Signs of Spring

Our favorite tree is covered in buds - leaves will be opening soon.

Kari asked last week why this is our favorite tree.  Well, it sits in the middle of an open field in a very Norman Rockwell style, with long range views of the mountains in one direction, Cataloochee Ranch in another direction and Cataloochee Ski in yet another direction.  So, from any vantage point in the field, the views are just gorgeous.  Plus the tree is so old, so tall, so full – it is just a work of art as only nature can do.  And, in the summer, we can all spread out in its shade because it casts such a huge shadow.  For all of those reasons, it is our favorite tree.

Back to the signs of spring . . .

The long range view from our tree looking east - a beautiful clear spring day before the haze of summer hits.

Cataloochee Ski is scheduled to close next Sunday, April 11.

Though with a 23"-96" (58 - 244 cm) base, conditions are still good as this snow boarder shows.

At the thousand acre Cataloochee Ranch, the horses have been released to the summer fields.

Which makes Natasha happy, who loves seeing her "Big Dog" friends.

Though traffic rules on the ranch are always clear - horses and cows have the right of way.

Spring also brings the start of wildfire season. Though this one is well away from Chez Herd (we saw it hiking), the Forest Service is reporting 23 active fires in our area and we have a week of dry weather predicted.

Note – the last fire to get on to any of our land was the Pinnacle Ridge Fire in 2008. You can read about it here.

The surest sign of spring is all around us at Chez Herd - molting Siberian - as demonstrated by Rusty.

Go ahead and confess. Who is trying to reach through the screen and pluck some fur?


  1. Sam on April 9, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Oooo, break out the shedding blade. We don’t have too much of an issue with Sam, but some of our horses could compete with your pup there!


  2. Corgi Country Crew on April 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    That IS a beautiful tree, and shade is a wonderful thing in the summer! We love you views and wonder about all the wonderful things you could sniff out under those trees! Grammy’s going to be seeing enough fluff for herds of tribbles and dust bunnies from us this year, too! The Country Corgi Crew

  3. Twinkie on April 6, 2010 at 1:37 am

    I see now why it’s your favorite tree. I also see what you mean about fur and Spring

  4. Siku Marie, the White Dog on April 6, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Will trade long floofy Eskie hair for some of yours! Your favorite tree is beautiful and so regal as only nature can be! Horses, the Big Dogs, make me nervous. One stuck his head through a fence once and tongue swiped me so I was all gooey wet on my head!

  5. Lorenza on April 5, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    If my mom would do that plucking thing to me… I’d be bald!
    Your fav tree is pawesome!
    Kisses and hugs

  6. Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart on April 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    See … around here we’d never ask why it was your favorite tree because having a favorite anything in nature is oh-so normal in our world.

  7. norwood on April 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Forget the plucking… I blew air into Natasha’s gumdrop nose and made a bubble! Oh yes…

    PS I ‘d love that tree buds or no buds… it’s fabby

  8. AC on April 5, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    I’m quite amazed at how many of your readers have a plucking addiction…

    Love seeing pictures of the land around you. Wow, so many fires already? We have a long fire season out here in southern California, but haven’t heard of any local burns this year. Were those all started by lightning?

  9. Life With Dogs on April 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I’m sure there is an artist out there who would love to paint that tree. It’s the perfect setting.
    Is it just me, or does it seem wrong to see folks skiing? After an 80 degree weekend there is not a trace of snow to be found here.

    I admit it, I’m a major plucker…

  10. Kari on April 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for the explanation! I would love to pluck that fur. Was always something I weirdly enjoyed, the plucking of the east tufts of fur

  11. Sagira on April 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Yeah for husky fur everywhere! :0

  12. The Army of Four on April 5, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    MY MOM WAS!!!!!! She keeps singing this song called “When it’s Sibe-Pluckin’ Time in Kansas” and I’m REALLY sure she made it up, but every time she starts singing it, I run to hide under the dining room table! Rusty – if you see my mom, you might want to do the same!
    Your area is so beautiful! Except those fires are scary! We hope everyone in its path got out safely!

  13. Sam on April 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoy grooming animals that blow coat, so yes, I would like nothing more than to pluck out some hair. It reminds me of when I used to work with horses – I really didn’t mind shedding season – I felt a sense of achievement come May and June when the horses looked sleek.

  14. Mack and Mia on April 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRE! Be safe, we wubbing you all and wouldn’t want woo to get hurt.

    Molting…huh…sheesh you are putting me to shame Rusty! I better try to catch up!

    Wags and Woofs,
    Mack and Mia

  15. Ricky on April 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Wow – you live in such a beautiful part of the country! We are extremely jealous! (but not jealous about the molting stuff! LOL!)

