January 29, 2019

The Frozen Tundra

As expected, it was extremely cold this morning and the solid ice on the storm windows proved it. I had no plans of taking any walks today at all. We did last year in much more colder weather, more wind and a lower wind chill. There are always concerns walking the bloodhound in temperatures that range of 15° or lower. Will she get ice in between her toes and then have to be carried home? Or, will the extreme freezing weather harm her pads of her paws? Will it cause cracking later on? So with some hesitation, we cautiously walked outside after 10:30am and at 14° and a wind chill 5°.
Two things made it feel warmer, the sunshine was out and very bright. Plus the thermometer in the corner of the carport was at 20°, in the shade. The freezing wind was from the Southwest let me know it was going to be colder on the way home. With that bright sunshine, mentally it felt a lot warmer than it was. I didn't mind it so far and neither did Stella.
With it so cold what little snow was left from last night's dusting, it was not moving from the path onto Stella's paws. It was very dry, like the snow you would experience out west. So the only question would be as we started the walk was ... will Stella's paws get cold enough that we would have to turn around?
Really it did not feel that bad. I was wearing my normal layers of clothes, covered with a down parka and a hood over the top of my sock hat. The Mountain Hardwear parka is 25 years old and is still working fantastic keeping me warm. I had no doubt that I'd stay warm enough to finish the walk. Stella looked a little energized and ready to go. A complete walk was looking promising.
Stella kept trotting fast enough to always stay in front of me. I tried a couple of times to get around her but each time I was about to take a photo of her from the front, she would run by me before I could press the shutter. I was a little curious if that meant she would head for the far right corner of the field, knowing I was not going to run after her? Our pace was the same as always. We did not speed up just because it was cold, after all ... the sun was out. :)
With the straw blowing from left to right, you can't feel it by the way it is bending to the right, but it shows the winds were stronger than normal. With it forecasted to be even colder tomorrow I would have expected the winds coming from the NE or the upper left corner of the photo, since that is where the arctic front is coming from.
When I asked "Do you see any deer?" ... LOL .... she stopped and studied the landscape.
Then looked back at me to see if I was serious or just joking with her. Looking back through some photos in my Deer folder the other day, it showed I have not seen deer in this field since November 2017. What happened? Where did they go? Deer tracks yes ... actual deer no.
This is about as far as Stella veered off the path this morning. She did not act cold in any way but she also did not get off the path too far.
As she stopped at the last turn for home, I told her "lets go home" ... and she took off trotting down the path.
I ran a little to get ahead of her, thinking I might catch her running but not today. She always tried staying in front of me.
The daily stop and look toward the woods behind the neighbor's house. Is it the smell of food outside or the smell of the rarely seen field cat?
It might be really cold, but that does not mean Stella will move any faster. She is always on her on time.
The bright sunshine made it feel warmer mentally. It is supposed to get up to 21° by late this afternoon but still has a wind chill of 7° predicted ... about like it was this morning. So the walk may not happen. I do know for sure it will not happen tomorrow when the high temps are single digits. She and Heidi will get their short 1-2 minute supervised trips outside to relieve themselves but that is all
My friend from the Chicago area after waking up to 8" of new snow on top what they had the previous days. Then today ... it's reported that Chicago will be colder than Antarcticia this week!!!

I was in such a hurry to get out of the store yesterday like I wrote about last night around midnight, that I forgot to buy oatmeal. I had failed to put that on my list. I did run into an old co-worker at the store yesterday. She retired a few years before I did but yesterday she told me the same thing I tell people, "It was the best career decision I ever made, and I don't miss working at all." No plans for today other than watching the taped show Bull, more reading about Steve Jobs, some internet surfing and probably some Mahjong games. Without any ice cream in the house, it is doubtful I'll pass out from a sugar overdose and need an afternoon siesta like I did yesterday. Life is rough in retirement but someone has to do it.

'The tropics' of Southern Indiana is freezing today but still warmer than most states in the Midwest and east of us.

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