December 25, 2016

It's A Quiet Day For The Hounds

I guess this post this morning might be borderline rambling, nothing religious, nothing political ... I just feel like writing.

I know, it's Christmas Day and some may be asking "why are you blogging" on a morning like today, while others may be looking for something to read or pictures to look at over a cup of coffee sitting in front of their computer. They might not have much more planned than me.

There may be a few blog readers out there that are like me. Some call us loners, some call us crazy but millions of us just like privacy and live that way. Having pets is probably good in that situation. I know my hounds over the years have been great companions. They will listen to all kinds of conversations between me and them or just me, some rants ... yet they never voice an opinion.

They can get you through some of the worst and best times while teaching you many lessons if you are observant and open minded.

For some reason the hounds and I were up way too early this morning. We were up turning lights on, without any hesitation. It's the same routine for the 359th time this year. It never makes a difference whether it's daylight or dark, the hounds can go from a deep sleep to total excitement just over the thought of breakfast bowl of kibble.

To prevent any possible chance of them taking off in the dark while dumping their tanks after their breakfast, we always wait for daylight on the days we get up early. I will be explaining the consequences of not preventing that chance, later in this post.

So as we move outside with a camera under my arm and a cup of coffee in hand, Stella seems to be into her daily scratch every day and Sadie has found new ground to explore since I cut back some brush in late fall.

This is the normal daily routine for them.

Today though we changed the routine just a little. Since we had to wait for daylight before letting them outside to dump their tanks, what better time than to take the first walk of the day ... 40°, a dark foggy morning. With recent rain plus the higher temperatures melting the frozen rock hard ground ... the waterproof hiking books I broke out of my closet last fall were the perfect shoes to wear as the water rose above ground level with each step I took.

Also a little different than usual, the hounds were more into smelling instead of eating, if you know what I mean. They will always have their noses to the ground but it's better in my eyes when they are sniffing areas trying to identify something rather than finding unknown things to eat.

There must have been an increase in night time animal traffic because they were both stopping in places they usually don't. It looked as if there were just too many scents to collect all in one walk.

I also decided for today's pictures I would try to zoom in on them as much as possible, making each or both of them fill the view finder. Just a change in pictures I guess. I like seeing Sadie is showing a little rib on the sides. I like to try to keep the bloodhounds as lean as possible. It's better on their joints as they get older and less work for their hearts.

Stella had 'free reign' today and that is saying something after the story I will tell later in this post from our yesterday afternoon walk.

When I bought Sadie as a puppy, I was buying more of a 'red' than a 'tan' bloodhound. The hound she was replacing, Bertha, was more red but sometimes you never know until the pups get older which color they will be.

Sadie's dad, Clyde, was a big obnoxious loud bloodhound ... tan. I get that description from the times I went out to visit the litter of pups before deciding to take Sadie. Her mom was a laidback 'black & tan'. Later the breeder told me she was getting feedback from owners that the female puppies had the personality of Clyde, while the males were laidback like their mom.

I had to agree ... Sadie at the time in 2008 was the most obnoxious, destructive puppy I had ever owned. I'd have to leave her in the largest kennel they made for indoors while I was at work and she even bent those heavy black rods with her jaws ... trying to get out. I am not sure how she did it, except for jumping inside the kennel to move it by the time I got back home from work. Since it was just a few inches taller than her I am not sure how she could jump but someway she would scoot that kennel almost 12" at times.

Yet, she has turned into a great indoor dog and it has been at least 5 years since she destroyed anything of mine inside. I can't remember the exact year that I let her 'out of jail' while I was gone, but she, Winston and Heidi would spend time in the shut bedroom while I was at work ... with no problems.

Stella on the other hand is a great indoor hound, except when she has occasional bouts with separation anxiety. She will go months without doing anything and then about the time you think she has adjusted to living here she will do something while I am gone. I could be gone just 10 minutes or 4 hours, I never know what I will come home to ... at least she is barricaded in one room and does not have access to all of the house. That doesn't even work when I am outside mowing the yard for 45 minutes.

Wow, this conversation went way off track. I think this hound talk just started because I was noticing today how predominate the bottom half of her tail is 'black & tan' ... thus the reason her original owner named her 'Dipstick'.

You can see that distinct color change on her tail.

This picture did not turn out as well is the live shot looked. The camera caught what I thought I was taking about a second later. They were both intense while moving with their new found scents.

Today I decided I'd follow them up to the corner and hang out with them. They didn't want to leave but that NE wind was feeling colder and total opposite direction from the normal wind direction. I had to tell them "lets go".

And all of these pictures are them sniffing an area while eating nothing ... quite a change.

Those two paths that look like they might be from a RTV are nothing more than the paths of worn grass by deer traffic.

Stella followed Sadie the whole walk today. It was almost like she wanted to make sure that Sadie wasn't getting something she wasn't.

It's hard to tell from this next picture with the cold wind hitting me in the face how it's ever going to increase 20° to reach the predicted high of 61°.

Yesterday afternoon without the camera, our afternoon walk turned into something never done before. I've been doing this same path, give or take a few inches either way, since 1997 and never did we do what we did yesterday.

