Surprising Summer Walk

Yesterday — to our total and complete surprise — the sky clouded over, the wind came up, the trees tossed their heads around and knowing the importance of carpeing the diem, I closed the back door, put on real shoes, leashed Bear and headed out. It was an…


There was a poor hungry raven attempting to raid anyone’s nest and being chased by everybody. It was fun to watch him feint and dive to escape the sharp beaks of all the little birds, mostly redwing blackbirds. I saw him later attempting to raid the nests of doves. Don’t believe doves = peace. Not in the real world. Fierce beasties. They usually hang out in the spruce trees and on the roof of the ranger’s house.

The waterbirds have mostly taken off for points north. Only four adult geese remain in the big pond, both with their families. One has a family of one gosling. The other has eight. The goose fights over territory are over now and they all swim happily together like best friends.

As Bear and I went our way in the wind, which liberated us from heat, mosquitoes and horse-flies, Bear stopped, her eyes rapt on something to the north west. I stopped, too. Dogs are great for making sure we don’t miss things. And there was…

Bessie, her sisters, their husband, and one solitary yearling calf. They were closer to the pasture where we’d met than they’d been since last summer. It’s totally irrational, but love that cow. Well, in a general sense I love cows. I think they’re really cool animals and yes, I do eat them from time to time. They aren’t my favorite food, but sometimes a bit of cow is very tasty.

I think Bessie and her family are unlikely to be steaks. I don’t know their story, but they are incredibly beautiful Herefords, and my theory is Bessie’s husband’s sperm goes for a pretty good price. The herd never grows or diminishes in size. It’s always a small clutch of bovine beauty, a bull, and a yearling.

The wonderful thing is that when I called out, “Bessie!” (not her name, just the name I gave her) they all turned to look at me and one of the cows came as close as she could to the fence between us — 1/8 mile away :-(. Bessie has come when I’ve called her in the past so maybe that IS her name. Seeing them made me think about last summer and how wonderful it was in September last year when I met them. I had a feeling of camaraderie with those cows, their curiosity and slow-moving purpose. The photo is Bessie the first time I saw her last September.

As we walked, the light changed constantly.

Only a few flowers bloom in the Refuge, that is things that LOOK like flowers. Every plant blooms in its way. The wetlands are still a mystery to me because I don’t really go INTO them, but along the trail were yellow clover, something called “white top,” primrose. A little later in the summer the tall, yellow primrose will be blooming. But on the way the pastures were filled with wild iris.

No photos, sorry. Since I don’t have a working phone, I see no point in taking the new or old phone out there. The new phone is big and, in my mind, heavy. I regret very much even entering this adventure of a new phone, but I did, I have a contract, and a good camera (aka phone), so I should just be grateful I guess. Actually, grateful is just a good strategy. Sometime in the next few days I’ll head up to Colorado Springs and, hopefully, get this thing going.

21 thoughts on “Surprising Summer Walk

  1. As I read this, we are having an immense relief thunderstorm of a type that California seldom sees! On one side of my house was blue sky, and almost constant thunder for about 5 minutes. On the other side, a downpour that looked almost as if there might be some hail (there wasn’t). The entire storm lasted about 10 minutes max, but it was enough to cool things off for the next hour or so as we await a “flex alert” (potential power outage due to demand exceeding statewide supply) called for 5-10 pm this afternoon! It’s brutal this week — I can really relate to your immense relief as you and Bear walked in the Refuge — love the idea ofthe two peaceful goose families and the cattle that are your friends! Wonderful imagery!

  2. Sounds a lovely – and eventful walk, Martha. And I didn’t need photos because you describe it so well – all the imagery is already there! 🙂

  3. Bessie is beautiful. I love they all turned when you called out her name. Ah, that sounds wonderful.

    • It was an so needed. Bear was so happy and so grateful when we got home she stuck to me the whole evening. The heat is hard on her. ❤

      • I watch the news every night and cringe at those triple digits you guys are getting. Be careful, Martha.

        • We are, Lois, but it feels like living in Tucson. Thankfully, it gets cold at night and I’ve set the fans to bring that cold air in all night. It lasts inside most of the day. At this altitude, thankfully, we’re not getting into the triple digits (yet?). But good grief. Colorado cities are breaking all their historical heat records. I’m watching the weather on the Front Range because I don’t want to head over there when it’s going to be deadly hot. I have to take the dogs.

  4. I’ve been bird watching from my kitchen window. While it isn’t nearly as exciting as your attack raven, it has had its fun moments. Just yesterday, little green/yellow birds alighted on my plant hooks where I have two feeders currently hanging. One stood watch while the other bird feasted. They were so tiny, I was afraid to breathe from inside my house, thinking an exhalation would send them skyward again. No, that was the approach of the squirrel that did the trick. Darned squirrels.

    It’s funny how life is made up of little moments like these, but they make the day more colorful when they happen. And yesterday, I got to see my first donkeys. It was an outing for my son and other families on the spectrum. Four beautiful donkeys were petted and combed. Five goats were fed corn. (Well, we tried to feed all the goats, but there was one goat that kept stealing all the food. He was quite the glutton.) And we potted a flowering plant to take home that my son immediately knocked over and spilled in the car. Oh well. We had snacks on the car ride home. It made for a special, if out-of-ordinary kind of day trip. And life is better when it has these good moments to admire.

  5. This morning the heat broke here. Yesterday it was 111 at 1pm The wind shifted from north to west and the temperature dropped to 105 and them climbed back to 109. Had it not shifted I believe we’d have been in the hundred-and-teens that day.

    Clouds started gathering high up and overnight wind shifted to the south. Cloudy so far today and we even had a bit of rain and thunder Ten degrees cooler today than yesterday at the same time.

  6. A wonderful walk with you and Bear Martha. I love Herefords too. I enjoy making a trumpet like sound song when walking and all the cows look at me and some walk towards me.
    Thanks for joining in 🙂 🙂

    • Hmm… I’ll have to try that trumpet sound. When they get in the nearer pasture, the Hereford family will walk along the fence with Bear and me. ❤

  7. Love this little interlude! I wish it would rain here – the garden is so thirsty and everything is looking wilted (including me)! We really do need to have a little relief from the heat and dryness!

    • Desperately. There is no rain in our forecast but at least yesterday and today there were clouds and wind in the late afternoon. I’m watering but I feel guilty about it. The farmers have already cut their hay. I don’t know if there will be two.

  8. We would miss so much of the natural world if our dogs didn’t point things out to us! Good girl, Bear; make sure Martha notices everything!

  9. A wet cow’s nose is a thing of beauty. Have been reading about the heatwave there, Martha. Sounds awful. Can you get one of those outdoor fans with a rechargeable battery that has a hose that sits in a bucket of water. It blows a mist of water. It is very water efficient. Makea loves her fan on hot days.

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