January 31, 2019

Polar Vortex Has Passed

The hounds and I headed to a night of sleep last night excited with the thought of warming temperatures were right around the corner. We were going to have to wait until late afternoon before it hit 20° but at least we would climb out of those single digit temps by noon. I officially called the 'Polar Vortex' over soon after lunch, at least down here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana. Would you believe me if I told you the high on Monday is supposed to be 60° ??? That's not a misprint.
Both hounds were outside for their first trip around 8:30am. I poured kibble as fast as possible. Today they were both at the door when I went to let them back inside. It was still 1° at that time and a wind chill below zero. A few hours later Stella came and touched my arm with her nose ... she had to go outside without delay. She is a great house trained bloodhound.
It didn't look that bad. Still, it was 8° but bright and sunny. I stood outside watching her, with my camera in hand, no coat over my fleece pullover, no shoes, just wool socks tucked into those cheap Chinese sandals I mentioned the other day. She surely wouldn't take to long to relieve herself.
I kept telling her to "hurry up" as she looked for that perfect spot to pee. I was a little concerned her lips or nose would stick to the yard if she kept her nose to the ground too long.
Since she didn't seem to be in too much of a hurry to do what she drug me outside to do, I decided I was going to run back inside and put my down parka on, I'd pass on the shoes since that might cost me time, only to see her in the land of burrs.
She had to do more than pee and there is only one place she does that ... in the field. I decided to sprint inside for my coat. I glanced out the window and saw she had walked behind the area containing all the burrs on the dead ragweed. That's always a good thing to see.
She was as fast as I was and by the time I was back outside she was headed my direction. She is pretty logical when it's this cold outside. Although she doesn't seem to speed up her thought process even when it's freezing outside.
An hour later Heidi woke from her morning siesta and took her trip outside. See what I mean? They never have to go at the same time. That strengthens my resume as a professional doorman for the hounds. It wasn't much warmer than an hour ago but you could tell we were out of single digits by the amount of time Heidi was outside and the places she wandered.
Stella has a severe case of cabin fever. We were hoping for an afternoon walk around 5pm when the thermometer needle taps that 20° mark. We'll forget what the wind chill is, just to get outside for some exercise.
Hounds fed, I was fed and a quiet afternoon of reading and watching one of my favorite shows called Homestead Rescue. Yes, she is sleeping with her head raised off the couch.
Even with the temps rising above 15° and the bright sunshine, Stella and Heidi so no reason to cut their afternoon siestas short. They knew the plan was to do nothing until later today where it would be almost 20° warmer than when we started the day. The high's tomorrow will be back in the low 40's and all will be good again.
By 3:30pm I was just as  anxious to take a walk as Stella was. It wasn't going to be worth it to wait another hour or so just to gain a couple of degrees. It was still cold but very nice to be outside walking knowing it would be twice as warm tomorrow.
She turned around to attack me as if she wanted to play but each time I tried getting a photo of her trying to get started, she would stop, so these three photos were all I could get.
Not much went on today, a lot like the ending of this post.  :)

All is good here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana, at least the small area we reside.

January 30, 2019

The Hounds Survive

By noon the temperature had climbed to -1°, the hounds had been fed and we had received a phone call from California wishing us well. Since he had grown up on a farm in Indiana he still remembered what it was like being outside in weather like this 45 or more years ago. I could see out of the large kitchen window at the bright sunny day but anywhere else the door windows and storm windows were covered with ice. Thank God for storm windows. I went out with the hounds right after their lunch, they were finished and back inside the house in little over a minute.
They were maintaining pretty well since they were unable to wander the yard or field. I never had to call them since they could feel just how cold it was. It was indescribable. I cannot imagine what Chicago felt like at -45° today. Stella scratched as usual.
Heidi did her normal stretching and body shakes after lunch, right before she took a siesta.
I was a little surprised that Stella headed for the backyard at -1° ... but when you have to go you have to go I guess. Better to do that outside and not inside.
The carport thermometer is consistently 5-8 degrees warmer year round, than what my iPhone weather app tells me.
Like I said, they were both back at the door in little over a minutes time.
A few hours later while I was playing Mahjong, both hounds walked to the door, Stella slightly whining and Heidi fighting for position to be the first one outside ... I could only guess what they couldn't hold anymore.
The perfect house dog ... in the field at -1°.
Heidi still had time to explore a little on her way back from the front yard.
We anxiously look forward to tomorrow's heat wave when it climbs to the mid 20's ... that right there is cargo shorts and t-shirt weather.

