Morning in Paradise... Miki, Race, and I took our usual morning walk, but just a bit later than usual – the sun burst over the mountains just as we started our walk. The day is cloudless, so we had bright sunlight for our entire walk.
There wasn't any particular excitement along the walk, but lots of interesting and pleasant things. White-faced ibis were flying in just about every direction. I think they're searching for some wet ground, and there aren't very many sprinklers going nearby this morning. One wheelie line we passed that was going had hordes of ibis under each sprinkler. I think that field will have a depleted population of worms and grubs! Barn swallows – dozens and dozens of them – were skimming the tops of alfalfa and barley, gobbling up any bugs that were stupid enough to leave the shelter of the plants. In this way the swallows are helping the bugs evolve – any bug that likes to hide down low is likely to have more progeny, and eventually those will be the only bugs. The swallows will then have to look elsewhere.
Along the road we encountered a fat vole, sitting stupidly right in the middle, totally exposed. The dogs, of course, immediately demanded a vole breakfast and set out to serve themselves. The vole just sat there, blinking at us, with two dogs doing their very best to break the leashes or topple me (and they came pretty close to the latter!). For a good 15 seconds or so, the dogs were right in that vole's face, lunging and snapping their jaws in the air 3 or 4 inches away. The vole appeared to be completely unperturbed, and, worse from the dog's perspective, completely unintimidated. They redoubled their efforts, but I finally managed to drag them back and safely around the vole. On our way home it was gone, but I saw little tracks in the dust leading off to the alfalfa field beside the road. Amazingly, the world's stupidest vole lived to see another day.
Just before we got home, we passed our neighbor's pasture with (currently) four Paso Fino horses in the luxurious forage. This morning one of the stallions decided to be indignant at our presence, and he led the four over to give us a piece of his mind. In the last photo you can see the rather glorious barn these guys live in.
Yesterday the farrier was here, re-shoeing all these horses. He works out in the same road we walk on. That means there are hoof fragments all over the road from the farrier's trimming. Miki and Race completely lose their minds in the presence of these clippings. There is no dog treat we've ever tried that attracts them the same way these clippings do – they're like chocolate-covered cocaine for dogs. After each farrier's visit, I have to short-leash these two and march them through the edge of the alfalfa field to avoid the clippings, else I'll have a big fight on my hands. This morning I forgot, and I spent five minutes getting those two dogs to move 25 feet. You wouldn't think that two dogs that together weigh half what I do could keep me from moving – but when they try really hard, they can do it. Horse hoof clippings motivate them to do this :)
I love these morning walks, even when they're unexciting...