March 31, 2017

The Hounds Don't See Everything

I was really sorry to hear that two online friends, fellow bloggers and hound owners had to make the hardest decision of all for their two daschunds. Hopefully their memories of all the great times they had with their dogs will get them through this period of sadness.

I can't say much was planned for today here for the hounds and I. Another week has flown by and in a way it's really hard to believe we are a day away from the month of April. Since I cannot find the steel 5" long hinge pin for my mower that I lost last November while mowing the yard for the last time of the year, I headed to the local hardware store.

I'd started by filling up a bag of free popcorn from their old style popcorn machine, walked around adding things to a future shopping list on my iPhone as I ate the popcorn. Just to make sure I headed toward their back shop where they repair any kind of lawn equipment. I thought there might be a chance they had the same pin in their stock for different mowers. I hope to mow the complete yard by next Wednesday before the rains show up.

With the weather last night I wasn't sure if a walk this morning was even a possibility. There was a lot of rain last night, still showing some spots of standing water, but after Sadie gave the field an early morning inspection she let me know the field was walkable.

Cold at 50°, windy but with waterproof hiking boots and a jacket on, it was a nice time to walk. With the recent rains, things are really getting green again and growing fast.

Surprise ... surprise ... look who is out near the front of the pack. Stella even ran a little bit today and didn't "mope" through the entire walk.

Anytime Stella veered off course or lagged behind, Sadie made sure that Stella got back on course. Running to get her wasn't needed today ... just that stare and some mental telepathy.

Without a word Stella moved back to Sadie's direction.

The deer scent was so strong today that both bloodhounds not only walked into the heavy bushes, but Sadie was almost ready to go down the embankment after them. She popped back out into the field when I yelled "No" but Stella still needed to check out a few things before she moved.

By their activity, once again I could tell just how much deer traffic there had been this morning. Yet, I was to find out later that deer scent would not be the most exciting thing on this walk.

Sadie was on her fast pace along the edge of the field. I was keeping track of Stella to make sure she stayed to the left and not go right into the gully area.

Very focused on what she is finding.

But Sadie still had time to tell Stella to get her ass in gear.

Then again ... Stella started to move and join Sadie on the walk without me saying a word.

I am sure the added wind this morning also flipped up more scent than normal for them to investigate. Stella was more interested in scent today rather than her normal natural protein supplements.

We had just turned the corner to head back home on the final leg of the walk when I noticed something on the horizon, near the neighbor's wooded area where Stella has so much interest in.

Whatever it was, it was huge and it was moving. It looked just like that unidentifiable object that Stella was chasing a few months ago into the woods.

It's the huge field cat I see sometimes at night when I pull into the driveway. Or it might be a neighbor's cat, I don't know. What ever, that is one big cat.

Would either hound notice?  If so they would be gone in a second. There is an 'escape' something in the wooded area where the cat got away once before.

So far so good. Neither hound had noticed the cat, nor smelled the cat. I quietly urged them to follow me on the path. Saying "come on" as many times as it took for them to walk next to me away from the direction of the cat.

Stella never veered off the path and Sadie walked to my right ... close call. I didn't know if I had enough speed today to be chasing two bloodhounds out of control. At least I know there is a cat in the area and can keep a look out for it on future walks.

Again the concern is always ... chasing an animal that leads the bloodhounds to the highway. You never know what a dog or cat will do when there is a hot pursuit from behind them. So even if they would get some great aerobic exercise chasing the cat in the field, you never know if that is where the cat will stay. With deer you have a pretty good idea they are headed for the woods.

I am feeling pretty good about starting my 'to do' list on Tuesday after college basketball is over the previous night. I could start on Monday but it's "Opening Day" for major league baseball so I will probably be couch bound most of the day watching baseball and then that night for the NCAA championship game in basketball.

There is a lot to get done this spring and summer, much more than last year. Time will tell how much blogging I do during that time. I won't stop blogging but it may not happen on a daily basis.

The hounds are good here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

March 30, 2017

The Storm Fizzled Out !!

If I had received that tornado warning from the local tv weatherman or even one of the major national news channels, I would accuse them of creating false drama to drive up ratings. So I am going to play 'weatherman' now and officially say the storm 'fizzled out' and I have seen better thunderstorms than what has taken place these past two hours.

It started a little after 6pm and it wasn't anything to brag about. I had the screen door open that looks out into the carport from the kitchen. Sadie sat there and watched it while Stella and Heidi were sleeping. It rained hard off and on but nothing major. I kept looking on Intellicast radar and it just didn't look bad a few states over or to the southwest.

The winds were not even strong enough to rattle the storm windows. I sat here watching it while playing Mahjong.

This was about as bad as it got. That's nothing compared to what I have seen in the past.

Even the car cover did not flap in the wind like it would if it was major wind.

I was just a few minutes past 8pm when I caught a glimpse of sun coming through the kitchen window. I grabbed my camera, told the hounds to "stay here" and went outside to grab some shots of the sunset.

Not until I walked to the back to see how much standing water I had did I see a small rainbow above the field we walk through.

So with a sky like this, in my un-professional opinion I am going to declare the tornado warning was overkill and is over 2 hours earlier than planned.

I am sure like other states, there is a saying ... "if you don't like the weather in Indiana just wait a few hours and it will change".

All is good here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

Hounds Have A 'Tornado Watch' Issued

I have to admit it's pretty nice to have the windows back open with the sound of birds singing outside. I wasn't sure how much we would do today since rain was all over the radar.

