Saturday, June 30, 2012

Back-Burns Scare Boulder Residents Today

A lot of residents of Boulder called 911, the fire department, and the Sheriff's office today because they were unaware of planned "back-burns."  The fire specialists had marked areas yesterday that needed more protection to keep the fire from spreading, and, so, today, a lot of folks were concerned when they saw large smoke-plumes rising from Flagstaff.  Right now, I can smell the smoke from today's planned fires, which created barriers that the lightning-caused Flagstaff fire will not be able to jump.  It's a pretty drastic measure, but the wildfire situation in drought areas is pretty dire.  All I can think of at the moment, is King Charles, his brother, and Prince Rupert setting off explosions and counter fires in 1666 during the Great Fire of London...  At least the Ironing Board fire is totally contained, and the Flagstaff fire is over 80% contained.  Again, we can sleep easily.

Baby Critters



Goats and adult rabbits

An Amazingly Nice Morning

It's 66 degrees outside, the sun is shining, there is 24% humidity, and no visible smoke over the mountains.  There is no smell of smoke, either.  We are supposed to reach a high temperature just below 100 today, so it may not be so "nice" later - but it's wonderful outside now.  I've gathered Miss Maggie May inside for the day, and fed her breakfast.  I've let Boo and Mona out and fed them breakfast.  I stopped and picked up my breakfast on my way home to my kits;  whom I have fed (and cleaned litter boxes), and have allowed out to roam.  Next, I need to walk and feed Peach, and leave her on the veranda with plenty of water.  Then I can read for a couple of hours before starting my animal rounds all over again.  Lovey has been talking to me at the top of her lungs, while Nedi is being his usual silent self.
   The Ironing Board fire here in Boulder is contained.  The fire fighters performed a back-burn yesterday on one side of the Flagstaff fire, so there was new, dark smoke in the sky; but local citizens had been forewarned about the back-burn.  In the Waldo Canyon fire, the remains of a second person were found in a burned out home; at the moment, only one person is reported as missing in that area. It is hoped that the High Park fire will be in full containment tomorrow or Monday.  But that still leaves a lot of fires burning; even though the Waldo Canyon fire is nearest homes and businesses.
   Nephew Mike is at a weekend party at a lake; Kathy and Jim are in Leadville, with Jim competing in a half-marathon.  Since I have transportation, I might swing up to Nederland or Estes Park before the Fourth is over....  Maggie May doesn't need me during the day, and I only care for Peach until noon tomorrow, while Kathy and Jim are due back tonight...  So I might become a "tourist" and visit some of the shops.  We'll see.  It's supposed to continue with very hot and dry weather through the Fourth - I might end up just kicking back and doing research and reading.
  I hope you have a great weekend!  Don't get over heated, and stay hydrated!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dream Horses

The legendary Red Rum galloping on Southport Beach

The "Dragon Horse" one of my favorite carousel destriers

The Phar Lap Rocking horse made by Legends Rocking Horse in Buckinghamshire, England.
They come in four sizes.  I want one!

The Colorado Wildfires

While the news about Boulder's fires and the High Park fire fire have gotten better, the news from the Waldo Canyon fire has gotten a little worse.  Both the Flagstaff and Ironing Board fires are under control, and unless we encounter an unusual storm or wind event, there is little to concern Boulderites other than the air quality...  The High Park fire looks as if it might be contained by July 1 - with only one human casualty and the loss of 257 homes.  The High Park Fire is estimated at 87,284 acres, meaning the fire has not grown for two days. Containment is now estimated at 85 percent. The estimated containment date has been moved up from July 15th to July 1st. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at 36.4 million dollars. There are 1,125 personnel assigned to the firefighting effort. Equipment resources include: 3 Type 1 hand crews, 9 Type 2 hand crews, 79 engines, 9 dozers and 12 water tenders. Air Resources include; 3 Type I (heavy) helicopters, 4 Type III (light) helicopters, fixed wing support aircraft, and available heavy air tankers.
 (It should be noted that "containment" means that a containment line exists around the fire, which fire managers believe will hold the fire within the perimeter. "Control" means that the fire is actually out which, on a fire of this magnitude, typically requires an act of nature such as prolonged rain or snowfall. Islands of fire will continue to burn within the perimeter during the containment phase and residents should expect to see smoke for days, weeks, and even months as the fire moves from containment to control.
  The Waldo Canyon fire has claimed 348 homes, one life, and there are two people reported missing.  President Obama has declared the state of Colorado a disaster area due to the wildfires, and will fly over the Waldo Canyon fire sometime today.  It has been, and will continue to be, a horrible time for home-owners and families.  The up-dated facts on theWaldo Canyon fire:
Size: 18,500 acres and growing
5% containment.
100s of homes burned
Hwy 24 Closed in Ute Pass/Waldo Canyon
36,000 evacuated
1,200 firefighters (plus CSFD & other local agencies)
Military helping with heavy machinery/dozers
All of us owe a very great deal to the wonderful fire fighters who are fighting the flames of these fires throughout the state. 
If you would like to make a donation for either the victims of the fires, or for the fire fighters, please visit the website for the American Red Cross at:  and/or the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Foundation at: 
    Thank you.

