was struggling with Covid brain. “Oh look at the nice poems and the photo that lady submitted,” almost but not quite.

That inspired me to look at the second chapbook, Volume 2 of Shit, Fear, and Beauty that I started putting together in December. I saw that I had nearly finished it but, again, no real memory of what was in it. Then I thought, “No one is going to read this, Martha.”

“I don’t think that matters, Martha.”


“No. Doesn’t matter at all. You like making books.”

“Good point and why am I talking to myself?”

“Who else are you going to talk to? The dogs are outside,” I said flippantly (there, used the word 🙂 ).

So I persevered and published it. This time the word “shit” is not covered with a “Censored” sticker. It costs a little more than the first volume. The cost to publish went up a little. Life in our times (all times). The Kindle version is half the price of the paperback.

The wind came up again yesterday, 55 mph and the blowing dust warnings were in force as well as red flag warnings. The same for today. 😦 The dust began two blocks west, completely obscuring the view of the mountains. At one point during the gale, I looked up to see 30 turkey vultures soaring above my neighborhood. They are here every summer and are very very beautiful in flight. Last year when I was sick with Covid and couldn’t get out to walk the dogs or see the world, I went out to get the mail. There on my front lawn was a wing feather from a large bird. I went to pick it up. It is dark brown on top, and golden underneath. I looked it up and found it is a turkey vulture wing feather. I felt that the wild world from which I’d been exiled had left me a gift.

They like the tall spruce trees all around my neighborhood and sometimes I see five of six just hanging out in Elizabeth’s tree. Here’s a link to the featured photo.

Vultures get a bad rap because they’re ugly (say some), they eat carrion, and they smell bad. One thing that really bugs me is people confuse buzzards with vultures. No. C’mon. Please… Buzzards are hawks. Red tail hawks are buzzards. You can learn more here.

I decided last night to learn more about vultures. This struck me, “Vultures have evolved to eat dead animals and have no reason to attack a live human or pet. However, if cornered or handled, they may bite or vomit.”

I think I finally found my spirit animal…

Nothing Much to Say, Continued…

I had the devil of a time catching Bear yesterday — and I have no idea why. She WANTED to go, she just didn’t seem to want to intersect with me and her leash.

“But Martha, this is where the snow was.”

After some very subtle negotiation, and dragging Teddy by his collar (sorry little guy) out of the car, we were on our way.

It’s weed burning season and it’s dusty so the sky and air were hazy with smoke and dust, not really pretty, but OK with me and definitely pretty enough.

As we arrived, I saw a woman with a walker struggling to get into the restroom at the entrance to the Refuge. Her husband was with her and their yellow lab was wagging his tail like the good boy he undoubtedly is. I waved and the man waved and I thought of one of my life’s great achievements — a wheelchair and walker accessible walkway at Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego that goes from the parking lot to Old Mission Dam.

I wanted to do this in honor and memory of my dad who took us to Yellowstone long before there were any accessibility accommodations for anyone. He was walking with a cane and it was so hard for him. Not every physically handicapped person is in a wheelchair.

Once I was involved with Mission Trails, I wanted grandpas and dads like mine to be able to go there with their kids and grandkids. Luckily for me, Randy Hawley, the head ranger at the time, had been raised by an aunt who — like my dad — had had MS. The minute I mentioned it, he was onboard.

I raised funds for it by writing proposals to the Transient Occupancy Tax Board in San Diego. Both proposals were fully funded. In my mind it is the “William B. Kennedy and Randy’s Aunt Memorial Walkway.”

After I had my “moment,” Bear and I continued, parked, and began our walk. It was the warmest day so far, and I had to take off my sweatshirt. We had a great time, as always.

Quotedium Update ad infinitum

Temps have returned to more comfortable levels (meaning chilly), so Bear and I headed out yesterday to savor the cold and see how spring is progressing out there in the Bark of Beyond.

