Elk Calving on Oregon Coast

I was just reading the article below that says the elk are calving a little late this year:  Protective mother elk menaces Gearhart beachgoers

I wonder what causes that?  A long, warmer-than-usual autumn?  Not sure but I’m glad the little ones started showing up.  You can see the difference in size of these calves as the larger one was probably born 3 or 4 weeks earlier than the others.

elk-calves-2

I just think they are adorable with their fluffy coat and white spots.  They outgrow their spots in late fall.  They even have the light brown rump but it is not as pronounced as the adult’s.

elk calf
Fluffy elk calf with spots

The cows leave the main herd before giving birth.  Mom’s leave their calves in the tall grass to rest while she feeds.  If you see a calf with no adult elk around, fight the urge to “save” it.  Do NOT approach it.  The calf is just fine.  You would put the calf in danger.  Mom WILL be back.  See how well they can hide in the tall grass in the photo below.

Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass
Elk Calf Hiding in Tall Grass

We often see the bull hanging around the cows and calves. Even the yearlings seem concerned or curious when the little ones are crying for mom. The bulls don’t get competitive with the younger bulls until late fall.

We counted 6 calves on this day; July 1, 2017.

elk-calf-injured-1

After I got these photos on the computer I noticed a bright red smudge on the cheek of the calf on the left.  Making sure it wasn’t a photo-glitch, I checked another photo of the calf and it was there too.  I’m guessing it was injured when trying to get through a barbwire fence.  Elk cost ranchers a lot of money by damaging their fences.  But the fence won the battle today.  😦

 

Otters Boiling the Alsea River

The river otters are fun to watch. There is such a flurry of activity in the water even before you know what’s making all the ripples.  I like them to come up on land so I can keep track of them while I count noses.

7-otter family
7-Otter Family

They almost never sit still for a photo.

Voracious Wildlife

I don’t mind sharing our fruit trees and berry bushes with the wildlife. I just wish they weren’t so voracious!    I thought it was birds until I saw the Marionberry leftovers on the rock.  So I camped out and caught the little thief red-handed AND red-lipped.

chipmunk eats marionberry
Chipmunk Eats Marionberry

They pick the berries before they are all the way ripe!  Even if we had a greenhouse I bet they’d find their way in.  We hadn’t had any problems with them eating our blueberries until this year.

These chipmunks are a little less cute with berry juice on their lips!

Hay Fever or Elk Fever?

I’m not sure what I have but something is making me sneeze!

These are adult elk lying in tall grass – or hay – I confess that I don’t know the difference.  Anyway, there could be calves with them but you’d never see them.

Elk cows lying in a hay field with only head showing
Looks like the elk are in bloom!

The elk don’t seem to mind the birds collecting insects off their back.  I have hundreds of photos of elk in this area and I’ve never seen birds on their backs.  I wonder if there are more insects than normal this summer?

birds eat insects on elk back
Hitching a ride or meal?

Looks like this little guy is also blossoming. He was born last summer so his antlers are just now starting to grow.  By the end of the summer he’ll have a good set of spikes.

brand new antlers on bull elk
brand new antlers on bull elk

Of course his daddy is fully grown and lookin’ good!

Elk in velvet
Elk in velvet

Becoming Comfortable with Beauty

Last week’s SS lesson talked about gaining knowledge. The teacher asked “why do you think it is important to ‘read out of the best books’ ?” He pointed out that the scriptures are The best books and we should read from them daily.  But there are others that we should also read.  So, here are my thoughts:

I think our brain is like the rest of our body: Garbage in, garbage out. If we eat harmful things, it will starve our organs of necessary nutrients to function properly. Some substances (like harmful drugs) can actually target certain organs and cause damage quickly. Likewise, we can take harmful things into our mind that will slowly starve it (lack of learning) or even damage it quickly (pornography, hate-speech).

Mom with her Osborne Computer
Mom with her Osborne Computer, 1980-ish

I’ve always liked the analogy that we are each like a puzzle piece that fits into our family puzzle; immediate and extended. We are shaped by those around us and by the choices we make. As we grow older, we have more control over our “shape” as we make more of our own choices. And I’m not just talking about our body shape. 🙂 Our “shape” is who we are comfortable spending time with and the places we are comfortable in. And by “comfortable” I guess I mean “easy.” Routine is comfortable.

When I first moved away from my parents home I remember how good it felt to go back home for a few days. That’s where my shape fit best. The whole environment felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me. I remember years later, after I’d been married for a few years, we weren’t able to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. I not only missed the time talking to them, I even missed falling asleep on the couch after dinner with the sound of the football game on the TV. I’ve never been one to turn on a football game but I did on that Thanksgiving Day.

I know many smokers who want to quit smoking. It seems like the routine of smoking may be harder to quit than the physical addiction to nicotine. My husband was successful when he replaced his smoking routine with a painting routine. He painted a mural at his workplace instead of going on smoke breaks. He broke the pattern of where he walked and how he used his hands during breaks. The mural only took so long, though, so his desire to quit kept him motivated to find other ways to create new patterns and routines.

We don’t have to like the routine we are in for it to be comfortable. Change is hard. It may be the biggest reason an abused person doesn’t leave the abuser. They’ve gotten into a routine. It is comfortable in the sense that they know what to expect; not that they like it but they don’t know anything else. Maybe they don’t think they deserve anything better or they don’t think they are capable of anything better. When we change our shape, some of our closest relationships won’t be as comfortable. Those people either choose to change their shape or leave.

Yes, change is hard but it is so worth it! In the past, I was trapped in a shape I wanted to change. I could see that the men I was attracted to were toxic. I was successful in my career though. And I had good relationships with my family and friends (as far as I know-lol). It was just this one type of relationship that I had trouble with. I had to change my shape. I changed the way I thought about myself. I had to practice seeing the beauty in others as well as in myself. But that also meant I needed to learn to recognize what was harmful to me. I am now blessed with a kind, loving and supportive husband. I’m not done yet. Life is not over. I’m still working on my shape.

lake-house-nighttime
The pathway home

Change is hard. But we CAN change our shape! God created us in HIS image! (Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” also: Moses 2:27, Abraham 4:27, Ether 3:15, Alma 22:12, D&C 20:18)

I think one reason to “read from the best books” (D&C 88:118) is so we can fill our mind with beauty; so we are comfortable hearing beautiful speech. When we look at beautiful scenery and artwork we grow comfortable being in beautiful places. Aren’t we trying to shape our puzzle piece to fit into God’s family puzzle?  Don’t we want to be comfortable in the beauty of Heaven?

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Spring to Summer

It’s amazing how fast the temps change on the Oregon Coast; even in the Spring.  I believe it depends on which way the wind blows.  (Maybe that’s obvious to a meteorologist.  hahaha)

swallow nest
swallow nest

We had a long, wet spring and it seems like the wildlife cycle is a little late.  That’s not a scientific fact; just a feeling.

very ripe salmonberry
very ripe Salmonberry

The wild berries also seem a little late.  I love the Salmonberries when they are a little over-ripe like this one.  And I think they are the prettiest when red rather than the earlier school bus orange.  I’ve found that the Salmonberries that get more sun aren’t as sweet; no matter how ripe they are.  So look for a bush that is mostly shaded during the day.

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