start as you mean to continue

If you follow the “start as you mean to continue” logic as applied to New Years and the rest of the year, I had a very good start. Since it was basically one long extended weekend (although I did work on Friday), I managed to actually do all of my favorite things and set myself up well for the upcoming year. (Hopefully.)

On New Year’s Day, Artemis and I day-tripped down to Catalina State Park just north of Tucson to visit with friends Lucy and Patrick, who were once again spending their holiday in the “warm” desert. Only, y’know, snow happened.

This year’s trip didn’t involve the pony or camping for me, but we had a fun day of hiking and letting the dogs play. L&P have Finn-the-poodle, whom Artemis met last year, and now they have Spike, who is Artemis’s full, 8-month-younger brother.

It was like a terrier cage match o’ fun.

“Really, Mom? Make him stop.”
This is payback, since you’re usually the one
bugging other dogs.

Snow on the Catalinas

Terrier twinsies!
(Artemis is on the left.)

First experience in the snow…and the cold-
weather wimp didn’t freeze.

Snow is a novelty.

Hiking with the dogs…a whole 3.5 miles in an
hour and half, which is what happens when half
the hike is the terriers jumping on each other.

As I mentioned already, I did work on Friday…and work in the form of boot fitting and troubleshooting on Saturday morning.

And Sunday saw the first saddle time of 2015. And it was even trail time. Mimi was having a very good day (her bad days seem to be the ones where it is cloudy, overcast, cold, and damp…as long as the sun is out, she’s good to go), and we did 4.5 miles out at Usery Mtn Park with some barn friends.
She was so happy to be out again. And so was I.
“All dressed up…do I get to go?”

my favorite view

still some dusting of snow on the Superstitions

perfect day

“*My* sloppy. *Mine.*”

And the crowning touch was this morning, when I woke up before 4AM to go out for a morning run. (Which is what you do when you live 30 minutes in any direction from the closest trails.)

Not fast…but one party was on the Injured Reserve list, and one
party (myself) was doing the first run back post head cold.
I tell myself it’s tapering for the upcoming race this weekend.

The (mostly) full moon was still up and shining (which was good since I forgot my headlamp and had to use my phone flashlight…fail), and it was so quiet and peaceful. I brought Artemis, so she could get her morning exercise, and she did wonderful…she’s really turning into a Good Trail Dog.

With that wraps my extended New Years weekend…hope everybody else had a safe, fun weekend and is looking forward to whatever 2015 brings. (Please let it be good.)

Indian Springs Wash ride

Did a really fun ride up near Bartlett Lake on Saturday. It was my first time up there and it has some absolutely gorgeous scenery. Bonus points for being able to ride down to the lake to let the horses drink and sponge them off. (See, we do have water in Arizona…you just have to know where to look and how to get to it.)
banana yucca

first view of the lake

Barb on Junior in the lead, Clydea on Ash, me on Clydea’s
horse Pepe providing the ear cam shot

And I came home to find my ducklings learning to play “king of the hill” on the rock next to the pond. Now Mama is onto the game and she sits on top of the rock while they cluster at the base.

and a duckling update

Photos taken at Day 9, so three days ago. If you’re facebook friends with me, these are the same ones I posted there.

Lining up to go hit the fresh chow. 

They know me as “the food lady” now. They’re still wild and somewhat skittish, which is good. I don’t want them turning tame and deciding to set up a permanent residence in the backyard. They’re adorable, but definitely getting to the “messy” stage.

found a bug!

they really get into their food

literally into it

They’re eating “meat bird crumbles” now, having graduated from non-medicated chick starter, but I’m still soaking it into a mash to make it easier for them to eat. (And at the rate they’re eating, I’m thinking it’s time to make it a little less easy for them to eat.)

just big enough to tippy-toe over the edge without going
tailfeathers-over-teakettle

family photo!

They’re really hard to get good photos of in lousy light, because they move so quick. So even though they’re fuzzy, they still give a good idea of their antics.

duckling dervish

the lilies are looking a little worse for the wear

And I shot these this afternoon, day 12:

Mama took them on safari around part of the yard

They went on walkabout around the yard this afternoon. Mama is kind of antsy some days — she picked a yard that the only way in and out is to fly over the 7′ tall block wall. Her instincts tell her to move the babies…but they’re not going anywhere until at least 50 days, when they’ll be feathered out enough to fly. However, being “stuck” in our yard isn’t exactly a hardship. And they certainly won’t get regular meals anywhere else.

 
smart ducklings pause and rest in the shade

the one on the right nabbed a bug

SO inquisitive

Their bills are growing now, and starting to look a little awkward for their faces. They’re still adorable, but I think we’re heading into “awkward teenager” phase fairly soon.

streeeeeetch

They’re really good at stretching while laying down. I think they grow a little bit more with every stretch.

prowling the backyard

and now for something completely different…

In a departure from our usual subject matter, I give you…

DUCKLINGS!!!

Last month, we had a wild Mallard duck come in and scope out our backyard for a nesting location. Given our solid concrete block walls, fish pond, and complete lack of four-legged animal life in the yard, it obviously was a very appealing spot.

Easter Sunday, she laid her first egg.

This past Saturday evening, she hatched out TEN lil’ ducklings. They were all hearty and vigorous from the start, and now, three days later, they’re even more vigorous, have ravenous appetites, and are thoroughly enamored with the pond.

I’m currently supplementing them with a duckling/non-medicated chick starter as extra food, since there’s not enough in the pond for ten little ones plus Mama. They’ve caught on to the food thing very quickly.

“Mama Q” [Quacker] is very protective and watchful of her babies. She herds them into the nest and hisses at me when I go out to change their food/water (gratitude, huh?), and this morning, I watched her jump out of the pond and attack a blackbird who swooped in too close.

watchful Mama

so earnest…right before he attacked the lily blossom

part of the Crew…near impossible to get all 10 in one photo
out of the water and over to the chow

eat…swim…poop…
lather, rinse, repeat
Mama shows them how to eat…they were fast studies

lil’ one in the middle poses for the camera

Hello there!

I’m going to enjoy watching these little guys grow up. They’re here for the next 50 days, approximately, until they can fly, since we have 7’+ block walls surrounding our yard. Still…not a bad place to be stuck. :)