February 28, 2017

Live Writer Update and Storm Preparation

It must be the weather, I feel like writing blogs today and this is my 2nd post of the day.

My quest to find out all the information I could about Live Writer was short and to the point. I had forgot from my previous research that it is a Microsoft PC based program, not for Apple Macs.

I did look at alternatives to Live Writer for Macs, plus something called Open Live Writer, but even at the end in the FAQ section they admitted their program was not fully coded for use on any Mac products.

I ran into a blogger that had just moved to a Mac computer from a PC after "living on Live Writer" ... he listed an app that would work for Mac's but it was internet based and when I tried loading my blog into the program, ScribeFire did not play well with Blogger and wouldn't load the blog for it to work.

He suggested what I always thought was the best solution for writing, editing and formatting blog posts offline ... Word. I have the Mac version of Microsoft Office for all the Excel spreadsheets I use, so Word is available. I have used that before, then you copy and paste into Blogger when you return online ... but it has problems with pictures.

I took this next picture not because of the trees or skies but for the first time in all the years I lived here (19+) I had not noticed the tall Sycamore tree with the bright white bark. Maybe I have and forgot but today that white tree trunk really stood out.

As I was reading about all the 16 different alternatives for Live Writer for Mac users, my thoughts turned to a new Wordpress Blog. It must be the weather, where I am stuck inside and have only a couple of choices of activity. I am always in the mood in bad weather to start a new blog and I love Wordpress templates to work with. I should have never deleted the blog I had there this year named Living with Hounds or Life with Hounds. Once you delete a blog on Wordpress dot com, you never get it back.

Looking at the weather site Intellicast, a huge storm moved south of us. The rain had stopped but I could still hear how wet it was from cars passing on the highway. The small forecast section said I was headed for damaging winds, large hail, and a possible tornado tonight. With those high winds coming from the south I am always concerned about the last 100' tall Sycamore tree that stands by the driveway.

The last 100' Sycamore tree that was pulled out of the ground like a weed in 2008, fell through the fence and was tall enough to reach the other side of the front yard. I looked at another weather site called Wunderground and saw that the next rain would be around 7pm with 44% chance of rain ... that's when I am tuning into the IU basketball game so there is a chance my Directv signal will be knocked out depending how strong the storm is.

Yet at Midnight throughout the rest of the morning into Wednesday, the 98% chance of rain and storms looks to be the time period for high damaging winds. I'd rather see them in daylight rather than after midnight.

As you see from the pictures, Sadie and Stella went outside to check the condition of the field. It looks dry but with the paws prints going across the carport floor I could see it would be too wet and muddy if we were to take a walk. While they did that I put the car cover back on the Z4, connected the bungee cord under it to each side of the cover to prevent it from blowing off tonight. I also put my chair inside so there is nothing that can blow around causing damage tonight ... just in case.

I'm sure Stella will do a little pacing tonight when the storms do start. In the past she has been pretty good and once she realizes that things are going to be okay for her, she has laid down and slept through most of the storms we have had.

I was surprised that Sadie did not give me the look or stare down telling me she wanted to go for a walk. Instead she trotted back to the house without any begging to stay outside.

It's close to lunch time for the hounds and I think I will spend the afternoon reading my two books from the library and may even look at Wordpress again and rebuild the blog I had before. It got very little traffic and I mean very little ... but I liked it because I kept the content to just two to three sentences and then 5-10 photos.

The quality of the photos were better compared to Blogger because Google will compress them once they are loaded into the blog. There were a few days it was nice just to post pictures and that was all. I thought it would work for many readers here because I think most come here to see pictures of the hounds instead of reading my rambling.

That did not prove to be the correct assumption.

Last week I was mentioning how great this weather was for February but I read my posts in February 2016 and the weather was almost identical on the same dates of the month.

Well Stella is standing beside my office chair with her head bowed to let me know she is hungry and she can't remember her last meal of 4 hours ago. Sadie is in the doorway giving me the stare that she wants to eat. I'll have to go wake Heidi up but once she knows food is involved she will be instant energy.

I hope that I DO NOT have any "post storm" pictures to post here tomorrow.

A Seattle weather day here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

The Storm Came Early

With the current weather early this morning and the slim chance of the daily hound walks today, I decided to post early and include the photos from yesterday afternoon's walk ... Sadie was the featured hound.

I am not sure what time it was but it was still dark when the roar of thunder and a lightning bolt bright enough to light up the bedroom woke me up. It was almost immediately I felt a bloodhound muzzle trying to lift my hand up from the side of the bed.

It was Stella standing by the side of the bed wanting to let me know it's storming and to remind me that she is not a fan of thunderstorms. I was told when I picked her up that she hated thunderstorms but compared to my first basset hound, Harry, she is not bad at all. She whines a little and paces a little during these storms but isn't what I would call frantic.