  16. Sychoberians on April 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    If my Dad and everyone at the Dog Park don’t stop pluckiing me they are going to be in big trouble. This has been going on for three weeks now and I am tired of it.

    Great pictures of your area and of Rusty molting.


  17. Khyra on April 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Ah yes: favourite trees! I know it well!

    I love some VIN’s snow nose!

    We hope woo will stay safe this year from the fires –

    PeeEssWoo: I knew The WD Woman would be plukhking through the monitor!

  18. GonetotheSnowDogs on April 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Shiloh and Shelby are starting thier molt too!

    Sure signs of spring!!!

    Woo Woooo
    Shiloh, Shelby, and their Mom

  19. The OP Pack on April 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Mom has quite the pile of fluff on the floor here as she definitely was plucking. So far we are not pluckable but the fur is starting to fly around the hardwood here, so it won’t be long.

    We love that tree too, it has such a lovely shape and we always know when we see that our favorite herd is not far away.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  20. Anna the GSD on April 5, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Spring is in the air! And birdies love our shedded fuzz to make warm comfy nests. Keep away from those fires though! That’s can’t be good…

  21. Houndstooth on April 5, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I hope the fires stay under control. We’re having the opposite problem here, the tornado season kicked off last night.

    You know, I’m thinking you could start quite a fundraiser by selling tufts of Rusty fur. He’s got a lot of fans out in blogdom! I used to have Australian Shepards, so I know my fingers were itching to pull on those tufts!

  22. Dennis the Vizsla on April 5, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Wow, your fires are off to an early start! Ours don’t usually get going here until fall, but when they go, they GO.

  23. Pi on April 5, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I confess! I would looooooooooove to groom your dogs everyday! Yes all 6 of them! I am really addicted to plucking dogs!

  24. Mimi & Cabana on April 5, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I’ve never heard of plucking in relation to dogs before! There’s my new fact for the day. Oh my, I can see why you’d pluck, though.

  25. KB on April 5, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I have a favorite tree that’s a lot like yours. A huge (100 yr old?) pine in the midst of a meadow. Since it’s a pine, it doesn’t get buds… but I still love it. It also has a huge lean as a 100 yrs of winds out of the west have shaped it.

    It’s fun to put shedded fur out where the birds can find it (assuming that you haven’t put anti-tick or flea chemicals on the dogs yet). We put our dogs’ fur out every year. When we open the nest boxes in the spring, we see labrador fur making the nests softer. It was especially poignant this year when we saw our deceased S’s fur in a bunch of nests (from his last brushings a year ago).

  26. jack a-roo & moo too on April 5, 2010 at 9:49 am

    No wonder its your favorite tree! It’s our favorite tree in Maggie Valley now, too. : ) Woo-oh the plucking!!! I think mom actually started to salivate looking at Rusty’s perfectly pluckable plush… how does your human resist? we NEVER go with that much loose fluff! (Lucky woo, Rusty)

    jack a-roo & moo too

  27. Stella on April 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

    No, no plucking here. Sometimes the dog gets a little testy about it and curls his/her lip at you. No thanks, not us.

    Jo and Stella

  28. Kira The BeaWoootiful on April 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Wooos! Wow, woo still have a little snow, I saw it! I told Mom,hands off the Rusty. I hate being plucked!
    Happy Monday!
    ~husky kisses~
    -Kira The BeaWootiful

  29. Rocco on April 5, 2010 at 7:21 am

    My human and her relations have plucking addictions. I seek revenge by hopping on the couch and shaking so all the fur chunks land on them.

  30. Teddy Bear on April 5, 2010 at 5:15 am

    That is a beautiful tree. I bet you all would love to go play on that snowy mountain. Plucking season has started here too. Hair is everywhere!!!

    Teddy Bear

  31. Mochi on April 5, 2010 at 4:46 am

    My mom has a serious plucking addiction! It’s the most annoying thing ever!


  32. Wild Dingo on April 5, 2010 at 3:19 am

    How DARE you show those pix of husky molting?? EVIL. I’m addicted to plucking. husky-plucking to be precise. unfortunately, my husky does not enjoy being plucked and she’s done until July (her 2nd season)…

    Please, please please do a video with someone plucking your husky so i can live vicariously…. 😉

  33. Mr Koda MD on April 5, 2010 at 3:11 am

    The big dogs do look like fun to play with, while you get positive about spring time, I dread the oncoming cold of winter!


  34. Holly and Khady on April 5, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Plucking season is always the worst! The humans are always trying to steal our lovely fur chunks that we like to leave around the house. Stupid Dyson steals them away!

Leave a Comment

Read Another Story

← Back One Story ◊ OR ◊ Forward One Story →

Hu-Dad's Novels

His books pay for our food!