Boulder OEM: "Calm"

The Boulder, Colordo Office of Emergency Management will not be holding any more media updates regarding the Flagstaff or Ironing Board fires.  They state that both fires are under control and that the area is "calm."  They did state that flare-ups might be visible, especially at night, but that the ground teams of fire fighters and the air attacks with both water and slurry have been very effective.  Boulder can "breathe easy" again - unless, of course, you suffer from asthma or any other pulmonary problems.  There is still smoke in the air, and the tiny ash particulates are very nasty for those suffering with COPD.   Will blog more later, after walking Rosie and Remy, and returning home to my kits.  (Maggie May is currently scolding me for not playing with her...)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Fire: Ironing Board on Green Mountain

A newly named small fire is burning on the east side of Green Mountain, behind the Flatirons, looking over Boulder.  Fire fighters are calling it the Ironing Board fire.  The first report said the fire was under control; the last report said it was spreading.  This fire is only one of many started this afternoon by lightning strikes in dry timber.
The Ironing Board fire above the tips of the Flatirons, Thursday afternoon, July 28

Colorado Wildfire Photos

Hundreds of homes are lost in the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs

Deer seek the sanctuary of a creek in the High Park fire near Fort Collins

On the out-skirts of Boulder, a fox drinks from a bird bath while vacating from the Flagstaff fire

Colorado Wildfires

Right now, I'm listening to the sirens of fire engines leaving one of the local engine houses... but the sky is grey from rain clouds, even though it sounds as if we've gotten a lot more thunder and lightning than actual rain.  This morning, one could barely see the smoke from Flagstaff Mountain - it was lying down in a hill-clutching haze.  I have yet to see any plumes of smoke this afternoon, either. It seems that the fire here by Boulder is almost under control.  We had several small fires started by lightning strikes yesterday afternoon, and I'm pretty sure that's what is happening today.
   The High Park fire has burned 267 homes up in Larimer County, over to the west of Fort Collins.  It is now 75% contained.  At the moment, the worst fire is the Waldo Canyon fire, where over 36,000 people have been evacuated - and hundreds of homes have gone up in flames.  The numbers of homes lost near Colorado Springs hasn't been counted, as the fire is still extremely active...  The local TV stations did live, round-the-clock reporting from the scene for 36 hours.  I can not fault the coverage, but occasionally, I had to disagree with phrases that were used "live"...  Several reporters said that some of the home owners "were forced to watch their possessions burn."  Who tied these folks up, placed them in front of their homes, and forced them to keep their eyes open?   ... I know, I know... That's reacting a little strongly, but I do wish folks on the airwaves would think of what kind of picture their words are creating....  The losses of forest, field, wildlife, pets, livestock, homes and possessions has been overwhelming.  It beggars belief.
  All I can say is that my kits and I are safe and secure; and all the critters I care for are also safe and secure.  Now that the earlier rain has ended, the air reeks of wet wood-smoke.  I would rather smell wet smoke than be worrying about a fire creeping down the hill toward me!  I'll continue to keep you updated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Boulder's Flagstaff Fire Much Calmer