Once again we woke up before daylight but I was able to convince Sadie that we were still retired and nothing takes place until after daybreak. With Stella snoring away, there wasn't much to discuss. We still got outside early though and the rain was so light you can barely hear it. Sadie and Stella stopped in their tracks to decide what their next move would be.

After a couple of cups of coffee, the reading of all of my sports sites, it was time for our first walk of the day. I was hopeful to get it completed before the rains came. Intellicast radar was showing rain about 6 miles to the west of us. Yet, when we took off there were blue skies and sunshine to the east.

I guess I didn't need the 25' retractable leash after all and could have brought the camera on the morning walk.

Right after lunch we tried again to do something outside. I needed to pick up some sticks in the yard and thought about moving the Z4 out of the way so I could pull my ladder out of the shed and get up on the roof. With rain in the forecast I decided the roof could wait another few days for me.

We have 7 acres behind our yard and neither hound wanted to go any further away than the chair I was sitting in. I found out soon after why ... it started raining again.

Yesterday afternoon, for the first mow of the year, I fired up the lawn mower without any problems and cut just part of the lawn ... the area where the grass was taller than anywhere else. It looks like crap now after the winter and mole damage but it will fill back in and look good after the spring rains. I am thinking about installing some kind of edging between the yard and driveway this spring/summer.

You cannot tell but I did a couple of laps down the edge of the yard and the driveway, then a small triangular section to cut the high grass. Heidi seems to produce some pretty strong fertilizer over the winter.

Speaking of Heidi ... I think her coat and skin look the best it has since September 2014. That next month in 2014 is when her skin issues went ballistic and out of control with loss of hair, all paws and legs were bare and at times sore and raw. She has been on nothing but straight kibble this past year, no meds or supplements.

It has been 32 days since I switched her to SPORTMiX manufactured by Earthborn Holistic Pet Foods. It is strange because the first ingredient is lamb "meal", no lamb. That is followed by brown rice, peas etc ... she has gained her weight back and hasn't looked this good in a long time. All of this improvement has happened in the past month.

Besides her picture, I took these next pictures with my iPhone 6s yesterday. I forget sometimes that it does have a good camera and in some cases, I think it takes a sharper picture than my Nikon D3200 does. These next 3 pictures were posted without any editing. You can see how tall the grass was in that section before I mowed yesterday afternoon.

Stella looked down about the time I pushed the button to take the picture. It's hard to tell but she does have both of her eyes open.

I am still undecided what to do about the weeds growing in the driveway. It seems like they have actually multiplied in number since I was on my hands and knees for four days in August 2015 pulling out weeds one at a time.

I am thinking of spraying a mixture of water and vinegar this year as my weed killer on the driveway and the river rock in back. Anyone have something that works to kill weeds from non chemical homemade brew?

Can you see any difference in the sharpness of the iPhone pictures compared to my edited Nikon D3200 pictures?

After all the hounds and I came back inside due to the rain by 1pm it was sunny and blue skies outside. It was hard to believe we were to get severe thunderstorms with possible tornado activity later tonight. During the light rain I played around a little on the blog and changed the page fonts, the post title fonts to PT Sans.

Since we could not tell if it was going to rain or not because the weather 'up there' was moving at a fast pace and different directions ... we decided to take our 2nd walk of the day.

This first picture is taken toward the SW.

I could tell that Stella was going to lag behind and I was going to let her do whatever she wanted. I had the 6' leash for her in my back pocket just in case it started to pour rain and we needed to get back to the house fast.

This was taken toward the north. The camera doesn't pick up the fast movement of the clouds going in a left to right direction.

Shocked to see Stella was headed our way. What concerns me a little is last year she would have been running full speed to catch up and the past few months she hardly runs at all.

It was only 3 minutes after that first sky picture that I aimed the camera in the same southwest direction to see sunshine and blue skies ... 3 minutes!!

Sadie was oblivious to strong winds from the southwest, indicated by the blowing hay. It takes a strong wind to blow her tail from the upright position she normally carries it. All she knew was she was on 'her' walk and that is all that mattered.

Stella stayed fairly close and didn't veer off too many times.

7 minutes later I pointed the camera once again toward the southwest. The wind was now strong enough I had a hard time keeping the camera steady.

Stella walked slowly all the way back to the house. She was sound to sleep minutes after going back inside the house after the walk. That seems to be the norm for both bloodhounds.

We were not finished with the walk yet, but this was the sky in the west, 11 minutes after the first sky picture in this post was taken.

At 3:07 pm they issued a Tornado "Watch" until 10pm tonight. The new stats show there is a 50% chance for two of them and 20% chance of 1 strong one. All through central Indiana, but my county is colored in to be included. Possible lime size hail with wind gusts up to 70mph.

A month ago or so, it was a 5% chance one night and we had two funnel clouds touch down 70 miles away. Never lost satellite internet connection that night and was able to track live radar to tell if the hounds and I needed to head for the center of the house since we do not have a basement.

So in preparation the iPad and iPhone are being charged to 100%. I've never had damage with these warnings but have had some close calls. It's always best to have a plan and be prepared just in case.

I imagine the old storm windows will be rattling and making a little noise tonight while all three hounds sleep in their normal spots in the living room. Sadie will be in her large leather chair while Stella and Heidi will share the couch. A seat for me is always optional.

The windows are open today here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana .. it smells like Spring.