June 10, 2017

The Hounds Prepare For The Heat

I know I said in yesterday's post I'd be back again in the afternoon or last night ... sorry that I didn't make it. The day turned out to be very uneventful, not much to blog about, with another hound walk with Stella on a leash and a long phone call with an old friend. So by the time we got everything finished it was a little past 8pm as we headed out for a short trip (mosquitoes) in a cool shaded backyard.

While Stella headed for her favorite spot for eating the tall green grass, Sadie headed the opposite direction. You can see the wild ragweed has overtaken my burn pile. It doesn't matter since it will burn just as easy this fall as the tree limbs will. The bare tree shows just how high my fire gets sometimes. That's part of it when you love building huge fires.

Stella was almost positive she heard me say something about 'food'.

After Sadie sprinted the full length of the yard over to this little walkway I have mowed this summer, I was sure she was headed into the woods yet I did not see anything that she was chasing. About the time I thought she would turn left into the woods, she made an immediate right ... strange.

The back part of the field has new corn growing by the hour it seems but it will take months before it catches she flood survived corn in the front.

Some have asked me what those brown spots are on the side of Sadie's front legs ... for years she licks that same spot in each side of her front legs. She only does that nowhere else except on her dog bed.

With Cincinnati playing in Los Angeles last night I knew I was going to have to take a siesta if I had any chance to watch the game on tv, which started at 10:10pm local time. I watched it until I was tired enough to go to bed. My 'new toy' that I bought on Wednesday night told me I had 8 hours and 13 minutes of sleep last night and most of it was "light". I'll get more into that story later or in between the photos of today's morning walk.

As I just took the first photo of the day which is the field across the highway from my steps just outside the door, Sadie was wondering how much more time I was going to waste before we took our first walk of the day. It was about an hour later than we have this week. To say she was anxious to get started would be an overstatement. She has become obsessed with these 2-3 walks per day.

Another attempt at showing how wet the field is in the shade and taking the photo of the same plant that I failed with yesterday. It wasn't bad though and at least it was warm this morning.

Stella once again was going to get total freedom on her walk. I expected her to expand her area back to her old boundaries and she didn't disappoint as you will see where we found her as we returned home. She had a trot to her step again this morning and looks like she is continuing to gain weight ... both good things.

These flowers that are scattered all over the field will be here only 2-3 weeks more before they cut the field and bale it into those 2,000 pound rolls. It's a 'Catch 22' situation where it's nice to walk on a cut field where you can see the hounds during the walk but at the same time all of the color will be gone.

When Tom made a comment a few days ago about his Garmin Vivo3 I went back to look at their activity monitors/watches again. I had been thinking of getting an Apple Watch for the past few weeks but it has all the features that my iPhone and computer has and I don't use hardly any of those features on my iPhone but do on my desktop computer. Therefore I would have a lot of things on my wrist that I would not use. I wanted an activity monitor for heart rate 24/7, bicycling and my daily hound walks. Without all of the Apple features I'd save $260.

The sales rep I talked to weeks ago suggested a Garmin watch based on what I told him I wanted the activity monitor to do .. over the Apple Watch.

So I bought their newest release ... Garmin VivoSmart3. So far I am thrilled with the data it is collecting and how easy it synch's with their app that matches up on my iPhone and even my iMac. A capture of my sleep activity that first night is what led to me calling my friend yesterday where our short phone call turned into a marathon ... we never have short calls. That sleep information was almost too spooky not to tell someone.

With Stella hanging back this morning on her own plan, Sadie and I moved on and she got a lot of running in before it gets to hot this afternoon.

What was so amazing on the Garmin, it captured my sleep with 'deep', light' and even recorded when I got up at 4am for a short trip for some water, then recorded my total amount of sleep right down to the minute. Don't ask me how, but it shows in detail just how much of your sleep is deep and when you actually fall asleep. For example the first night I wore it, I went to bed at 12:30am but couldn't get to sleep ... the last time I saw the time it was 1:22am and I was still awake ... this monitor told me I fell asleep at 1:28am.