The pre-evacuation orders have been lifted, and the Boulder Office of Emergency Management has given out the following information:
  • Fire is 30 percent contained
  • No significant growth today and no significant growth expected overnight; still at 280-300 acres in size.
  • Heavy rain fell on the fire area Wednesday afternoon, increasing relative humidity.
  • Hard fire lines are in place on the west and south sides of the fire area;
  • East and north sides have no hard fire lines and are instead relying on fire retardant drops to form a barrier;
  • Weather tonight: 56-61 degrees F., 53-58 percent relative humidity, winds out of the west at 8-13 mph with gusts of 25-30 mph between 2 and 8 a.m.
  • No significant fire movement expeced overnight.
  • Random torching of trees is to be expected.
  • Fire crews will be working the fire all night. Severity Patrols -- fire crews in brush trucks -- will be patroling the neighborhoods bordering the fire area as well as evacuated areas along Flagstaff Road and Bison Drive looking for and putting out spot fires as they happen.
  • So far there are no structures damaged or destroyed, no injuries and no structures are threatened.
  • Because of progress made on the fire Wednesday and the cancellation of pre-evacuation status for nearby residents, the public call center and media/public information functions at the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center will cease operations at 8:30 p.m. tonight. A decision about whether or not the call center will be needed going forward will be made at a later time.
  • The next media briefing will be held at 7:30 a.m. June 28 at the Boulder County Sheriff's Headquarters, 5600 Flatiron Parkway, Boulder.
  • Boulder's Flagstaff Fire Photos

    The fire on top of Flagstaff last night - June 26

    Smoke rises above Flagstaff Mountain - early morning June 27

    Sunrise view of the Flagstaff fire - June 27

    Looks like we're in for another smoky day from Flagstaff - June 27

    Nothing Has Changed So Far

    The reports on the Boulder Flagstaff fire are still the same.  Infra-red imaging late last night indicates that the fire had burnt 230+ acres, not 300.  More than 160 fire fighters, on both the east and west sides of Flagstaff Mountain worked through the night, trying to keep the fire from spreading.  The 29 homes on the west side of Flagstaff are still standing.  The 2,400+ pre-evcuation notices are still standing for the area of south Boulder.  The temperatures are expected to be in the mid-90s today, and our ever-swirling and blowing mountain winds are due to pick up and blow between 20 and 35 mph this afternoon.
      I honestly feel that where I live will not be evacuated, unless something horrendous happens...  In a straight line, it's about a mile from the fire to my apartment, but, because I'm down in the valley, next to Boulder Creek, following the topography, it's actually between one and a half  to one and three-quarters miles away.  And the fire has to burn through NCAR, NOAA, NIST, and then through the University of Colorado campus before it gets to my abode.  With nasty winds, it could possibly make it's way here - but, at the moment, it doesn't seem as if it will happen.
       I do feel for those people in the High Park and Waldo Canyon fire areas - homes are going up like torches...  And I laughed out loud when I read a news report saying that the High Park fire was "nearly contained" - since when does a 65% containment of an area that is over 137 square miles "nearly contained?" It doesn't compute in my math book - especially with this mountainous and dry terrain!

    Early Morning Report

    I can see smoke rising from the top of Flagstaff Mountain, and from several areas on the east side of the ridge behind NCAR. The first news briefing will occur about 8:30 this morning.  It was cooler here over night, and the winds died down quite a bit.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.
      More than 32,000 people were evacuated from their homes near Colorado Springs yesterday afternoon and evening.  A lot of homes were lost.  And the High Park fire, west of Fort Collins, has swallowed several more homes as well.  I'm off to walk the red kids before it gets too hot, and while the air quality is still half-way decent...

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Boulder Fire Update

    The wildfire smoke set off my smoke detector inside my apartment, so I've had to disable it already.  The fire has topped the ridge behind NCAR on Flagstaff Mountain.  Twenty-nine houses were originally evacuated - see the photos below.  Pre-evacuation reverse 911 calls have gone out to over 2,400 homes in south Boulder, with the eastern boundary being Broadway.  Broadway is only 14 blocks from my apartment.
     The smoke from the Boulder - Flagstaff fire as seen from one block south of my apartment.

    The Flagstaff fire as seen from the evacuated houses on the west side of Flagstaff Mountain.

    This photo was taken two blocks northeast of my apartment.

    We have had a brief splatter of rain - not enough to even wet my shirt thoroughly.  I can see flames on top of Flagstaff from the front of my apartment building....  There was an informational press meeting set for this fire at 8:30; however, the local stations are covering the Waldo Canyon  Fire press update, as they have many more houses at stake to their fire at this time.....

    Lovey is staying as close to me as possible; Nedi has gone into his hidey-hole in the closet.

