summer_jackel: (Zhava Running)
Kyn and I went to the beach a little while ago, and we saw some great ravens.

 photo DSC06962_zps3b6a33fe.jpg

Ravens by the waves )

Persistence

Apr. 3rd, 2012 07:09 pm
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Snout, says she.

I am busy and you ought to go away.

Says she, I can rebut, for I
am leggy, dark of eye and coat, and so alive;
a hound-pup four month's shy to yearling, and
this day will never come again. Can't you smell
the rain come softly down in wet forest, don't you
want to run
and won't death come to all of us?

We walk.
summer_jackel: (Default)
Does anyone know what these adorable little birds are?

cut for the cute! )
summer_jackel: (Coba ^_^)
I was certified for scuba diving with four wonderful friends in Monterey this weekend, and it was wonderful. I have coveted the ability to dive since that I learned what it was (I remember the moment; I was pretty young, and my mother very firmly emphasized how dangerous it was). As an adult, the equipment and perceived difficulty and expense in gaining the skill intimidated me, and despite my obsession with marine life and looking for it in the wild (in tidepools, up until now), I don't know that I'd have done it if friends hadn't had the idea and poked me. How fortunate I am.

It turns out that the equipment is relatively straightforward once one understands its use, its danger is not great if one takes proper care, and that obtaining certification was quite manageable. It's hard to explain how just delighted I am to have had this experience.

On our second dive, while hanging around under about 20 feet of water, holding onto a rope anchored in the sandy bottom of Monterey Bay and taking turns doing exercises, I saw a wild octopus. It was tiny, and the color of sand. It held very still, tentacles pulled in close and curled slightly upwards. I wouldn't have seen it if one of my companions had not pointed it out, and it quickly took its chance to disappear down one of the many tiny burrows that lines the seafloor. It was enchanting and beautiful. I hardly expected to achieve one of my life ambitions in wildlife-watching on my first weekend of diving.

So yeah, I want to do that lots more.

I managed to see a lot for relatively short dives in which our time was mostly spent doing the necessary certification exercises. (I hope that my mask never again has reason to be all the way off under water; it was a very sensible thing for us to learn how to deal with, but man, I hated that). Wild otters came very close on both days, hoping that our float contained abalone. Other sealife I spotted included a beautiful fish that I am reasonably certain (after a lot of time spent with my fish book and google) a black perch, a sculpin of some kind, a couple of truly enormous giant stars and sea cucumbers. There were oodles of bat stars everywhere, and I saw one gorgeous sunflower star. I have a very healthy respect for those; I have met them in tidepools, and they are very fast and inquisitive if you offer to touch one. I will not be offering to touch one the size of my face any time soon.

There was a glorious garden of tube-dwelling anemones, some with beautiful black tentacles, and cute little strawberry anemones.

A bunch of adorable juvenile sanddabs scuttled around on the sandy bottom, and a diving cormorant, who wasn't in the least bit concerned about us and practically brushed against us as it dove past. (That photo may not be the same species of cormorant, but you get the idea).

It was amazing and I loved it.
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Life continues. Today is my day off; I am pedaling my bike trainer, which is what I am usually up to when I post. I just had to have the trainer serviced because use had worn the steel tube that attaches my bike's rear wheel to the trainer mechanism so that it was no longer flush and didn't hold the bike. The mechanic filed it down and added a washer, and then asked how much I rode it. I guess he isn't called upon much to repair trainers. I told him that I rode 20-30 hours a month, which is true, if less accurate and less personal than my first answer: enough to keep me centered, happy and sufficiently sane.

Comfort the Pictus cat died last night, and I am sad about it; there was perhaps a time when I felt a bit embarrassed about grieving a fish, but that's long past. I'd had him for seven years and got him as an adult; the outer observed age of the species seems to be about eight, so I think the little guy did ok with me. I got him on the way home from a really disastrous court appearance in my first year as an attorney; I'd made a bad newbie lawyer mistake and felt awful, thus "Comfort the catfish." He was a good little fish, and his active presence added a note of cheer and beauty to my home.

I'm in a place in life where a number of the animals that I obtained in my 20s are reaching their expected lifespans and passing, others who I have thought of as the babies are in their prime, and a younger generation is beginning to establish. It's a very bittersweet feeling, like thinking of who I was when I got that fish, how confused and trapped and not who I am now I was. How much happier I am now and how much more sorrowful. How much more myself I feel, how my life with these animals now feels smooth and harmonious, as the animals I used to have and don't anymore felt utterly right and perfect and different than these when I had them.

I walked my three sheepdogs this morning and then bathed Coba; I took Nikolai for a short walk and bathed him, too. Now I'm pedaling on the deck, hour 2.30, watching Tiger stalk around while Magic, 16, lounges on a cushion in what passes for midday sun around here. For Sysiphean boulders, you have to admit that they are awfully loveable and cuddly. I couldn't be happier.


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cats, dogs, bugs, slugs )

May May May

May. 3rd, 2011 01:16 pm
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I think the cross-quarters are my favorite times of year. It's so pretty and sunny and green right now.

Nikolai update; pictures of birds, cats and a little spider under the cut )
summer_jackel: (Default)
Spring is beautiful.


spring photos; slug and spider warning )
summer_jackel: (Default)
A photopost! We'll start with the collective pack of Kyn and myself, politely sitting until released to play. All four dogs looking in the same direction omg.

