Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Restoration with the pups

Hard to believe but its Nutcracker season again, which means Florian's always in the studio spinning little ballerinas around. Fortunately, Florian's dance contacts all seem to have ballet schools in beautiful little towns near the Potomac, so we try to make the most of it by bringing the dogs along and being ready for a hike.

I love the Potomac this time of year, wide, flat, and spooky. 

And there's hardly anyone else on the trail, so no worries with the pups. 

Big bonus for Florian is that there are no snakes when its this cold on the trail.

I kind of love seeing snakes but for some reason our intrepid yodeler from the neutral territories is terrified of them, perhaps because he grew up with poisonous vi-pairs pursuing him as he leapt among the Alps picking mushrooms as a child. 

You wouldn't get this Swiss hiker out on these sorts of rocky surfaces in the summer, because he is convinced that under every rock, twined around every tree stump and even lurking in every shallow puddle is a copperhead.

On this hike, we didn't see a single snake 

but we did enjoy a perfect day and some really pretty foliage. 

It is so restorative to be out in nature, especially when there are few signs or sounds of human activity.

Things have gotten so crazy lately that I feel a little bad taking a whole day to just be out somewhere with the dogs. 

Two weeks ago I went up to New York to drive Uncle Johnny down here, and since then its been good fun to have him around, get him settled into his apartment, and go looking for good deals on furniture. 

I've been getting a steady stream of dog grooming clients, and have been working on a really engaging project on public lands livestock grazing at my nonprofit job--which is what I worked on 15 years ago when I lived in New Mexico--that keeps me happily looking at satellite photos of the Western U.S. and writing complaints to federal agencies for violations of environmental laws many an evening and weekend. 

Spending time with Dad and my sister and niece, and trying to make time for training with Fozzie and Dahlia. 

I'm not complaining about being busy. No, not me! I am grateful to have fulfilling work and to be surrounded by family members, even if they are crotchety and difficult. 

It just can make you feel a bit guilty when you take a day, or a weekend, to not work or take care of anyone or do much of anything besides go space out in the woods or on the river.  

This is another reason why dogs are our salvation, because they force us, or at least give us a really good excuse, to do the things that are important for our own health and wellness anyway. 

Thanks kids! One more weekend before even more madness with the holidays and plans to make a series of very complex vegan hors d'oevres. Where should we go THIS weekend?

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Bland Post about A Pleasant Weekend

The weather in these parts has been absolutely amazing lately. I say that not to gloat, but to quietly celebrate October because the other 11 months of the year in the mid-Atlantic are just about insufferable.

So please just indulge me as I post about our weekend in the sunshine, 

when we hiked around the Triadelphia reservoir on the Pawtuxent river. 

We'd brought my dad there on a drive the day before, and it was so beautiful and peaceful we decided to come back with the dogs and more time to explore.

Sometimes you really need a hike where you see almost no one, 

and where the dogs can run and swim off-leash. 

I felt totally confident that they would stay close; my only worry was that a deer would show up and Fozzie's over-the-top prey drive combined with Dahlia's drive to do whatever Fozzie does would be bad news for that deer.

 But we didn't see any deer,

in fact we didn't see anyone except a few kayakers out in the water.

We've barely gotten to go out this summer in the kayaks. Which is too bad, because I think Dahlia, with her compact size, would be a natural.  

I think the dogs are probably just as glad not to be in the kayaks, 

and to choose their own means of interacting with the water or just staying on land. 

We were lucky that weekend to have two perfect, sunny, pleasant days, and on Sunday the dogs and I accompanied Florian to teach a master ba
llet class in Virginia. While I was waiting for him, I bought a couple of orchid pots. I know, almost too exciting to imagine but again, bear with me.

To help me recover, Florian took me to the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac, which is one of our old favorites. A trail that I associate with my scrappy, snorty, compact little female dogs like my beloved old Tashi, who accompanied us there during the last few months of her long life, 

and Sandy, who went on an epic trek with us once along the rocky, no dogs allowed sections of the trail. 

Because sometimes, you just have to break the rules.

How do YOU like to shake things up?