Friday, February 29, 2008

"You Puttin' Me On?"

Here you go. The best thing to do when you're blocking (as opposed to blogging), is to just put it aside for a couple of days, let it ferment, and suddenly it's all clear and ready to go. If my home page is any indication, there's a whole lot of blocking goin' on.... as I see nothing new for several days from Patrick at Terriermandotcom, nor Steve at Querencia, nor Christie at Dogged, nor even Brian at MGoBlog. In fact, the only new post is from Andrew at Regal Vizsla , and that's because he and his wife just returned from a most extraordinary "vacation". They're back in the Bronx, but their luggage is still somewhere in Mongolia. It'd be well worth your while to check it out.

But this post is supposed to be about my trip up to Magdalena to meet the above mentioned Steve Bodio... and the reason I was blocking, was that for two days I was trying to compose a post to impress the famous (in his fairly large circle) writer. Finally, last evening, it hit me: He's not going to try and impress me with his photography! ;-) So this post will include mostly what I do best: pictures. That first image up there isn't mine, but I'll get into that later.

I arrived in Magdalena about 9 am, and after a little searching, found Steve and Libby's house. First I met the dogs... the famous Tazis, from Kazakhstan, and Plummer, the English lurcher, (and Steve, correct me if I don't have it spelled correctly), and the little wired dachshund, whose name I forget... did I mention I'm terrible with names?... but remember that she's 13, and has her own set of steps up to the overstuffed easy chair.

UPDATE: Lily! Her name is Lily. Thanks Steve.

I've seen so many images on the Querencia blog of the interior of Steve and Libby's that it was hard to appreciate that this was my first visit. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of art on display... pretty much on every exposed wall surface - nature and wildlife and other works. And sculpture on most horizontal surfaces. Other rooms contained books... oh so many books; but that was to be anticipated, and finally, the gun room. Steve has written extensively about vintage firearms, shotguns mostly. I was allowed to examine a late 1800's British shotgun, and it was interesting to see the fine detail work up close and not through the glass of a museum case.

But I came up here to run some jackrabbits with Sandia and the Tazis, so after a breakfast at the Magdalena Cafe & Steakhouse, Steve and Libby piled their pack into their vintage Ford pickup truck, and I followed back down Highway 60, to the Lee Ranch, where they have exclusive and unlimited access to a couple thousand acres of pretty good jackrabbit habitat.

That's what they said, anyway. The ranch is on a huge, flat plain between the mountains that overlook Socorro to the East, and the Magdalenas to the West.

It certainly looked like good rabbitat. (I made that up.) So off we hiked, paralleling the fence. My first hint that this might not go as well as expected was when Steve said, "we've usually jumped a couple by the time we've gotten to this point". I should mention that it was now close to noon on the warmest day in this neck of the woods since October... if it wasn't 70, it was very close.

We changed direction, and headed north for a few hundred yards, then veered back toward the vehicles. Finally, I spotted a jack, but it had jumped over a hundred yards away, and was headed north. Sandia saw it, but I had him on a slip, and didn't release him. Steve's dogs didn't see it until it was almost out of sight. That's all they needed; away they went. I held Sandia. They came back fairly quickly, and we walked back to the cars, and the big stock tank which is a regular ritual for the Tazis, and especially Plummer, who's getting on in years and heats up pretty easily.

I finally let Sandia go so I could shoot some pictures. He wasn't much interested in the stock tank.

Back in the vehicles again, we returned to Magdalena to plan the rest of the day. I had to get back to Socorro and the rest of the herd who, as it turned out, Steve and Libby wanted to meet, so the plan was hatched. After Steve fed the pigeons, we'd go to the RV park, walk the dogs, (it's always good to have dog walk helpers!), and then we'd go to lunch at El Sombrero. That's when the day got interesting.

Steve offered to drive so we wouldn't need two vehicles. I got "shotgun", and Libby got the middle, and we headed for the restaurant at the north end of Socorro. I had noticed, when we were still in Magdalena, that Steve didn't bother with his seat belt, which is probably normal for the denizens of that little, out of the way village. He also wasn't using it as he drove to the restaurant. I didn't bother with mine either, so when the Socorro cop passed us, I wondered: do they enforce the seat belt law in Socorro? Maybe I should slip it over my shoulder anyway.

