March 31, 2019

What A Surprise !!!

As I was watching college basketball Saturday night, I glanced out the window to see the largest snow flakes of the winter and possibly the hardest snow of this winter. It was really coming down after a day full of rain. This is normal for this time of year here in 'the tropics' but it was still a surprise. Enough so, that during the next tv commercial I grabbed my camera and headed outside to record the moment.

This same type of snow took place last year on April 16th.

As Stella and I did our Saturday morning walk in a warm 56° I knew by late afternoon the wind was supposed to increase and change from the SW to the NE/N. With that change the temperature would drop into the 40's and overnight lows in the 30's. What the forecast did not tell me, there was a chance for snow.
I just glanced at my weather app on my iPhone and it says the "feels like" is 26° at 10:29am this morning. No worries though because after today the temps get back to our spring averages with many days in the mid to high 60's. This is just a reminder I guess of the weather gods telling us that winter is officially over.

That didn't keep Stella and I from taking our walk this morning. With the standing water in the field across the highway I know our path was going to be very wet with standing water in some spots. What was weird, if Stella and I walked in the thick grass off the path, there was a crunching ice sound on top of a very saturated field.
Heidi was in her daily routine as usual, a nap after breakfast, so none of the light snow or freezing temps outside bothered her. Yet, I can almost assure you that she will NOT be taking any kind of afternoon walk with Stella and I today.
It's always nice to see all the different clouds after a day and night of storms. Weather is moving across 'the tropics' but we will see nothing but bright sunshine all day. That will not interrupt my schedule as a sports addict though. I have a Reds game starting at 1:10pm and the last two games of the weekend for the NCAA College Basketball tourney starts a little after 2pm. Thank god for the split screen feature DishNetwork gives me.

BTW, I am noticing the programs to stream tv are slowly increasing their prices. By the time I add the channels I would need to see all the sports channels I have now, there is only a ~$30 to $35 difference in my monthly price ... hardly enough to make a change, especially if I don't know if it would work well with the lag time of satellite internet service.
Stella was stubborn as ever by the first step she took outside the carport. She curled around the corner of the house to the left, walking as close as she could along the side of the house basically to keep her feet dry. She was heading north I was heading east ... this wasn't going to work. How did she know that the path we take every day was soaking wet and cold ???

After the second time she looked right at me, turning away and walking north ignoring my verbal herding ... I marched across the yard to manually direct her in my location. We were taking the normal path one way or another, wet or cold. Sometimes you have to decide to be a leader I guess.  :)
This is what she was wanting to avoid. When it is this wet just a few steps into the field that is a sure sign that water will be coming up over the sides of my boots with each step I take for the next half mile.
She was okay with the decision I made, or at least she acted as if she was. She had scents to track and like any other morning after a night of snow, she had more than enough scents to follow. They always seem to increase after this time of weather
As you can see there were some massive clouds today, moving slowly in a NE direction.
As I was feeling the effect of freezing cold air on my face I was happy when I remembered it was going to be April tomorrow. That has the sound of spring and I instantly starting picturing t-shirts and cargo shorts. I am more than ready for summer to show up ... the hotter the better, humidity does not bother me. Bring on the heat !!
You can tell by the way Stella was walking on the path that she didn't like getting her feet wet. The problem was wet feet are colder when stepping on the lightly snow covered field. I know that temperature difference may not be felt by a bloodhound that not only has a high pain threshold but the pads on her feet resemble those of a bear. She can walk through anything, fire or ice.
You may notice if you are reading the blog on a desktop computer or laptop, that I have been doing some blog "housecleaning" and some of the sidebar is no longer there. That list of links wasn't being used much, in fact readers on a phone or tablet do not even see the sidebar unless you click the three dashes in the upper left corner to open the menu. (WordPress design).

So I added a few of the newer links to my old blog's sidebar, here. One thing that is nice about Blogger's platform, they automatically move the blog link to the top of the list based on the most recent post. Plus it will show you when the last post was for each blog or website.

