Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boomer of The Vermilon River. A Post to MWT And Scenic Sunday.

Winter Photo
I'm asked a lot about Boomer and in fact Boomer has his own following. So what could be more appropriate, than a post about Boomer, a post which explains his history, and answers the questions that various people ask about him. Boomer is the son of Thunder, a pure white Malamute, and the brother of Timber, likely a wolf throwback as he was leggy and weighted 120 lbs. Boomer is in every way the normal Alaskan Malamute, in colouring and size(about 85-90 lbs.), although they come in reds, and more rarely, whites. Boomer is a native of the area, although the kennel is no longer here. Boomer was purchased by a couple who divorced, gave him to their parents, who chained him in the backyard and Boomer eventually ended up in doggy jail, the pound. A responsible breeder, Cheryl, rescued him and brought him back to the kennel. Boomer could not go back into the pack as he would have had to fight his way through it. So he became a house dog. I knew Cheryl vaguely, but once on my way into the Valley of Death for a Bar-B-Q, I passed her place to discover a least 12 of these guys loose who had dug their way out of the run. This was before  my accident. So I merely stopped traffic rounded these errant guys up, and put them back in the run while I watched the hole. They enjoyed every minute of the break and rounding up!! I never though anymore of it and Cheryl showed up shortly after my fun with the errants.

 All dogs are descended from the Gray Wolf, but Alaskan Malamutes are unique in that they were not European bred, but were bred by the Inuit some 3 thousand years ago. Inuit are the descends of mongols who moved east into the Artic lands. Horses, of course, were useless, so some other animal was required. The early Inuits stole wolf cubs from the wolf dens, breeding those pups who were friendly to humans, and amendable to training. Continual selection based on service and friendliness bred the modern Malamutes. The selective breeding stopped there. There is no miniature or lap dog offshoots, as there are of European dogs. All potential Malamute owners should be aware of their Wolfie traits. They are pack dogs, and that pack  includes their human family and they're dedicated to that family, and want to be part of it. So if you like winter, they'll pull you on cross country skies, or sled with you but don't ignore them. You have to be a strong leader with them, because they have an independent streak. If the ice is soft, they'll automatically turn the sled to safe ice. The males are excellent child rearers, just as they are in the wolf pack. As far as guarding goes forget it, but threaten the pack and these guys fight to the death, literally. They're not barkers, but do they talk. One more thing, they shed like crazy. Their undercoat is a short wool without the lanolin, and can be mixed with sheep's wool.

If you follow this blog, you know I had a fairly heavy accident, in which I shattered my hip, broke my shoulder, and dislocated my jaw. I had just had Boom a short time, and was worried that I would have to give him up, but a wonderful young friend took Boom, whose name is Cindy, and trained him to the haltie leash, that rig, that Boomer wears. He was trained to walk me with no pulling and a heel that keeps him far enough from me that I don't trip. For a solid year while I did therapy, he walked me. Unheard of for a Malamute. I'm pretty mobile now, but the haltie is a symbol of Boom's intelligence and devotion. Now we're both retired, and spend all our time together.
 For more information on Alaskan Malamutes, see Dorris Heffron's City Of Wolves. It is a historical novel in a Yukon setting, but the research she did for it is contained in the book. Heffron also headed the commission on BC's sled dog shootings that resulted in changed legislation. She became intersted in Malamutes when she acquired her first Malamute, Yukon Sally. For more information on dog's intelligence, eye sight etc see" Ideas "@ ,public radio in Canada, and their dog series. Any general dog comments pertain to working dogs as I've never had a toy dog. P.S. I forgot to add. They love to hug!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Heavy Frost On the Vermilon River. A Post To SWF

Sunrise Through the Fog
There was a heavy fog on a very cold morning this week; in fact, the fog was moving through the air in waves and heavier than a scotch mist. The air was cold enough to result in a heavy frost that adhered to everything. I was initially going to talk about the different kinds of frosts, but Wiki has an excellent article on them and in addition I'm uncertain whether this is a Hoar or a Rime frost. So much for that idea. But there is another thought here and it is the seasonal variation in light that I shoot in. From intense sunlight to gray light brightened by snow, and this light which is the result of fog and frost. Pretty though isn't it?
The Frost Coating Everything.

Looking SE as the Sun tries to Burn Through.

More East Than South.

South Again.

With Track Again.

Beginning of Trail with Sun

Sun Over East Track Wetland.

Ice Crystals On Leaves.

