Sunday, June 30, 2013

Critters and a Red Tree

Deer's looking at you

Fennec fox

Red-leaved tree

Chocolate sorrel horse

Dandelion mouse

Sally Lightfoot crab

South Fork Evacuees Allowed to Return

South Fork is the small community of 400 souls that was evacuated more than a week ago because of the West Fork Complex wildfire.  The fires - West Fork, Windy Pass, and Papoose - are still burning, over 95,000 acres now, with 2% containment.  The town of South Fork has had large fire breaks plowed around it, and the fire managers have deemed it safe for residents to return - but there is still heavy smoke and lots of particulates in the air.  Some of the citizens have returned, while others say they will wait until the air quality gets better.  The town of South Fork is kept alive by tourism - once the air clears a bit, I hope visitors will return in droves.
  About half of the wildfires that were burning last Sunday have either been totally contained, or are now extinguished.  But, two new wildfires were started by lightning strikes yesterday, and the others are still growing slowly.  -  And then there is the heat wave that has the southwest area of the United States in it's death grip.  Extremely high temperatures for this time of year have caused the deaths of multiple people - from infants to the elderly.  Today, here in Boulder, we have mostly cloudy skies (so far), and the humidity is an unusual 60% - usually we're at 25% or below...  And we even had a brief rain shower while I was in the grocery store this morning, getting kitty treats and kitty food.  Hopefully there will be more rain today, but fewer lightning strikes.
  Boulder County has seen the reappearance of the river otter, and now it seems our moose population is also rising.  I'm happy about it, and think it's grand.  Now we need to get badgers,wolverines and wolves back - and I'm not kidding.  I think the original wildlife of the area should be brought back and allowed to thrive - even if it means keeping my cats inside at all times.  This is a wild and open country in Colorado - people, though really get me upset:  they move out West because they want to be near nature; they build their homes in isolated areas so they can see wildlife; but once Mother Nature actually shows her face, the people are upset.  The people have moved into places that wildlife have ruled for centuries, and then the people are upset when the wildlife does what comes naturally...  They forget about the survival of the fittest and that most creatures of the woods and mountains are true predators.  Suddenly, they want the bear (or mountain lion, or mule deer, or moose, or elk, or bobcat, or lynx, or whatever) removed from "their property" because they don't feel safe.  These are the kind of people that I have no time or sympathy for.  You can't have things both ways.  The woods and mountains are not civilized, and were never meant to be.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hail Storm Last Night

Lightning, thunder, rain, and hail.  That's what happened here last night...
Clouds over Fort Collins last night

 Last night's hail in Boulder...

While we had a wild ride last night, it seems that the Opening Night of the Chincoteague Carnival was a nice one, even though a thunderstorm watch was posted.  
  And the West Fork Complex wildfire has grown to over 90,000 acres...  Have not heard of any new fires started by lightning from last night's storm, happily.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Beautiful Views

Along the Almalfi Coast of Italy

A beautiful day on the water

Pioneer cabin on Magnolia Mountain, Colorado

The Gay Head Light on Martha's Vineyard

Storm  near the erupting Cordon Caulle volcano, Lago Ranco, Chile

Colorado Wildfires; Opening Night of Chincoteague Carnival

Oh, my....    Aaron Hernandez is charged with murder, and is being looked at as a suspect in a drive-by shooting where two men were killed.  Such a sad report to read about an ex-Gator!  He has disappointed me entirely.   -   And I am feeling great sympathy for the divorce and feuding parents of Dylan Redwine.  The young teen disappeared from his father's home at Thanksgiving last year. A few of his bones have been identified via DNA testing this week - they were found scattered in a forest about 10 miles from the father's house.
  Our wildfires here in Colorado continue to grow.  Several are completely contained, and the Rocky Mountain National Park was surprised, but pleased, to announce the Fern Lake wildfire is completely burnt out.  We've had several local fires that have been less than 10 acres and have been quickly put out.  The Wild-Hacking Complex fire is still burning, as is the Strontia Springs-Waterton Canyon fire.  The Brush Creek fire is 97% contained.  The East Fork fire (on the western side of the Divide) i sat 447 acres, while the East Peak  fire is 75% contained, having burned over 13,500 acres, 12 homes and 4 out buildings.  The Trickle Mountain fire is 85% contained and had burned 277 acres.  The Ox Cart fire has burned 150 acres, and the Jefferson County Lillis Lane fire is 75% contained and has destroyed one house.  That leaves the West Fork Complex fire, which is still zero percent contained, and has burned over 83,000 acres so far.
   The forecast is for rain and thunderstorms for the next four evenings.  I would love to see it rain, rain hard. Not enough to flood those places that have just been burned, but enough to ensure that the current fires are extinguished - but I doubt that will happen.
    And tonight my heart is on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, specifically at the Chincoteague Island Carnival Grounds, because tonight is the Opening Night of the 88th Annual Chincoteague Fireman's Carnival!  How I wish I was there!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Silly Kitties

Morris is a famous cat in Xalapa, Mexico - he's running for Mayor of the town.  His catch phrase?  "Are you tired of voting for rats?"