The grass and hay fields are flooded meaning in late May and early June the wild iris will be blooming. Farmers are doing their seasonal burns to clear the irrigation ditches of undesired, ditch-clogging weeds and brush. An enormous tractor with two new diskers was parked to one side of the two lane road. Diskers are used to break up clods in plowed fields. They are mean looking machines…

Off in the far distance a farmer was burning grass in a large field. My “Shit. It’s a fire!” reflex kicked in, and I urged Bear to hurry on our way back to Piu Bella (more beautiful because of her gray spoiler) then I realized I wasn’t in CA any more and the fire was soon out anyway.

Bear found a lot of great smells but apparently not much new as she didn’t roll in anything and she mostly walked right beside me, which, of course, I love.

In my own farming news, for the first year since I moved here, I haven’t started any seeds in the house. I don’t think I’m going to. Last year, when I had a ridiculous (and wonderful) forest of Scarlet Emperor beans in my bean field, I learned that they grow just as well when I stick the bean right in the ground on May 15. As for tomatoes? Not doing it. I’m thinking about zucchini. I love chard, but it’s never done great here. Last year I realized I don’t really like gardening very much. I’m going to concentrate on finding perennials that don’t need much water. The wildflower experiment I did last year was a great success.

Otherwise out in the Big Empty the spring birds are arriving, have arrived. I heard the beautiful song of the Western Meadowlark. After she sang — and I videoed it — she flew in front of me. They are beautiful, yellow, black, white and tan. A red-wing blackbird sang from a small tree, geese continued their endless debates.

Meadowlark and wind

In case you’re wondering where Bear is now…

Bear sitting where she sits every morning while I write. 🩷🐾

Featured photo: a Canada goose couple who’ve decided to build in the suburbs and their duck friends.

Nature and Stuff

The weather’s wacky. Seriously. It has some major problems. The forecast? Just look at it. Definitely an identity crisis OR an inability to take life seriously OR bipolar disorder — wait maybe — we do have two poles, whoa, maybe it’s not a disorder at all.

Yesterday’s big news was prescribed burns out at the various Big Empties in the San Luis Valley with every fire fighting resource in attendance. They had to work fast because we’re under a Red Flag Warning today.

Seriously, did you ever imagine you would know so much about this remote small place, a 1 cent postage stamp on the globe? Anyway, I’ve known for a while that the burns would happen. Last year they worked very hard trimming back cottonwood trees and piling up the branches in neat little piles that just said, “Burn me!” We have also been dealing with a LOT of invasive plants. Last year the Russian knapweed — which is beautiful but noxious — was far too prevalent.

Along with prescribed burns, the wildlife managers invite shepherds and cowboys to drive their stock through, usually a little later in the spring. Last year a huge herd of sheep meandered through parts of “my” Big Empty. A couple of years before, I am 90% SURE that “my” cows were driven through, given the track of manure, where it started and where it ended.

In the last election, the people of Colorado voted for the introduction — and protection — of wolves. Since they are already here it was kind of a funny vote, but…Ranchers and farmers don’t like wolves, for obvious reasons, and last year there was a bru-ha-ha in which some cattle were allegedly killed by wolves. I just thought it was more electioneering bullshit because it happened right around election time. Turns out, I was right. You can learn more about it here, in an excellent short article from Writers on the Range, Let’s Tell the Truth about those Big, Bad, Wolves.” Here’s an excerpt:

The return of wolves to the West has always been contentious, and the deaths last fall of more than 40 cattle really in western Colorado alarmed ranchers. But here’s the true story: Wolves did not kill those cattle found dead near Meeker.

After months of investigation, the state agency, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, found no evidence of wolves in the area at all.

Yet when the news of the cattle deaths went public last October, the agency issued a press release stating it was “investigating a report of dead domestic cow calves on White River National Forest lands near Meeker that show damage consistent with wolf depredation.”

