Glorious Nature by Janine Donoho

Mountain lion in snow

Mountain lion in snow

Black bear and cub

Black bear and cub

Where we choose to live speaks volumes about who we are. That’s especially true of the wildlife sanctuary where Intrepid Guy and I live. After more than a decade in this space, we continue to coexist with the natives.

Weasel, eater of eggs

Weasel, lover of eggs

Except for a few aggressive yellow jackets, no critters have been harmed during this sojourn and, by enhancing our landscape, more have benefited. We minimize disruptive interactions and remain courteous. In retrospect, human exchanges prove much more challenging.

Please enjoy this pictorial view of a few striking critters in our ‘hood.

Red-tailed hawk landing

Red-tail hawk landing

Deer in silhouette

Deer in silhouette

Flock of wild toms

Flock of wild toms

Immoderate Blue Grouse Male

Immoderate Blue Grouse Male

Coyote eyes

Coyote eyes

Young Kestrel

Young Kestrel

Mountain goat

Mountain goat

 

Osprey with fish

Osprey with fish

Goshawk

Goshawk

Bald eagle

Bald eagle

Still Winter by Janine M. Donoho

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStillness and winter. Intermittent and distant traffic along the Crowsnest Highway in Canada offers the only false tone. Today a baby bird’s song–way too early–along with raptors voicing joy in snowmelt that bares rodent tunnels. Evenings and mornings fill with coyote song–shortly followed by our hounds’ response and perhaps the belling tone of a wolf. Icicles drip and plop as temperatures rise to mid-30s. Winter goes on here for about 2 months longer than many expect. So I take a cue from wilyRockhound whippet Connor, our rockhound who climbs to see what’s on the other side.

Now back to editing FORGED IN MIST, book 2 of MISTBORN CHRONICLES.

A Dog’s Tale by Janine M. Donoho

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kartouche’ as Nina Sophia’s Manny

Not all hiatus are planned. In this case, mine has its roots in a dog’s tale. You see, my sweet 5-year-old greyt began seizing in June–at night between 2 and 6 am. We’ve belonged to each other since his puppyhood when he was an underweight 5 pounder at 9 weeks.

Kartouche’ arrived via a Colorado rancher who uses his hounds to run coyotes. Greyts love to course, and thus chase coyotes for the sheer pleasure of the act. Yet when they corner a wild trickster, it’s all tooth and nail. A greyhound might not return from such battles. They’re thin-skinned, lightly furred and lean. Think lovers and runners, not gladiators. They’re also rocket scientists among canines. When his rancher tells the wounded greyhound to go after the next coyote pack, the greyt politely says, “No thanks. You go this time.” Then the rancher might shoot the useless hound. Thus even though Kartoucheʹ came from different stock than my previous ex-track greyhounds, I consider him a rescue, too.

3 Dog Night by the Stove

3 Dog Night by the Stove

When Kartoucheʹ started seizing, I stopped sleeping. These aren’t dainty petit mals, mind you, but messy, dangerous grand mals that he leads into with an attempt to outrun them–at 45 mph. That’s what’s known as his aura stage, precursor to the tonic-clonic stage. This is a dog friendly house, but walls and furniture prove deadly to a greyhound running blind before he ends in scary collapse. Yes, I’m a biologist, but Kartoucheʹ is one of my beloved hounds. Seizures scare me–each one could be his end. As his human, it’s my job to keep him safe.

Despite living in extremely rural Washington State, we’re fortunate to have a remarkable and compassionate vet. She started Kartoucheʹ on a drug regime, but he continued to experience tonic-clonic clusters every two weeks. So we took her advice and visited the eminent WSU Veterinary Hospital in Pullman–5 hours away. We discovered another great team of vets there, thus expanding our canine health squad to four, all of whom communicate freely. Even so, it’s taken until now to find the right balance of drugs to keep Kartoucheʹ from damaging himself further.

The good news? He’s been tonic-clonic free for 4 weeks now. He still has nocturnal moments that I call ‘flight responses’,

Snow pack

Snow pack

when he struggles to his feet and takes a few steps before regaining consciousness, then returning to bed. While I still respond in PTSD fashion with flashlight and pounding heart, this signifies a vast and positive change from where we started seven months ago. What it also means? My creativity and energy have returned.

In macro terms, let me leave you with a few life lesson reminders. All-nighters ruin your health and sleep really is essential. Stamina only takes you so far. Eat well and exercise, no matter what. Go anywhere and do anything within your means for those you love. Deep creativity requires rest and peace of mind.

So welcome to my year of the hounds. Now we’re off to enjoy a snow hike–full pack press. Shout out to MuttLuks, YakTrax and other winter gear. Happy New Year!

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27th, 2015
The big day is here.

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