Canis Nivicolous – Snow Dogs

Light on Snow

On Sunday we went up to the top of the ridge behind our house to check out the new fields. Lili, above, and Kavi, below, came up with us to explore the area we’ll soon be fencing. Katya stayed home and a good thing too as her puppy legs would have been far too short to deal with the deep snows even with the four of us adults breaking trail up the mountain.

Dark on Snow

Dark on light, Kavi watching Lili. He is vader, flux to her lumina. When they holds still on the snow they vanish. She is a variation of ice and snow. He is the rock in the field or the stirred up leaves, umber and earth shadows dappled between the trees.

Here at the top of the ridge the winds blow so fiercely that they had packed and blown off much of the snow. Lili and Kavi with their broad spread paws walk on the snow. I sink, sometimes up to my hips. Holly wisely wore pants.

Wolves on Snow

These are wolf trees, huge sugar maples that were between the pastures perhaps a century ago when this mountain top was fields for sheep. When the farms were abandoned during the last century the forest grew up around the line trees changing the tree’s shapes, forcing them to reach for the sky as the new trees crowded them. When we cut the forest back to the old stone walls again we left some of the big old wolf trees. They’re not in the best of health, since they’re so old, but they are very interesting. I read stories in their twists and lightning damage. One of them has a long hollow that goes up the trunk where I can look up at the sky like a telescope. Another one was almost four feet in diameter – enormous for a maple.

In the distance beyond the wolves and left of the moon you can see the White Mountains in New Hampshire which I wrote about yesterday.

Outdoors: 30°F/12°F Cloudy, Light Snow
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/59°F

PS. If you can’t send me $150,000 for building the butcher shop then consider sending me an Apple iPad… My fingers are drooling. It’s going to be a while though… A long while… :) Ah, well…

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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19 Responses to Canis Nivicolous – Snow Dogs

  1. Anonymous says:

    Walter I notice that your title is a synonymous palindrome. You do like to play with language. I enjoy it!

  2. Aimee says:

    very pretty dogs, especially the light one!

  3. Mary Ricksen says:

    Beautiful animals. I have a black German shepherd. So I love the look of your dogs.

  4. Have you thought of a book of poems? Your writing is wonderful, thank you for sharing it with us!

  5. Nance says:

    On the Des Moines AM 1040 radio "Sportmen's Notebook" on Sundays at noon, I had heard tell of coyotes and wolfs mating. Do you think possible?

  6. Gail in Montana says:

    Beautiful photos of your pretty dogs and the surrounding scenery. I, too, enjoy your use of the english language. Very creative and keeps us coming back for more ;-)!!! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  7. I've heard that wolves and dogs can mate which creates wolf dogs. Dogs and coyotes to create coydogs and recently there was in article in the newspaper about wolves and coyotes mating too.

    The reality is they are all one species, just different breeds. The classification used to be that wolves were one species, coyotes another, dogs another, etc. In the mid-1990's the recognized that they're all one species. DNA testing has proven this out. Interestingly, some domestic dogs are far closer to wolves than to other "domestic dogs" and some "dogs" are far further apart. The reality is they can basically all breed together.

    One interesting thing is apparently the wolves are teaching the coyotes their hunting tricks. This shows that 1) it's not genetic but rather is learned and 2) can be passed on socially.

    Our Canis Novicolous do guarding and herding of our livestock, watch over the farm, alert us to the arrival of visitors and other events, ride shotgun and are great fun to be around. They train very easily making it an enjoyable piece of the day.

  8. Michelle says:

    There was an article in a recent hunting magazine we receive that showed by using DNA that our Eastern Coyotes are actually part wolf as compared to the Western Coyote. Also it changed their hunting style to less of an opportunist and more of a planned attack. Furthermore their jaws are larger and stronger. I found it very interesting.

    Your use of a dog that isn't a traditional guard breed is also quite unique. He certainly does look wolfish!

  9. Michelle,

    Coy was our first about 20 years ago. He is Kavi's great grandfather. Kavi's of the tri-coloration, like Kita, Kia, Katya, Katrina who all look much like him. Outsiders tend to see them all as being one dog since they look so much alike. Very different than their kin in the white (Lili, Tikia, Hagrid, Rose, etc) and orange series (Coy, Cinnamon, Napoleon, etc). Occasionally we have a black and white one. You can see more photos of our many dogs with this search pattern.