    Boulder Now Has a Wildfire

    Gee, I can really smell smoke now... We had a thunderstorm plow through here about 2:45 this afternoon.  There were 51 lightning strikes in 30 minutes.  One of them started a fire on Flagstaff Mountain.  At 3 p.m., it was reported at 6 acres.  It is now over 300 acres and spreading rapidly before swirling winds...  Will keep you updated, as the smoke plume flows directly over my apartment at the moment....

    Here Kitty, Kitty!

    Each nose-print of each cat is totally unique - like a human's fingerprint, or a horse's chestnut print.

    Cats meow at people, not at other cats.  The more you speak to your cat, the more your cat will speak to you.

    Cats form bonds with other creatures - cats in the same clowder, dogs, people, rabbits. squirrels, birds, mice, etc...  If taught at a young enough age, they will not "hunt" companion pets.

    Last 5 Days of Free Feline Adoptions!

    The Boulder Valley Humane Society has 61 cats and kittens available for adoption this morning -  there are 5 days left in the month, during which, you can adopt any cat or kitten (aged 6 months or older) for absolutely zero cost! The wonderful cats and kittens have had a vet exam, are current on all vaccinations, have been spayed or neutered and have a microchip ID implanted under their skin. As usual, most people want a young kitten or puppy before they will choose an older animal -  this is why the free feline deal is for cats that are 6 months of age or older.  As I always plead, if you have the time, the space, the funds, and can give some of your love (that will be returned a hundred-fold), then please adopt one of these needy kits.    -  Did you know:
    * Ailurophilia is the "love of cats."                                   
    * The nose pad of a cat is ridged in a pattern that is unique, just like the fingerprint of a human.                                   
    * A cat will almost never "meow" at another cat. This sound is reserved for humans. The more cats are spoken to, the more they will speak to you!                                   
    * Cats knead with their paws when they're happy. We like to call this "making biscuits"!                                   
    * If your cat is near you, and her/his tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you.
        We are still expecting another 100+ degree day.  There are now 13 wildfires burning in Colorado - the latest fire is near Last Chance, over 38,500 acres burned last night; an area of 15 by 9 miles.  It was amazing to watch the news reports this morning, showing how the extreme heat melted a glass windshield into the interior of a car; looking at runnels of melted aluminum from hubcaps; melted steel from the tire rims - and, in the remains of a house, a melted porcelain bathtub....
        My kits are spending most of time inside, either laying on the tile, or in the bathtub - the coolest places in the apartment.  I am still running three fans, all at medium speed, but just sitting and reading (or researching) leaves my shirts soaked with sweat and my hair dripping sweat from my scalp... and that's with only 5% humidity.  I'm making sure the kitty fountain runs constantly, and both regular water bowls are filled.  Me?  I'm drinking only 20 ounces of Coke a day, plus a quart of Gatorade, and at least 3 quarts of water per day...  trying to keep all of us hydrated correctly!

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    136 Years Ago...

    In 1876, General George Armstrong Custer  got his come-uppence along the banks of a river the Sioux knew as Greasy Grass - most of the US folks will say it was the Little Bighorn.

    Views of Greece

    A very tiny view of some of the ruins at Dephi, on the southwestern spur of Mount Parnassus.

