Saturday, June 30, 2012

Good day sunshine

While the rest of the country is screaming for relief from withering heat indexes, a walk on a Bellingham interurban is a ready reminder why almost nothing pries us out of Whatcom County in the summer.

We are a thankful lot this time of year.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Waiting and working for the payoff

You gotta be patient, keep a low profile, and remember the eyes. Casey can work a crowd with those eyes - it's a gene pool thing. A Border Collie who is making eye contact is having a conversation, and waiting for a response.

Today's conversation at lunch was pretty one-sided for a while. But the kid knows that it's just a matter of time - when lunch handouts and debris will be raining down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Collie crash

Early evening and the kid has already checked out. Snuffles highlighted by sporadic paw flicks and nail clicks mean that he's either dream-chasing a rabbit or running down a Frisbee - but who's to say he's not flying over a stone fence in the lowlands or working stock in another life, long before Minnesota or Bellingham.


For love of the chase

Here's how it goes, every morning, first thing. Squirrel taunts Casey, Casey bolts out the back door and gives chase. Of course the squirrel is cagey enough to never leave the confines of a tree or the top of the fence latice.

Never ever deters our boy though. It makes his day. If you look up "staying power" on you'll likely see Casey's picture.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Show off

Oh sure, but does he do impersonations?


Rolling a fat one

So whaddaya think, Casey impersonating Winston Churchhill with his rolled up rawhide chew...or something more political like that gas-bag Rush Limbaugh?

Regardless, he cracks us up when he tags along in the yard sporting his chewie like this.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Just turn out the lights

It's way past the time Mr Relaxation here usually turns in, disappearing into his kennel in the bedroom in spite of his human charges' late hours. But tonight he's obviously just too damn tired or too damn comfortable to move. No matter, this is our photo of the day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Just listen up

I can't quite make out the tune, but the melody this dapper little guy's been whistling has perked up the backyard for days. The morning sunshine jumpstarts this white-crowned sparrow's repertoire and set after set, song after song roll out of him all day - and finally, I notice. Can't say that about Victoria though, who's referred to them as "stripie heads" and grooved to this gardener's opus for years.

Looking smart, dressed especially for the occasion, he and his friends will perch on fence posts or eaves and sound off in a fractured harmony, if only to impress devotee Stella the cat, watching intently from the back door, tail wagging in time.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The total package today from Bedlam Farm

If readers haven't discovered Jon Katz and his life on Bedlam Farm, today's post from his journal could be the hook. Check it out. This incredible visual of his new Border Collie, Red, at sunrise, along with words to spark inspiration in all of us. The total package, on the first day of summer.

One is the loneliest number

Well, what do you know. It looks like we gave up too soon on the Bosc pear trees we planted last year. One lonely pear. Not exactly a bumper crop - but it's a start.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


All I said was "You wanna Frisbee?" That's all it usually takes and you're committed. But for some reason last week, after thousands of tosses and catches, Casey decided he was going to retire from flying disc competition. In the middle of a workout that was his idea in the first place, Casey walked off the field, couldn't have cared less. Early retirement.

Since then, after our initial confoundment had worn off, we'd been preoccupied, looking for reasons that a Frisbee fanatic suddenly loses interest. No amount of reverse psychology or coaxing could crack this Border Collie code. We just decided to let him work it out - and it finally paid off yesterday. So this morning, there it was again, that trademark inquisitive cocked head. He's back, baby.

Now, just be careful what you bring up in casual conversation.   

Monday, June 18, 2012

In survival mode

On a windy, rainshowery day Casey never lets up when it comes to keeping an eye out for fauna trying to share his backyard. If you think it's an easy job, think again. Wingged intruders like jays and flickers, squirrels tresspassing at all hours, and the rabbits...the rabbits are in his face all day.

This little guy lives under the deck and will be sampling mostly clover, for as long as it lasts. So far the tomato plants haven't been that enticing or Casey that much of a perceived threat. But the red tailed hawks have been whittling down this year's kitten crop, so we'll have to wait and see just how much of a working survival instinct this little guy's got. And how well he can keep his head on a swivel.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Welcome home, Red

Had to share this. We've always been big fans of author Jon Katz and the dogs and animals of Bedlam Farm. In this video we're given a look at Jon's new dog, Red, who should be coming to live at Bedlam Farm today. Victoria and I have shared our lives with two incredible Border Collies, Molly and now Casey. Best friend Marsha's lovable Bordies, Megan and Katie, were the hooks for our infatuation with the breed, but these no less incredible family members, including Casey, were townies - adaptible, sensitive, intelligent - and lucky to have found us, when you think of it. 