  10. Anonymous says:

    As soon as I get my generous bailout from our generous president I will be sending you your iPad. Enjoy it! I calculate that the president owes me at least one billion dollars since the big industry execs each got bonuses totally a billion dollars each. The president has promised to take care of us middle classers so I should get at least a million dollars. What do you think!?

    Love the dogs! I cant wait to move out of the city.

    Edward S.

  11. Nance says:

    and why are the big old Maples called wolf trees? are wolf trees and line trees the same? Did those trees mark the line between the pastures? In Missouri and Iowa, the old pastures that aren't pastured anymore grow up to scrub and hardwoods and Cedar trees. To find the fence line, you look for the biggest, 4 ft diameter trees. You'll find one every little bit and often can see the line where the tree grew around the barb wire.

  12. Pet Clothing Company says:

    this is so interesting! by the way, visit this page DELETED and you will find everything about clothes and accesories for your pet! (cats, dogs) see you there!:)

    [How funny. Our dogs much prefer running around au natural and I find the idea of doggy or kitty cloths amusing. Perhaps if one had a southern coated dog in a northern climate but even then people need to realize is that dogs have very high metabolisms and generate a lot of heat. This comment is obviously spam and I've deleted the link to the spammer's web site. I get a few of these a week, mostly out of India. -WJ]

  13. Mellifera says:

    Wolf trees = big spreading trees as opposed to ones that go straight up- basically, they grew up with plenty of space in an open field, instead of a forest.

    Whereas I think line trees refers to ones that are on borders between fields? So a line tree could be a wolf tree too if it grew up with plenty of space, but they're different terms.

  14. Exactly.

    Line trees form lines along the borders of fields. Think of them as fence posts or borders between neighbors or simply between fields. The line trees form the pretty picturesque field edges that are associated with agriculture. Often one will find signs of barbed wire in them. We have picked up hundreds of yards of barbed wire along the stone walls and clipping it off the trees. Nasty stuff.

    Wolf trees are trees that had grown up out where they could spread and then the forest grew up around them. So instead of having long narrow stems up to a high crown they have a large spread down low and much more massive trunks than the other trees in the forest. Part of this is because they grew up during a time when there was more light and less crowding, part is because they are simply a lot older than the surrounding trees.

    When a farm is abandoned the fields eventually return to forest. This is part of the natural cycle just as beavers make fields that eventually return to forest. The greatest bio-diversity is along these margins. The trees that were along the fence lines, the line trees, are far older than the new trees growing up in the field and in fact may well be the parents, the seed trees that generate the new forest. Over time many of those line trees die leaving just the eldest.

    Walking through the woods a hundred years later one stumbles upon a huge tree, a wolf, that dwarfs all the trees around it. By then the rest of the forest may have caught up to the wolf tree in height but not in breath. Many times the forest floor is clear around the wolf due to its dense crown. Looking carefully one might find stone walls that link it to other wolf trees or perhaps it was a lone wolf out in a paddock.

    Here's one dictionary definition I just googled. Somewhat similar to the term as I learned it.

  15. Nance says:

    I didn't know to call them Wolf Trees or Line Trees but several years ago I learned to love to find them. Now, Walter, at Sugar Mtn Farm, I discover I am a "Line Tree Hugger"! lol

    Thanks to you and your readers for the information!

  16. Lynn Stewart says:

    Excellent pictures, but I would have never guessed that Kavi is a dog. Before I read your post, I really thought it was a "friendly wolf" posing in front of your camera. Is she a Siberian Husky?


  17. They're a mix. A smidge of Shepherd, a smidge of Black Lab, a lot of other. The original sire showed up at our house and insisted he was staying, despite our objections. He won. His mate was given to us and then the next mate and next down the line. Many of them look like Kavi – the tri-color mix. Some look like Lili – the white with a touch of gold. Some are full gold. A few black. All have the same body form, fur and are excellent guardians, herders and highly intelligent making them wonderful arm dogs. I love working with them. See this and this for more about them.

  18. Farmerbob1 says:

    Found another minor typo when wandering around. “for of us adults”

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