I also changed the Archives from a list to a dropdown menu, got rid of the list of recent comments for a more cleaner look on the sidebar. I also did a little rearranging on my old blog, which I still use to go back to look at old posts plus it is easier working with the blog list, knowing the latest post.
The eating plan continues to go well. I have noticed from my spreadsheet, where I log in daily calories, carbs, proteins and fats, then average them for the week ... that I have basically flipped the nutrient targets of carbs and fats. It shows I have really reduced my fat intake but I also remember that any carbs not burned at the end of the day turns into fat. So really, is that really a difference ??

The biggest issue I still find and always have ... the nightly urges for sweets or snacks. These cravings usually take place after 8pm. They are very strong cravings and once again last night I was this close < > of getting in the car and heading out to buy some sort of snacks or junk food.

I didn't want to disturb Stella and Heidi's sleep just to move them to the bedroom while I was gone, so once again the hounds kept me on my eating plan. Away from fast food and junk food.
I did find a new way to cook a skinless chicken breast and it's fantastic. What a difference there is between the chicken I eat now compared to baking it. The other day out of curiosity I did a search for "the best way to cook a chicken breast" and found this technique.

Heat your cast iron skillet on high ... once hot, apply oil and lower the stove to 'medium' heat. Cook each side for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to 'low' and cover the skillet for 10 minutes. After that period, turn off heat, leave the cover on and let stand for 10 more minutes. After that 10 minute period make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through (so far mine has been cooked all the way through).

If you have an electric stove like I do ... move the skillet to a burner that was turned off for that last 10 minutes. You will end up with the juiciest, moist chicken breast you may have ever had. I know after the past few days I will not cook my chicken breasts or thighs any other way.
Where there was only one of these yesterday, there was a new one added and both were filled with water due to the high underground water level after all the rain yesterday.
decided to move over to where I could follow Stella and to my surprise there was more spots of standing water along that path than anywhere else in the field. Water was also standing in the thick grass to the side of Stella.
Here she steps around one of those puddles you cannot see.
She didn't hesitate to make the turn for home when I said "come on, let's go" ... she must have been cold. It was freezing like a January day this morning.
Looking in the direction of the neighbors a few houses away from mine. I wonder if she smells food in the air, hears something is just looking for the field cat. I do know that during the walk this morning a woodpecker was very busy in the north woods which is on the other side of the field and was working non stop while we walked.
Why she decided to sit down and then look at me ... I have no idea. At first I thought she was getting ready to scratch herself but as I walked closer to her, she got up and trotted  away.
It is going to take a while before the north yard grass is tall enough to mow. Right now the yard just in front of the carport is the tallest as usual, followed by different spots in the backyard where the hounds have helped fertilize it during the winter. I'll start the spring by cutting the yard taller so the root base can be established and as usual I'll expect to mov every two to three days or in between spring rains.
Another morning walk in the books and hopefully this was our last walk in extremely cold temps until next winter.
It was another night of some great college basketball games. Things changed in a matter of seconds and between the two games there were just too many highlights to describe here. I did tune into the baseball game in San Diego during commercials of the basketball games. They did a fantastic job with their stadium design as you can see the city skyline in the outfield. It's right downtown. It reminded me of the years I lived in the San Diego area many years ago.

You could tell by the sky, sunset and what people were wearing to the game, just how nice the weather was. Why wouldn't it be nice, it's San Diego. I did think to myself that after the hounds are gone maybe I should sell the house and move back to Carlsbad CA and rent a place. Of course living there now compared to when I lived there in the 70's and 80's are two different worlds. Maybe I need to visit some friends out there first before making any moving decisions.  :)

I'll try to get some photos of Heidi this afternoon and post those later. Due to Saturdays weather she wasn't real active and the only photos you would have seen, were her different sleeping positions on the couch.

Let me know if you like or don't like the sidebar changes.

It's cold but at least it's sunny here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana today.

