September 30, 2015

Absolutely Nothing

Stella Wanting To Ride
I'll admit right off the bat ... I don't feel guilty ... when the majority of my days in retirement find me doing absolutely nothing. The only thing I accomplished today was cleaning my Bunn coffee maker. I read the websites I normally read in the morning, looked up some stuff I had questions about online ... then turned off the internet to play about 3 hours of Mahjong Deluxe.

That program has 4 different groups of games and each group has approximately 40 games. My goal from the time I bought it was to play and complete all of them under 4 minutes. I have only a few left where it took me a little over 4 minutes to complete the game. I justify it joking that it keeps my eye and hand coordination in shape.

Then in the afternoons the hounds hang out usually sleeping after they are fed around 1:30pm. It's so quite you could hear a pin drop inside my house ... with two bloodhounds and two basset hounds ... it's hard for a few friends to imagine that is even possible.

By late afternoon if it is not raining nor muddy from a recent rain ... we head off into the field for a daily dog walk. Today Stella walked the first half of the trip off leash. I only leashed her coming back because in the past she would go out the full 25' away from me on the retractable leash numerous times.

She has done very well spending time off the leash. In fact it's been weeks since I even tethered her. She will come when called and today stopped immediately when I yelled "no" as she and Sadie were sprinting in the backyard and were headed around the north side of the house. No doubt they would have made a lap around the house but backyard only is the rule. Except for Heidi and she has kinda claimed the front yard as hers.

Back to my day though. Compared to days last April when I was burning and clearing some land to plant grass and clearing the bank along the drive ... it would seem I would be pretty bored doing nothing. Even compared to the days in June to mid-July where I was taking care of most of my "to do" list, I was really busy. Still I am not bored and every day seems to move fast. I've never had a retirement day that crawled like they did at work sometimes.

In fact after retiring 17 months ago I've gone from being a workaholic to a slacker. I'm beginning to think I was born to be a slacker. I like that pace. On many days the most I get done is reading a book and there are a few days where the biggest activity is feeding the hounds.

No, I don't feel guilty about doing absolutely nothing on a daily basis.

As far as feeding the hounds ... no problems with the 4th hound. Each have their own bowl put in the same spot of the room every day and the bowls are set down in the same order ... a habit I guess.

Since Heidi eats at a normal speed, I have to stand in front of her while she eats to keep the other three hounds of getting her food. They don't hesitate if there is any chance to get to her bowl, even with me watching them. It must be good food for them to want to eat nonstop.

I will keep adding her new probiotics for the next year. Based on the recommended dose, that is how long it will last. I will say she continues to have her good and bad days. About the time her skin is looking really good and you think she has turned the corner ... I'll look at her later in the day and she will have a flare up of red skin with some bare raw spots.

She Hates Flies Bothering Her

Today Is A Bad Skin Day

It's during these times I remember my vet telling me last February that 97% of dog allergies are NOT food related. He also feels that all the different kinds of dog foods are nothing more than a marketing ploy to make the most profit possible for the dog food companies. He does not sell any kind of dog food in his office and is pretty honest in voicing his opinions on the different dog food.

Don't think he is recommending Ol' Roy for dog food but food that has no corn, soy or wheat. He thinks the only hounds that should be on a no grain food are those with food related allergies.

I logged it into her spreadsheet but when they were picking corn the other day I had all the windows open in the house to enjoy the temperatures that were in the low 70's. My cars and house were NOT coated with the residue that was in the air but you would have to think there were enough particles in the air based on how it looked as the combine mowed through the corn field.

I think airborne particles like that affect Heidi's current allergy problems. It's not the only cause but one of them. Much like pollen in the air.

I attempted to cut one of Sadie's toenails last night as she slept in the chair. I was quiet, I moved slowly and about the time she felt that clipper touch that toenail she went vertical from her horizontal sleeping position. I guess you can tell I only got one of her toenails cut ... it looks like it might take 9 more days/or nights to get all ten cut ... unless she starts sleeping with one eye open. I must admit by her looks, she is somewhat leery now of taking a nap.

If I just toss the nail clippers onto the floor for her to see them ... she takes off sprinting.

About the time I think fall is arriving early because the lows are now getting into the 40's and the highs the next week or so will be in the high 60's. ... I realize it's already October 1st tomorrow. That is so hard to believe for me because it just seems like I was in the middle of the summer and 90° days.

Stella loves running in the field.

It will be fun tonight after midnight. I'll probably need some coffee, but I plan on downloading and installing Apple's new Operating System "El Capitan" on my iMac and MacBook Air. I get free unlimited data between midnight and 5am so it's the best time to install new updates.

I will also install any updates on my apps for my iPhone and iPad Mini.

