April 14, 2018 Marion, Kansas

Endless Prairie
Endless Prairie

The Strange Weather Continues

As I write this, I am staring out the motorhome window at swirling snow and swaying trees as the winds howl out of the north and the temperatures continue dropping, now at 30 degrees and supposed to continue falling to around 22 degrees tonight. Springtime in Kansas!

Endless Prairie
Endless Prairie

Yesterday, however, it was a balmy 50 degrees with the wind howling out of the south with gusts up to 45 mph. The heavy clouds with intermittent sun made for some nice opportunities to shoot prairie landscapes, though it was no simple task to keep the camera from shaking.

Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Stone Farmhouse
Abandoned Stone Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse
Abandoned Farmhouse

Lots of abandoned farmhouses and barns in this part of the state, though most of the wooden barns I have come across have long ago given way to the elements.

Stone Barn
Stone Barn

This barn, built in the 1880’s, with stone walls 18″ thick, most likely will be standing for quite a while yet.

Bison Herd
Bison Herd

A shot of one of the bison herds that have been reestablished in the state of Kansas, this one at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.

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Growing Up Fast

Pearl is growing up fast! Big enough now to really give poor old Sam fits, just harasses the living daylights out of her.

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Windblown

This shot gives you an idea of just how hard the wind is blowing out here. As with everything else, the howling winds and blowing snow do not faze Pearl in the least, outside playtime is enjoyed whatever the conditions may be.

Her bold nature almost did her in two days ago as a large, rangy bobcat sauntered into our campsite around 7AM while I was outside with the two dogs for them to do their morning business. The cat eyed Pearl, then me, then Pearl, as if trying to decide if I was enough of a deterrent to her being able to grab an expensive breakfast. Just as the cat decided to give up that idea, Pearl spotted the cat and started to run her way. Thankfully, she responded when I bellowed her name, and stopped before she got close enough for the bobcat to react. Since Pearl is about the size of a very small rabbit, I have no doubt the bobcat was eyeing her as prey. I have always been on the watch for coyotes anywhere I camp, but I have to admit, it never occurred to me that a bobcat would be this bold, especially in broad daylight. Needless to say, I am now even more vigilant than before and try to make sure that Pearl doesn’t get very far from me no matter what time of day we are outside.

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April 3, 2018 Twin Points COE Campground, Oklahoma

 

Maltese
Pearl

Still Waiting Out Weather

Twin Points COE Campground

This morning I took this shot of my campsite here at Twin Points COE Campground on Skiatook Lake in Oklahoma. Don’t let the blue sky fool you, the rough weather continues, unabated. The howling wind out of the south woke me this morning, actually shaking the motorhome. Around 10 AM the wind started to turn around to the west, then the north, and this blue sky lasted about ten minutes as the wind changed. Temperatures Sunday night dropped into the 20’s, warmed to the low 40’s Monday, up to the 60’s today and predicted to dip back into the mid 20’s tonight with winds up to 35 mph. And of course, rain and possibly ice and/or snow.

Twin Points COE Campground is yet another very nice Corps of Engineers campground. Almost all the sites are located amongst the oaks, all are paved and most can handle a large rig, though a lot of them are sloped enough to make leveling your unit difficult. There is 50 amp electric at all sites and water spigots are located throughout the park. When I arrived there were only three or four others camped here and I snagged this great site on the water, though, as is way too often the case, I will have to move to another site as this one is reserved for the upcoming weekend.

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Constant Motion

Warning: Nothing but puppy shots from here on!

If you aren’t into cute little puppy shots, no need to read any farther. Though I have been making several road trips out into the surrounding country, I just haven’t yet found much of anything to shoot and the gray rainy weather has not been conducive to landscape photography.

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Pearl

Pearl is now at thirteen weeks and is growing rapidly, fortunately, also learning rapidly. Full of energy and developing her muscles with a lot of playful, exuberant exercise.

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Showoff

Constantly tormenting thirteen year old Sam running circles around her and attacking from all angles.

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Do I have to put up with this little twerp?

Sam dutifully puts up with her for the most part, but quite often looks at me to please get Pearl to leave her alone.

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Sight, Scent, Taste

Every trip outside, and there are a lot of them, about every hour and a half to encourage her house breaking habits, is an opportunity to explore as well as play.

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Takeout

She almost never comes to the door to be let back in without hauling something out the woods to take in with her.

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Diving In !

The drainage ditch along the driveway at this site is chock full of this winter’s oak leaves, about a foot deep, and this ditch has become Pearl’s favorite play station.