March 30, 2019

Saturday Morning Showers

A loud roar of thunder and lightning bright enough to light up the bedroom woke me a little after 6am. From what I could tell neither hound moved or sat up in the corner of the bedroom where they share a spot to sleep. I knew that I was not getting up that early again today and was back to sleep in seconds. Would our morning walk be rained out ??
The field was not as wet as I anticipated but it took forever to get Stella from the corner of the house, then into the yard and then into the field. She must have been remembering the hour before when I let her out to start the day and it was dark and pouring rain. She is not a fan of any kind of rain. Once she started the walk in the field she was okay as we continued on with an occasional rain sprinkle hitting my hand.
I couldn't capture this fast enough but she was tangled up in the thorn bushes. Bloodhounds are not problem solvers and their only response to a puzzle like that is just apply more force to tear away. That type of movement has resulted in a trip to the vet only one time in 21 years. Sadie sliced the inside of her ear open when she was a puppy by a razor-sharp thorn.
We are supposed to get almost 2" of rain today but it will be hit or miss as the thunderstorms roll though the Ohio Valley. I hope that does not cancel the Reds game at 2:10pm today. Currently there is a huge storm that won't miss us, southwest of us in Missouri.

Only two basketball games tonight as the single elimination tournament slowly reduces the 68 team field to four teams after this weekend. There have really been some good ballgames this year if you are a basketball fan, some questionable calls by the referees and some exciting last second finishes.
You might be able to tell I am grasping at straws this morning for something to write about. I've tired of the political scene and understand we have moved into the next Plan B in Democratic Party strategy. It's a long way to November 2020 and I've had enough of the political bullshit I could puke. So the tv stays off the news channels, in fact none of them are even programmed in my tv remote control.

I'll glance at the headlines online but that will be about it.
Stella continued her policy of not getting her feet any wetter than necessary and walked just off the edge of the path. I didn't feel the same saturation I felt this last week on the walk. That was strange because I saw more spots of standing water from the storms last night, which Stella and I walked around.
I had another good day of following my eating plan. I could not wait until Monday morning to see if I had lost a pound or two these past 7-10 days so I hopped on the scale this morning before I did anything. It was nice to see I had dropped two pounds and that is right on schedule for weight loss ... actually the experts tell me to expect to lose 1-1/2 pounds per week. I can live with that.
I'm going to leave you with the photos of the rest of the walk and step away from my computer. I'm not sure what I will be doing today. Due to weather I might be reading a lot today. I think a little 'cabin fever' has set in plus ... the words are hard to find this morning.
Heidi has the best plan of all for surviving a crappy weather day. I still say she is the smartest of all three of us.

It's still good though, in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.

March 29, 2019

The Hounds Start Off Strange

As I start writing this morning the day is a little over 3 hours old for us. Stella was determined to wake my up in the dark as her whine was the loudest I had ever heard as I tried to comprehend what was going on. That isn't the strange start that I am speaking about in the post title though. The normal routine is me turning on the light then BOTH hounds run to the door to be let outside because they know that as they are reliving themselves I am pouring their breakfast kibble into their bowls.
So strange and it had to be a first ... ever. I am at the door having to wait for both of them. For some reason Heidi had sprinted around the corner to the living room and was on the couch, Stella was standing looking at me as if she was trying to figure out why did she have to go outside. Compare this to their normal running to the door ... that is a strange start to the day. It wasn't raining and it was a little after 6am, normal time for them.

It didn't end there.

For some strange reason I was ready to go and wanted to start the walk a little earlier than normal, at 8am. Stella was sitting in the open area in my small house which is next to the kitchen island but right outside my computer room. With her front legs crossed, she didn't have any plans of going anywhere. After all she had not drank her water yet before the walk.
I had to stand at the door, holding it open, telling her to "come on" and could barely get her out of the house. So strange !!!! As I took my daily photo of the field across the highway from my carport step, Stella sat in the middle of the carport and wasn't moving. As I was taking my first step in the field, she was standing at the corner of the house not wanting to go anywhere, acting as if it was raining.

It had rained a little over night but there wasn't standing water anywhere, nor was the yard or field that wet but for some reason she did not want to take the walk this morning. Maybe she didn't like me choosing the time we walk?
After a lot of verbal convincing, she slowly stepped slowly in the yard and it was like she was taking her last steps as she entered the field and walked passed me. I could almost hear her dragging her paws on the ground because she was walk that slow.

