MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018: Blog en-us (C) MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018 (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Tue, 22 May 2018 00:58:00 GMT Tue, 22 May 2018 00:58:00 GMT Back After Vacation After a week or so of pause, otherwise known as vacation we are home and getting back into  some normal (not sure if that is good or bad).   I loaded up and went to the Olympic National Park or rather to that area.  It was somewhere I'd not been before and now it is checked off the list.  The best part was of course the beach but the rainforest, Cape Flattery and most of all getting to visit with some friends was totally up there!   I will say that the drive is one long haul though and by the time we got home I was pretty toasted.   I did it in two days both directions - thank goodness.  That drive across eastern WA doesn't get any shorter that is for sure.

On the way out I stayed just south of Ellensburg for and overnighter at Yakima River RV.  It was a nice enough park and once all the trees mature it will be nice.  Really strict and rather small but okay.  I would not make it a "destination" campground especially for me and the pups but it was fine for an overnight.   There  just isn't much around eastern/central WA as far as campgrounds.    This appears to still be or was part of a working ranch/farm at some point.   It is nice that it is along the Yakima River Scenic Byway which I HIGHLY recommend.   Honestly, given a choice  I'd do that drive  again rather than taking I82 between Ellensburg  and Yakima given the choice.  Way less hilly and much prettier.

This was the barn at the RV park. How can I resist a barn with a quilt motif on it!

My trips are never without hiccups and this was no exception as I got ready to pull out day 2 and my battery gauge showed 0.  My heart skipped a beat or 12 and the truck started right up.  Of course it didn't stop me from worrying about the whole deal every time I turned the truck off.   I couldn't convince myself to turn around for home and decided what happens happens and I'd be out where I have lots of Seattle friends that I was sure would help if needed.  I am happy to report it was unnecessary and the truck will go in here at home to get the gauge replaced as I "think" that is the issue.  Honestly the truck electrical could use a going over anyway as can the trailer wiring if they will check it.

I drove Highway 12 from Yakima across to the coast and to our spot at Driftwood RV.  I give this little park in Copalis Beach a 10+ as the people were amazing and the place was really nice.  On the river and just a short drive from a couple of nice big beaches.   I snagged what I thought was the best spot and was right!  Nice big deep spots and they are actively adding to the park and doing improvements.   Lots of month  to month renters there and very dog friendly with the only loose dogs being ones we saw show up from over at the craptastic trailer park next door.   Will suggest in my review that they might consider fencing through  the hedges at least part way.   You know me though when I saw the two large dogs with no collars I took off for them and scrammed them home.   Cannot beat dog friendly when you see numerous dog bag and poop can posts around the park.   The landscaping was also awesome and you'll see some of that in later posts.

Out behind the park is the Copalis River and we could sneak through the trees right behind the camper and have great scenery and some somewhat tricky but still fun space to explore.   Epic adventured back there a few times and Sterling did a bit as well.   Oh and as you can see, the gray skies reigned except for a few rays the day we arrived.   Didn't stop us though but most of what you see here on out will be the typical Seattle gray!


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Tue, 22 May 2018 00:37:54 GMT
Out My Office Window I do cherish my work from home days and when I sat down this morning at the computer I looked out and found this HUGE fat beauty sitting in my big pine tree out front.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Wed, 09 May 2018 16:56:02 GMT
More Herons Hopefully I won't repeat what I've already shared!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Tue, 08 May 2018 14:47:12 GMT
Poodle Paddle Yes I said I was never taking him on the water again and I didn't stick with it.  It was so cold when we put in (35F) that I knew my real paddle buddy Teddy couldn't come and Epic needed some time outside.   New rule, he can come but only if I am NOT going to take photos.   That boy is the most fidgety dog ever!   He would not sit still, just like a toddler.   Always looking over the edge to see what was in the water (bubbles mostly) and when we were stopped, whining to get off and go to shore.  GAH!