    Elafonisi Beach on the island of Crete

    A view of Paleokastritsa, a village on the island of Corfu

    Aleda; Debby; A Dozen Wildfires

    Cousin Aleda is back at home on Chincoteague Island, but is requesting that she have no visitors. This is from her latest Facebook Posting: the doctors said, "Double pneumonia, parasite infestation, bacteria infection, ulcers, and much more testing to see what else is causing all my symptoms." Docs also said: "You're lucky, 1 in 20 people with your condition dies here in the states." I was like WOW. Then he continued, "1 in 4 die with the combination of illnesses you have, you are a very lucky girl."  Aleda, Barry and the entire family are very lucky and blessed that she is still with us.
      We were in triple digits again yesterday, with 4% humidity, and are expecting the same again today.  I see that Tropical Storm Debby (not a Hurricane, like I wrote yesterday) is dumping large amounts of rainfall along the west coast of Florida - I'd love to have that rain here!
    This photo is of the Mayor of Cedar Key standing on top of a floating dock that broke loose from the fishing pier yesterday....
       The kits and I have been trying to stay cool and laid back...  I've read all my library books and need more.  We did have a thunderstorm around 7:30 last night, and it blew a transformer nearby, causing Nedi to hide under the bed for two hours.  Lovey just kept following me around and talking, as usual.  Power was out, but even after the rain, we only had 16% humidity.  And I was pretty bummed out to read that Alex Trebek, my favorite TV show host, had had a mild heart attack on Saturday, as well.
       There are now 12 wildfires burning in the state - two, the Springer fire near Lake George and the Estes Park (Woodland Heights) fire, are completely contained, and should not be able to spread any further.  The High Park fire burned another 57 homes yesterday, and has now burned over 130 square miles of land.  There is a wildfire out in the eastern plains, burning along County Road 102.  Then there is the cluster of fires in southwest Colorado - the Little San fire has burned over 21,600 acres, the Weber fire has burned over 6,800 acres, and the Stateline fire is completely out of control.  The Waldo Canyon fire  is out of control; the Treasure fire near Leadville is 25% contained.  Then there is the Sunrise Mine, Trout Creek, and one other fire...  And, of course, there is extreme heat, low humidity, and winds expected around 40 mph for most of the afternoon.
      I see my therapist today and get to tell her how upset Aleda's illness has made me - dredging up all the things that happened with Mom, Aunt Ruth, etc.  Thank goodness this appointment was made long ago - I had no idea I'd need it now!
       And Black Caviar, the wonderful racing mare from Australia, might be retired after her win on Saturday.  She tore muscles in her back during the race, and was "coasting" home because the jockey had misjudged the finish line - then she was put back into a hard run for a couple of strides just before the real finish line.  However, her jockey said that she just didn't feel like her normal self during the first half of the race - normally she's pulling at the reins, wanting to run harder, and on Saturday, she was content just to do what the jockey asked of her.

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Gulf Coast Views

    The beach at Caladesi Island State Park, near Clearwater, Florida

    Pelicans on a sandbar off Little Dauphin Island, Alabama

    A group of cownose rays in shallow water off Madeira Beach, Florida

    Eight Wildfires and a Hurricane

    It is still hot - we hit 102 again yesterday, and expect the same for the next three days.  It's also windy in the afternoon - especially up in the hills and down in the canyons, where most of the fires are located.  I can not thank all of the fire fighters enough for all that they do throughout our state - it's such an overwhelming job!
       Hurricane Debby is cuddling with the Gulf Coast, and a warning is up from the Mississippi-Alabama state lines over to the Ochlockonee River on the Florida panhandle.  Good luck to those folks!  I'd love to get the approximately 10 inches of rain that forecasters are predicting for that area...
       There are now eight wildfires burning in Colorado - the High Park fire, which has grown to 82,190 acres, to the west of Fort Collins; the Woodland Heights fire, on the outskirts of Estes Park, blew up yesterday and has consumed 21 homes; down in the southwest corner of the state, near Durango, the Weber Canyon (6,000+ acres), Stateline, and Little Sand (18,000+ acres) fires are burning; the Springer fire, near Lake George is still burning; a new fire near Leadville, called the Treasure fire, is rapidly spreading; and the Waldo Canyon fire is rapidly expanding near Manitou Springs, and officials have called for the evacuation of four entire towns.  The Stateline fire is causing some trepidation because there are several natural gas and oil pumps in that area.
       At least cousin Aleda is doing much better and is out of ICU in Salisbury...  she will need a great deal of follow-up care, but hopes to go home soon.  I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers for Aleda's recovery!  And, on another good note: A nearly 8,000-square-foot, $2.8 million research facility in Wachapreague was dedicated June 23 in a by-invitation event at which College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley, Director of the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Nicholas DiPasquale and state Delegate Lynwood Lewis were slated to speak.  Some 250 people -- among them a delegation of scientists from China -- were expected to attend the ceremony to dedicate the Eastern Shore Seawater Research Laboratory, which is part of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science campus. (Go, Eastern Shore!)

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Black Caviar Is Undefeated!

    Black Caviar just won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.  She has now won 22 of 22 races.  Her jockey is coming under criticism for not riding the mare harder, but they won by a head...   And she won in front of the Queen!  Yippeeee!!!