All of us got back to sleep as the thunder continued to roll but I didn't hear rain hitting the storm windows so maybe that took place earlier while we were sleeping. Wunderground shows there is a pretty good chance of rain continuing from now until Wednesday at 10am.

Sadie was wondering this morning if there was still a chance to take walk in light rain even before the first cup of coffee was poured. No, there wasn't.

With Stella not interested in getting any further away from the driveway than this ... plus the light drizzle ... the morning walk has been canceled at this time. When there is standing water in the low spots next to the house, that means the field is too wet to be hiking through.

So with that in mind, I'll post some pictures from yesterday afternoon. It wasn't planned but Sadie turned out to be the featured hound of the walk All hounds were given free reign to go and do anything they wanted during this walk.

Heidi chose not to go on the walk and only took her back way out to the front yard long enough to relieve herself and then back inside for her afternoon siesta.

Stella stopped within 20' of starting the walk and didn't move, so I knew what her plan was and I wasn't going to stick around to watch.

It was Sadie and I enjoying the walk and the warm weather. There wasn't any wind, a lot of birds chirping among themselves and clear blue skies. It was perfect weather for a mid-day walk.

The way Sadie reacts every time we start to walk, I really think we could walk an unlimited amount of times per day and she would never care. In some cases Stella has a limit, where by the 3rd walk on some days she has zero interest and will take one slow step at a time to get through it.

This picture gives you some idea what Stella's plan was for the afternoon walk. You can barely see her just right of center.

Sadie on the other hand was intense in her exploration. She was in her own world enjoying every scent she could pick up. Her strong tracking instincts show up every walk, in all kinds of weather.

She started rolling in something before I could catch her. The only baths that I give her are outside with the hose in one hand and her tethered so she will not sprint away. I've tried before but there is no chance of her getting into the bathtub to get clean.

Luckily whatever she rolled in just smelled good to her and didn't leave any kind of residue on her back and shoulders ... too cold for an outdoor shower and not enough time to give her a bath.

While I was talking Sadie into getting away from that spot, Stella sprinted up behind us to checkout what all the excitement was about. By that time Sadie had walked away from the 'real good' spot to keep it hidden from Stella.

Once again Stella stayed behind while Sadie and I continued on.

I am not sure what the reason is or what she is thinking but on a lot of the afternoon walks, Stella will follow the path walking extremely slow, after she catches up to me, without the leash. She will do this up to the back edge of the field and then go into her search mode at a faster pace. Of course you will notice I needed her to keep up with us on the last half of the walk yesterday and I attached the leash as a motivating tool.

Sadie explored every inch of the field to the left of the return path home. Stella walked right behind me, out of picture range for the return trip home. I shut off the camera and enjoyed the weather the rest of the way.

It was a great afternoon with the temperatures just right.

Al over at The Bayfield Bunch has been having problems with a program called Live Writer that he uses to create his blog posts. He finally got the problem solved and is back to using it and as you can see is as happy as a kid in a candy store.

This has increased my curiosity enough about this Live Writer stuff that I am going to pour another cup of coffee while it is bad weather outside, then tear into Google Search and see what I can find out about this program. I am sure they will have a Mac version I can download to my iMac so I can play around with it.

I want to see what I am missing. About all I know about it right now, is that I could write a complete blog post with pictures, offline and someway it will post that to Blogger when I would turn on the internet. That sounds good for someone that is traveling full-time. I remember on our trip to Utah and Colorado in June 2015 I did not have an internet signal a lot of the time to where I could post on a blog.

This Live Writer also works with Google Photos. I only know that from reading Al's blog post this morning where he described how he fixed his latest problem. I use Google Photos daily as I upload every picture I take for the day into Google Photos to use as one of many picture library backups.

I took the two books I wasn't interested in reading back to the library yesterday and then picked up two more and started reading them when I got home, late into the night. So it must have been the subject matter I wasn't interested in and not the lack of interest in reading.

IF the weather clears up later today, long enough to take new pictures I might post again. Otherwise this post is it for the day while it rains outside.

It might be raining but at least it's warm on the last day in February in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

February 27, 2017

Stella's Monday Morning Walk

What a big difference it is to start the day off 25° warmer than yesterday morning. With the feel of freezing gone I didn't mind the overcast skies.

The hounds didn't stay out long on their first trip of the day, there was  a very light rain and they were more interested in having their breakfast kibble.

My daily coffee went fast, internet reading went fast, so the first walk of the day was about an hour earlier than normal. The hounds didn't mind. Both went on the walk this morning like always but after I had downloaded the pictures from the walk the majority of them were of Stella, so she got the headline today in the title.

I was somewhat undecided what the parameters would be for Stella this morning. I wanted her to have free range but I also didn't want her hanging way behind and then slowly venturing over to the woods behind the neighbors house.

She didn't take long to show me she was on her own schedule this morning and the words "come on Stella" were going to be the theme of this morning. Sadie and I continued to on with occasional glances back to check on Stella's location.