Well as you can see there isn't much going on here in "the tropics" ... just beautiful weather.

September 29, 2015

I Guess I Needed A Blog Break

I'm not sure why but it was not only me that experienced some low energy the past few days but also the hounds. Sadie and Stella didn't play. Heidi felt good but didn't attend any of the daily walks and Winston ... well he is just Winston and he never changes from day to day. In fact he was probably wondering what was wrong with the rest of us.

Usually with a full moon the energy levels are high around here ... but not the past few days. Even Stella was not waking up at 6 or 6:30am to go outside ... it was Winston but that is normal for him. A few times she would not even go out into the yard, just turned around and headed for the house then back to sleep. All of us were not getting up and active until 9:30 and sometimes not until 10:30am.

Of course Sadie rarely relaxes when she is outside. It's not in her DNA. A different breeder of bloodhounds that I got to know after she bought Sadie's father, told me she gives a test to her puppies at 45 days old and can tell which ones are "couch potatoes" and which ones are "trackers". She asked me 5 questions over the phone and 4 of the 5 were positive answers, showing Sadie was a tracker, not a couch potato.

That is interesting because at the time I had picked a different puppy from the litter. It was only when I took Winston out to see the puppies that I changed my mind about which puppy to take. Sadie was the only puppy out of her eight litter mates, that followed Winston around the yard wanting to play with him. Tia told me a year later during our phone call it was a sure sign that Sadie had strong tracking instincts. She also said if it was her litter, I would have been given a different puppy. Strange how things work out sometimes.

It was great weather until this morning. It was a great weekend of football games, both college and the NFL ... with some great games to watch. At the same time there was a little excitement in the area outside the norm.

A little past my post on Friday I heard some loud semi-truck action out on the highway from my computer room in back of the house. Traffic was backed up both directions so I knew something was going on, hopefully not a wreck of some kind. I could see something huge through the trees. I grabbed my camera and headed out to see what was going on.

There is construction going on just south of my house where they are rebuilding a bridge, so there is only one lane available.

There are plenty of warning with signs posted in advance in both directions but it's amazing the number of cars and trucks that still pass my house at 65+mph heading toward the construction stop light just a few hundred feet further. The local small town police are making a bundle of money this month catching people speeding above the 45mph limit inside the construction zone. You've seen the signs, with warnings of double the fine and possible jail time. The guilty cars usually pull over just past my house where there is room off the highway. I wonder how much those tickets are costing speeding drivers?

That "one lane" is where the problem was and what was causing all of the late Friday afternoon excitement. Luckily the transporter had the typical pickup trucks with the flashing yellow lights way out in front of them ... so they found out in advance the load of the transporter was not going to fit on a one lane bridge. Their last chance to turn around was just a couple of hundred feet past my house or they would have to spend time backing up on the highway.

So where does this large monstrosity turn around? Someway somehow, they turned left onto a small country road, then backed across the highway into the dirt road I took photos from and walked down last spring when I took photos of an old iron bridge. I was amazed the truck and trailer were able to fit on that dirt road just past a small portion of asphalt.

After a lot of slow maneuvering they got the truck turned around and headed back north in the direction of my house. I knew it would be hard to do from my location to get a clear shot but I was able to get a couple of photos of the large load. I am not sure where they were headed because there isn't a body of water around here to handle a small yacht. Their detour was going to be a lot of additional miles out of their way to get back to their original travel plan.

Saturday came and went ... along with Sunday ... with no words coming to mind to blog about, nor a lot of hound activity to take photos to post on the blog. They never stayed outside long, sniffed the yard, and headed back for the house. We did go on the daily walk but they spent most of their time sleeping inside. Monday they didn't do much more than this on a beautiful sunny day.



With the rain today ... their activities haven't changed much.

I've had computer service with the slow speeds I spoke of last week when I had reached my monthly data limit of 15Gb on my home computer. When that had happened in the past I never saw my speeds go as low as they were. So I started checking all of the connections, unplugging them and then plugging them back in, just in case it would help ... what I found on the coax cable that comes from the satellite dish to the modem was almost indescribable ... I still don' t have an answer for it.

The coax cable was barely screwed on the modem connector. I mean barely when I say that. So the question of the day is ... how? How does a coax cable that is originally screwed on with many turns and ends with a 1/4 turn with a adjustable wrench, become so loose that the cable was barely on the connector?

After I screwed the coax cable back on the connector finger tight and then turned it a 1/4 turn with my small adjustable wrench, my internet speed went from .5Mb to 5.35Mb for the rest of the day. I am almost sure I did the same process with the adjustable wrench when it was hooked up in June 2014 because I do that will all the coax connections.

My new billing period started yesterday so I am back to full speed ahead that is normally around 15Mbps ... even as it rains today.