    John Hartford, Julia Belle Swain, and the Mississippi

    The Julia Belle Swain at Galena, Illinois

    John Hartford, entertainer and musician extraordinaire, piloting the Julia Belle Swain

    The flooding Mississippi River (46 feet) at Memphis, Tennessee

    Continuing Heat

    Not yet 8 a.m. and it's 75 degrees outside. Yuck. Normally our high temperatures at this this time of year are in the low 80s; we're expecting 103 today.  The heat and winds yesterday caused the High Park fire to jump the Poudre Canyon and head north again. Ten homes were lost yesterday, and the fire is estimated at almost 70,000 acres, only 45% contained...  
      My kits spent most of the time yesterday inside - either sprawled on the cool tile floor, or on the cat tree, catching the "wind" from the fans I have running.  Both went out into the back yard about 5:30, but came in willingly when I called them at 9:30.  I had problems getting to sleep due to the heat, and Lovey's announcement that it was time to get up (at 5 a.m) was not welcome.  Then she insisted on talking to me continuously until I did get up, at 6:30.  Nancy came over last night, because Ramsah, her black cat insisted on visiting us.  Ramsah  just walks into the apartment and helps herself to any food that appeals to her.... 
       A 19-year-old CU student was declared missing Thursday night, after a friend became concerned because the young man hadn't been in class all week.  He couldn't get the friend to answer his cell phone; so he went to the Boulder police.  The boy's family hadn't heard from him since Sunday, when he said something to them about hiking the ridge behind NCAR.  His body was found yesterday by a search and rescue team.  An autopsy will be done today.
       I am about to turn on TVG so that I can see the great Black Caviar run at Royal Ascot, in her debut in English racing.  She is facing another Aussie-bred, and horses bred in Kentucky, France, Great Britain and Ireland.  I hope she's had time to acclimate!
       Hoping you have a nice weekend....

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    102 Degrees; Fires; Bears; Thoroughbreds

    We certainly broke the record high today - it's currently 102 degrees outside and the humidity is at 6%.  The record we broke was set in 1874.  We're expecting record-breaking heat for the next 4 days, too.
      The High Park fire has exploded again - 733 more homes were evacuated this afternoon.  The current number of homes lost to the fire is 190.  -  And in Utah, the Dump fire, about 35 miles south of Salt Lake City, has doubled in size in the last couple of hours.  3200 people have been evacuated there.
      Here in Boulder, the drought and low humidity are making normal bear foods disappear.  Last night, there were break-ins into two different cars on Hurricane Hill - both break-ins were committed by hungry black bears.
      I'll Have Another, the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will be standing at stud in Japan.  ....  And, on the final day of racing at Royal Ascot, Black Caviar, the phenomonal mare from Australia, will face 14 opponents in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (at 6 furlongs).  TVG will broadcast live from Royal Ascot between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT tomorrow (Saturday).  I'm putting my money on Black Caviar - she's undefeated in 21 races, and I have to root for the girl.

    Dry Heat Makes Me Yearn for Water

    The Suwannee River, looking south from Bell, Florida

    At the Fort Pierce Inlet (Florida), Captain Todd caught a gigantic grouper

    Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay
    Supposed to break a record high of 98 degrees today - the record was set in 1874...

    A Connecticut Alligator?

    The Colorado DoW announced late yesterday that the young bull moose trapped in a Nederland skate park, died from heat exhaustion after it was tranquilized.   Why wasn't the heat problem noted once the poor guy went down from the tranquilizer dart?  Surely the DoW took the creature's vital signs before they moved it onto truck -  putting ice packs around the moose's neck and girth while he was in transit might have saved his life.   Then the local news covered the flooding in Duluth, and said that there had been no fatalities there.  Bull hockey!  At least eleven mammals died at the zoo, and an unknown number of birds.   Grrrrrr!  I guess I'm in a nasty mood today. (Must be a good thing that I see my therapist on Monday!)
        At least cousin Aleda is doing a little better in Maryland.  They performed some heart tests yesterday, as she had chest pain due to the fluid in her lungs; and those results were normal.  Today they are checking on her gallbladder and liver, as well as running a wide variety of blood tests.  She felt well enough to be cranky yesterday, so she must be on the mend, according to her husband.  Her sister, Nancy, visited her yesterday and was pleased that Aleda was being a grumpy bear.  Maybe she'll be out of ICU this weekend.
       I read a headline today that announced that an alligator had been caught in the Connecticut River.  I did a double-take, and clicked on the story.  Under the headline was the following photo:
    I took one look and said out loud, "But he's just a baby!"  And, apparently he is...  Authorities said he was only two to three feet long, and was reported wandering in a residential area near Enfield.  The reports mentioned that he was wearing a collar, which was still on when he was caught.  It is illegal to have an alligator, crocodile, or cayman in Connecticut.  If the owner is found, they will face a fine of at least $1,000.  (I hope the youngster will be shipped back to the South soon.)

