Monday, December 12, 2016

Nature With Rosie

Rosie and I had a "nature day" this past Friday.  Just a quick reminder that Rosie is an elderly Irish Setter, who, at 14 + years, has out-lived her brother, her parents, and, as of last week, all four of her puppies.  Rosie has problems walking these days - her hind legs have no feeling, thanks to a compressed spinal cord, but once she gets her feet under her, she can keep walking for miles.  But - her left hind paw turns over as she walks, and she scrapes her toes raw, so we avoid walking her on asphalt and concrete surfaces these days.
   Friday, it had gotten a little warmer after snowing, and the roads and sidewalks were snow-packed, so we walked to my sister's instead of driving.  Her toes just slipped on the snow-pack, and didn't abrade, so we footed it.  The amount of small wildlife we saw was amazing.  Several bunnies were along the Garnet spur, and they all went dashing into burrows under a huge juniper bush.  Rosie had to spend a lot of time investigating each and every path.  When we turned onto Topaz, several squirrels chittered at us from one of Bernie's cottonwoods.  As we approached the next home, we were greeted by an eight-point buck and six does.  Rosie whined, but sat quietly and we watched them cross the street in front of us.  We passed lots of small birds singing in the trees, and saw tracks of squirrels, a raccoon, and other dogs in the snow.
   When we reached my sister's home, we went in by the Creek gate, and I took the leash off Rosie's harness.   Her first item of business was following the trail of a single deer that had jumped the gate, and then gone diagonally across the back yard.  The only areas clear of snow were right up against the line of firs trees along the irrigation ditch, so I set my chair up there.  Rosie began playing "safari" - looking for lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!) under the drooping boughs,  She spent about ten minutes doing her reconnaissance mission, and then felt it was safe enough to go wallow in a deep snow drift.  After several back-scratching rolls and wiggles, she heaved a deep sigh, and came back beside me.   She chose a sunny spot on the grass, and stretched out to absorb the sun's rays.
   I sat in the chair and watched the sky, listened to birds, and thought about how nice my life is.  (I was also hoping that it would stay this nice...)  Looking at the sky, I noticed that the lowers clouds were racing from the west to the east, and I watched a jet's contrail get twisted into a double helix before it was totally blown away and apart.  The higher, larger clouds were slowing moving to the northeast, and formed a darker backdrop for the lower, faster clouds.
   I then noticed there were very few birds singing in the back yard, so I started scanning the boles of the firs.  The fifth one I gazed at had a pair of great horned owls, a male and a larger female, near the top branches.  On the other side of the yard, there was the usual gaggle of chickadees, sparrows, juncos, robins, and one rufous-sided towhee.  Then a murder of crows flew over, followed by a few magpies...  All in all, the normal sightings in the Githens Acres neighborhood.
   Rosie and I walked back quietly - she was a little tired, and (I think) starting to get chilly.  I kept on thinking about all of the creatures that I had been allowed to view.  Got Rosie home, and she immediately curled up in her bed, so I threw her coverlet over her.  Then I stepped back out the front door and had a squirrel greet me.  Creatures in life are nice.

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