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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Just A Dog

7:54 AM 4 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of spending two marvelous days at the Retrievers Unlimited, HRC 25th Anniversary Hunt Test.

An  HRC (Hunting Retriever Club) Hunt Test, "Conceived by Hunters, For Hunters" is truly all about the dogs, all about the friendships that form on the test circuit. It's about the triumphs, the tribulations, the fun and the feeling of family.

Not once will you ever hear anyone say...."It's just a dog"

I found this delightful piece at The Sensible Dog

Just a Dog

From time to time people tell me, "Lighten up. It's just a dog."
or "That's a lot of money for just a dog."

They don't understand the distance traveled, time spent or costs involved for "Just a dog".

Some of my proudest moments have come about with "Just a dog".
Many hours have passed with my only company being "Just a dog"
and not once have I felt slighted.

Some of my saddest moments were brought about by "just a dog".
In those days of darkness ,
the gentle touch of "Just a dog" provided comfort
and purpose to overcome the day.

 If you, too, think it's "Just a dog", you will probably understand phrases like
"Just a friend" or "just a sunrise" or "Just a promise".

"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust,
and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.

Because of "Just a dog" I will rise early,
take long walks, and look longingly to the future.

For me and folks like me, it's not "Just a dog".
It's an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

"Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday people can understand it's not "Just a dog."
It's the thing that gives me humanity and keep me from being
"Just a man " or "Just a woman".

So the next time you hear the phrase "Just a dog",
Smile because they "Just don't understand"..

Author unknown. Dog Quote complements of Pooches on the

Friday, April 5, 2013

Burn Baby, Burn! The View Inside a Prescribed Burn

10:29 AM 0 Comments
Spring in the prairies, grasslands, and fields is a time of not only flowers, but the fires that make those flowers and new prairie grasses grow and thrive. Controlled burns are used for a number of conservation reason, prairie health, removal  of invasive species, improvement of habitat.

Controlled or prescribed burning, is a technique sometimes used in forest management, agriculture, prairie restoration. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fires are also used as a tool in the forestry industry.

According to Wikipedia:
 Controlled burns have a long history in wildland management. Pre-agricultural societies used fire to regulate both plant and animal life. Fire history studies have documented periodic wildland fires ignited by indigenous peoples in North America and Australia. Fires, both naturally caused and prescribed, were once part of natural landscapes in many areas. Studies have shown that between the mid Holocene and the 19th century AD, wildland fires annually burned between 4.5% and 12% of present-day California's total land, for example. These practices ended in the early 20th century when US fire policies were enacted with the goals of suppressing all fires. Since 1995, the US Forest Service has slowly incorporated burning practices into its forest management policies.

I was able to join one of the crews conducting a controlled burn this week. It is truly awe inspiring to watch the flames rage, grow, and leave behind a stage set for better habitat, more prairie grass, and fewer invasive intruders.

Please note that the images were shot using a long focal length lens (considered super telephoto)  and all IL DNR safety regulations were followed. Playing with fire, especially fast moving grass and field fires is not an activity to be taken lightly without the appropriate  safety equipment and knowledge of how these types of fires work.
Illinois DNR offers a good guide to the precautions that must be taken HERE

Feel the heat, smell the smoke, and know when it all clears....the circle of life continues.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birds, Birds, Birds!

8:33 AM 0 Comments

Spring is springing! Birds are singing! Birds are also migrating through southern Illinois, and the local resident birds are beginning their courtship displays. I confess - I've barely been able to stay in the house during daylight hours. There's just too many wonderful spring like things occurring outdoors right now.

Here are few of the winged wonders that I have encountered  the last few days. Yes, spring is springing.. birds are singing and...... LIFE. IS. GOOD.

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