So here are some  shots of him and the scenery.  Will post some more heron shots  (since I have so many) in the next post.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Mon, 07 May 2018 15:13:45 GMT
Loony The story goes that when I pulled up to put the boat in right  there at the launch was an  amazing big fat loon.  I was thrilled and calmly walked back to the truck cab to snag the camera - boom, loon gone.   I was sad as I've had bad luck trying to get photos of loons all these years.   Alas, he showed back up too far away once we were paddling.   Not  to fear apparently there are about 3 hanging around and yes, all extremely shy so I'll just have to take these shots as "good enough" for now.  Honestly, just hearing them call makes me smile as I do when the sandhill cranes cackle out by my house.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Fri, 04 May 2018 17:11:30 GMT
Mag-pie PI We don't see these too often this far out of town but there was one that landed and posed while I was shooting the herons.   Now I've always seen these birds as a pest but did you know they are a protected species here in the US?   Tough to photograph even in the morning light!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Wed, 02 May 2018 15:18:30 GMT
Another First in the Bird Book A little bunch of Ruddy Ducks! Pretty exciting and as I tried my best to maneuver the kayak so I could get good  shots these little buggers were paddling faster than I could.    So not the closest shots but still I'm thrilled.   Have never seen them at the reservoir and not sure if they'll be staying or are just stopping by for a rest.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Sun, 29 Apr 2018 15:30:45 GMT
Love is in the Air Literally!  Sorry my "landing" shots are in reverse order, so read from bottom to top!

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Fri, 27 Apr 2018 21:14:19 GMT
Not Slowing Down Another week flies by!  Holy cowabunga people!   

The weather is still "unstable" but we have managed now 2 afternoons where we have been able to get out on the front deck and boy oh boy do I have happy dogs!   Sunshine, warmth and I even broke  out the pads for the back "dog lounge" yesterday.   Have to bring them in at night since the temps are still below freezing at night.  We don't care - we will take these 60s!  I also got the leaves blown off the front garden and I see there are daffies, tulips and the allium that are all poked up.    

I am still practicing my mountain dulcimer and have acquired another instrument as well as I am having so much fun getting back to playing music.  My piano just never sucked me in like these are!   I get at least a few minutes practice in every day and it helps my stress levels a ton.   It even seems to relax the dogs which is just a bonus.

Tomorrow Sterling and I are off the therapy and Sunday is the last tricks class for Teddy.   We are 1/2 way through obedience with Epic who still is struggling with off leash heeling.   If I enter the Missoula shows the end of May it will just be one day.   Just to see where he is.   Meanwhile we are able to get out in the front yard and do some retrieves, recalls and signals.   He has the basics but is confusing some of them so *I* am working  through that to make it more clear what I am asking.

Today I had enough of the nonsense  at work and signed off at noon.  WOW - I got a ton of things done outside but now am finding the longer I sit here the more stiff I get.   Got the garage swept and finally have the outside Christmas stuff put up in the rafters.   Took the opportunity to also just straighten up some things and also get some things tossed out.    There definitely is a dump run in the future - have boxes to recycle and some more things to just get rid of.   Also got the trailer uncovered - YAY - and cleaned up in the carport so I could set up my new arrangement for travel dog pens with my new gates and determine just how much and what I need to take.   Going to let  it sit for a bit and see how it feels.

So just busy busy and work is nut but oh well, vacation is coming and I just need to try to suck it up for a bit longer.    I think now I'll just go lay down!  heehee

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Sat, 21 Apr 2018 01:19:48 GMT
Heck of a Week I knew going into it I was gonna be really busy but holy cow!   

Sunday was tricks class for Teddy in Bozeman and we lucked out yet again with the weather which was crappy up till well, Sunday.   I took Tinker along with us just to get her out and about and was thrilled when Nancy asked Maggie's Mom if she'd stay and let the girls "play".   Well Maggie was all about it and did her best play bows and pokes to get Tinker to engage all to no avail.  Little bugger was so busy sniffing around looking for dropped cookies that she barely even acknowledged Maggie.   Teddy meanwhile after class lounged in the car thankful to get some time to just rest.   An hour full of learning and physical activity is tough on a 13 year old but he did great.   He picked up a couple new tricks in his paw touches to hands which was fun.   He just loves to train fun stuff and work with me so this is great fun as there is no pressure whatsoever.