"WHOooop -WHOooop!!"

Guess enforcement's high on their list in Socorro. Be it safety or Revenue Enhancement, Steve's donating fifty bucks to the town coffers.

That little detour out of the way, and it was on to El Sombrero, or more correctly, Frank and Lupe's El Sombrero . We'd been told by a local friend that this place wasn't any good. Steve and Libby say it's the best place in Socorro for Mexican food. (The reviews at the link are, uh... equally mixed). Personally, my lunch was excellent, but if I'd read the menu description of the stuffed sopapilla completely, I'd have noticed the potatoes stuffed in there along with the excellent carne adovada. Add the rice and the refried beans, and we were a little heavy on the starch.

Lunch conversation, covered a range of topics from politics (we agreed to disagree), and food, and complaints about the Socorro police. It was probably the most fulfilling day of the entire 6+ weeks I've spent in New Mexico. I truly wish Margaret had been here, too.


Here's Steve, Libby, and the hounds in front of their casa. (That doxie's around there somewhere, too). Like I said, I'm lousy with names, but will fill them in if Steve sends them. Looking forward to his thoughts on the day.

I'll probably put up a new slideshow next door with highlights from this trip, and maybe the whole New Mexico trip.


Blocking & Tackling.

This post is not about football. Nor is it about mechanical physics. Nope, it's about my brain blocking how I want to write up the past 48 hours. Right now, I need to get ready to drive from Socorro to Edgewood, NM. So I'll tackle it when I get settled in there. In case you were wondering....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It took three years and three months- more or less- but this here "Hare-Brained Express Tour" blog-deely-bob has just had its 10,000th visitor.. I know, I know the SiteMeter counter says 7767, but that's because when I switched to that counter from the old unlamented PastaPronto counter, we already had 2233 in the books.

So congratulations to the 7:51AM ET visitor from Quebec, Canada whose ISP is Look Communications. I think I know who you are, but post a comment and let the world know! Maybe there'll be a prize!

10,000. Next milestone: 25,000. At the current rate of growth that could happen this year!

Your Vote Matters. Really.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Country for the Old Locations.

The Oscars just ended. Early. That's unheard of, and I wondered what they would do with the extra 15 minutes. As it happens, they just went right to the local news, who made much of the fact that the night's big winner, No Country for Old Men, was filmed mostly right here around Las Vegas, New Mexico. Not Hollywood. Or anywhere else in California... or Arizona. Nor Utah or Nevada. You get the idea.

Being a big fan of the Coen brothers since their first major release, Blood Simple, I've put this Best Picture winner at the top of our Netflix Queue, so I'm ready for its March 11 DVD release.

One Last Time... With Feeling.

L-R: Romy, Ashley, Fanny, Jackrabbit, Sandia

Went out today with Dutch and Beth Anne. It's our last hunt in Deming for this year. I'll be leaving on Wednesday, and will spend an evening in Socorro. Thursday morning I'll drive up to 6000+ feet to meet writer/blogger/falconer/houndman, Steve Bodio, at his home in Magdalena. And while this picture shows the last hunt in Deming, we're far from done. We'll go out with Steve and his Tazis. Then we'll move on up to Edgewood and let Chris Mason see her "kid" for the first time since we took him away last August.... then we'll go out so he can kick his brothers' and sisters' asses ;-) Then, if I'm lucky, Margaret will decide she's had enough of Michigan Winter and I can pick her up at the Albuquerque airport Sunport (?) before the ESCA lure coursing trial. On March 10, we will finally leave New Mexico. Next up, Louisiana. Crawdads here we come.

But before I get ahead of myself, I will do a review of Deming, for all of you who like to keep up with restaurants that we visit around the country, and all that stuff. That will be in a future post. For now, enjoy the last dusty rabbit chase picture from Southern New Mexico.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

You Want Fries With That?