Like the day before both hounds had their noses to the ground right on the path we take in almost a full run. Once they got to the back edge of the field they lifted their head and took off on a full sprint, into their 'no fly zone' and I had not even made it to the back of the field yet.

I found out pretty quick why for some reason I didn't bring the camera but instead a 6' standard dog leash. I didn't start calling them by name, nor did I start running after them. I did not see any deer that would make them take off sprinting like that ... but I was pretty sure I'd find them once I crested the small hill, along the tree line on the north side of the field.

They would always be along that wooded area to the north, in the past ... but not yesterday. In fact along the full length of the field that runs perpendicular from the back of the field directly to the neighbors backyard ...

Neither hound was anywhere ... out of sight ... no barking ... no baying ... gone!! It was like the "no fly zone" had turned into the Bermuda Triangle.

I thought I knew where they were, at least I was hoping they had only gone that far because if they were not in the field past the wooded fence line we were screwed. Before I even got to that tree line I saw Stella through the trees in the lot next to the field ... but that lot was fenced in.

The only way they could have gotten into that area was either jump the fence or had entered it at the far end of the field and than ran half of the distance from the back field to the a different neighbors house at least 1/4 of a mile away from our house.

So now both Sadie and Stella see me and start to run toward me ... but confusion erupts as they cannot figure out what to do about the square wired fence that was standing 3' tall. Remember, this breed is not problem solvers ... they got in with no problem but had no idea how to get out. The looks on their faces showed they were stymied on what to do.

I walked along the fence line a little further east and finally found a place where the fence had been mashed down to about 3"-4" above the ground. Even then, neither hound would step across that fence ... but figured it out as I led them by Sadie's excess skin on her neck and Stella's collar.

They trotted along side me toward home acting very proud of their newest excursion. I hope that does not become a habit for them during the times they take off that far away. It may not, since neither has ran toward the neighbors house that they visited just two days ago when they were chasing the strange dog. They have not even looked that direction in recent walks.

I made good progress yesterday in my 'spring cleaning' four months early. I still have the bedroom and bathroom to go but I knocked out the biggest rooms first. I have rearranged some things and now feel like I have more room in my "tiny home" of 958 sq feet of living space. That in itself was quite an adjustment from over 1,600 sq feet just a few years prior to moving here.

I have lived in wooded areas in Washington, the mountains outside of Breckenridge CO and even on the beach in southern California but I have never lived in a place that collects as much dust as this house.

I also attached the indoor bike trainer to my Romic road bike so I can ride indoor this winter. It's not that fun but I don't mind it and it will be good to get back into some exercise with plans of riding my bike more this upcoming spring and summer. It took Sadie only one time to figure out that a spinning bike wheel inside is not something to check out with your nose ... puppy curiosity taught her that lesson.

I was told to expect a delivery sometime Saturday from 3 friends I've known since my college days. All of us live in different states in the USA, from Georgia to California and in between.

As I told my friend that made the order that was shipped, "I guess it's good I changed my diet about a month ago from Vegan back to a lean Paleo" because my surprise Christmas gift was 18 pieces of different meats and chicken from Omaha Steaks in Nebraska.

That also included some deserts, some stuffed baked potatoes and each box has packed my freezer. So I am set for a while and more than likely will be placing an order with them in the future.

Why the diet change after 3 months? It's strange in a way but grains give me indigestion, certain beans give me indigestion. Without beans, lentils the sources of protein on a Vegan diet are few and far between. When comparing this strict diet to what I was doing the 1-1/2 years prior, I didn't feel as good.

I am not looking for that energetic feeling 24/7 but I got tired of that 'blah' feeling. Going from low carbs to having them as a large percentage of your meals made me sleepy most of the time in addition to the indigestion.

Maybe the book written about different diets based on your blood type is more accurate than some people think. All I know is the list of foods it told me would give me problems, did just that when eating them.

So how does one spend Christmas if not celebrating with family or friends? About the same way every day in retirement is spent. Doing what you want when you want. Since I am taking a day off from house cleaning, I am thinking it might be a good day to start the monumental task of scanning old pictures into digital copies ... then I can start telling stories and posting pictures of some of my hounds I've had in the past.

It is twofold but a reason for blogging ... refreshing your memory. While looking back at those pictures I posted from Whidbey Island in my last post, I couldn't remember if that was Arthur or Barney. How sad is that? I guess that shows just how many different hounds I've had since 1987, ranging from 2-4 hounds at one time.

Yet I have probably has more cars/trucks in the past 16 years than I have had hounds in the past 29 years. LOL

I don't have that many pictures, but I do have a LOT of 35mm slides to go through that I'd like to transfer to a digital copy. I dod have enough pictures to scan that it will take some time though.

Also on a day like this I like to read books. I always read a couple of different book concurrently. So, really things are good here on Christmas Day here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

I've looked back on my 3 blogs (2 private) and checked what was taking place this same time in prior years. About the only differences I found were the changes in weather, not what I did or thought. Once again the blog serves it's purpose as a record journal and is great for reference.

For those readers that are in between family meals or visits today ... enjoy your time with them and enjoy the food. Have fun!!

Stella is wanting her lunch an 1:15 minutes early right now ... yet she is a great time keeper because that is about how much earlier she had her breakfast compared to her normal time.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year from 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

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