I wanted to test my auto focus setting on this next picture. I wanted  the bare tree limb to be in the background of the focused green bushes. I finally did something right.

At this point of the walk I knew I wasn't going to backtrack to hook her up on the leash. Sadie and I were too far away so I yelled 'come on Stella' and was shocked at her response ... she trotted our direction.

For readers that are unfamiliar with the bloodhound breed, the word 'obedience' is not part of their vocabulary. The words 'stubborn' and 'scents' are part of their DNA. Still it's nice to have them respond somewhat positive when I give a command ... otherwise I'd spend all of my time outside in all kinds of weather while they explored for hours and hours.

The word 'scent' became a factor on her trot toward Sadie and I. She needed to stop and check out something. I've been reading a couple of different books in hopes of gaining more knowledge on what is happening in that rock hard place between their ears ... known as their brain.

The word identifying or identification is the main reason for their intense sniffing and even eating strange material they find. In some cases they do it because they like it but most of the time it is just the process of identifying what animal has been in this field prior to their arrival.

No leash was involved this morning at any time. That word was never spoken to get her to respond because she continued to walk toward us whenever I called her.

Rarely is that a direct, route with her. Sadie is entirely different and basically needs no adult supervision. LOL

These next three pictures will give you a very good example of my command "come on Stella" and her responses. The pictures show exactly what takes place 99% of the time when given that command.

Yell #1

#2 - "come on Stella"

#3 - "come on Stella"

After that I gave up, turned around and headed along the back of the field while Sadie explored along the fence line. With my back turned, Stella had sprinted to the far right corner of the field.

For some strange reason she started heading our direction without being called. Her slow walk brought out her personality, which is funny and pure bloodhound.

There is no trotting in this sequence ... just one slow step at a time, you would think she was walking in slow motion. Out of all the hounds I have had since 1987, I've never had a basset hound nor a bloodhound walk as slow as she can.

I would pay any amount of money to know her thoughts when she has that frown on her face as she is walking.

After Sadie ran over to her, tapped noses together and then immediately turned to head back to the edge of the field, Stella followed her. She responds to Sadie better than she does to me.

Of course there is always one spot on almost every walk where both of them want the same thing. They share well and never fight over what they find.

Another walk is in the books, no winds blowing cold air today and I can see possibly three walks by the end of the day. With cold weather over the weekend it was the perfect time to do laundry and some house cleaning ... so the week is wide open for activity.

In the Apple Photo program you can edit your pictures after you download them from your camera, phone or ipad. Most of the time just one click on each picture named 'enhancement' will adjust the picture without anything else needed. Today though I clicked two other adjustments instead of the one labeled enhancement.

Can you tell the difference in any of them?

Slowly but surely they both head back to the house with a little coaxing by me. For new readers of the blog, yes I can leave them outside to let them roam the field on their own but this past summer, they kept moving the boundary out further ... too where they were too far away and in one case almost disaster.

Living 80' - 100' from a major highway, in a passing zone, I have to be careful on just how much freedom I give them when I leave them outside. They never go to the front yard unless I am there or if Heidi is in the front soaking up some sunshine.

When I looked at my blog traffic stats this morning it was funny to see that the word 'Idiot' in my blog title the other day tripled the number of visitors. I have a feeling that the stories I posted did not match up with their expectations ... as 62% of them were off my blog in 5 seconds or less.

It just wasn't that blog post for the rate of escape, that 62% is the overall average for all blog traffic. Then 29% of visits have this site turned on their computers or tables for over an hour.

I remember last year I tried writing one blog per hound, in their view, from a suggestion of a reader. That brought my total blog count up to 7 counting the two private blogs I write on regularly. It was fun writing in their point of view but way too time consuming so I deleted them and then let their domain names expire this year.

Again you will notice more blogs added to the left sidebar. Some of them might be interesting to you. A few blogs I use to list were deleted months ago when they became more political and controversial. I try to stay away from that here. This blog is more about the daily life of the hounds anyway and the pictures I take.

I mentioned last summer that I would like to take some pictures of my local small town showing the damaging effect of high unemployment, a new interstate nearby taking away traffic from downtown ... but at the same time keep my location private. It's hard to do and I am not sure how I am going to work that out, but I still like the idea of a little history.

After Heidi's walk in the field last week, she showed some irritation. Could it have been the field grass? The reason I am asking that question is, after months and months of not licking her paws down to bare skin ... the morning after her walk through the field, both of her front paws were bare skin ... she had licked them that much.

I almost forgot, on the right sidebar under 'Labels" I added 51 more topics. Those links are rarely clicked but useful. I basically added that many to even out the left and right sidebars since I went back to listing 4 posts on one page instead of just one post per page.

I think near the bottom of each post I am going to start listing an off topic thought, whatever is on my mind. I'm hesitant in doing that because it might show just how crazy I really am ... LOL

No ... I didn't watch the Oscars last night.

What will happen this week in the 'tropics' of southern Indiana?