Free Cat & Kitten Adoptions This Weekend

The Humane Society of Boulder Valley has 30 adult cats and 26 kittens available for Free Adoption on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - June 28, 29, & 30.  This is the end of Adopt a Cat Month, and the Humane Society has had a sudden, but expected, wave of unwanted kittens.  All cats and kittens are available at no charge (unless you'd like to make a donation) - they have each been spayed or neutered, had a check-up from the veterinarian, and have had their first series of needed vaccinations, if a kitten, or are up to date on their shots if you choose an adult cat.  They also have been micro-chipped, so they can't be easily lost.  Please, if you have the love, time, space, and money necessary to adopt, please do adopt.  You'll have a friend for life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Staring contest in Istanbul, Turkey

Lynx taking a swim

Fox squirrel

Kamikaze tiger cub

Ocelot in Ecuador

Add Another Colorado Wildfire

Five of the wildfires burning in Colorado are 100% contained - they will not spread any farther, unless we have some really crazy weather.  One wildfire is 95% contained, and another is 90 % contained.  The bad news is that 14 are still burning with zero containment.  At last report, the West Fork Complex fire had burned 79,182 acres, and the East Peak fire has consumed 13,491.  The we get to add the new Ox Cart fire, which is at 1200 acres.  It's amazing to me to realize how much land has been consumed by fire - just adding those three numbers comes to the equivalent of 146.68 square miles - and that is only five of the twenty-one large, noted fires burning.....
   Well, having spilled my vitriol about Custer yesterday, I feel much more light-hearted.  - And one must remember, the  only reason Custer's name continues to be remembered today, is because Libbie, his widow, lived for another 57 years after his death; and she spent every waking moment trying to convince people that her husband was a hero.....
   The New England Patriots are known for keeping their players "under wraps" with the media, so I was prepared for a summer without word of Tim Tebow.  Instead, I'm hearing and reading and seeing that Aaron Hernandez, one of the team's star running backs, has been released from his team contract after being arrested.  The charges have yet to be announced, but they are in connection with a murder, and are, possibly, just "obstruction of justice" charges - but we don't know yet.  I'd much rather be reading about Tebow's work-outs and his charitable efforts, in all honesty.
   The other "big" story is the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida.  I find it interesting that six women are sitting on the jury, and that 5 of them are Caucasian.  Mr. Zimmerman is Hispanic and is accused of killing an unarmed African-American teen... Mr. Zimmerman called in the young man as being "suspicious" as a part of his Neighborhood Watch duties; he then followed the young man, even though he he told by police not to follow Mr. Martin.  Mr. Zimmerman claims to have shot the young man in self defense.  The young man was unarmed and was carrying a can of tea and a package of Skittles; but he was shot through the heart at a close enough range to leave gun powder burns on his sweatshirt.... Somehow that just doesn't make sense to me....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wyoming - The Big Sky Country

Five Springs, at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

Lush grazing in the Big Horn Basin

The Pryor Mountains

An old homestead

Bison and the Grand Tetons

Road along a canyon

This photo was taken by Mark Nobles.  It shows the Grand Tetons wrapped in clouds.

