November 14, 2018

Winter Storm Headed Our Way

The one thing nice about retirement is the ability to change activities at a drop of a dime. Instantaneous, no checking schedules, no asking someone's permission, you just get to do it like you want at that very moment. Such was the case this morning. I had almost talked myself out of our morning walk due to that "feels like" temp of 10°. I even thought it was probably too cold for Stella's paw pads and if there was enough moisture in the air last night there would be ice and she could possibly get ice between her toes and then wouldn't move on the walk.

So when she looked in the doorway to the computer room to tell me it was time to head outside, just a few minutes before 8am, I grabbed my down parka, put on my new Carhartt sock hat but didn't put on any gloves because I had a new plan. I would stand in the backyard while she would find her a spot in the field to dump her tanks. It felt too nice outside, much warmer than that "feels like" temp and even the old carport thermometer was different than my high tech iPhone weather app.

So I told Stella "let's go" and off we went, no gloves and all.

I could tell from the fresh prints of mashed down grass that there had been a lot of deer traffic in the field last night. Stella could tell to as she spent a lot of the morning walk with her nose to the ground. It's hard to see but just to the left into those woods in the lower left part of the brush you can barely see a path where the deer have mashed down the bushes from their repeated trips into or out of the woods. Where Stella stands there are many small round areas where the grass is mashed and a fresh deep hoof print in the center of those areas.

It didn't feel too bad without gloves, so we continued on. On the other side of this photo you can see the bank going down into the gully. On my side just past those trees the drop-off is steep and fortunately Stella has not had the urge to head down there to explore. Many times over the years I had to keep Sadie from going that way. She would go into the wooded area when I would tell her to stop. Sadie was in that gully as a small puppy one year and came climbing up that steep bank with black mud from her toes to halfway up her sides. Luckily it was a Saturday so I had time to give her a bath and still was in time for college football at noon.

To get off subject, I'll say this new book I am reading called "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" explains a lot about what is happening in the USA and all of the chaos in weather, politics and the social unrest. I would start by reading his Introduction chapter at the start of the book. I have only read through the first chapter about "Work" and have a lot of answers to questions I have asked myself and a couple of close friends. No ... I am not an affiliate nor am I making any cash on the side for mentioning the title of the book. This author is just that good.

I also played around with Google Chrome, version 70.0 last night. It's too bright for me but that might be because I am so use to using my macOS and Firefox Quantum in their 'dark mode'. Even after I did some searching for answers on the Blogger and Google Chrome forum, it still signed me out of my Google Account if I wanted to reply to comments on my blog or make a comment on other blogs using my blog profile.

I tried a couple of their recommended changes to their settings but that still did not work. At least I found out that the problem is due to the script and privacy settings of the browse itself because Firefox does not have the same problem (different script) but Safari does. So I went back to Firefox since I like the design better than Chrome and it is now just as fast.

One thing to remember now days if your webpages are not loading as fast as they use to. With all the major browsers adding their own video and advertisement blockers, that will slow the time it takes for a webpage to load, even if you have fast internet. To those that have a Gb of download speed, then no problem but for those of us that have 40 or less Mb of download speed, at times it might remind you of those old days of dial up connections.

As my local weatherman was warning us of the winter storm blowing in tonight, he didn't try to nor mean to but he let his viewers know that all of this information is based on data fed into the computers. It is not he that puts this forecast together but the computers do it. After reading that first chapter on 'Work' in the book I mentioned with what he was saying I laughed at myself saying "you can be replaced by a robot within the next 5 years" ... but as the book explained all of the high tech Artificial Intelligence will only be implemented when those in power or political positions decide it will. I'd say with that factor the chances for major changes  to jobs will take longer than one or two decades and I might not be around to see it.

This was a surprise finding and maybe those that have dogs that have had regular dental work on your dogs can help me out. How often do you clean your dog's teeth? As I pulled back Heidi's jowls to check her teeth last night, that had just been cleaned at the end of September or early October, I was shocked to see plaque build up showing on her big molar. I do have some dog toothpaste on the shelf that is brand new so I might buy a toothbrush or find one of those rubber tips you put on your fingers to brush a dogs teeth.

