Hiatus

It has been quite a while – too long – since I posted regularly on the blog. Through a set of unusual circumstances my attention has necessarily been directed elsewhere. While this was not a situation of my choosing, it has given me some new perspective. Sometimes you see things more clearly and appreciate them more fully when you have been away for a while.  As I walked around the ranch the past week or so, I took pictures of all the things I’ve missed the most.

Trees, fresh air, clouds.

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Our fearless watchdogs – with one ear up and one ear down.

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Flowers that grow wild.

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Cows – nosy creatures that they are.

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Berries growing wild. Planted and watered by God, ready to be picked by me!

Berries

 

Mudslide

You may have heard about this mudslide on the news, it is about 40 miles S. E. from our ranch, between Darrington and Arlington on Hwy 530 – the “back way” down to Seattle.

before and after mudslide

I mentioned in my last post that we have had a lot of rain and Saturday about 11 am the hillside gave way and mud, rocks, trees and debris covered the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, Hwy 530 and a whole neighborhood. Four people have died so far and 18 more are still missing. Six houses confirmed destroyed and the estimate is up to thirty more are as well. It is a terrible thing.

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They estimate about one square mile is covered with mud and debris and it is over 15 feet deep in places. Many of our local volunteer firefighters have responded and are helping in the search and rescue effort. If you are a praying person, please keep all those affected by this tragedy – and their families – in your prayers.  You can read more about the story here. 

Winter Sunshine

After days of rain – over 7 inches in the last 3 days – the sunshine was a welcome sight.  Everyone was ready for some dry weather. Both human . . .

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. . . and bovine.

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The storm left snow in the mountains around us. This is Diobsud Peak, one of my favorite views from the ranch.

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All the mountains around us are dusted with snow.

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While the cattle are eating their hay, the dogs were enjoying the sunshine.

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Molly seems especially comfortable sunbathing.

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Snow on the mountains to the east of the ranch.

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Late in the afternoon the fog starts to roll in.

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Hopefully the weatherman is right and we will get a few more days of sunshine before the next storm rolls in.

Eagles on the River

Every winter our beautiful Skagit River is home to one of the largest bald eagle populations in North America. The eagles come down from Canada and feed on the spawned out salmon in the river. It is a pretty common sight to see the eagles perched in the trees along the river this time of year.

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I’ve seen as many as six eagles in one tree at the height of the season.  They also like to hang out on the gravel bars in the river and look for the salmon.

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My friend Dan has become quite a good nature photographer and has graciously allowed me to share his pictures of these majestic raptors. Here is one of an eagle plucking a fish out of the river.

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They patrol the gravel bars and are actually strong swimmers.

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Eagles are very territorial creatures, and they don’t mind fighting other birds to keep them away from their prey – though this seagull seems to have slipped in.

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Danny got some of the best shots I’ve seen of this eagle feeding on a salmon carcass. You can tell it is a mature bird because the head is totally white. At least four to five years old.

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After they feed, the eagles retreat to the trees to rest and wait for another fish.

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Danny took some great shots, but this one is my favorite – I think it could be in a magazine. It is lucky for both of us we live in such a naturally beautiful area with lots of good photo opportunities.

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Thanks Danny for sharing your pictures!

All photos courtesy of Dan DuVarney.

Mountains

The weather here on our ranch in the North Cascades has definitely changed in the past couple of days. A cold front blew through and guess what? I’ll give you a clue, here are our cattle pens and squeeze chute last week. See Lookout Mountain in the background that towers over our ranch? 

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 Here is the mountain today. SNOW! Already.  And it’s chilly out there too.

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 I’m not sure we are ready for this – seems awfully early in the season, but it is beautiful.  Makes for some very dramatic cloud formations with our trees in silhouette. 

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This is the mountain to the south of us, also snow-capped and cloud covered.  I love living here in our mountains, it is beautiful any direction you look.

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Ready or not, I think winter is coming.