Tuesday was surgery day for Louie.   I knew he had nasty teeth issues so a dental with pulling, digging, drilling and cleaning was required.  Little did I know he even had teeth that were broken down below the gum line.   Ouch!   I so love and trust our vet Dr. Davis and she did a smashing job getting 6 teeth pulled out, 1 that fell out it was that bad and then cleaning up the rest.   He's got stitches in his mouth but is dealing well with it and other than being super pooped out seems to be doing well.  Of course he'll finish up  antibiotics and pain meds which will help a ton!   He is gonna feel SO MUCH BETTER!   

Tuesday night Epic and I made it to our first obedience class after missing week 1.  We are going mainly to brush up on stuff before competition the end of May (or so I hope).    Boy oh boy we both are super rusty.  Him in his focus and remembering what is up (or rather down) and me in what cues and rewards I should be using and when.   We love our trainer Kim for letting us kind of "freestyle" it in class as the others are learning the finer points of obedience.   It really is what I need though to motivate me and  is extremely helpful in that we have a great large space to work on his heeling and others to work on distractions.

Wednesday I was scheduled to get a new computer at work.   Quote "Need a couple hours of your time".  Okay, my old  computer has been getting slower and slower and frankly was a hand-me-down when I got it 5 years ago so is  really out of date ALTHOUGH it still was able to get the job done.   Six hous  later, the new computer hard drive crashes and I lose the 6 hours of work I did getting everything set back up because oh no, we don't just image off the old  computer, we as the users (not the desktop people) are handed the computer and told WE have to reload and reconfigure all of it.   So guess what?  I got to do it all again on Thursday.  Grrrr.    I was never so happy to be able to go get my chiropractic adjustments and Rapid Release.    I hate work days that feel "wasted".

Thursday back to the office and thankfully a much better new laptop switch over.  The other was toast but since it was round 2 things went as planned.   What didn't go as planned was the weather.  I took lunch at Walmart to pick up groceries and as I left it was raining by the time I got back to the office big freaking wet snowflakes.  It just got worse as the afternoon went on, snowing about an inch an hour and you couldn't see anything.  So by 2 I left thinking I didn't  want to risk the roads any later than necessary and not sure I'd be able to get up my driveway with the car as it had been snowing at home all morning as well.    Never fear new tires appear - well they appeared a week ago and thank goodness.   Made it up the driveway although the drive home took 45 minutes with the really bad roads.   I brought home the new laptop AND the old one as I was not driving the nasty roads on Friday to the office.   Happily the new laptop seems to be working well and Friday I worked from home.

Snow melted pretty much all the way on Friday as the winds picked up on the back side of the storm THANK GAWD!    I actually refused to shovel anything more than the back deck and stairs for the pups - I am just DONE shoveling!   I have never had a winter here in MT where it seems like it is constantly gray, snowy and never ending.    Maybe we will see Spring oh in August.  Friday afternoon I came in from the garage and as I did heard a bird up back - a shrill like a hawk bird.   I looked back up at the snag and there sat a hawk of some sort.   I quietly came into the house and got my camera and the minute I got it focused  on it, of course it took off.  So I took the  blurry shots (below) and put it out to friends for id and  we finally figured out it is a broad winged hawk.  A new one for me!   I've had a hawk around this winter preying on the feeder birds but this wasn't that one and I did finally see enough to figure out THAT was a coopers hawk (when I saw the flash of the red chest).  These little hawks are so freaky and very fast.  Of course I know and see often our red tail and rough leg hawks and the eagles of course.

Over the course of the week I continue to practice my new instruments - a mountain dulcimer that I bought for my birthday a few weeks ago.  I am really enjoying it and love  that it is portable.   I've never played a string instrument before (my experience is clarinet, flute and piano) so it is really outside my zone.   I am learning songs as I go and figuring out the best way to play.   There are about 3 different styles that I'm playing with and will probably sign up for one of the online schools at some point so I don't get too many bad habits.   Really enjoying it and as I visited with my friend Robin (who plays uke) I said it isn't that it puts me into a "zen" kind of relaxation but rather puts me into a different "zone" - that isn't spinning stuff around in my head and helps me shut down the work brain.   So far I have 2 songs memorized and although not 100% or fast still enjoyable, started learning 2 more this week.