137 Years Ago, One Stupid SOB Got His Just Reward

Good Tuesday morning!  The fires are still burning all over Colorado and the West Fork Complex fire has grown to almost 80,000 acres.  Our normal summer weather is not helping the fire fighters.  Hot and dry  here in Boulder, as usual.
   I don't normally celebrate the death of a person, but 137 years ago today, a lot of men lost their lives.  I mourn for all those who died this day, with the exception of one man.  This man had toiled hard to graduate from a Normal School, so he was certified to teach elementary classes to children.  He was bored after a year of teaching, and, for some reason applied to West Point Army Academy.  He was accepted into a small class of 34 students. He actually graduated in the spring of 1861, even though he was last in his class in all studies.  He decided he wanted to serve in the Cavalry, and since the Civil War was beginning, he joined the Army of the Potomac.  He volunteered for any duty that would bring attention to his name - he was a vain glory hound, and didn't care who knew it.  He generally followed orders, did well in a few scrapes, and was easily promoted.  He fought at the first Battle of Manassas (Bull Run), and during the Peninsula Campaign, he was promoted to Captain.  He saw action at Antietam and Chancellorsville.  Three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, he was named Brigadier General of all volunteers - he was all of 23 years old.  At East Cavalry Field, he led the First Michigan Cavalry in a charge that "broke the back" of the Confederate Army. He also lost 257 men and horses that day.  In his official report, he wrote, "I challenge the annals of warfare to produce a more brilliant or successful charge of cavalry."  His own men (a division) were not engaged in the fight; they were being held in reserve; but he convinced another Brigadier General (Gregg) to let him order the charge.
   He married a lady after knowing her for 14 months in 1864.  At the end of the war, he led the Second Division of Cavalry from Louisiana  back to Austin, Texas;  his subordinates greatly disliked the "eastern dandy" and were not quiet in their criticism.  In 1866, he was mustered out of the volunteer ranks and, again, was a Captain in the US Army.  He took an extended leave of absence; returning in 1867 as the new Lieutenant-Colonel of the newly created 7th US Calvary Regiment.  In mid-1867 he went AWOL to visit his wife, Libbie, and was court-martialed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. His punishment? He was relieved of duty for one year.  Before that year was up, he was reinstated, and sent to the Indian Territory.  In November 1868, he attacked the camp of  Black Kettle, a chief of the Cheyenne. It was described as the Battle of  Washita River - his report stated that they had killed 103 warriors; the Cheyenne say it was 11 warriors, along with 19 women and children.  But the biggest loss to the Cheyenne was the killing of 875 horses.  After the Battle of Washita River, it was alleged that this man had married the daughter of Chief Little Rock, a Cheyenne, and that they had two children.  The allegations were made by US Army Captain Frederick Benteen, Ben Clark (the chief of scouts), and Cheyenne oral tradition.  But no investigation was made.
  So, finally, on 25 June 1876, the 7th Cavalry, under orders from President U. S. Grant to "place all the natives onto reservation lands" broke into three battalions.  Captain Benteen had command of one, the second was led by Major Reno, and the third had George Armstrong Custer as their leader.  They were facing a large gathering of Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho near the banks of the Little Bighorn River.  At the end of the day, 263 US soldiers were dead, as were about 80 Native Americans.  I regret the deaths of all of these men - except Custer.  I cannot like the man in any way.

Monday, June 24, 2013

2013 "Super Moon" Around the World

Moon rise over the Tien Shan Mountains, near Almaty, Kazakhstan

African moon rise

Lady Liberty, New York


Mendocino, California


Twenty Wildfires Burning in Colorado

We have 20 wildfires over 100 acres in size burning in Colorado right now - four of the fires are fully contained, and, while still burning unconsumed fuel, are considered to be "out."  Two of the fires in the Rocky Mountain National Park are burning mostly beetle-killed pines and are being left to themselves, unless there is a serious flare-up.  There are numerous small fires every day that don't get mentioned by the media, unless lives or homes are lost.  It seems that most of our local, and imported, fire fighters are working 24/7.
 The largest fire is still the West Fork Complex, made up of the Papoose fire, the Windy Pass fire and the West Fork fire.  These three fires have now ravaged 75,150 acres, and there is still zero containment.  The East Peak fire has grown to 12,966 acres, or 19 square miles, and is now 10% contained.  All of the other wildfires have also grown; the Wild Rose is up to 1,070 acres, the Collins has increased to 380 acres, and the East Fork, Brush Creek and Derby Creek fires have all increased to slightly over 400 acres.  It's enough to make one breathless.
  I got up early this morning, took care of my kits, took care of the Redwood brothers, walked Rosie, watered flowers for folks visiting Turkey, and came home for breakfast.  That will be my morning routine through the seventh morning of June, excepting this Saturday and Sunday morning.  And next week, I'll add Maggie May into the mix...  The good ol' summertime...  Everyone travels.
   Lovey, Nedi and I are doing well.  Rosie still misses Remy, and now she is afraid of thunder and lightning, which she wasn't, during Remy's lifetime... That's a little peculiar.  Courtney, Chocolate and Blackberry's family made it home last night, as did Rosie's.  They were both very happy reunions.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Brenner Pass, Italy