A month later, the agency’s Northwest regional manager testified before the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission that though some of the cattle had injuries that appeared to come from wolves, he added: “It’s perplexing; it’s confusing; it’s frustrating, trying to figure out exactly what occurred in this incident.” The story of wolves as the culprits, however, made national headlines.

“Let’s Tell the Truth about those Big, Bad, Wolves”

You can learn more about it here, in an excellent short article from Writers on the Range, Let’s Tell the Truth about those Big, Bad, Wolves.” I had the wolf argument back in the 80s with my Montana family. I still feel the same way, first that, beyond this here, I won’t talk about it. Second, wolves are part of the original ecosystem of the, well, entire world. Research done in Yellowstone Park about the effect of the wolves some 30 years later shows they help the environment heal. My ranching friend in Wyoming runs hundreds of head of cattle and sheep and has 44 dogs like Bear and guys on horseback. Another friend who has alpacas on the Montana/Wyoming border, has high fences and 7 dogs like Bear. One change hiking in Europe now, from when I last hiked in Switzerland, is dogs like Bear. How long have livestock guardian dogs been on the job? Thousands and thousands of years. Bear’s breed — the Akbash dog — has been around since 700 bc. One of the small ranches in my neighborhood keeps a Great Pyrenees with the calves. A small sheep ranch has two.

Normally, the livestock guardian dogs don’t take on the wolves; their job is to make it too much work for a wolf to go after the livestock. It’s the same thing as putting a lot of locks on your front door so a robber thinks, “Damn, by the time I get this thing open, the cops will be here.” Livestock guardian dogs are bars on the window. Yes, sometimes they get attacked and killed but often (based on what I’ve learned) it’s because the livestock owner didn’t have enough livestock guardian dogs. Wolves are not the only major predators out there, either. My personal favorite (seriously) of course is the mountain lion. And then there are coyotes and bears. BUT wolves… Anyway, the wolves crossed the Wyoming/Colorado border (which does not exist in real life) so here we are.

I’ve seen Bear respond to an attack (an Australian cattle dog) and she did not hesitate one second to protect me and Dusty. As I watched, I could imagine a different, wilder, scenario. The cattle dog came at us (protecting his territory, a front yard). Bear got loose, sauntered over to him (he had his teeth bared and so on and so forth) and very calmly put her paw on his back, pushed him down and but her mouth over his throat. Just like that. No sign of anger or urgency, just, “This is not to be borne!” He never came at us again.

Here is an Akbash and a Great Pyrenees explaining territorial rights to a bear. Their human uses colorful language. I imagine bears might bring that out in people.

In other news, Elise — my washer/dryer combo — did an awesome job on a mixed load of my normal clothes. I love her. Yes, I know she’s an appliance but seriously… Yesterday I learned how to clean her pump filter.

Easter Services in the Big Empty

Bear's hole

Teddy and I attended Easter Services in the Church of the Big Empty. It was the warmest walk we’ve had in, oh, 7 months? 😮 Choirs of geese squawked fiercely, quarreling over potential mates. Meadowlarks broke the goose cacophony with their melodious chants. A duck or two punctuated the chorus. A Northern Harrier oversaw everything. No other humans anywhere in sight. Teddy behaved beautifully.

Fresh fox and coyote scat shows me the birds may have laid eggs. The water in the large pond is so high that my two Canada geese who like to watch from the pinnacle of a muskrat nest are no longer very far above it all, though the nest is there and so are the geese. A frog leapt out of and back into one of the narrow ditches. Elk and deer pathways broke open the cattail hedges along the water, in spots I could see where an ungulate had slipped.

The people who maintain the Refuge have had to repair places where crane tourists pulled too far off the road to get their photos. I love the crane tourists but some of them don’t seem to realize where they are. Most do, but a few do not.

Teddy thought something was very funny, but he wasn’t saying. Maybe the geese…

Featured photo, Bear in her hole.