How about a feather and a barf bag... You can't beat this meat. Hope they make it... Detroit needs some favorable press =)


"It's a bad injury... whether it's on a dog or on a person"... so said Dr. Koschmann. And when you have a bad injury, you end up with something like the image above. That's Rally's fixator, which leaves her hock joint frozen in a slightly hyper extended state, so as to not put strain on the recently reattached Achilles tendon. Yup, it's screwed right into the bone.

That's a lot of stainless steel. Maybe when it comes out I can sell it for scrap and recoup some of our vet expenses.


Blogger's gone crazy! Over the last hour the Feedjit Live Traffic counter, and the SiteMeter have been rolling up numbers like this was the Daily Kos , or FARK, or... or... the Barack Obama for President blog, or something. It's like dozens (or more, it doesn't look like it's let up yet) of people all around the world hit the "Next Blog" radio button that sits onobtrusivly at the very top of the page in the Blogger Nav Bar at the same time, and they all came up, "Hare-Brained Express Tour 2008".

If you're one of those people, leave a comment, and let me know how you really came to be here. And thanks for helping my visitor count!

More Than Bumper Stickers!

Who can keep up with Margaret? Not me! We now have "I'd Rather Be Coursing" apparel at our Cafe Press store . Right now there's just the Galgo EspaƱol. Other breeds to come. Besides, who doesn't like the Galgo?? Not me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"I Don't Know Art.. But I Know What I Like"

..and this isn't it. And actually, I do know art. Mojo Nixon on Sirius Satellite Radio's Outlaw Country loved the story, though.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


It's much better than it sounds!

From the "Low Concept" Department at

It's A Hit!

Early indications are that you like the bumper stickers. In the Netherlands, especially! Love you, Anke! In addition to those, and the US, we've even sold to Australia.
Biggest seller so far is the Galgo Espanol. Did I mention we love you, Anke? :-) Followed by Basenji, and Borzoi. So... where's the Whippet folks? Greyhounds? Longdogs? Salukis?
See them all here. They'll be available on T-Shirts soon, as well, and Margaret will be coming up with new designs, too. Check it often.

Still More Birding Images.

Circus Cyaneus. What a great name for our old friend the Northern Harrier, (formerly Marsh Hawk.) We've gotten lots and lots of images of Harriers in New Mexico because they're probably the most numerous of the birds of prey here. Big birds anyway. They're always around every field we take the dogs to. We kind of caught this one by surprise when we were out east of the Floridas looking at property. I saw her- females are brown, and larger than the mostly blue/grey males- in the distance, moving our way, so I stopped the car and waited. The top image was at the instant she noticed us and veered away.

This image was taken a second later, and really shows the aerodynamics of the body. The Peterson Guide describes Harriers as "slim hawks with slim wings, long tails.... flight low, languid, gliding..." I enjoy watching them, as they're always hunting, watching the ground for voles, which is their main prey. You can always tell the Harrier by the large white rump patch, clearly visible above.

As I mentioned in a previous post, this particular trip to New Mexico has been particularly rich in viewing birds of prey, both large and small. Just from memory:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Golden Eagle
  • Northern Harrier
  • Ferruginous Hawk
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • Zone Tailed Hawk... (maybe; briefly over the car, and I remember it was dark, with a black and white tail)
  • Cooper's Hawk and Sharpshinned Hawk
  • Peregrine Falcon, and
  • Kestrel.

..and probably more, but it's hard, sometimes, to get a positive ID on a bird sitting on a yucca when you're driving by on the interstate at 75mph ;-)

Someday, I'll write about how I got so into amateur birding.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No, They Mean the Pecans.

The MLBPA was getting nervous. (That will require a little bit of thought) ;-)

Subliminal Bleg.

Lotta stuff gotta happen, before this can happen. Jackrabbits everywhere. Buy stuff!
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Good Veterinarians, Good Eats.

Rally, I mean Money Pit, is recovering down in El Paso at Crossroads Animal Clinic. We took her in this afternoon, and met Dr. Jim Koschmann, who's the closest thing we've met to Jim Radcliffe, the wonder vet, back in the East. He explained the procedure he would use to re-attach the achilles tendon to the heel bone. We like being treated like we're not stupid.

