February 18, 2019

Snow Flurries Start The Week

I could tell by Stella's reaction after her Sunday lunch, that we were not going to do too much. The weather couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to snow or rain, so it gave us just enough of both to keep us inside for most of the day. I did make a run over to Super Walmart for some food. Stella added another day to her streak for not trying to break out of the bedroom that her and Heidi share while I am gone.
Heidi didn't hesitate after her Sunday meal to go outside and kept on the dry mulch which is covered by the roof overhang. Smart Basset.
While Stella and I waited for Heidi to do her lap around the house exploring some scent with light rain, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do besides return a book about Howard Schultz to the library. Plus I was craving sandwiches, which I had stopped eating when I was trying to cut carbs. So right there was a plan, plus it would get me out of the house, a nice 12 mile drive over and another 12 miles back.
Heidi sniffing every inch of the way ... slowly ... light rain did not bother her. See that corner bank? I made the mistake a couple of years ago of cutting all of that back and planting grass seed thinking I would make it like the yard. For erosion prevention that was a bad move on my part. Last March on a warm weekend I planted more grass seed only to see snow the following weekend, killing the opportunity for new grass.

My plan is let it grow back to what it was. I am going to throw in some wild flower seeds this spring to add some color and a few other plants that I have read are good for preventing soil erosion. I will let the grass that is there grow think and tall, to keep that bank where it is. Of course I could also put in some stone or large rocks by hand to do the same thing.
I am also going to do something with all of the river rock along the back of the house. I am not sure yet but I'm thinking of digging it all up and either go back to the original arrangement of grass right up to the house foundation or fill it all in with mulch with potted plants scattered along the back. All I know is, I don't think the river rock will be there much longer.

It will not be the first time I moved it. Originally all of that rock was in the front before it was replaced by Cyprus mulch.
Stella was thrilled when Heidi showed up. She never got off the carport while I picked up new twigs in the driveway to add to the burn pile. After a few steps back inside, Heidi sprinted to the living room, did a few laps around the coffee table and then jumped on the couch for her afternoon siesta.

Stella has never played with her, nor had Heidi tried to get Stella to chase her. A little strange since I have always had bassets and bloodhounds attempt at some sort of playing with each other. Maybe it's because they are both nearing 10 years. Heidi's age is only an estimate since
After another night of poor sleep, numerous wake ups and some of the weirdest dreams imaginable, Stella and I had another late start this morning . After her breakfast Heidi ran to her dog bed that Sadie used and waited for me to throw the sleeping back over her for the morning siesta until lunch is served.

It's not the first time but I was dreaming again of writing blog posts. That is always a bad sign, especially since I could remember exactly what I was going to say in those blog posts after waking up. That reminds me of the days soon after I retired, where I was dreaming I was at work and could remember in detail what I was doing after waking up.
So as Stella and I stepped outside around 9:30am for the morning walk, it was freezing cold, light snow flurries and strong winds from the southwest. This was about all the snow I could see from last night. Between my roof and the roofs on the neighbor's houses it looked like it had lightly snowed for quite a while but none of it was sticking.

You would think with freezing winds and temps below freezing I would not feel the soft mud under the leaves on the path but I did. My only hope this morning on this walk was that Stella woiuld keep moving in the same direction as I did without a lot of 'verbal herding'. You don't understand just how much different these walks are now without Sadie leading Stella.

I could always count on Sadie moving in my direction, completing the walk while having the freedom to explore. As I have said more than a few times, Stella is totally opposite and if I didn't say 'come on' or walk over to lead her by the collar back to the path .... she would never move. A few summers I tested out that theory. An hour after returning home, I drove the Toyota FJ out into the field to find her .... she was still up in the far right hand corner of the field where I last saw her.
So I am admitting, with the way that Stella does this morning walk, many days it is almost like work. Basically a pain in the ass, but really she is just being a typical bloodhound. She is stubborn, ignores me and has to be lead by the collar or leash too many times to return to the path.

Days like the last two where she does complete the walk without a lot of words from me, are nice. I have no doubt that she would always return home if I were to leave her in the field but  with that high speed highway 80' in front of the house or a 120' in front of the field ... I just can't a chance of any kind, that she might end up there. She never has gone near that highway but it would only take one time, for a terrible result.