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Digging Down

Dives in …

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Pearl

… digs down ….

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Got One !

… and comes up with something …

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Digging In

… then repeat, repeat, repeat.

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Digging Deep
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Pearl
Maltese
Got One !
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The End Result

The end result, remember I told you the weather has been less than wonderful, a formerly white pup, needing a bath …

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The End Result

… but enjoying every minute of her time outside.

She still amazes me with her bold, shy away from nothing personality. She now has encountered several large dogs, many admiring people, hyper active kids, a pair of mallards, squirrels, heavy winds and rain, as well as cold weather, and nothing fazes her. Tail curled up ALWAYS and throwing caution to the wind, probably a little too bold for her own good. As a result, I am on constant alert trying to anticipate her next move, to make sure she doesn’t bite off more than she can chew.

She already is well aware of her name and comes when called … unless she is into something interesting, then she lifts her head to acknowledge hearing me, but then resumes pursuing whatever has her interest at that particular time. She always does eventually come back to the motorhome steps and bounds up them with ease now. Just three weeks with us and only 13 weeks old and yesterday we had our first 24 hour period with no accidents in the motorhome, not bad for a pup that age. Not saying she is housebroken yet, but she sure is getting the hang of it. Goes to the door and whines to go out when she feels the need and as long as I am paying attention, we’re OK. Quite smart, very bold, and fiercely independent. She is going to be a lot of fun to have around, but I think she is going to challenge me all along the way.

I originally planned to only stay here through Thursday and then head a bit farther north to another COE campground but the weather forecast once again calls for cold weather with possible freezing rain, so I am going to hunker down here through the weekend, still waiting for warmer springtime weather to make it’s appearance.¬†Guess I can always watch the Masters on TV, it must be springtime in Augusta.

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March 12, 2018 Aux Arc COE Campground, Ozark, Arkansas

Rainbow Over the Arkansas River
Rainbow Over the Arkansas River

Hail, Rainbows, and Picking Up a Passenger

Rainbow Over the Arkansas River
Rainbow Over the Arkansas River

The weather forecast for my 385 mile trip up from Texas yesterday was causing me a little bit of concern since it was calling for high winds and possible severe weather as a front was coming through. I prepped for an early start the night before and thus was on the road by 7:30 AM. I made the long drive in just under 8 hours without encountering any rain or wind, but just after unhooking the Prius and getting backed into my site, the skies opened up, thunder cracked and lightning flashed all around. After 10 minutes of heavy rain, there came a new sound on the roof …. HAIL! Soon the ground was white and I was having flashbacks to my first night in Bend, Oregon last spring when I lost all the plastic on the motorhome roof and the Prius was destroyed by golf ball sized hail. Fortunately this was just pea sized hail and it was over fairly quickly and no damage was done.

Not long after the hail stopped the double rainbow appeared and I was able to get a couple shots.

White Pelicans on the Arkansas River
White Pelicans on the Arkansas River

Couldn’t get any photos of it since the hail was so intense, but it was interesting to watch the white pelicans on the river ride out the hail storm. Floating along in the middle of the river, they grouped tightly together and all had their heads dipped under their wings to shield from the hail. Never had thought of how birds manage to cope with something like a nasty hailstorm.

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

In addition to a lot of water birds on the river, cormorants, pelicans, ducks, terns and gulls, as well as a pair of common loons that I have seen through the rain, the woods behind my campsite have revealed a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers as well as a Red-headed Woodpecker and a Red-shafted Northern Flicker, plus an Eastern Bluebird. Maybe I will find something to shoot here!

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Pearl

Pearl Joins the Crew

Say Hi to Pearl, a new passenger to keep Sam and myself company as we continue on this journey.

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Sam and Pearl
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Attack!

Sam was always glued to Jenny’s side for the 10 years they were together so I have actually been looking for a pup for the year and a half since Jenny left us. She seems to like the new addition, but it is readily apparent that she is in for a little more attention from said new addition than she may be prepared for.

Pearl is ten weeks old and is not the least bit shy about letting old Sam know that she is her new plaything. It has been over a decade since I have had a puppy around and I forgot how much work is involved keeping an eye on one and cleaning up after her, while attempting to puppy proof the motorhome.

Maltese
Pearl
Maltese
Pearl

All puppies are cute and this one is no exception. A live wire with a pretty bold disposition, just a great attitude, not the least bit concerned about the abrupt change in her life, leaving her littermates and coming to live in a completely new foreign environment. Doesn’t seem to have missed a beat.

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