Old Pugs

At my request, my husband snapped some shots of our pugs while we worked in the yard today. I love photographer Pete Thorne’s project “Old Faithful” (http://petapixel.com/2014/10/21/old-faithful-studio-portraits-really-old-dogs/) and figured we should celebrate our aging pups, too. I am pleased with the results:

pugs 031 pugs 041 pugs 103This is Abe (or as we often call him, “Abraham Stinkin”). Isn’t he very Winston Churchill looking? We’ve had this sweet old man for 8 years. We suspect he’s at least 12, maybe older, hard to say with a rescue like him. On bright days like today, he enjoys sunning himself like a little turtle. In fine weather, he will often turn his head and ignore me when I call him to come back in the house.

pugs 083pugs 105pugs 081Here is Zooey (or Zoe, my husband and I disagree on how to spell her name!). We’ve had her for 9 years and we think she’s about 12 years old. She had a large cancerous tumor removed in May,  and we are trying to make sure to enjoy every moment we’ve got with this dear lady.

pugs 045pugs 089Chico and Apple, also enjoying the lovely day. And of course, Gus:

pugs 104Gus is a lover. He absolutely cannot restrain himself, kisses must be given out generously:

pugs 058pugs 060This one cracks me up, something about Chico’s stare suggests quite a narrative, no?

pugs 065Maybe he’ll share the tale of the day Apple faced down her nemesis, the lawnmower:

pugs 113(Seriously, she hates the lawnmower. It wasn’t even on, and she just stood there, glaring at it, clearly plotting how to take it down for good!)

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Azalea Glen at Dawes Arboretum

It amazes me how wide a range there can be, year-to-year, in peak bloom time for plants. The Dawes Arboretum plant sale has been held, as far as I can remember, on the third Saturday of May for at least the last 7 years. Some years when we’re there for the sale, we’ve missed the azaleas entirely. Some years, we get to see them at the height of their glory. This year was an example of the latter!

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178175022036Because we’ve been blessed with plenty of rain this spring, things looked lush and wonderful. It was actually raining while we walked around the glen, appreciating the wide sweeps of color and the close-up beauty of individual blossoms. The colors were so intense on some of the plants that they practically seemed to vibrate! The rain ended up giving some of our pictures a weird texture or blur. Small price to pay to see such a spectacular floral display.

If you get out to Dawes you can’t miss the azalea glen. It’s located off of the larger parking lot near the visitor center, and you can see much of it if you drive the auto loop. But to really appreciate all the glen has to offer, I highly recommend parking and walking around. There is just so much beauty to drink in, it’s too much to take in while just driving past.065

Fall Colors at Alum Creek State Park

This weekend just couldn’t have been more beautiful.  The weather was the stuff of dreams.  So early Sunday morning, my husband and I loaded up the kayaks and one of the dogs.  Off to Alum Creek State Park we went.  Did I mention it was early???

Early morning light at Alum Creek.

Smoke on the water: spectacular morning fog.

After the fog burned off, I was amazed by how much fall color there was to see.  Alum Creek is about 70 miles north of Lake Logan, the place we’d kayaked the day before.  Apparently that 70 miles made all of the difference, because where we’d seen a tree or 2 displaying glorious fall colors at Lake Logan, check out what we were treated to at Alum Creek:

Breathtaking!  And very much worth getting up way earlier than I’m generally inclined to get up on a Sunday. 🙂

Catching this nice-sized catfish (27 1/2 inches) earned my husband the title of a “Master Angler” through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Fish Ohio program. (You have to catch 4 different kinds of fishes over a certain size to qualify for this.) All 4 were CPR: Catch, Photo, Release!

We only brought along 1 dog this time.  My husband knew he wanted to fish a bit and we learned our lesson from trying to take all 5 out at once.  Not a good idea!  Gus, our Cairn Terrier/Pug mix, kept trying to hop into the truck with us as we were loading up, so we took that as a sign and brought him with us.  Mostly he rode along with me.  He didn’t seem too confident and remained firmly plastered in my lap for a while.  But while my husband was trolling, we pulled ashore a few times and he seemed to enjoy romping on the shore, smelling things, and following some deer tracks.  Later we pulled our kayaks up next to each other and Gus clambered onto my husband’s and off they went, a man and his dog!  Too cute.

It was a nearly perfect, heavenly sort of day.  Absolutely worth skipping out on some yard work to enjoy.

Lake Logan

Today was pretty much the perfect early fall day.  Brisk warming to nice but not hot, clear with some puffy clouds, and just gorgeous.  We decided to take out the kayaks.  (!!!)  Due to some vigilant craigslist watching, my husband found a great deal on a second kayak.  It helped that it’s nearly the end of the season.  Now we can paddle around together!

He really wanted to go to Clear Creek, so that’s where we started.

Before unloading the kayaks, we trotted down a little trail to check for a good spot to put in and to check on the water level.Alas, even though we’ve had a little bit of rain lately, the water level was too low to make kayaking much fun, it would have been all scraping and portaging.  Onto Plan B:  Lake Logan.

Located in the Hocking Hills region of southeastern Ohio, Lake Logan is a 400 acre lake.  We’d never been before.  It was nice:  the leaves were just starting to turn, we saw all kinds of birds and water fowl, fish were jumping and biting, and conditions made floating around and enjoying the views really easy.

“I’ve got a hold of Nessi!”  Although he did catch a fish, maybe it wasn’t quite that big…

Early fall colors, just stunning.

Love, love, love the new-to-us kayak!My husband managed to snap this great shot of a great blue heron hanging out on a dead tree.

I got this one of a great blue heron in flight.  I love that their croaking scratchy call is at such odds with how graceful and elegant their appearance is.What a lovely and relaxing afternoon!

Bittersweet Covered Bridge

Back to work, alas.  Is being independently wealthy really too much to ask for? 😉

On my last day off, I took a nice hike at a nearby park, Slate Run.  One of the trails there passes through an old covered bridge:

For some reason, I associate covered bridges with autumn.  Between that and the fact that it was the last day of my vacation, it felt a bit melancholy and bittersweet.  Yet lovely.

View from the covered bridge.

Random lonely hanger inside the bridge. (???)

Meadow flowers.

Back to work.

A Quick Jaunt Through Dawes Arboretum

As I mentioned earlier, Dawes Arboretum is one of my favorite places to visit.  After our plant shopping on Saturday, we had a quick jaunt through the grounds.  Because the truck was full of delicate plants, we didn’t stay for as long as I would have liked to, but any time spent roaming the grounds is still time well spent!

View from the All Seasons Garden towards the Education Center. I met the gentleman who constructed the wooden obelisk at the plant sale, he was lovely.

View from All Seasons Garden towards surrounding countryside.

There was a special “Story Time” trail through the All Seasons Garden. We didn’t see everything, but we did have an encounter with Bigfoot!

Luckily, things ended well and my husband got away safely!

View into the Azalea Glen. We were there too late this year to witness the glen in it’s full glory. It looks like a tropical paradise when everything is in bloom.

A glorious tri-colored beech tree in the Beech and Buckeye Collection area.

I took pictures of the leaves…

and so did my husband. The leaves were like botanical stained glass when you looked up and saw the sunshine glowing through them.  Gorgeous!

Hiking on Oak Hill, where we saw a red-tailed hawk soaring through the sky.

View into surrounding farmlands, bordered by a Kentucky Coffee Tree allée.

That’s just a little taste.  I’m saving some favorites from the Rare Tree Collection at Dawes for their own separate post, too hard to squeeze them into what is already a picture-filled post.