I continue to make sure she and I walked in the house at the same time after the morning walk.
I think you can tell by the photos today, no matter how cold the wind is blowing ... she is 'strolling' and is not concerned how long she takes to do the walk.
At this point in time it is just damn cold ... no other way to say it. She doesn't care.  LOL
After only one application of the Wounded Warrior first-aid ointment on Stella's ears yesterday, I could see improvement this morning. That stuff is powerful and works for anything dog related, from bare skin hot spots, cuts or other skin issues. No, I have not tried it on the two bare spots on her hips back by her tail.
I wanted to give you some idea how strong the wind was this morning, which in this area of the field, the wind was coming from the NE. It is supposed to move back to the 40's to 50's on Wednesday. It's been a much different winter this year compared to last, where over 30 straight days it was below freezing and half of those days were below 15° for high temps. I guess we have traded those extreme freezing temps last year for all the rain we have had this winter.
There are times during this morning walk when I wonder if we will get back to the house before noon or late afternoon. Yet after checking my watch stopwatch when we finish, we are never gone longer than 20 minutes. Some mornings it feels like a lifetime
The sound of the small yapping dog in the distance stops Stella in her tracks. While I walked all the way to the backyard, she never moved from this position. I always wonder when I hear that small dog if it is cold and wants to come inside or is it yapping because it smells another dog somehwere in it's environment?
The highway traffic or lack of, made this morning so quiet I almost forgot that it was Monday instead of a Sunday. I don't keep the 'holiday' box checked on my Apple calendar but I did click it today just to see if it was a holiday. See how out of tune I am with what is going on? I knew something was up since my working neighbor's truck was still his driveway.
I have followed Jon Katz's blog Bedlam Farm for many years. He is in his late 70s, and has millions, yes millions of blog followers. For him, his blog also had to produce lost income from his book business years ago. Maybe that was his motivation to write very open about all aspects of his life. He is not a farmer but a writer that lives on a farm in upper state New York.

I don't or haven't agreed with everything he has said over the years but there are things I have learned from what he has written. Even with millions of readers and probably thousands of emails he receives, he has always replied to the few emails I have sent him. We have had short discussions about certain things he has written. He too, has put a lot of dogs down over the years so we do have one thing in common.

His post this morning which is linked above, "Bedlam Farm" , is one I am going to have to read again in detail. He is explaining to a student in his writing class how he sees and gets through these days that some feel are total chaos. I'd like to hear some ideas on how to do that, so I'll read his post again after I publish mine.

If you do click that link to read his post or see his blog, you'll notice at the very start that he told his writing class: "I tell my students that if they want a successful blog, they must write often and openly, they must be authentic and share their lives as well as their work."

He does write multiple posts each day, sometimes very long ones or very short ones. He never has more than one photo with each post. He has had his blog professionally designed and it is not a WordPress blog but one that is a website and a server he has to pay for with the huge amounts of traffic he has.

Over the seven years I have blogged I have tried different ways. When I started I rarely had photos but at that time I was not writing so much about my hounds but more about my research on the RV lifestyle. In fact the first couple of years I didn't write more than 35 posts in a year!!!

There is one thing I have not done that he suggested .... writing openly. I have on this blog a few times since this past December. That is what readers wanted. At the time that is what I wanted. I didn't put any limits on foul language or subject matter. On each of those posts my blog traffic would triple in numbers. At the same time I lost some long time followers who let me know by email they didn't appreciate my cussing and a few others didn't like my political views. I knew before I wrote those posts, that losing readers could happen.

Jon has written more openly about his life than I ever would have. Just remember though he was needing to make income from his blog, I did not. I didn't want to be recognized walking down the street or in a store because of my blog. It took years before I even left hints of where I lived. I still don't know if I have ever mentioned the name of the town but some readers that are interested enough could have, or have figured it out by the photos I posted in recent years.

Jon had such a response that for a while he was having two open houses per year, fall and spring, Blog readers from all over the USA would come to his house to see in person what they had read about. I would never ever do that. I like my privacy.

I don't even like seeing people pulling into my driveway just so they can talk on their cell phones. They do that because there is nowhere on the highway to pull off on the side of the road to do that safely. I even feel a bolt of adrenalin when I hear tires moving across the gravel driveway while I am hidden back here in front of my computer. I have a window that looks out into the carport and the top of my driveway but it's closed most of the time during the winter.

So having hundreds of people showing up at my house twice per year for a day of sharing, where people have to come out and direct traffic .... just isn't part of my blogging plan.  LOL

I will try to write more openly but there is always that one little bit of hesitation tapping me on the shoulder when I feel like rambling honestly.

I wrote more at the end than I wanted but it's okay. As I glance up to the right hand corner of my computer monitor I see it's past noon already. What happened to those mornings in December when I was writing blog posts at 4am and posting them by 6am, right in time for you to read with your hot cup of coffee????

I have yet to hear from anyone that knows what happen to the blogger "RetroRoxi". Her blog is deleted on WordPress, her domain name is 'parked' at GoDaddy and the gmail address she had has been deleted from her Google account. Her disappearance is strange to me since he blogged regularly, made comments on my blog multiple times per day and we exchanged a lot of emails about coding, html, blog design, dog photos, music etc.

That happens sometimes. Bloggers disappear for some reason and never return. I just hope she is okay.

Well after reading the latest book on Howard Schultz, I do not see him being a serious contender in the next Presidential election, if he even runs. He has a lot of good ideas. He did some amazing things with Starbucks, admitted the mistakes he had made along the way such as selling Seattle's NBA team to an outsider and then watched the city lose their team as it moved to Oklahoma City a year later.

Joe Biden??  Really??

Whatever happens, it will be fun to watch these next two years. In the meantime I am going over to Jon's blog and read in more detail how I can help myself get through these days of chaos that at times piss me off more than I like. Luckily I live alone and I never take it out on the hounds. I do mumble to myself a lot, sometimes even outloud, but not at them.

Another week closer to Spring, here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

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