Back in the day Molly actually did some herding but could be more accurately classified as a sheep grenade, absolutely no finesse; and Casey, much too beta, and with no desire to be a superstar, probably wasn't working out as a herder, somewhere. As it turned out we lucked out in both instances.

When enthusiasts get a chance to see a combo of pure DNA, potential and training, it's kinetic poetry. Check it out.  

Nothing to add

Well, it look's like the excitement has worn off. After welcoming us home from a day away in Seattle, Stella's settling back into her busy routine.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Regal pose

The things you gotta do...I tell ya...
...just to please Kaya.  But you know what, it's Casey's job.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Heading out

Dusk today was special. Casey enjoyed free rein on the interurban as we headed out to beat sundown - no other hikers, no other canines, no hierarchy ladders to deal with. Timing is everything.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Missing months

This Border Collie youtube clip was posted in 2008 but just showed up on our channel today. We took special notice only because this pup's human documented her first seven and a half months and we happened to have missed all of that with Casey. Star's maturation in the last part of the video is striking compared to Casey's condition when he first came into our lives, his having been ignored for months and competing for food in a pecking order of several dogs. It was really sad, but what's remarkable to us now is how Casey managed to come back from such a rocky start. The kid's got his issues - don't we all? But he's doing great.

Check out this little girl, and keep in mind, Star mastering these tricks or jobs doesn't surprise most Border Collie families. The hard part is always coming up with something new.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The right time and place

Being at the right time and place with a camera is usually not my forte, but today was an exception.

Our lonely Maine bouy bell seemed like the perfect focus of attention, surrounded by thriving grape vines vying for attention.

A delay of a minute or two and this warm, midmorning color ambience, at this particular detent in time, would have been shuffled into an underwhelming cast that wouldn't have caught anyone's eye.

Click here to listen to the sound our Bar Harbor bouy bell makes when nudged by a stiff ridge breeze. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday interlude for browsers

Hanging out in Eastsound on Orcas Island, even if only for an afternoon, you just make time for Darvill's Bookstore, one of our favorite indies for decades. Not only is it the only game in town, but it does have a page-turner for everyone. And probably the best espresso bar on the island.

With the aroma of a great local roast wafting through a wide selection of titles, who isn't going to loiter a while longer before settling on the perfect summer read. Of course Casey's stuck outside.

Casey in the cheap seats

But tonight there was even more of a reason to hang around, with the soothing sounds of JD and the OK Rhythm Boys, a local Western swing -jazz trio, scoring each browser's walkthrough.

Hanging around for one more medley was just the right thing to do. Chances are we were going to make the ferry for the mainland in plenty of time anyway.

Here's just a sample of why none of the patrons were in a big hurry to leave - a respectable cover of Bob Will's Faded Love. Come on, Willie and Patsy would be proud.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Morning reboot

After another stressful day and night of an indoor cat's "fight or flight" existence, keeping a watchful eye on everything from strutting robins to clover-munching rabbits, falling leaves to school busses, at each window sill perch in her universe, a regular morning relaxation technique that works for her is finding Victoria's lap and checking out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A big mama's boy

Like Vic's got nothing else to do but shower our love junkie with affection -and just when a good book and a cup of coffee on the deck in the sunshine seemed like the perfect way to kick back after a couple of rainy days.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Early bounty in Berryland

Raspberry patches seem to be everywhere in Whatcom County this week*, and Sunday on the interurban trail was no exception. But it's June, and their season runs from July to October, so let's hear it for another peak harvest.

*Little known fact: 80 per cent of US frozen raspberries come from Lynden, Washington in northern Whatcom County, according to the Washington Red Raspberry Commission. (Thirty or more years in and out of Bellingham and I had no idea.)

Another thing, it's been raining fairly steady since these shots were taken. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Splash of red

Seemingly overnight this stark red rhodie began serving as an usher for the stone bridge crossing at Whatcom Creek Gorge, framing our first view of the water fall this afternoon. And to think I almost didn't bring the camera.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is that her, ya think?

It never fails that Casey would rather go along in the car than just about anything, even if it's something as mundane as waiting around for granddaughter Kaya's schoolbus.

This shot was worth emailing around to family members for capturing the shear concentration, bordering on intensity, when Casey thinks he's got the bus in sight. No one can laser in on a squirrel, rabbit, dachsund, or better yet, his favorite 6-year-old, like our kid.

And just as quickly and efficiently on the way home... 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Diggin' em out

One thing you've got to say about Casey...he's a player. And today he was put through his paces while he was on the receiving end of a barrage of Frisbee tosses by our 6-year-old granddaughter Kaya.

For the better part of fifteen minutes he was doing his best to keep a shred of dignity intact while Kaya was finetuning her tossing technique and dealing with - eehew -slobber.

Casey held up well though, just waiting for the occasional disc that had a little air under it.