Got up this morning, and it was a perfect dawn. A cool breeze blowing through the trees, low humidity, and all the birds singing. As the sun comes up, the forest denizens start to wake up. Lots of squirrels leaping around from tree to tree, and all kinds of birds. Some, like Blue Jays and Wood Peckers, I recognize. Some I don't. There's one odd little blue bird, very tiny, that walks up and down the pine trees, looking for bugs I suppose. Only pine trees, never see it on the poplar , maple or oak.
I often walk down the mountain to the creek just a few hundred yards away and let the dogs roust about and swim. This morning my wife decided to come, so we went down the jeep trail, to the old forest service road. I was a little concerned about the trip back, because she has some respiratory problems, but we stopped frequently. Our party consisted of ourselves, two dogs, three cats, and a ferret riding along in a back pack with a mesh window for him to look out of.
Ferrets are really admirable animals. Even when they get older, and start having medical problems, they are good companions. They're jovial and love to go outside, even if they have to ride in the back pack because they can't make the trip on their leash anymore. My ferrets all come from rescues, or adds in the paper where people don't want them anymore, or they have been abandoned and the animal shelter calls because they don't take ferrets. I've really appreciated them all, but the one I was closest to was Ragnar. He passed away three years ago this month, after a long struggle with cancer. Still miss him, he was a great spirit.
When I used to go to the water fall with the dogs, I usually wore a .45 in a shoulder holster. It isn't that far, but you go through some pretty dense forest to get there. These days I drive down in the truck if I want to go, the walk is a bit much. I take one of the Navy Arms Enfield No. 7 replicas with me, because when I leave the truck and go down the path to the water fall, I don't want to get yaffled up by a bear, or hogs, or whatever might dispute the path with me.
This is replica of an Australian rifle that never went past the prototype stage, as the war ended. But it's a shooter.
Someone new to read: Edward Abbey
I've mentioned in a couple of comments that I found a new author I really like. His name was Edward Abbey. Some time back I was sitting in a shop while my wife plundered around. I picked up a book by this fellow, started browsing through it, and wound up buying it.
Abbey was born in the Appalachian Mountains around 1922. Until he was 17, he stayed there. Then he thumbed his way across the country in 1942, just before going into the Army, and he never looked back. Although he lived in Europe, visited Australia, and made his living writing about his travels, his first love was the SouthWest. He spent most of his life there. He died in the early 1980's after a botched operation on his throat. In accordance with his wishes, his friends took his body into the desert and buried it in a place that remains secret to this day.
By coincidence, he and I both went to the University of New Mexico, he was there in the forties and early fifties (he was an on again, off again student for 10 years.) He wrote about some of his travels in New Mexico and they really rang a bell with me. I've managed to get three of his books, and just ordered 7 more. They are all used, as he has largely been forgotten and as far as I can tell, no one is publishing his books today.
He did four kinds of books. The one's I am reading are his factual accounts of his own life. He wrote fiction, he collaborated on photo books of the Southwest, and he has books that are collections of his essays and magazine articles, largely published after his death.
If you are the kind of person who likes solitude, who values the wilderness, then his books are for you. Lots of them are available on Kindle and you can use Amazon to find used copies for very little money.
Try his book "Desert Solitaire" first. It's a book that you can connect with.