My chauffeur really flies! // Gone to the dogs

23 October, 2016            My chauffeur really flies! // Gone to the dogs

I encourage you to vote on November 8. One of the candidates will be president soon. Please do your part to make sure it’s the best one.

Here’s how this blog post got its name(s):

I walked out to my car this week and found this Carolina Wren ready to drive:

I walked out to my car this week and found this Carolina Wren ready to drive (My chauffeur really flies!):

And today I hiked and spent time with a large (six dogs) pack of canines (thanks to my friend Ariel for supplying the friendship, spare dogs, background scenery and photography expertise): 

Mackey, Turner, Yuki, Sonny, Lola, Luna, me. Photograph by Ariel - thanks Ariel!

Mackey, Turner, Yuki, Sonny, Lola, Luna, me. Photograph by Ariel – thanks Ariel! (“Gone to the dogs”)

And since we began this post with an animal behind the steering wheel, and there’s a dog theme, there’s an obvious choice for the next picture (photography and clever disguise both supplied by Ariel):

These dogs really know how to enjoy themselves

These dogs really know how to enjoy themselves

All the dogs were curious when I was wearing that getup. Yuki most of all:

Found my doppelganger

Found my doppelgänger

I took a week off last week for various reasons. So I have a few extra pictures. And a good story (I hope) to (I hope) save for next week. But until then –

Cleverly disguised as part of the pack:

They were giving me such strange looks I felt extremely self-conscious

They were giving me such strange looks I felt extremely self-conscious

My friend Ariel (Yuki’s owner) (and photographer for all the pictures with me in them)  pointed out this frog on one of her plants last week. She later identified it a Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), light phase:

Cope's gray treefrog

Cope’s gray treefrog

And the very next day I was at the Y and walked out to my car and greeted this beautiful animal on my hood. It rode all the way home with me and now it’s in my ‘hood!:

Praying mantis on the hood then in the 'hood

Praying mantis on the hood then in the ‘hood

Brief glimpse of a flying downy woodpecker just as it leapt from a tree in Pony Pasture on Thursday:

Not perfect, but a fun action shot

Not perfect, but a fun action shot

And – all my time birding I’ve heard about woodpecker holes being used by other birds and animals. Today I saw fungus growing inside one!:

Fungus growing in an old woodpecker hole

Fungus growing in an old woodpecker hole

I haven’t done much this week – but here are a couple of panoramas from when I was in Page County (in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley) last weekend. This is the edge of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. On weekends from the time I was around thirteen through my early forties I was often here in person, and in spirit I returned constantly:

South Fork of the Shenandoah River on a sunny October afternoon

South Fork of the Shenandoah River on a sunny October afternoon

I see I wrote about our cabin in the Shenandoah Valley in a blog post from April of 2014 called Only the beginning… and again in October in a blog post called We had so much fun! and a follow up called More fun!

I should write more later – and will in the future. But from that riverside scene I walked Mackey and Turner about half a mile to the edge of our old friends Doug and Doris’s property.

10 minutes walk from the river. Much of the "me" you know was formed by what I learned in this hollow.

10 minutes walk from the river. Much of the “me” you know was shaped by what I learned in this hollow.

Hopefully I’ll be slightly more organized/energized next week. But I don’t anticipate appearing disguised as a white dog again anytime soon. But you never know.

Don’t forget to vote! Two weeks from Tuesday.

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 Birds, Dogs, Downy woodpecker, Fun, fungus, Insects, James River, Pony Pasture, Rivers, Shenandoah River, Shenandoah Valey, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to My chauffeur really flies! // Gone to the dogs

  1. Jean Yerian says:

    One photo this week brought back memories of deep childhood for me. I lived in the last house of a long road up a mountain at one of edge of town, and I spent every day roaming the woods around us. Being a curious sort, I was interested in every creature I met. One day I brought a praying mantis home. It stayed with us for a while, eating bugs in the yard by day and climbing my arm to come back inside at night. It hung out on my bedpost and, believe it or not, seemed fascinated by my mother’s ironing! It would climb onto the ironing board and then just sit and observe until she finished. I was younger than 7 at the time and don’t remember any more, but isn’t that odd? At the time I thought that mantis was the most wonderful animal I’d ever met….

    • Great to hear from you Jean! Your memory recalls one of my own, from when I was young. My older sister Katie found a praying mantis egg case and brought it in the house. She put it down somewhere and we went about our lives. One morning a short while later we woke to found dozens or scores of tiny praying mantises everywhere, all less than an inch long. Helping with the house cleaning!

  2. Jackie says:

    Love it! Great photos!

    • Hi Jackie! Great to hear from you, as always. I was particularly lucky with pictures on this blog post. But my favorite (besides the wren) is of course the one Ariel took of me with the dogs. Have a great day! Talk with you soon,

      Jay

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