The weekend is busy, helping friends take care of another  friend's dogs (I got morning shift), coffee with another friend, errands, a yoga/soul class and of course our tricks class.   The weekend will be gone before I know it - again!   



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Sat, 14 Apr 2018 18:49:42 GMT
TGIF Not much to report from snow-land except that we have MORE SNOW!   Mother Nature messed with us and gave us a couple of 50 degree days just to throw down the gauntlet and put us in another winter storm.  Boooo!


The small birds are inhaling the seed in the feeders, since well, they cannot get to much else.  Okay the crossbills "could" be off eating pine nuts but apparently that is too much work.   I have seen the bluebirds around and feel sorry for them since they are bug eaters not seed eaters.   Have NOT however seen a meadowlark (the REAL tell tale of Spring).    The snow geese are setting down only for a short while as most of the lake is still frozen and I see them mostly in the fields with the Canadians and a few swans here and there.   Looks like it is going to be straight winter into summer at this point.


My work is super busy right now and I guess that is okay, still no word on new job option but trying my best to stay hopeful.  The stress is pretty intense again so am doing what I can to de-stress in my off hours and shut off the brain during those times.  Tough when cannot get outside but doing my best.

Teddy and I started a class on Sunday's this month working on tricks.  He is 13 so we are trying to keep it light and fun and he cannot last the whole hour but still seems to really enjoy it and gets so excited.   Great thinking stuff for him and all will help keep him in shape.   Epic and I were to start obedience on Tuesday but I ended up sick so we officially will start next week.    Right now his recall (and his drop on recall) is sucking the worst and of course my throwing the dumb bell in the right way over the jump but we are working on it!   I think we will still enter the shows the end of May regardless, if nothing else to get me away from work and hook up with all my dog peeps!  :)

So onward we go, sorry for the lack of much interesting but sadly - this is all I got!  






]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Fri, 06 Apr 2018 17:33:27 GMT
Happy Easter Happy Spring

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Sat, 31 Mar 2018 15:51:30 GMT
Some Sun Some Wind ...but there is more winter on the way.  Kind of a typical Easter weekend though.

We have had some sunny days but most of those the wind has been blowing upwards of 20 mph so not pleasant.   My wind tolerance is less and less as time goes on.   Today, however, by the time I got off work the  wind was more a breeze and coming from the back of the house.  There was sunshine and it was warm enough we got out for the first time this year for a sit down out on the front deck.

This is what naked dogs dream of all winter long.

The poodles weren't too upset about getting to be out front without sitting in snowbanks either.

Teddy can take the heat only so long and the sun is still pretty low to the south so there wasn't any shade on the deck, so he shared the swing with me.

Can I just say....IT WAS GLORIOUS!    We are all craving some natural vitamin D right now and it was a gray winter on top of it being never ending.  I'd love to report that I actually got some yard stuff accomplished but other than hauling the trash can back up to the house and raking up some of the bird food and droppings that caked the grass in front of the deck....Nada.     

More and more of these are poking their heads up though!

Still not going to move the cover.  Yes one of my other early bulbs up by the house is also poked up but at its own risk!

Things feel a bit calmer this week than it has been in a while.   Doggie Auntie Adele came over and did massages early this week and my pups were thrilled.  I did have to laugh at wild hair (he rolled around on the couch).

Seriously, how can you NOT laugh at that?    

Looking forward to the weekend and will be spending a couple hours this evening listening to a Fenzi seminar  on, you guessed it, dog stuff.  Am looking forward to that, my second online webinar with that organization and am kind of liking them.  Not as much commitment as doing full classes.  The weekend has booked up full and I need to find time to get my new blinds up in my bedroom and get some cleaning  done in there as well.   Always lots to do around here this time of year for sure.   Better get inside done before the outside stuff kicks in!