Dr. Koschmann called later this evening to tell us that the surgery was complete and Rally was resting, and that she'd "done quite a job in there". There was more damage than just the tendon, but he got it all together and stitched it up, although to hear him describe the procedure it sounded more like he was making a rug on a loom! And she'll have an external fixator holding everything steady for the next 6 - 8 weeks. Robodog.

The best part about the timing of this little errand to El Paso was that we were able to stop in La Mesa, NM and have lunch at a place that had been highly recommended by local friends- HT Val Koeppler- and also by the Sterns, of Road Food fame. Chope's Bar and Cafe is a true "hole-in-the-wall" gem. Chiles rule there, and their rellenos are their specialty. Very lightly breaded, and deepfried, in a combination plate with enchiladas, beans, and the best taco I think I've ever had. Magnifique! And, as always in this part of the country... lots of green chiles. Rumor has it that former Dallas Cowboys head coach, Tom Landry, used to fly to El Paso so he could eat at Chope's. The cheerleaders, too. They swear it's true. It's on my keepers list.

British Invasion

In the last couple of hours we've had blog visitors from England, Scotland, and Ireland. They arrived from a message board on this very cool British website. Not being a member, I don't have access to the message that linked to our blog, but they seemed to spend time looking at the Desert Hare Classic posts and picture.

Interesting website, covering all things "hunting" in the UK.. of particular interest: Lurchers, and Lamping. Return the favor, and check it out.

UPDATE: The Hunting Life website has been added to our link list.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Buteo Regalis

As the last vehicle.. (us).. left the field on Sunday, we were buzzed by this magnificent Ferruginous Hawk. It was as if it were saying, "It's about time you people left... I'm hungry!".
Birding on this trip, especially as regards birds of prey, has been most impressive. Today, for instance, we saw a Peregrine Falcon. Too far away for a picture, unfortunately.
NOTE: Yes, I know I need to clean the filter ;-)
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After the Classic.

Sandia gets rewarded for walking 10 miles in the gallery over two days...

...and grows a goatee. :-)

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Honey... Where's the Piggy Bank?

We're gonna be rich!

Dutch Salmon's Desert Hare Classic Results.

We have a winner. If you don't remember where to get the details, re-read the previous post. Here's a little dig at the folks that went to the so-called Grand Course... Saturday: 11 jackrabbits run; done by 12:30. Sunday: 9 jackrabbits run; done by Noon. And nobody here is going to tell you where we were. Forget it. Nope.
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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dutch Salmon's "Pack Hunt", 2008 Results.

A tie. Details in a future Performance Sighthound Journal.

OK.. a little teaser: The weather was perfect, and everyone got their money's worth.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Doors Are Open. A Crack.

It will be a while before we have a "Grand Opening", but the Shot On Site store is now open at Cafe Press. The storefront needs some work, but the page you all will be interested in is the linked page.

We're starting with a bumper sticker,
an old favorite in fact, but updated. Eventually there will be so much more. Apparel, ceramics, totes, notecards, etc, etc, etc.

All images on the work are by Dan, and all the designs spring from Margaret's fertile imagination.

Currently we have the bumper stickers in Salukis, Longdogs, Galgos, Greyhounds, Borzois, Whippets, Ridgebacks, and Basenjis, with more to come. Each is available in several color schemes as well. We're looking forward to seeing them on a lot of cars in the coming months' trials. Enjoy!! And Pass it on!!!

(The copyright watermark will not be on the product you buy).
UPDATE: We've added the storefront link to the linklist on the sidebar.

Fun House.

While I babysat five dogs and a cat, Margaret was having fun in the Big Apple with her grown kids. They did all the touristy stuff, including attending this very weird off-Broadway show:

Looks like fun, in a kind of disorienting way. Looks like more fun to be in the cast!

Even DeMille Had to Start Somewhere.

OK, Dan gets a little out of control with Windows Movie Maker. Don't do what you do when you go out to the movies and rush out as soon as the movie is over. Sit there while the credits roll!

We may have to invest in a real video camera... this is too much fun.

