Friday, August 1, 2008

Dog Days

Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning... Unless you happen to be living in the American West during fire season. Then every morning is rosy and every evening too. We have two large fires burning near us: one in Red Lodge, Montana just to our north and one west of Cody to our south. Some days the smoke goes right over the top of us and we don't notice it much. Others, like today, it seems to land on us and it is hard to even breathe. Right now it is 102* outside my door and, since I don't have air conditioning, not far behind that in here.

It really was a dog day of summer a couple days ago. We have a very small pond in back that we fill with water from the hose. We keep it topped off in the summer as a watering hole for the local deer and the birds. Since we don't stand there and ask for ID, however, we often find the coyotes and the bobcats stopping by uninvited to partake. Since they tend to get their drinks at dusk or during the night when Frank the cat is safely in doors, we don't begrudge them their sips. This guy is a bit of an exception. He is probably this year's pup. He is not very big but he is bold. I chased him away three times only to turn around and see him sneaking back into the yard. I finally gave up and brought Frank indoors for the morning, much to his chagrin. But I have a feeling this guy's boldness may have caused his downfall. Two days ago I was on my morning run, trying to breathe shallowly so the smoke wouldn't burn my lungs quite so badly. I was about a mile from the house, near the front gate when I suddenly I caught a whiff of something even more foul than ash. I made like a search dog and followed the scent cone to its peak where I found a dead coyote about the size of my visitor. I don't know if he was taken down by another coyote, a big cat or the neighbor's dogs but I was sad to see him go.

One of the funnier sights I see around here in the summer months is the plethora of pooped cottontails. We have so many of the smaller rabbits and they are not the least bit spooked by our presence. When it gets above 90* or so, I sometimes have to watch where I walk so I don't inadvertently step on top of a lethargic lapin. This guy had all he could do to open one eye as I took his photo.

I saw this pair this morning and had to take their picture. What do you suppose they are doing? Dancing? Mating? Dry land synchronized swimming? Don't they know it is too hot for any of the above?!

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