In comparison, Stella does not show any signs of plaque on her teeth and I have not had her teeth cleaned in the three years that I have had her.

I was finally in front of Stella on the walk, hoping to take some photos from her front end instead of her back end. As I was about to turn around and lift my camera to the shooting position I felt this heavy object hit the outside of my left knee as she ran past me, knocking me off her path. Before I could regain my balance she was ahead of me heading for an unknown destination.

The walk this morning was pretty quick. My watch said we were gone only 16 minutes from the time I closed the door. That included me standing for a few minutes deciding if we were going to walk this morning. She did not stop nor wander too much. As I walked toward the house I remembered a verse in a song by the Mama & Papa's back in the 60's ... "all the leaves are brown and the skies are gray", such as this morning in 'the tropics'.

My house stayed warm overnight (66) with the heaters turned down. I am wondering of that small amount of calking I did between the storm windows and window frame are making that much of a difference. It's a huge change if so. All the gaps were very small but are now filled.

Stella never fails to look to her right in the direction where that large cat stays. I've seen it only one time and had no clue that it was a cat until the boy in the neighborhood told me it's history in 2017. He didn't ride his ATV in the field last summer nor did the grandchildren of the field's owner. I wonder why the change?

She is checking to see if I am going to let her roam over to the neighbors, where she has only been once since mid-summer. I didn't say a word as she turned around and headed home.

With a bloodhound's nose 4x stronger than any human, I always wonder what she might be smelling and how far away that something is. To be inside the mind of a bloodhound would be a great adventure.

I was prepared to leave Stella exploring the north yard around the bushes and trees while I walked to the house. Then I had my second surprise of the morning when she trotted past me without any acknowledgment, all the way to the door to go inside. She had decided her walk was over for this morning.

Yesterday afternoon when Stella let me knew she needed to go outside by nudging the door handle with her nose as I sat here at the kitchen table playing Mahjong, we were not outside longer than 10 minutes. After she finished she was heading toward the carport on her own as I looked at the nice sunset.

Then .... I saw them ... 10-15 deer running across the open field from the right, heading behind the corner of those woods. I immediately had to grab Stella's collar because she had also saw movement, more than likely smelled them, and her long bloodhound ears perked up telling me she had locked into that familiar deer scent. As she looked in the direction of the field, I led her back inside the house by the collar.

By the time I grabbed my camera off the kitchen table, next to my laptop, they had disappeared. Which was really strange because the only way they could have gone was behind that line of trees, cross the gravel road I talk to the old steel bridge and then run through that field on the left. I've seen them do that and I have also seen them cross the highway in a large group, and sprint through my neighbor's yard into the woods south of my house.

So this time of year, with this kind of weather, I will be a little more focused on what is going on around us while Stella or even Heidi and I are outside.

With it being pretty cold outside both hounds dug in for some sleep before lunch. They still have not adjusted to the time change and usually are howling and barking for lunch by 10am. I try to hold them off until 11am.

I smell something dead in the middle of all of the ragweed burrs, where Stella would love to go. I am not sure what it is but I smelled something I as walked by that part of the field. Whatever it is, it is buried beneath the leaves and thick grass. As you see, she knows it's out there but hasn't figured out how to get there without me catching her. It a little funny that she will go no further than the edge of the yard.

Again today Heidi was pretty quick with the mid-day break.

While the hounds slept I drove over the vet to buy a 30 day supply of the OraVet chewables for Heidi. They do not go down easy and she looks like she is chewing gum. The mouthwash liquid is suppose to rinse any bacteria that causes plaque and the gum textured chew cleans the teeth. Like she should, she titled her head back to get the chew on her back teeth where she could get as much power as possible to chew it up. I was told today that as long as Stella shows no signs of having plaque there isn't a reason she needs these.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading books, checking the internet and taking Stella on her early afternoon walk. We do those with her on the leash and no camera most of the time. The weather radar is showing that sleet is on it's way, within 20 miles of our location, which will eventually turn to snow.

College basketball game tonight on tv so all is good in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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