Get ready... the dogs move out in a hurry, but don't miss Randir's "cameo"! And watch how smart Sandia (pink blanket) runs; doesn't use it all up on the runup, but starts to move up through the pack as the course gets longer. Smart dog. In this case, when the hare came back toward our postition, he had a huge lead and we were able to call the dogs off. We'll do more of this.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coming Soon.

Margaret's getting fairly competent shooting movies with the little Fuji camera. We'll post some live coursing videos as soon as she gets them on a stick so I can load them on this computer. She also shot some ah... interesting... footage at a Broadway show when she was in New York. I think it's worth sharing.

On a commercial note: we're about to launch a storefront at Cafe Press. Margaret's been very busy this week working on some designs that you are going to want. Seriously. Stay tuned, and I'll post a sample and details before the weekend.

Money Pit.

That's the new name for the greyhound formally known as Rally.

After checking with friends in the Las Cruces, El Paso, and Albuquerque area for advice about vets, we decided to just take her to the local (and only) vet in Deming. Since she's shown a propensity for not staying sound for more than 6 months at a time, we were just going to get the most basic (read: cheap) repair, and retire her from running competitions.

Unfortunately, the local guy admitted he had little experience in repairing this type of injury... which by the way, was that the achilles tendon had completely separated from the calcaneaous (heel) bone. He set up a referral for us to a vet in El Paso.... one whose name we already knew from our previous search, and came with a glowing, albeit expensive, reference.

Tuesday, we'll take Ral Money Pit to Crossroads Animal Clinic, where Dr. Koschmann will do his magic, and she will either come out the following day with a splint, or an external fixator. I'll post some before and after pictures at that time. Our wallets will be some $1200-$1500 lighter. Money Pit, indeed! At least this way she may be able to run in next year's Pack Hunt with Sandia!

Oh, that the local guy could have done it... the office call, exam, and referral were a whopping $31.00! And we walked in without an appointment.

Update: So I don't need to tell you, those Google ads around this site are more important than ever. Who wouldn't want to look at the Patriots' cheerleaders in bikinis.. huh? You know you would.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lethal Weapon 4

I just wanted to post one more shot of this jackrabbit, since it was kind enough to give me lots of good close-ups this morning.. Look at those back feet; in fact look at the whole rear assembly. Like an athletic sighthound, that's the "engine" that makes this critter second only to the pronghorn in pure speed in North America. Add to that the agility to turn on a dime at that speed and you've got one formidable prey species.

Yeah... we got skunked again today. What of it?
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Double Suspension

Ease on down, ease on down the ro-oad.

To say I managed to get myself into a good position today, would be an understatement.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Unabashed Self-Promotion.

Tired of coming to these pages every day and seeing the same post you already read yesterday.. or the day before that? Wouldn't you like to know when the content has changed without looking at the website itself? Of course you would.

We've hooked up with Feedburner to give you the tools you need to know when something new is here. Up above, is the headline thingy.. it scrolls through the past 5 blogpost titles. The cool part is, you can grab it and put it on your own blog, your My Space, or Facebook page.. anywhere you can paste a little HTML.. even on your EMail signature. Just click the "Grab this..." line and Feedburner will walk you through the rest.

At the top of the sidebar on the right, is a link to set up EMail alerts whenever there is a change here. Simple.

If you want to subscribe to a reader, or your Yahoo, or Google, or AOL, or whatever homepage or reader you use, you can just click on the "subscribe to a reader" button on the sidebar near the SiteMeter counter. I was shocked to find, when I pasted in the subscriber counter, that this blog has..... ZERO... none, nada, zilch... subscribers. Get off your butts people!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Meanwhile, On the Day Shift.

When it rains, it pours.

Yesterday, we drove out into the countryside to look at 40 acres that a friend has on the market. We took Sandia and Rally. When we parked, we let them out for a "potty break".. Sandia got leashed up, but Rally, who's been doing well of late on healing her partial torn achilles, slipped by. Well, she was staying close, so we figured we'd let her evacuate, and we'd leash her up then.