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Scenes

    A bald eagle in the Refuge

    A river otter in the Refuge

    White-tail deer at sunrise in the Refuge

    Young Bull Moose; High Park Fire

    So cousin Aleda is still in the ICU in Salisbury - both of her lungs are full of fluid, her blood pressure is way too high, and the multiple medications are making her blood sugars too high, so she's now (also) on insulin...  Waiting for the twice daily update from her husband, Barry.  And, on top of that, the Eastern Shore is under a Code Orange air alert.
       Yesterday, in the blog, I complained about the lack of flooding precautions taken by the city of Duluth in regards to their zoo.  While I was blogging, the Colorado Department of Wildlife was having its own problems in Nederland.  A young bull moose was going down to the Dillon Reservoir on the outskirts of the town - he and some fishermen surprised each other.  The young moose ran, pretty much in panic, back towards the town, and he landed in the skate and skate board park.  Of course, the walls and sides of the park are smooth and slippery, and there is a pretty deep bowl in the center.  The young moose trapped himself.  He became very agitated.  It was decided to tranquilize him, and remove him from the skating park while he was unconscious.  He was shot with the tranquilizer dart, and became even more agitated.  When he finally went down, he was quickly wrapped in a heavy-duty tarp and hauled out of the bowl.  He was then trucked back up into the mountains for release.  He was removed from the tarp....  and he died.  As a wild animal, the shock and stress of the human encounter, and then being trapped, and then being tranquilized, was just too much.  The young bull moose essentially had a heart attack caused by fright.  What a sad end for such a magnificent creature!
       Lovey and Nedi and I have spend the past 50+ hours re-bonding.  Lovey wants to be touching me, or at least have me in her sight at all times.  Nedi keeps running in and out, but stays cuddled up next to me during the night.  I am currently getting ready to go walk the red kids, and pick up a couple of payments....
      Yesterday's high up around the High Park fire was only in the 60s, and the humidity was at about 40%.  Today it will be warmer and dryer; Friday through Tuesday, we're expecting highs in the 90s and 100s with very low humidity. Not good.  The fire has now burned 68,200 acres, or 107 square miles...  Luckily, no more homes have been lost to the hungry flames - but another 500 homes are on stand-by to evacuate. It is definitely fire season.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Assateague Island Scenes

    A baby piping plover at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

    Ponies and cattle egrets on Assateague Island

    A dolphin going after its lunch in the Assateague Channel

    Cousin Ill; Zoo Deaths

    We've had a cold front move in, so the temperatures shouldn't rise above 80 degrees today or the mid-80s tomorrow.  Then we'll be back in the 99-100 degree area for the weekend.  Oh, boy.   All of the wildfires are still growing, even though the High Park fire has a 50% containment.  Today it's overcast, grey, and hazy here.
       I am upset about the flooding of the Duluth, Minnesota zoo.  It flooded two years ago.  Yesterday, new  flooding killed at least 11 captive animals - all of them "barnyard" critters.  Goats, pigs ,burros, and calves drowned.  The folks at the zoo haven't yet reached the raven and vulture cages - because the area is still underwater.  Well, duh....  What do you think they will find?  It enrages me that this happens!  Their seal swam out of it's containment area, as did the polar bear, and both were recaptured and returned safely.  But to allow caged and penned animals to drown is just totally despicable!
       And on top of that, my cousin, "Missy" Aleda, is fighting for her life in an ICU in Maryland.  Aleda suffered from asthma and multiple allergies while growing up.  Her breathing problems have never gotten better, they have only worsened as the years have gone by.  The diagnosis on Sunday night was pneumonia - but now the Docs aren't sure; she is not responding to the usual antibiotics and her lungs have filled.  Her blood pressure stayed at 190 over 110 all last night.  All further tests have been placed on hold, just to get her stable.  Whatever your belief system is, please send healing thoughts, wishes and prayers to Aleda.  (And I'm sure her husband, Cap'n Barry, could use some of those, as well!)
      Thank you.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Surf Horses & High Park Fire

    A grey and a chestnut in the surf

    Smoke from the High Park fire.  Taken by Skye Robinson at the National Guard temporary headquarters at the fire.

