Saturday, April 17, 2010

Morning walk

Life seems far too busy these days, and the dogs, the camera, and I have not had enough time together. I've made some adjustments to our routines, taking Charley on my morning walks with Oliver. Charley and Sadie were not walking well together - Sadie's pace is a bit faster, and a rushed Charley is a resentful Charley. She would drag behind, pull backwards on her leash, and eventually plonk her furry butt down on the pavement and refuse to move. Oliver, on the other hand, prances along happily going downhill to the beach and then just pokes and meanders and sniffs around which suits Charley just fine.

The experience of pairing them up was interesting. Charley and Sadie have always walked one on each side of me, but both Oliver and Charley have been taught to walk on my left. So the first day, Oliver trailed along behind Charley like a little caboose. Charley kept whipping around to see what was going on back there. The next day, Oliver walked slightly behind and way over to the side, but then kept bumping into bushes or fences or falling off the sidewalk. By day three, they were walking close together, in step with each other, Oliver smiling at her big sister.

The only time Charley makes sure to pull away from his orange buddy is when the little polar bear trots off into the water for his morning dip. Charley is SO not a water dog!

As the sun rises earlier, we have missed the beautiful yellows and reds of dawn, and often get to the beach as the waters turn from grey to blue - beautiful in itself.

The number of bird species is phenomenal - from kingfishers to herons, oystercatches to all kinds of ducks and gulls. Watching them strut or hop or flitter on the sand or on posts above it is always relaxing and fun.

I have been trying for days to capture with my camera the heron who wades in the shallow water at low tide, watching for fishes and prawns, young crabs and fresh clams. Alas, he is always just a little too far or a little too fast. But one day, one day.

Today it was two geese that amused me with their nonstop honking. Like a car alarm with an oblivious owner, they honked and honked and honked for the full forty-five minutes we were walking the beach. They travelled with us, fifty feet out from shore, from the start of the seawalk to the end of the trail past the RV park, until finally they came just close enough to let me snap their picture before they floated round the bend and out of sight.

The diversity of shells on the beach is also phenomenal - large round ones, long skinny cone-shaped ones, flat or crinkly ones, many of them covered with hitchhiking barnacles:

And lastly, we stopped to look for the semi-feral cats that live in the bushes near the house nearest the seawalk. Charley knows they are there, and always stops to peer through the rails to the ground below. She wasn't disappointed:

Though the house is never likely to be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, I enjoy the pots of colourful flowers placed around the deck by the man who lives there.

Since life revolves around Oliver's need to be crated when unattended, I sometimes skip the afternoon leashed walk with Sadie and have even missed the last couple of Wednesday walks. Instead, Sadie and I have been exploring some other trails with other friends one morning a week, and I've been taking Sadie (and sometimes Charley, though she still hates the new van) to Osborne Bay offleash park for a long run/sniff/hike two or three times a week. Sadie doesn't seem to mind missing the occasional day's outing and instead we putter in the back yard or veg out on the couch together. I think she finds the trade off, more frequent offleash runs at our favourite park, worth the occasional day of inactivity. The trail to the beach was subject to a landslide recently, so we have been hiking the trails in the bush instead.

Last winter's rosehips contrast with this spring's periwinkle, providing many flashes of colour on our walk.

The next week is ridiculously busy, but I hope to check out a new park (new to me and Sadie) in the next few days and with luck it will provide some new fodder for the camera.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos as always - but, I thought life slowed down so you could enjoy everything more in retirement?? I'm counting on that.

I got a big chuckle out Charley whipping around to see what was going on when Oliver trailed behind her on their first walk....I can just see it.....


Black Jack's Carol said...

Very enjoyable to follow you on your walk, Jean. Let's see - some of my thoughts: 1. Periwinkle - now I know the name of that pretty blue flower. Thanks! 2. I like that house/flowers photo better than any I imagine remembering in "Better Homes and Gardens" (Not sure I've ever read it:) 3. You have such a range of canine personalities to accommodate, and I love the way you adjust as needed. 4. That shell was beautifully photographed! 5. I had a feeling you would be as busy as ever in retirement, but sense greater overall contentment now. 6. Landslide? Yikes! Will that make a permanent change to your walking route? 7. Hope the new park works out well for you and Sadie. 8. I always wonder what the geese are saying when they go on and on like the two in your beautifully peaceful (without sound) photo. 9. "Your" heron will cooperate one of these days and when it does, I'll look forward to your pics.