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Thu, 29 Mar 2018 23:29:11 GMT
Out Like a Lion So apparently the old saying March comes in like a lion will go out like a lamb is FALSE!   We had horrible weather for the start of March (or rather the "never ending winter") and apparently we are expecting it to end with same.   Frankly it sucks!   I scheduled road trips starting in April and now they are saying I might have to miss the first one.  What?   Oh well, can't control Mother Nature and she definitely is keeping us on our toes this spring (or never- ending winter into summer?).

However....I did find a few brave souls in my garden this past week.

No purple ones yet but I am sure they are not far behind.  Meanwhile they will just have to push through the leaf litter that is staying on for at least a few more weeks.

The snow is gone for now off the front yard so Epic and I are trying to get in some practice.  Am planning on entering him in our first shows of the season the end of May and since we were housebound without anyplace to practice all winter, time is getting short.  He did great first day out but has since then gotten somewhat "creative" in some of his exercises and apparently is having brain farts on some of the others.   We'll get  there.   This is still pretty much what they spend their time doing otherwise.....

I also haven't  shared a few of the shots I took on a dog food run to Dearborn back the first part of March.  Horrible roads but we needed the food and my friend met us part way to deliver it (thanks Joanie).  While there I wanted to drive down towards the fishing access and let the poodles out to potty but not before  almost getting the truck stuck.  I am surprised Robin will ever ride with me!  

So not a whole lot of exciting going on here yet.  April will start a string of very busy months for us as it always does.   Two to three dog classes each week in April, vacation planned in May, obedience competition the end of May and another trip either east or west (yup not sure yet) in June before my Mom arrives.    After feeling like I had massive cabin  fever for the past 6 months I am looking forward to busy.

Work still motors along.  Still no movement on a new position but hope everyone will stay hopeful with me!    I was offered a position in the department I am in this past week but I declined.  It was a HORRIBLE fit for me and me for the position.   I have my sights set on a position on the business side in analytics, will just need to hold on till the right one comes  along.

I am planning to get back to blogging again.   I am finding that I miss writing to you all and sharing my photos here and now that I have a new laptop I think it will be easier for me to tow  the line and keep up with my writing.  I am finding while Facebook is convenient, no one is really interested (as is indicated by even clicking a like) in reading snippets unless there are photos.  I also find that I am so lazy and it is so easy to click an icon and never actually SAY anything.   I am guilty as are those that were clicking my posts.   I want a more meaningful exchange and hope that some of my blog readers come back to us here and some of my FB friends find us  here.    This also means I will take the time each week to catch up on  my friends blogs as well.   I've missed those!

So on to spring, new adventures and new writings!



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Wed, 28 Mar 2018 00:28:58 GMT
Smore (no not that kind) We are still frozen solid here but it is slowly showing signs of spring - at least indoors.  My spring cactus has set out to blooming like mad so I took the opportunity to do some more macro work.   The flocks of small birds have been missing the last few days.  Not sure why but I am still enjoying the nuthatches and the few chickadees that are showing up.  I am sure they are happy to not have to fight for food.   The first couple photos are snow shots of the tracks and things to read in the snow banks.   What do you read i them?



]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Thu, 01 Mar 2018 18:24:49 GMT
Macro Madness So in addition to no less than 4 dog training classes (online) I am taking - well okay, I'm saving 3 of them and actively working on one, I signed up on a whim for an online macro photography class as well.  That I just finished and honestly, how else should I be getting through these dreary winter days (not much sunshine recently) when it is too cold, windy, snowing, raining and just plain miserable (not to mention dark early) to do anything fun.    The class was very inspirational and afterwards I decided to go find some things to try to photograph indoors.  Luckily I hadn't thrown our my little light box studio I had purchased years ago to photograph collars and leashes that I was making.