 These shots indicate how thick the ice crystals are, as does the ice on the grasses in the above photos. These photos were all taken at the beginning of my hike into the East Track Bog (Tuesdays post). The Woodpecker was actually in the bog. The red squirrel photos are from the west side of the River. It looks like I interrupted his morning preparations for having his photo taken.

Male Downy

Wait Until I'm Ready.

Little Scratch.

Little Scratch On This Side.

Little Leg Clean

Just Brush Up This Paw.

Finished now and what a handsome fellow I am.

A Post to SWF @ 

Click on the photos and it becomes a slide show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Hike In The East Track Bog of The Vermilon River. A Post To WBW.

East Track Bog.
Something a bit different today. We got out during the two day good weather interlude that we had, and actually got into the East Track Bog. To avoid confusion, probably for me, since I haven't taken any geography since the ice age, we live in the Canadian shield, and the Vermilon forest is a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest,simply put a mixed forest but leans to softwoods. The Carolinian forest lays to the south, a bit along the north edge of Lake Ontario, with most in the US. It is mostly gone, except for small pieces preserved in parks.To my north lays the Boreal Forest, a forest distinguished by tundra or muskeg. The Dark-eyed Juncos are Boreal Forest dwellers and migrate through here. I suppose officially here we have wetlands or bogs. I define the difference in this blog as a wetland being covered in water all or most of the time, while a bog merely some of the time. Bogs in the UK are acidic and form peat. The only one in Ontario that I am aware of is the Byron Bog near London, Ontario that fulfills that definition.The East Track Bog may not be a true bog, or true muskeg, I don't know. But it's as close as most of you are going to see. In photo two, you can see the black earth which is the soil formed here. This soil is harvested and sold to the mining companies to start the regrowth process and cover the damage that mining does, i.e, the slag heaps for instance. The soil needs endless time to reform in the bog and this is just an other curse of mining. An aside: the Alberta Tar Sands are in muskeg, but the look is the same, and you can see the contamination possibilities,and understand the fragile environment. It doesn't duplicate, although the oil companies and the governments would have us believe that. The efforts to redo the muskeg are failures in every way, and water contamination is enormous. This is all to the shame of Canadians who facilitate it, the Norwegians, and the Dutch who claim to be green and maybe are in their own countries. And to the Americans south of us who have an insatiable thirst for oil even to the destruction of their own country.

Boom And I are in here because the bog is dry, otherwise we'd sink, and there are no insects now which would eat us alive in the spring or summer. Not all the photos were taken on this hike.  A Post to WBW @  Click on photo for slide show.
Shows the black earth.

Dark-eyed Junco, a member of the sparrow family.

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

Junco in Slate Gray, same species.

Slate Gray Junco

White Breasted Nut Hatch.

White Breasted Nut Hatch.

White Breasted Nut Hatch.

Downy Male Woodpecker.

Downy Male Woodpecker.

Male Hairy Woodpecker.

Immature White Crown

Mature White Crown

Tree Sparrow

Blue Jay With Raised Comb.

Blue Jay.

Black-capped Chickadee.

Black-capped Chickadee.

Black-capped Chickadee
With the migration of warblers etc. underway or finished, I start to look for different birds and these are some of them. It is not the first time that I've see or photographed a nut hatch, but to me it's a winter bird as are the others. The Juncos come in both a dark and slate gray as above. There is no difference.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The East Track Beaver Pond of The Vermilon River.

Beaver Pond with Mist Rising.
This hike is in effect a continuation of my previous post as the Beaver Pond is on the east track. But in this section of the abandoned track,only the graveled roadbed remains. I was early and the mist is still rising. You'll notice when it clears. Not all the photos are from this hike. Click on a photo and it'll turn into a slide show. Just a note: I'm not sure whether the Ducks are Ring-necked or Scaup. I'll do some more checking. But whatever it's is a first for me. AN ADDITION: I got a confirmation from Michael at NWO Birds of the ducks as Ring-necked.Wowee!!! rare for the area.

This is a post to Scenic Sunday @ and My World Tuesday @
Beaver Lodge with mist in the Tree Line.

West End Of Pond.

Water Fall Linking Wetlands.

Rock Face Overlooking Wetland.

Yellow Lilies.

Web with Dew.

Ducks in Mist At East End Of Beaver Pond.

 Blue-winged Teals Take Flight In Mist. 

Male & Female Ring- Necked Duck

Duck  Family



Beaver in Mid Pond.

Red-Winged Blackbird.

Red-winged Blackbird In Tree.

Geese Landing

Completed Landing.


Eastern Swallowtail.