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By the way, I know that my use of "sessile" wasn't exactly correct in the last post, but it was close enough and I wanted to use it so I did. Sufficiently accurate for poetry?

dogs who love to visit surf and the things who live there. )
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The weather has been gorgeous this week, sunny and springy and lovely. Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] howl_at_the_sun and her dog came to visit, and we walked up to the ridge. There, we found an amazing three scorpions and a rubber boa, as well as several salamanders and a little guy who might have been a baby gopher snake. Squee!

The 3 or so weeks before that saw some very exciting spring storms that brought trees down on all the lines that bring electricity and the like into my town, so my power and phone have been sporadic.

There are pictures.

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dogs, cats, squirmy wildlife and awesome storm damage )
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I have the day off and have spent the morning pedaling the trainer. Yesterday's ride was difficult and intense, but yielded ideal results in terms of mental space. This morning, as I pedal up, I alternate between 'ow! ow! legs hurt! Why are you on a bike now?!' and an overall sense of floating well being. There are animals here to distract me. They do things like this:

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Adventures of Tiger and jays )
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Ok, so maybe hard work does have its benefits. Today, I tackled a mess that I've been avoiding all winter, moving a pile of muddy, rotten wood and debris left over from last fall's retaining wall repair to someplace it can decompose peacefully. You can guess how much I've been looking forward to doing that, but it was really getting nasty. At the very bottom of the pile, between a plastic board and the cement, I found this exquisite little beast.

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I think that this is a black salamander, Aneides flavipunctatus. It looks like they are evenly distributed across Northern CA but are scarce where I live. Although (as you may surmise) I turn over a fair number of rocks in search of things like this on a regular basis, I have never seen one. It's a "lifer."

After the first few seconds of incoherent glee, I set her up to take photos, moistened her skin with purified water and let her go in a safe spot very close to where I'd found her. She wriggled into the loose earth and rock quickly and with purpose, more like a lizard might than any of the other three species of skin-breathing salamanders I've met around here. (Ensatina, CA Slender and Pacific Giant). The grip of her little salamander fingers on my skin was distinct and firm, where the other three make no effort to hang on.

I cannot express the awe or joy I feel about meeting a neighbor so hidden and lovely.

Many photos of pretty dogs and some more of the endlessly fascinating things you can find in rotting wood. Bugsquick warning. )
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The Earth turned, the weather changed. We will have more hard storms and cold times, I'm sure, but spring has come here even if things haven't started growing yet. Have some pictures.

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azillion photos. One is of a spider. )
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I love coyotes and was pleased when some of my friends shared this charming link about a family that is thriving in Chicago. Cute!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2010/12/08/131876027/60-wild-coyotes-patrol-chicago-and-occasionally-stop-at-convenience-stores
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This almost feels like cheating in terms of scoring wild bird photos, but I am not complaining. This Ross' Goose lives in a pond at the suburban park near Kyn's house. S/he has chosen a mate from the domestic Greylag flock resident in the pond, and has apparently been there for years. I say: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

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Ross' Goose )
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More Sierras in late September. I love this one because of the reflection of the mountain in the lake.

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many more )
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So, I am freshly returned from a week solo backpacking in the Ansel Adams portion of the Sierras. (well, solo save for my merles). It was glorious and I needed it a lot; this summer has certainly posed its challenges both emotionally and financially, and I just haven't been able to get away before now. Still, there's something incredibly special about being in the mountains in fall. I am so lucky.

Also glad to be back. Miz Kaya is licking the inside of my ear and making happy bird chirring noises at me, and as she is being gentle with her wickedly sharp parrot beak, I'm letting her for the time being. Unfortunately, Gavin plucked all of the damned contour feathers on his breast out, since he wasn't allowed out of his cage in my absence. I need to figure out something else to do with them when I'm away.

I brought y'all back photos! Lots of them; I will probably cut this into a few posts.

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First couple of days of pictures )
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Just a walk through the end of summer.

I am really happy with this shot.

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Bees and butterflies and collies )

Photopost

Aug. 9th, 2010 03:41 pm
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I haven't done a photopost in awhile, I realize. Kyn and I went to the beach this Saturday, it was lovely, and there were photos taken. I also have some neat bird shots I never posted from a walk last month.

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Dogs, birds, wild things )
summer_jackel: (Default)
I will freely admit that I've always been a bit fond of spiders, and have quite a lot of love for tarantulas beginning with Gala, the rose-hair that I kept when I was in high school. This fondness applied to random spiders I might encounter in general, however, has been enough at odds with the opinions of most of the people around me that I'd gone into a holding pattern of "politely ignore them unless it's strictly necessary to remove them to the outside." My lady-friend, however, loves spiders the way that serious birdwatchers love birds, so under her influence I have been paying more attention to them. I'm glad of that; they really are quite beautiful and fascinating, and gratifying to a wildlife-watcher and wannabe photographer because unlike big mammals and birds, there's nearly always one about.

Which brings me to this morning, when I noticed this little jumping spider on the door of my truck. I've never seen one like this, but that could easily be because I have been deliberately not looking, which is too bad because geez, this is an adorably kittenish little thing. Kyn, consider this your get-well-soon spiderpic. Please let me know if you can identify it.

"Hi! You can't possibly be scared of me, can you? I am tiny and fuzzy and have big anime eyes."

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spiders and puppies )

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