Ovan, Lake Alamut, northern Iran

Mount Ararat

Sognefjord, Norway

Another view of the Bastei Bridge, Germany

Wildfires Still Burning Uncontrolled

Well, there aren't any scheduled updates about our wildfires for another hour - but since there was  no containment last night on the largest fires, we'll just have to guess that they grew in size.  Currently, the biggest fire designated is the West Fork wildfire (which is actually 3 fires - the West Fork, the Papoose and the Windy Pass fires).  The news update last night put the fire at 66,200 acres, or about 105 square miles - and there is no containment.  The town of South Fork is still evacuated.   The East Peak fire is also not contained, and has burned 11,386 acres, as of last night.  The Wild Rose fire is 10% contained and has burned 1,067 acres.  There is a new fire in the Uncompahgre National Forest (near Owl Creek Pass and 3 to 4 miles southeast of the Silver Jack Reservoir); it was last reported at 370 acres, with no containment.  The Wild-Hacking Complex fire has burned 400 acres and is 90% contained.
   The Lime Gulch fire is 90% contained, and all evacuation orders have been lifted.  Telephone and power lines were to be operational by noon today in that area.  The Big Elk Meadows fire is still 95% contained, but it and the Fern Lake fire are expected to burn until the first heavy snowfall.  The Trickle Mountain fire is another new one.  It is in Saguache County, has burned almost 300 acres, and is 10% contained.  The Brush Creek fire has burned 403 acres; the Collins fire has blackened 380 acres. There are also fires burning at Rifle Gap, Derby Creek, and Bull Gulch.
  Not counting the fires that are now totally contained - the Black Forest, Royal Gorge, and La Veta - there are 81,764 acres of wildlife habitat destroyed or on fire - that equals a bit over 127.75 square miles.  We're on our second day of summer - how much of the west will go up in smoke?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

105 Square Miles Up in Smoke

The West Fork Complex wildfire has burned 66,200 acres, which is equal to about 105 square miles.  The town of South Fork is still evacuated.  There is no containment of this wildfire - fire fighters are working on defensive measures only.
     The East Peak fire has grown to over 11,000 acres.
  More updates in the morning.

Tall ShipsFestival at Cape Charles, Virginia

Tall ship (and a heron) at Cape Charles

Pirate re-enactors from North Carolina helped set the tone for the festival

The crew of the Harvey Gamage

The schooner Alliance, out of Yorktown

Thanks to Chris Glennon, photographer, we can enjoy the costumes of other re-enactors at the Cape Charles Tall Ships Festival.

Warm, Warm, Warm!

Lovey is laying between my chest and the keyboard, so I'm having to reach over and/or around her to type.  I could make her move, but I'd rather be close and uncomfortable than chase her away.  Besides my kits, and Rosie, Courtney the goldfish, and the bunnies Chocolate and Blackberry, I add Sasquatch and Tugger to the mix today.  Luckily, Rosie's people and Paulina will both be back tomorrow evening, so I'll be back at home, with twice a day runs to the Redwood brothers (Tugger and Sasquatch).   Next Saturday and Sunday morning, I'm free and clear - then I add Tugger and Sasquatch (again), Maggie May and then Tinkerbell, while watering flowers for another client from now until July 4...
   I wouldn't say that we are having a problem with mother deer here in Boulder, but some folks would.  A young mother, who has an injured hind leg has a new set of twins, whom she usually leaves in a yard on Agate Road.  It's a high traffic area for people who walk, jog, run, and ride bicycles.  It's also a high traffic area for people who walk dogs.  This young mother is very protective of her babies - she will make a stand to keep them safe.  The other day, she attacked a dog (on a leash) who got too close - the lady, who had been talking on her cell phone and not looking around for wildlife, dropped the leash, and the dog ran for the doe.  The doe knocked it over and walked on it, which terrified the owner.  The owner of the house went out and frightened the deer away.  The dog and the woman were unhurt.  But this has caused an uproar in the neighborhood...  and I am not happy with the folks who ignore the law and allow their dogs to roam loose, either.  I am firmly on the side of the deer.  I believe that the woman was at fault for not really taking in/seeing her surroundings...
   Wildfires in Colorado continue to pop up, thanks to lightning, sparks from train wheels on tracks, and idiotic people.Yes, we had snow in April and May, and ran in May.  However, we are still in an extreme drought condition.  The Black Forest wildfire, while contained, has now had the homes destroyed count upped to 511.  The West Fork Complex fire (which has three fires - West Fork, Papoose, and Windy Pass) has now burned over 40,000 acres (or 62.5 square miles) and is still not contained in any way.  The East Peak fire has burned 10,000 acres and 9 homes, and has no containment. The Wild Rose fire, near Rangely, is at 850 acres and is 10% contained. The Lime Gulch fire is up to 600 acres and is 15% contained.  The Rife Gap fire has 0 containment and is estimated at 300 acres. The Bull Gulch fire, northeast of Cotopaxi, is 30% contained.  The Disappointment wildfire has been extinguished.  The Wild-Hacking Complex fire is 15% contained.  The Collins fire, 17 miles southwest of Meeker is uncontained, as are the two fires in northern Eagle County, The Derby Creek and the Brush Creek fires....  With high temperatures, no rain, and winds expected for the next week, I'll just cross my fingers, as usual.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Four-week-old liliger cub; Dad is a lion, Mom is a lion-tiger cross

Squirrel monkey in Ecuador

A handsome grulla horse

Rock squirrel in Texas

The owner of this dog says she sees Jesus wearing a robe in this view of her dog's bottom... What do you think?