That was before the jackrabbit. And she was looking good for the first 150 yards or so. She even turned it, and was closing when...

Do I even need to finish the story?

Now we need a good orthopedic vet surgeon in southern New Mexico... and some means to pay them with.

Night Shift.

Whoa! What's this? It's night time.. this jackrabbit, being nocturnal, should be happily munching on vegetation... not running for his life! What could cause this non-standard behavior?

Well here's a clue. Scottish poacher uh, "entrepreneurial game harvester"*, Matthew, has the spotlight, and he knows how to use it!

And after a few trial runs the hounds, including Mona here, learn to follow the light, because that's where the jack is.

The biggest difference between day and night coursing is the course. Races are usually short, especially if the guy on the spot can't keep the hare in the light. From 7:30 to 10:30 last night we probably released the dogs on a dozen jacks.. maybe more, as I lost count. We drove only about 5 miles in that time, which brings up the other big difference: No Walking! (It does get a little tiring putting the car in neutral, hitting the parking brake, grabbing the camera, and jumping out the car over and over and over again.) The above is one of two that were caught.

Photographing this activity is just about impossible, so when I saw that image with Mona and the jack so close, and in the range of the flash, I was ecstatic, no matter that it's out of focus, and a little overexposed.. it's exactly what I was hoping to get on this little project.

By the way, for those who are interested, this activity is perfectly legal as long as no one is carrying a firearm. Dutch, being on the NM Fish and Game Commission made sure of that! And in this particular area, we'd be more likely to be confronted by the Border Patrol than the Game Warden.

*Thanks to Scottish native, Andrew at Regal Vizsla , for the politically correct terminology ;^)

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Beaver Shots.

Another New Mexico "attraction"; big hair never looked so good.

Return With Us Now to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear...

Among the many reasons we love this part of the country.. the jacks, the green chiles, the dust.. we have to include these vestiges of the Wild, Wild West . Would this happen in Ann Arbor? Not on your life. (Watch the video if for no other reason than to check out news anchor, Nicole Brady. Hot!)

Yeah. So There!

...and yer mother wears army boots!

Super Tuesday "Humor"

Just a sidenote... the only part of me that would touch Ann Coulter's ass is the part at the end of my leg. No, the other end!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

And the Winner Is....

Unknown.. at least here in New Mexico. More than 24 hours after the polls closed, there's still no winner in the New Mexico Democratic primary. With only one precinct left to count, Clinton leads by a slim margin of 1092 votes. But.. there are still over 17000 provisional votes to be counted, so it could be weeks before a winner is determined. Kind of mirrors the national race.

Close enough that if we lived here we could have conceivably cast the winning ballots! Our South Dakota primary isn't until June. I originally figured it would all be settled by then. Now I'm sure we'll order up our absentee ballots. We, like you, can make a difference. But who will we make a difference for? Hmmmmmmmmmmm...

...I just don't know...

Weather Pic.

Did I mention the wind? Today, it finally diminished enough to slaughter a jackrabbit and get it into the crockpot... only about 20 mph today. When the above photo was taken, it was gusting over 50. View is facing south. The Florida Mountains are back there... somewhere. The dust is in the air.

When I said yesterday that I would give the dogs a break, I didn't mean it quite literally. Fanny has some kind of foot injury. Much pain, but no bruising, or swelling, or blood. Mysterious. Yesterday Buffy dropped her gracilis muscle- and - smashed a toenail. The sisters are out of commission for the rest of the season... Buffy probably for good. The good news is that the puppy is staying sound, as is Geezer-boy, Randir. Rally is an enigma. We'll test her achilles tendon this weekend up in Mountainair at a NOTRA "practice" race meet. She seems ready.

In other news... my 3 week bachelorhood ends tomorrow, as I go to El Paso to pick up Margaret. And not a moment too soon.
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mountain Blanket

Can't let the day go by without at least one post. This was about 7AM MST today. This solitary-but very large- cloud hung over my favorite little mountain range for hours. That's the Capitol Dome formation on the right. I need to get out and do more of this, and give the dogs a break. Tomorrow looks promising.
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Monday, February 04, 2008