Off I went to purchase new LED bulbs for the lights (the halogen just got so freaking hot they honestly were a fire danger) and set it up in the family room on a folding table.   So here are some of the results starting with my first subjects the first evening to the last.   I need more practice and I still am HATING the ball head on my tripod (the adjuster for the tilt is difficult to deal with so I need to do some research to see if I can remedy that) and I am using extender tubes with my 70-300 lens but I'm pretty pleased with the results.   I also am getting comfy with Live View on my camera - burns up the battery quick but for this inside work is extremely helpful.    My biggest hurdle is manual focus as auto just doesn't cut it when you have a specific part of a macro piece to focus on.   Even with my glasses on and live view the focus just isn't as crisp as I want.   It is also great fun experimenting with lighting and with different color backgrounds as well as assorted depth of field options.  

Anyway, here are my first round and hope you see something you like or are also inspired to try it out.  Again, great for poopy winter days!   May have to go out and see about some real LIVE flowers to attempt as most of what I did is dry dead stuff from my garden.  Although I will say it does give me a new appreciation for some of those things.

Oh ohhhh I forgot I will FIRST put up some pre-class rose photos I did - the pinecone starts the stuff from after class.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Sat, 17 Feb 2018 23:57:43 GMT
Never Ending Winter So my bird feeders are still very busy, except I noticed on some days.  Those I have discovered, only by a brief glimpse, that there is a small bird of prey hanging around.   Now I know I had a shrike here years ago taking out some of the small birds but this bird has been so quick that I've not even caught enough of a glimpse to figure out what it is!    

However I did actually have one morning last weekend where the sun came around and I caught a few photos of my feeder friends.   This winter the regulars have included house finches, red polls, downy woodpeckers (both the boy and girl), hairy woodpeckers (both the boy and girl), a family of red breasted nuthatches, pygmy nuthatches (although they don't seem to show up often which is likely due to....), and white breasted nuthatches (which seem to chase off all the other nuthatches.

Now the crossbills have also returned and boy are they hungry!   Besides they are just so goofy looking that they are fun to watch.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Fri, 16 Feb 2018 18:31:03 GMT
Stormy All I have to do is mention I've not had the cameras out and the sunset gives me a reason.   I watched the storms roll down the south mountains all day while I got sunshine (love that) and in the end I stepped out on the deck and got these to share.....I love where I live!   First ones as you can tell were before sunset and the others just as the sun was going down.


]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Tue, 23 Jan 2018 16:20:15 GMT
Winter Memories Okay I'm cheating because I don't want to get out of the jive doing my blog but honestly haven't been out with the camera to be honest.  While I've been walking with Epic - the neighborhood is rather the same day to day right now and the other mileage I do on the treadmill.  So I did some digging around and am going to share some previous years photos.....while I enjoy the fact that we are on the upside towards Spring (yup I just ordered my flower seeds in some nutty attempt to try to start things from seeds this year for the flower pots - we will see how that goes and if my pet sitter will water them when I do May vacation).

Gallitan RiverGallitan River Hyalite CreekHyalite Creek

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Mon, 22 Jan 2018 16:40:32 GMT
Frisbees, Frost and Sunbeams This boy (Epic) makes me laugh almost every day.   Yesterday it was fairly warm out and he had located one of his missing rubber balls in the car when we ran errands.  After snarfing down dinner he went up back and spent 45 minutes playing with it, letting it roll into footprints and then digging it out.  Meanwhile we take every chance we can to get in at least some play out in the snow.  This was from a few days ago -- pure joy and he just doesn't seem to get cold (much less wear out)!

This morning we had freezing fog and I was so very happy I didn't have to drive into the office.  I did however have to spend the entire day on a conference call and during the brief potty breaks got out with the big camera to take a few photos.

This was as the sun came up over the fog bank (which sat in the valley all day).

Here I was trying to capture the frosty needles backlit, I was excited to see I did get the frost floating off of them.

Snow dunes in the front yard.  Sometimes you need to look closer at the simple things.

This is what it looked like past my road all day.

As the sun rose looking east to the neighbor's place.

As I mentioned I was on a conference call most of the day and once the sun came around the south I opened up the front door and let the rays come in.  It was quickly noticed by my pups and I sat in my office chair and took advantage of the sunbeam portrait opportunity.  I just love my days working from home and spending time with these "co-workers".  Love em to death.

]]> (MTWaggin Photos & Blog 2018) Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:24:14 GMT