From the reviews I read by people that used this model, before I decided to buy it, the majority said that the heart rate monitor was very accurate. They compared it to it's competitors while wearing them at the same time while jogging, working out, cycling or swimming. With that information I am surprised just how low my resting heart rate is .. high 50's. That's not bad for someone out of shape.

Since I had not worn a watch except on special occasions in the past 13 years or since I bought my first iPhone 3, I wasn't sure how I would handle having something on my wrist again. It had to be small and it had to be comfortable. ... this is both.

It gives you up to eight different home screens to choose from that you see each time your watch turns on. It is not lit up all the time but will light up when there is movement in your wrist, where you can turn it or off by the direction you turn your wrist. Also any kind of notification will light the watch to show you the message or warning. I have mine set to the 'time and heart rate'.

I don't know what this plant is, I've seen it before on the driveway bank and it is now growing all over the field.

So why do I need a watch like that? I asked myself that many times since May 15, the day I headed to Best Buy to buy a replacement computer for the one that crashed after 7 years. Since I am one of those people that never goes to the doctor even for a physical or annual exam ... in fact I don't even have a doctor ... living alone I felt since I am older (I refuse to believe this) I needed a way to see how the old heart was working. Not only would it track that as I sit in front of the computer but as I walk those 2 miles mowing the yard.

I also had a gut feeling this little toy might even help in the motivation department getting me back in the workout mode and cycling. I do ride my bikes some but not nearly enough and not even close to the amount of time I did years prior. Basically I guess it would show me when something might be amiss and I might need to consider a doctors appointment.

Along with the Garmin Connect app on my iPhone that synch's with the watch anytime I am close to the phone ... I do not need the phone near me for it to track data, where it was recommended the Apple Watch be within a range of 300ft ... The watch will collect data without the phone and then update later automatically when the two are near each other. There is also a Garmin Express program that works with desktop computers and will download data from the watch when you plug the Garmin watch into your USB port to recharge it.

I found out in the past whenever I used an app to add the food I eat, sorted by meals or snacks ... inconvenient at times to log everything in ... but I would lose more weight compared to not logging my food intake. I've used a free app called Lose It for years but with the new Garmin I added an app called MyFitnessPal. You can scan barcodes on the packaging with your iPhone camera which will load all of the detailed breakdown of the food you are eating.

Sadie LOVES running in the field. Where's Stella through all of this ??? You'll see she is back to her old self further down the post.

One neat thing on the food app, it will have short one line notes in red (bad) or green (good) on certain foods. Like my 4tsp of sugar for coffee is close to my daily sugar allowance (red), while it told me those two eggs I had for breakfast were high in protein (green). I have found in past years or months when I do log my meals, snacks and even those times I fall 'off the wagon' for some junk food ... It helps me stay below my daily calorie limit while showing me just how many calories I burn with a simple hound walk or mowing the yard.

As Sadie and I were on our way back I did not see Stella anywhere when I scanned the field. Even when I called her name I did not see a sign of her ... So I told Sadie "go find Stella" ... she stood sniffed the air and took off for the wooded area behind the neighbors house.

I should have  believed her instead of calling her off by saying "get back over here" ....

She was sure though that she was right and Stella was in that direction.

Sure enough ... as I zoomed the camera lens in that direction there was Stella walking near the corner of that wooded area. She headed our way when I told her "let's go home" but not without Sadie tapping noses with her to let her officially know ... we are going home.

So once again I am pretty well set on my purchases for the year. I don't replace computers until they break, I keep iPhones usually until they are no longer supported with security updates and regular watches end up in the drawer never used again.

I forgot that the highlight of the day on Friday was my decision to reverse the parking spots for the cars. I got tired of squeezing into the smaller front space of the carport to drive the Mini as my main form of transportation. So the Z4 moved back to the front space, under the car cover ... Stella will find this arrangement much easier to apply her drool to the Mini Cooper when she wants to go for a ride. She will nudge the driver side door handle and the rear door with her nose to see if she can open them. She did the same thing to all the FJ windows from the inside the day I picked her up in August 2015.

