Sunday, April 5, 2009

Two walks, heron stopover, Metasequoia

As I left for a walk with Black Jack this morning, I told Bill it was going to be a short one.  I returned home about two and a half hours later, after taking a wrong trail in the endowment lands, and going much further than intended.  Black Jack really enjoyed herself, but limped a bit just at the end of the walk.  Her luxated patella condition is seeming to bother her more lately, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to talk to a vet about it.  The first vet she saw, in North Vancouver, said that she had the condition in both back knees,but that it wasn't very advanced, and might possibly never become any worse.  She is hopping on three legs more often recently when the knee pops out of the socket, but it doesn't seem to upset her or cause pain.  I have a fear of surgery, but may have to consider it.

As I walked through the woods, I decided to focus my attention on geometric shapes and interesting patterns.

On the way home, we saw this cat hanging out in a lane.
I came home, rearranged the afternoon plan with Bill to accommodate my lateness (Thank you, Bill), and biked to Stanley Park.  This was my best heron shot, I think.
My flight shots were terrible, but made me think quite a bit about the process of building a nest.  This heron was coming in for a landing, but the feet were tucked up and under.  I've noticed that they often fly to a nearby tree to get their twigs.  Sometimes, invading other herons' twig territory causes fights.  I wonder if they sometimes go down on the ground to get twigs, but they definitely do not do that anywhere near the heronry.  When they bring a twig back, the pair work together, with amazing cooperation, it seems to me, to weave it into the nest.  It seems to be a fascinatingly slow and painstaking process.
Landing gear down in this one.
After some time bird watching, I cycled over to North Vancouver to meet Bill and our friend, Dianne, at Bridgman Park.  This picture of Bill at the end of a long, pink leash made me smile. 
Black Jack marching out, in beautiful form.
She seems to enjoy being near the water, but doesn't go in.  
This dog, on the other hand, was having a great time in the water.  He went in after his ball, and then threw it back to his human.  Clever move.  I love it when Black Jack, too, occasionally throws the ball back to us.   
This crow was calling, I think, to its mate, but the picture makes me laugh, because the crow seems to be displeased with its reflection. 
Black Jack met lots of dogs.  It's rare to find her the largest in a group.
We headed over to JJBean with Dianne and her dog, Haley, for some treats.  My latte seemed unusually beautiful, and I took a picture of it. Bill's peanutbutter-oatmeal cookie snuck into the picture too.  He said it was good, but I wonder if he was a bit disappointed that they were all out of raspberry crisps.  The latte led to an interesting bit of knowledge.  As I was taking the picture, the man at the next table came to admire the pattern.  He said it looked like a fossil, naming it Metasequoia, and adding that he was a geologist.  He said that the fossil could be seen in Kamloops.  I googled it when I came home, and found lots of information, including that the live version of the tree can be found in China.  I enjoyed this blog post that came up by googling the fossil.  If you scroll down a bit, there is a picture of a real fossil from Kamloops that the blogger was given.  Bill and I both thought it was pure serendipity that a latte and a geologist would connect at the perfect moment to bring us information that we would otherwise never have known in a million years.  Perfect, Bill thought, for a Trivial Pursuit game.
Here is Dianne with Haley.  Haley went through about a thousand adorable poses to convince me to part with more dog treats, but she was so close to the camera, I couldn't get a passable photo of her cuteness.  Then Dianne had a little conversation with her about keeping her paws off the table.  Haley is doing her best to convince Dianne that she is taking her seriously.
Bill and I visited Dianne's beautiful home.  Her friend Doran collects stones.  I love, love, love these colors!
Doran also collects interesting objects that travel across the ocean.  The ones in this bowl come from Newfoundland.  There were also many beautiful balls from Japan.  It's amazing to me that they could travel such a distance without breaking.   
On the way home, I took one picture through the truck window of some beautiful cherry blossoms.  They were on a street in Kitsilano, near Greens and Gourmet, where we had supper.
Neither Dianne nor I are big fans of having our picture taken, but Bill took his camera along today, and I knew better than to argue, since he allows me to take so many of him.  Here I am at Bridgman.  
And here we are at JJBean.  We are both finding the picture taking process a bit challenging, but our smiles reflect a fun time together with friends on a perfect day.  Even the geologist can be seen (with sunglasses on his head) in the background. Thanks, Bill, for recording the moment, for driving to North Van, for bringing Black Jack, and for accommodating your day to my pleasure, as you so often do.  


  1. I love the photos. You are so active, see so much great stuff and have a great eye for photography. I'm sorry to hear about Black Jack's condition. I'll send healing vibes so it doesn't play up.

  2. I loved having some pictures of you this time!
    I have been doing some research on herons stimulated by all the great heron pictures. I have not been able to find out if herons mate for life. Does anyone know?

    On a personal note, we are all watching the Red River as we wait for the water from the south. Fortunately, it is going to be sunny and warmer which means gradual thawing which will be helpful. The main problem is that there is still is so much ice on the river which means that ice jams can be the cause of flooding. Water is dominating the thoughts of all of us who live along the river or in Winnipeg. Phyllis W

  3. Carol, have you considered a brace for Black Jack? I believe it can be an alternative to surgery for luxating patella, and there are canine orthopedic vets who ensure the correct fit. If you are interested, email me and I'll ask my doggy contacts for further information.

    Haley looks a lot like my Sadie, who also sometimes needs a gentle reminder not to put her paws on the table.

    Spring is sure further ahead in your area than mine - I'm jealous!

  4. Thanks, Ruby Isabella:)

    Great to hear from you Phyllis! I just googled one site that says herons normally mate for one season, but it added, to my surprise, that sometimes, a pair will stay together for much longer, if they work well together as parents. Here's the web address of the site:

    I didn't make a link, so you would have to type it out or copy/paste to go to it. I don't know how legitimate it is.

    My thoughts go out to all who live along the Red River, for a gradual thaw and the best outcome possible!

    Jean, I will e-mail you tomorrow. Thanks for that information. I hadn't heard that a brace is possible, but that sounds like a much better solution than surgery. Haley and Sadie are both so fortunate to share life with people who understand their sweet natures. Yes, it really felt like summer today. Finally!

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