I was motivated yesterday around my short morning internet time, a lot of time playing Mahjong Deluxe (addicted) on my computer, to back away from the computer and get some house cleaning done. The laundry was taken care of on Sunday. Some final touch ups will happen today and I'll be caught up in that department for a while.

Yesterday afternoon while at my laptop on the kitchen table where I have the best view out a very large window ... the farmer was bringing in his equipment to pick corn in his small field. That was a sign that rain must be on the way, I had not checked the weather forecast the past few days. His other field that was full of the yellow weeds I took photos of last spring was washed out by May and June flooding, so he had lost most of his soybean field. It was interesting to watch them get corn out of this small field, one that is not really level.

By the time they finished they had loaded four semi trailers full of small kernels of corn. I don't know how much that much corn is worth but it must be worth it to plant year after year. Of course that small field is just one of his many fields scattered in the area. Just four miles west of here, the fields are flat and are quite large compared to the ones that run along this highway.

I am going to included some photos of the hounds, taken Friday afternoon after I had posted my last blog post. Like I said then, I'm not finding a lot to write about recently. Add in the fact of the hounds low energy levels and it's hard to come up with writing material sometimes.

It's a day of dark skies and continuous light rain in "the tropics" ... a nice change of pace in the weather.

Notice The Spider Caught In A Web

The Reason I Added Those 6 Tiles A Few Years Ago
Yes, I am still thinking about traveling. I've been looking through my past blog posts of January and February of past years, about single digit temperatures ... I'm not sure I want to stay in that again this winter. I also noticed looking through the different posts of past years I have a lot of the same thoughts during the same time of different years. I also made the mistake of going back through my financial spreadsheets covering 8 years and seeing how money I had pissed away ... something that no longer happens. It was fun though, but was a startling figure.

All is good though being retired ... possibly the best decision I've ever made.

September 25, 2015

Heidi Continues To Improve

The weather in "the tropics" of southern Indiana is simply amazing right now. Everyday is sunny, highs in the low 80's with a nice breeze and lows in the 50's. The hounds love this weather as much as I do. Heidi in particular. I hope I am correct in thinking that the more she wants to go outside shows she is improving.

I think it's been too soon to expect any kind of skin improvement after a week of half doses of Probiotics, when they said it would take almost five weeks to see any changes. Still some customers have seen skin changes after a week. Is she one of those customers?

As you can see there is no redness, swelling or raw spots. Her front paws are almost full of hair finally. Her stomach is normal skin color and tone. Her skin yesterday and today looks better than it has been in some time ... many months actually.

Since I live near a high speed highway, just down the hill, the hounds have never been allowed to roam in the front yard. 99% of the time they follow that. Heidi rarely goes further than just inside the flowerbeds. Yesterday was different.

While the other three hounds were enjoying the sun after their daily meal that is usually between 1-1:30pm, I couldn't find Heidi. She wasn't in back, wasn't at the door wanting to go back inside the house nor was she sitting or walking near the Mini Cooper S. As I turned the corner to go to the front yard I see this:

She has been there before in the past even though she has heard me tell her 'no' before when I have seen her walk that direction. That just seems to be her spot outside. She has never gone down by the highway but at times will walk around the north end of the house.

Are You Going To Make Me Move?

Of course after about an hour of not seeing Heidi, Winston decided to see where she was. The concern among the other hounds is that Heidi is getting her additional kibble when they are not around. Now, Winston also knows he is not suppose to be in the front yard but this week he has declared it "Ignore Him Week" ... so he proceeded to walk to Heidi, check to make sure she was ok and then walked past her to explore new smells in the front yard.

Winston has been down to the highway ... at 10 weeks old ... stopping traffic as he was laying in the sunshine on the hot pavement in the middle of the road. Luckily highway drivers showed enough concern to stop and try to rescue him. Lesson learned.

Sadie and Stella have made it their daily ritual this week to start playing just a few steps outside the door. That usually happens during their 2nd trip outside, after Sadie comes to tell me she wants to go outside. Those play periods don't last long before they return inside to fall asleep soon after.

Of  course before Sadie went back inside she had to have a breakfast of dirt. She picked up that habit from Winston. I am not sure what the attraction is.

Later in the afternoon for a short break it was another chance to enjoy this cool sunshine.

Sadie Is Always To Busy To Lay Down

It's really hard to blog right now because I am not doing anything ... literally zip, nada ... just hanging out enjoying the weather. It's going so slow that I might start raking leaves as they drop to the ground instead of waiting for all of them to fall, then deal with extremely large piles of leaves. There is always hope that high winds will blow them out of the yard, but that rarely happens.

That's about it for today in "the tropics".