    A helicopter maneuvers in Poudre Canyon, carrying a 1000-gallon load of water to drop on the fire.

    Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island
    (I want to be there.)

    Record Highs Yesterday

    It's only 70 at 7:40 this morning.  Yesterday, Boulder reached 98 degrees, breaking the record from 1936;  Denver reached 100 degrees.  It's been very warm, and we're expecting today's high to be 95 - just a trifle cooler than yesterday.  Besides the oscillating fan on the room divider, I have turned on the fan in the entrance hall... hopefully, this will help keep us cool.  The thermometer says it's 98 on the patio, but, then, the sun is shining onto all the glass and then is bouncing back out onto the pale concrete block walls and cement floor.  That's why I don't try to grow plants on the patio - they'll burn to a crisp in the summer.  My kits are both outside at the moment - Nedi slipped out quickly this morning, while Lovey has spent a lot of time on the corner of my desk, talking to me.  They seemed to like sleeping in the bed with me last night as much, or more, than I enjoyed sleeping with them.
       The wildfire down near Lake George has grown to over 1100 acres.  The High Park fire consumed 8 more houses yesterday, and has now burned over 96 square miles. There is a new fire burning near Pueblo, and the Pagosa Springs fire is still spreading.  The sky is hazy with smoke every afternoon, and one can smell smoke everywhere.  With today's heat, low humidity (it was at 4% yesterday), and high winds (again) today, the outlook continues to be bleak.  There are now over 1700 fire fighters at the High Park fire, and they have 30 planes and choppers dropping slurry and water up there.  More than 500 homes are now on stand-by to evacuate in Larimer County.
       Besides being "homesick" for Chincoteague Island, I think you can understand why I keep yearning for the sea and rivers, lakes, and bays....  We're a little over a month away from Pony Penning, and both Island Fever and Horse Fever have taken a strong hold of my mind.

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Water Views

    A view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel; this is where the bridge ends and one of the tunnels begins - or is it the other way around?

    Onancock, Virginia - Chesapeake Bay is on the horizon

    A part of the extensive harbor and docking areas at St. Michael's, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay

    Hot, Hot Monday (Free Cat Adoptions Reminder)

    We are expecting a high of 99 degrees today - at 7:30 in the morning, it is already 75 outside, and I have the oscillating fan on here in the apartment.  I've cared for and walked Rosie and Remy, and I'm at home with the kits right now. It seems silly, but I am so excited about being home and sleeping in my own bed tonight! And I'm actually going to be sleeping at home until the 28th...  sweet comfort, wonderful kits, lots of love, and all sorts of goodies.  Yes.
       The Springer fire down south of Lake George in Park County doesn't seem to be the monster that the High Park fire is.  Up in Larimer County, a lot more homes have been evacuated; and, unfortunately, there are now signs of looting taking place.  A man was arrested yesterday after having been stopped inside the fire area...  He had stolen government tags on his truck, forged documents claiming he was a fire fighter, and several stolen items from homes in the burn area.  That is totally unacceptable in my book.  ....  There is another Colorado wildfire down near Pagosa Springs, that has burned over 12,000 acres and is about 30% contained.  And besides the huge fires in New Mexico, there is now one burning in Arizona, along the Tonto Rim - that's at 3,100 acres and only 15% contained.  (If you grew up reading Zane Grey westerns, you'll recognize the Tonto Rim area...)
       And a reminder that the Boulder Valley Humane Society is offering free feline adoptions through the rest of the month of June.  Any kitten or cat aged six months or over is available for no charge - that includes a vet check, all vaccinations, spay or neuter, and an ID microchip.  Kittens less than 6 months old are available for adoption at half the usual charge.  There are currently (as of 7:51 a.m. MDT) 68 felines needing a home at the BVHS.
       Here's hoping your week isn't too long or too hot!

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Another Fire Starts in Colorado

    We have another fire that has broken out, this time to the southwest of Denver - a 200 acre fire south of Lake George, is now burning.  ....  There are new evacuations in the High Park fire, and winds have been reported gusting from 25 to 50+ mph...  It's 93 degrees; the humidity is at 8%.  The wind is the major player today.

    Fathers Day

    My Grandpa and Daddy - Emory Eben and Charlie Nocks at the old farm in Troy, Kansas

    My husband, Jeffrey, and Babe, the Great Dane

    Son Kevin Devine and his daughter Kennedy