Four dogs and the Fourth

6 July, 2014                 Four dogs and the Fourth

Mackey and Turner and I had the good fortune to spend time this week with Lola and Luna. If you click on this link for last week’s post: Pillow fight!, you’ll see the four of them relaxing calmly on the trail at the end of a long hike. Flash forward to this morning’s hike, and playtime at the edge of the river. Turner is in the shadow in the lower left. He likes fun as much as – really more than – the next dog. But he’s kind of a daddy’s boy and when things get noisy he stays close to me. Luna has her back to us and is watching the excitement. She’s a smart girl and she knows Mackey and Lola are well matched in age and temperament and demeanor. It’s easy for them to have fun together:

Mackey and Lola having fun, Luna supervising (she's a Border Collie, of course), Turner looking to me for guidance. I had none to offer.

Mackey and Lola having fun, Luna supervising (she’s a Border Collie, of course), Turner looking to me for guidance. I had none to offer.

Two seconds later Mackey and Lola were running in circles:

It takes an instant to go from sizing each other up to this:

It takes an instant to go from sizing each other up to this:

It was 56º when I got up this morning which in Richmond in July is unheard of. The dogs have lots and lots of energy. That will slow down a great deal when more typical Richmond summer weather arrives.

I took this picture Tuesday morning but the river’s looked like this all week. We’re enjoying a run of amazing weather that as I recall began around Memorial Day. We’ve had a few less-than-pleasant days but this has been as temperate a late spring and early summer as I can ever recall. Another beautiful view:

It looks like this so often you'd think it would get boring. But you'd be wrong.

It looks like this so often you’d think it would get boring. But you’d be wrong.

I often take the dogs’ pictures on a wide spot in the trail when we’re almost back at the car. They’ve burned off some energy by then and are easier to photograph. But four dogs together is always a challenge. Fun, but a challenge. Here are two pictures taken three seconds apart – I’m not even kidding – it says it on the pictures. The first is with Mackey facing me and the others looking away. The second is three seconds later with Mackey facing away and the others looking back. Three seconds later:

Mackey looking away, the other three not looking away.

Mackey looking away, the other three not looking away.

Mackey not looking away, the other three looking away.

Mackey not looking away, the other three looking away.

Three seconds apart – I’m not even kidding.

Not everyone appreciates insects, a possible exception being of course butterflies. And I’m obviously having a lot of fun with dragonflies and damselflies, many of which are beautiful in a science-fiction sort of way. I took a neat picture of a housefly (Musca domestica) sunning itself on a leaf at PP last week:

Common housefly - Musca domestica

Common housefly – Musca domestica

Here’s another dragonfly, not brightly colored. This one is I’m guessing getting a little bit old, at least in dragonfly terms. If you look at the trailing edge of his lower left wing, there’s a piece missing. I took that picture on Tuesday. I suspect that by this time he’s made the transition from being a diner to being dined on. So goes the cycle:

Handsome old guy - getting on in years. Getting on in hours, in his case. Or days.

Handsome old guy – getting on in years. Getting on in hours, in his case. Or days.

If you notice the light dusty/powdery covering on his back, that’s referred to as “pruinescence.” You can chase all over the internet (or you can take my word for it) but a precise definition of that word that a lexicographer would appreciate is difficult to find. Pruinescence you may have also noticed – if you think for a moment – on grape skins and on plums. Blueberries too I think. It reflects ultraviolet light which dragonflies and damselflies can see with their compound eyes. But pruinescence is the dragonfly equivalent of gray hair on humans – you don’t see it on youngsters.

Evelyn and I went to my brother Kevin and his wife Jenny’s annual Fourth of July celebration out in Doswell. Our mom made it this year but our other siblings and nieces were scattered about so we just had a small family group. A huge group of friends though, and Kevin and Jenny have great ones. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay late this year. I missed the fireworks!

Kevin and Shane (our other brother) are both superb craftsmen. Kevin builds everything from scratch, including this boat. It’s not from a kit. He bought the lumber, sanded it and painted it and screwed it together. He even made the oars. Perfect Independence Day colors, although it’s painted that way year round:

Kevin is a master craftsman:

Kevin is a master craftsman:

This is a boat he made a really, really long time ago – fifteen years if memory serves. He also made this one from scratch – cut each piece of wood by hand. Not long after he built it we took it for a day long canoe trip on the South Anna River.

Another of Kevin's useful works of art

Another of Kevin’s useful works of art

He even caned the seats himself:

That is a lot, lot, lot of hard work and attention to detail

That is a lot, lot, lot of hard work and attention to detail

It didn’t occur to me to take these photographs until it was late in the day and the light was faded so I apologize for the poor quality. Those boats are a sight to behold.

He and Jenny are also excellent gardeners:

Boats AND flowers! Plus we ate grilled squash from their vegetable garden!

Boats AND flowers! Plus we ate grilled squash from their vegetable garden!

I hope your Fourth of July was wonderful and you have a great week. All best,

 

Jay

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Four dogs and the Fourth

  1. Gilpin Brown says:

    I can’t believe Kevin made that canoe and cut every piece. There are some long bowed pieces on the sides. I’m impressed. He must be a patient, detailed guy.
    Gilpin

  2. Hi Gilpin! Kevin is in every way a patient, detailed guy. I watched several steps of the canoe construction and a few steps of the white boat. His attention to detail and level of craftsmanship are remarkable. Much like the effort you put into your photography! Have a great day,

    Jay

  3. Pingback: PP Fauna | NEWFAZE

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