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New Year's Walk

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

No matter what the weather, we go out in nature on New Year's Day. Often we'll go birding. Well, we're always birding.

This year we chose a good hike down Dean's Fork. The added attraction is that we can get there from our front door. I love a hike that starts and ends at the front door. It makes me feel like the richest person in the world, to have a good hike I can take that doesn't require a car ride first.

My gosh, Liam's catching his dad, 6'1" and showing no signs of stopping; growing like he was paid to grow. In this photo, he reminds me so much of Bill, but in vanilla--the build, the stance, the tilt of the head, but also the expression. 

Throwback to about 1989, and why he reminds me of his dad:

All hail genetics! Two lanky peas in a pod.

New Year's Day, 2017--It was time to get little Chet Baker out for a good hike!

There were premises to be patrolled, and Offisa Pupp was on duty, crusin' around in the black and white. 

When Phoebe, Corey and Liam are together, they play like the overgrown kids they are. 

Race to the big rock! Chet always gets up there hisself. Sometimes he gets a lift before he even tries.

We have years of photos of the kids and dog on this rock.

It's so natural and easy to add a fourth guy to the mix. 

For at least four years, I've been quietly cussing at several huge wads of Tyvek house wrap that washed down this stream in a flood. Who knows where they came from? But they were clearly here to stay, non-degrading, and defacing a beautiful run for good. Getting that stuff out of there was something I probably couldn't handle myself. And 99% of the time, it's just me and Chet here.

Bill went down to see if there was anything he could do about it.

And Corey was right behind.

Hauling on the heavy plastic, weighted by years of sediment and gravel, it wasn't long before Corey slipped, and one boot went in the creek.

Laughing and completely unfazed despite freezing water, a cold day, and miles to walk home, he took that opportunity to dunk the other boot. Might as well be symmetrically uncomfortable, and more effective at the job.

Never a word of complaint escaped him as he strained and pulled and got that awful stuff out of frigid Dean's Fork.

He had to use his pocketknife to free the last bit, but soon he was hauling it out and up onto the roadbed. I thought of all the surprised crawfish.

And Dean's Fork was a little muddied, but whole again after years. What a gift to give to this place, that gives so much to us! I now smile broadly whenever I walk by this passage, that used to elicit a heavy sigh.

The Eco-Avengers, posing with the carcass of the nasty old Tyvek they have slain. I'll drive down in the old Subaru and lash it to the cargo carrier, bring it home and figure out how to dispose of it when things dry out a bit.

But wait, there was more.  Right in a part of the stream that catches the afternoon skylight so beautifully, there was another skein of Tyvek. There's always more garbage. Corey to the rescue, scrambling down the embankment!

 Phoebs gave him a hand on the last leg. These slopes are steep, all-fours crawling a lot of the time.

We weighted the second wad of Tyvek with rocks, left it by the side of the road for me to pick up later, and continued on our New Year's walk, Corey in cold wet boots, but in heaven too, out in nature with his best gal. I was working on another little portrait of them, trying to work the dash of red into the composition, when Phoebe spotted something!

Two redtails circled over. There are a few reasons why there would be redtails at this particular time and place.

First, this is where a number of area hunters come to dump their deer carcasses over the embankment. We found remains of six deer, one less than a day dead. 

Deplorable, perhaps, but the coy-wolves, bobcats, foxes, opossums and redtails don't think so. It's a de facto feeding station for area predators.

Another reason for the sudden appearance of redtails might be Dear Old Dod, smiling down on a love so true.

Sending a message out of the blue, him and Ida, too. 

Never count magic out of the mix.


I love your writing about your family SO much. Powered by love, and so much else.

A lovely read on this day looming up with challenges. Thank you.

What Candace said. Thank you.

Mother Nature sends her thanks, I'm sure.

I love reading about your family. Thank you for sharing them with us, and thanks to them for letting themselves be shared.

Posted by Anonymous January 18, 2017 at 3:53 AM

I must remember to wait until afternoon to read your posts. Otherwise, I will go around in the morning with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and love in my heart for you--and the way you care for the world--and the fervent prayer that ALL of us should be so mindful and caring on creation.

Hi Julie. I'm concerned about the place that the hunters dump the carcasses...lead poisoning is a huge issue here for top-of-the-food chain predators, especially vultures and bald eagles. It seems to take only a few fragments of a lead bullet ingested and they become seriously ill or dead. Have you noticed any problems in your local predator population?

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