Here is the 'infamous' on the run nose tap Sadie does when she tells Stella "lets go" ... she also does the same thing to Heidi when Heidi returns inside after a short solo trip outside at night. With Winston gone Sadie assumed the leader of the pack position. She will make sure that both hounds are fine and are where they are suppose to be.

It's been almost two months already since I changed my internet service from Excede to HughNet. It's been a great change with 5Gb's more of monthly data, a window for another 50Gb between 2am-8am and consistent download speeds at 48Mbps. Since I made huge error one night when I was trying to revive the 7yr old iMac that had crashed .. by my mistake I downloaded a new install of the Sierra OS . I turned it off after a minute when I realized my error, thinking it would stop the download.

I found out 6Gb's later that was not true ... so my 20Gb's per month ran out around 5 days ago. That meant unless I bought more data, my internet speeds would slow down considerably. They did as expected but not bad enough where I could not load pictures into the blog, not load some websites or just completely drag my system down ... with Excede all of those things would happen when I ran out of data. Even with a tested download speed of (TWO) 2Mbps websites were loading within 3-5 seconds.

I did check on the pricing to buy additional data and it was much cheaper than the $10 per Gb that Exede would charge me but the HUGE DIFFERENCE was ... any extra data I would buy NOT USED would carry over to the following months until it was used up.

Since I was still able to do my normal internet browsing and blogging with a lot of pictures I did not buy the additional data. I did test the speeds during that 2am-8am period where the 48Mbps returned and exactly at 8:01am ... my download speed would go from 48Mbps to 2Mbps just as it should.

HughesNet also gave me free unlimited data my first 20 days as a new customer so I could catch up on any system or software updates. The change in internet service was a great decision, if I do say so myself.

My wrist band just notified me I had received a text. It will also tell me "MOVE" when it senses I have been sitting too long on the computer or on the couch watching ballgames. LOL

Lately we have changed our route back to the yard due to the wet grass in the field where it is shaded. We end up on the north side of the yard, that pole was installed by a surveying team. It's a property marker when Jim had the field surveyed in his purchasing process a few years ago. We walk back in total sunshine which puts me with more flowers to photograph, dry shoes and a worn path I never saw but used by Sadie when she is out alone using these route to return to the house.

Some readers may be asking why they don't see a lot of pictures of Heidi even in the sunny good weather ... she she had her own rules.

If it's below 75° ... she will not spend any more time outside than it takes to dump her tanks. If it's above 85° ... she will not spend any more time outside than it takes to dump her tanks ... NO EXCEPTIONS ....

This is what she does most of the time outside of the 75°-85° range.

Hair is slowly growing back on her neck, that was bare skin for almost two years.

I almost forgot but wanted to report on the recently purchased iMac. That too has been a good decision although it took two returns a week apart to finally get the right one. Then Apple came out with their annual announcement of new products and/or updates just last week. I knew that would happen when I made the decision not to wait for their announcement and to go ahead with a purchase.

Some would think I am dumb for that decision.

There are a lot of new features on the iMac that I would not have used but are nice. I don't edit videos, nor am I a gamer. I'll miss out on a little speed increase but I already have the large Fusion Drive. I have a great Retina Monitor but they have made it even brighter and better with a billion pixels ... yes a billion. I am happy with what I brought and have no regrets buying it a few weeks earlier.

Best Buy did give me a $108.06 credit when I called them and took advantage of their "Price Match" offer ... I found the same computer on Amazon for that much less after I had bought the one at Best Buy. I had the credit on my debit card within 24 hours after calling them.

So all is good in the world of home computers and small amazing almost eerie wristbands ....

Time to feed the hounds ... and get back to my 3 week addiction of the 2048 Tile app game.

We are hunkered down inside today in preparation for 8 straight days of forecasted temps in the 90's here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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