It's a good thing when my boots built for snow are used more after rain. Looking back at this past winter here in 'the tropics' we really did have a pretty mild winter. We had very few days of single digit temps and really only one period with some substantial snow but that was it. I might have to check out the Farmer's Almanac and see what the weather prediction for this summer is.
While I enjoyed the warm morning, Stella moved over to the old return path and was on a deer scent. Things had flipped to normal just like that. I was finished with verbal suggestions for her today so I let her go at her own pace as long as she was within my view. I had to stand waiting more than a few times for her to proceed through the walk.

I did not finish watching the Oregon - Virginia basketball game last night. I had seen enough by 11:45 pm and went to bed. There were some pretty good college basketball games last night, a couple of upsets all after an afternoon of watching baseball. I will follow that same routine today ... but I still feel slightly motivated for some reason today.

Besides vacuuming the house and doing some dusting, I might hit the yard after this post and start the process of picking up all the small sticks throughout the yard and add them to my burn pile. There are a ton of them laying in the backyard and front yard all the way down to the highway.
The eating plan still continues to be successful. Every time I wanted something sweet yesterday I ate an apple or a bowl of mixed berries. I buy the large bag of  blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. That solved the urge for something sweet. It was not intended but it turned out to be a "meatless" Thursday. I followed recommended portions on everything I ate except the size of my lunch salad. Those salads have always been large.
I almost forgot, but we had some major excitement yesterday in the 'hood. I heard a pretty loud, low flying helicopter as I was watching baseball. We do have helicopters pass the house but never this loud and never that low sounding ... I headed outside and grabbed the Nikon D3200 sitting on the table.

I was right. As the helicopter was leaving it was barely clearing the tops of both trees down by the highway. Across the highway on the single path road next to the field that leads to the old steel bridge, were two state patrol cars, three and then a few minutes later four county sheriff cars and SUVs.

I have no idea what was taking place. I didn't see anyone apprehended but about an hour after they all left, the local town police pulled into that road and drove all the way down to the steel bridge.

That was the excitement for the day until the end of the Reds baseball game.
As you can see, Stella was in her detailed investigation mode this morning.
I was curious if she would go all the back to the back of the far right corner of the field. She has not been in that area more than once since Sadie left us. It has not been the first time I have thought that Sadie basically took care of and and led Stella on the walk ... getting her to keep moving, to track scent and cover a lot more field than Stella has since last September. Sadie use to sprint to catch up to me, Stella never does.
This is about the best I can do making a panoramic photo of the field, as I stood next to Stella in the southern corner of the field. I can see our path, and have for years, on Google Satellite ... pretty interesting.
It was good to see some small green buds on the bushes in the background ... another sure sign that spring is near.
I want to know what came out of here and where did it go?
have not viewed any tv news since early Thursday morning. The silence is fantastic.
When the camera catches Stella's paw in the air while she is walking, does that show just how slow she is walking ... one step at a time, in slow motion. No time table and definitely no schedule for her.
She didn't stop to look today but did glance over toward the neighbor's house just to make sure things were fine over there.
This morning's strangeness continued as she did NOT check out the corner on the right, nor did she sniff along the edges of the fence line and around each tree. Maybe it is because she heard me tell her "I have to go buy dog food" and decided it was best to get back inside as soon as possible.
own I only closed the door with the baby gate as a backup. I wasn't going to be gone for more than 5-7 minutes.

It was good to feel a dry door knob when I got back because that meant she had not tried to open the door while I was gone. I also commended myself as I walked in and out of the local hardware store with only a 40 pound bag of dog food on my shoulder and not Baby Ruth candy bar in my pocket nor did I stop for a free warm bag of popcorn that they make in an old popcorn popper. All of these activities were finished by 8:35am.

It will be interesting to see if the strange routines from this morning will take place tomorrow morning.

Otherwise, it's a great day for baseball and baseball on tv here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.