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

It's A Warm -5 At 8am

First of all I am only speaking from my location here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana. I don't have it that bad at all. I have electric power, a fast internet, a warm house and the sun is out. There are many many many other people a lot worse off than the hounds and I. So a -5° at 8am is not a bad deal. I have lived through a lot worse in this house, today's weather is nothing. 
You would have never thought it would be so cold yesterday when the hounds stepped outside after their late lunch but the wind was freezing cold, the wind chill temp was colder than it was when Stella and I took our walk, so the afternoon walk was canceled.
Even Heidi wasn't sure she was going to jump off the edge into the mulch, her favorite place to pee in the winter's cold weather.
Stella was more interested in getting back inside for more sleep ... like sleeping the afternoon away. She had no idea why she had followed Heidi outside on Tuesday afternoon.
After a Tuesday afternoon of doing nothing, we tried it again a little after 5pm. Would a walk be possible? Stella did some pre-aerobic stretching but I already knew with the howling wind and the freezing cold, that I wasn't going anywhere. I'd watch her as she moved to the backyard to relieve herself just to make sure she was heading back toward the house when finished instead of wandering out into the field.
It funny how she has to find that 'perfect spot' to pee but she does, even when it's freezing.
This morning was a different story thought. I woke up once around 5am and heard wind that was so loud I thought we were in the middle of a Spring thunderstorm or a tornado. I wondered how many tree limbs would be in my yard after last night. I even remembered the tv shows I watched last winter about the research teams living in tents in Antarctica. I glanced at my watch to see it was -2°, I went back to sleep.

No matter how cold it gets, the hounds still need to relieve themselves especially after a night of sleep. It was the normal routine with me letting them out at 7am in subzero temps but I was going to make an effort to pour their kibble a little faster today.
About the time I got to the door to let them back inside, Stella was sprinting from the backyard or field, around the Mini Cooper to the door. Heidi was not around !!!! So I stepped outside and looked to see her in the middle of the front yard just finishing her yard care and then sprinting up the driveway all the way to the door
By the time 8am rolled around, both hounds were back to sleep and the temp had dropped to -5°. Obviously both walks today will be canceled. Trips outside this afternoon will be limited to less than a minute or two and it will be a normal day inside the warm house.
At least the sun is not giving up on a day like today. There's no worries though ... it will be Spring like temperatures by Friday !!!
How's that for a little variety of winter weather ???
Even with the warm house yesterday, Heidi knew it was cold outside and demanded I go get 'her' sleeping bag from the bedroom to put on her while she slept on the couch. How did she demand that to happen? She sat there staring at me shivering as if she was cold. Once the sleeping bag was on the couch, she burrowed her way under it and around it for the perfect position to sleep.

Every winter when the weather stations go into over-drive with too much DRAMA about what is going to happen, I tune them out. I know they have to sell viewership but please give me a break. The world is not coming to an end. IT'S WINTER !!!!! It happens every year and has for as long as I can remember!!! Sorry, I'm not jumping on the 'panic wagon' based on the tone of voices from the local weather channels, or national ones either.

The past few winters I would 'chase' the temps by adjusting my thermostats, plus it was my way of saving energy. In this 45+ year old house each room has baseboard electric heat and its own thermostat. I'd turn it completely off when we slept and then back on for an hour or two to take the edge off.

This year I decided I wasn't doing that. In November when it was getting cold, I set every room thermostat to where the house stayed at 65°-68°. I'd let the heaters decide when they needed to cool down. The times the house is too hot I will turn the thermostats down or off for an hour or two. I can't stand a hot house.

My "electric usage' spreadsheet shows I have used less kilowatts than last winter but last winter was brutal with these sub-zero temps day after day and over 30 days in a row being below 32°. Still it is costing me less this year to keep the house warm instead of trying to save energy. (electricity)

With no plans to get out today, I will wait until tomorrow to start my car. I also will probably do nothing different from yesterday. It's interesting how schools are closed, college classes are cancelled, business are closed during the Polar Vortex .... but tonight the college basketball games on tv continue. No games will be canceled anywhere in the Midwest or the Eastern part of the states.

It was that way when I was growing up in the 60's. I remember more than a few times where school was closed for days from too much snow but people always found ways of filling the gym seats when a game was played on Friday and/or Saturday nights. Nothing has changed in that regard.

I'll try to get more photos later today as the hounds and I go outside. It is supposed to get up to 6° and that will be warm enough for short breaks outside. For them, not me. :)

It's sunny this morning in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.