July 17, 2020

We're Back With Some Changes

There have been a few changes since I last blogged February 10th. I guess the biggest change is Walter, now 5 months old, purebred bulldog. The 33 years I have had long ears and drool but always wanted a bulldog. Some time in early April "covid boredom" took a hold of me one Saturday afternoon and I started looking. I couldn't find a basset hound puppy available west of the Rocky Mountains and as much as I like bloodhounds I can't handle a puppy. Walter was only 60 some miles away in Tucson.  I drove through some rain, stood more than 6' from the seller and wiped him down when I got home.

I'll post about him in a few days with a bunch of photos of him. Stella claimed him within the hour of his arrival that night. He was her pup and she decided to take care of him. He is smart, funny, energetic at times and likes to sunbathe in the backyard. He plays with the neighbor's puppies, a doberman and black lab the same age. He loves the neighborhood kids as they do him and only goes out the front door when I take out the trash. More about him later in his own post.

While Phoenix and Tucson are setting all-time record temperature highs, we are sitting down here with our normal summer which has moved into Monsoons. It's not a season, it's just monsoons. What that means it can look like this all day and late afternoon the storms blow in with steady heavy rain or a short five minute rain that can flood the streets. The hounds and I have been here 13 months and we still love this place as much as the day we arrived. Oh and it does rain with skies just as sunny and blue as you see.

When the Aerostat is launched there is a pretty good chance that no monsoons will occur that afternoon. This was from early this morning so I guess we are in for a day of sunshine, mid 90's low humidity and nighttime temps in the low 70's. Even with the mandated mask requirement, it's still the best place to hike and bicycle ... masks are not required for those activities.

Stella turned 11 years old last month and looks like a puppy. No grey hair like Heidi has. She has put up with a lot since Walter arrived. She may get fewer naps than she was used to but she loves playing with the puppy. We still get in an early morning walk but I can tell her hips are getting a little gimpy so we will be going back to the supplements she was taking a couple of years ago. Her routine has not changed.

Heidi is somewhere around 11 years old this summer. I picked her up from a rescue service in June 2011 and at the time they thought she was around one and half years old. Some vets out here seem to think she is older than 11 years old. That is her a few days after her surgery a couple of weeks ago. You'll notice that left ear looks a little gray on top but that is where they shaved her ear to cut out the growth that finally poked through her skin, some way. For years I asked vets in Indiana and one out here in Arizona to remove it. All they would do is look at it, squeeze it, rub it and do nothing. Well it's gone now, surgery done by her new vet and the stitches are right behind the fold of her ear so you will never see them.

Another thing he did upon my request when other vets wouldn't ... removed the growth above her front left little toe. It looked like a second toenail but had the texture of a cuticle. When I cut it like a nail it could bleed if I cut it back to much ... well that is gone also.

The biggest disappoint and the main reason she required surgery were her teeth. AGAIN. Last December at her annual checkup, that vet gave her a passing grade and said she had mild gingivitis. I asked them if she needed her teeth cleaned again and they said no, they looked in great shape. Well about a month ago I noticed that Heidi wasn't acting her normal self and made an appointment for her to see the new vet that I was taking Walter to. He found not only a few teeth impacted but at some places you could see the tooth root in the gum. So she had EIGHT MORE teeth removed and within days after surgery was back to her old self. She likes to start her day with some barking and jumping into a 360° spin before heading to the kitchen for breakfast.

Once we moved to Arizona her skin allergies went away. A vet in Indiana a few years ago told me hair would never grow back on those four paws ... as her legs and paws were raw skin from those allergies ... as you can see her coat has never looked better. She also gained all the weight she had lost a few years ago when she was skin and bones.

She was not outside long yesterday afternoon, just long enough to tell her it was too hot outside and she could walk back into her air conditioned bedroom for an afternoon siesta. Notice the growth on the far right toe is gone.

This is a nightly thing with Walter and Stella. They sleep near each other and near the couch. They both find that cold tile is nice to sleep on. I know that Walter is only a puppy but from day one he sleeps where ever he wants in the house without any accidents. He and Stella usually walk into the bedroom around 4am every morning to let me know they would like to go outside to pee. It's too hard to wake them up when I go to bed just for them to do that.

Since a bulldog really doesn't have a nose, Walter will press his whole face into Stella, Heidi, me or the ground to smell. Here he is trying to figure out if Stella will wake up and play with him. She would rather sleep based on what this photo shows.

Lately this is where Stella spends her night sleeping. That usually starts around 7pm.

Walter is just around the corner from Stella and I've left him there many nights in the last five months when I turn out the lights. From the first hour he was here as an eight week old puppy he has always gone outside when he needs to or goes to the door if it is closed. I've had to do very little training for him.

Heidi still has the dog bed I bought her last fall but sometimes in the afternoons she would rather sleep here. Of course that is an area where the air conditioned air hits from the ceiling vent.

This is where Walter sleeps when he gets tired of the living room. That use to be my sleeping bag but he has claimed it as his. Yes .... he does sleep with his tongue sticking out and only opened his eyes right before I took the photo. His hearing is phenomenal and there isn't much he misses even when he is asleep. He is our official watch dog and can go from sleeping to sprinting to the front door in a matter of seconds IF he hears something.

His dad is a huge brindle bulldog but all of that dark color has moved from all over Walter to just down his spine. That reddish 'tan' color on the sides is the same color as his mom. He is laying in the doorway of the computer room. By this time of day he has eaten breakfast usually at dawn, played with or tried to play with Stella and/or me and even by himself and is panting heavy by 8am ... thus the early morning hap on the cool tile floor.

We have a new pet that was free, no charge. I first saw him on one of Walter's blankets inside his crate. Yes I have to crate him while I am gone. I'll cover that in his post later. I thought Walter may have eaten him when I got back that morning until I pulled the shower curtain back to walk into the shower ... there he was. This seems to be his spot as I have seen him every day in that area of the shower curtain. Although yesterday he was out in the open on one of Heidi's blankets laying directly in the sunshine. Once he gets bigger I'll move him back outside on the other side of the fence.

Sunday night I had an alert on my iPhone's Twitter account. I follow Cochise County Fire something ... a lightning strike had started a fire north of Highway 90 just across from the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

They had to bring in the big plane to disburse the bright reddish orange fire retardant to put the fire out. Those trees are on the western side of the San Pedro River with the highway to the right.

This is just north of the highway. For those familiar with the area it burned right up to the gravel parking area between the fence and highway.

These photos were taken early this morning. Notice where the needle is for Fire Danger Today. With monsoons it is still so dry and a lightning strike, a campfire not property put out (currently not allowed) can light off large areas so fast that fire crews are almost overwhelmed by the time they arrive.  This is next to the road on the south side of the highway that goes to the San Pedro House.

You'll notice another recent change ... I'm back into old VWs. I was heavy into those from 2000-2007 and at one time owned four different models and parked them all at the house in Indiana. This is a 1964 VW Panel Cargo Van but someone installed different cargo doors with camper windows. They had started to convert it to a camper until they found their 1965 camper with all the interior. I bought this to use as a panel van but I can and have in the past, camped in a model like this.

Believe it or not the more rust that shows the more valuable they are. Only the previous owner had the body painted the stock color and put the original bumpers back on. To give you some idea about old VW Bus parts ... just the front bumper alone will cost $800-$1000 IF it is straight, no dents.  Rust is even better.

Another reason I liked it enough to buy, it came with brand new BF Goodrich All-Terrain N02 tires ... very handy in this area I live and it has the gearing and power to drive on forest roads and local roads that are not paved. It's rare because it has those two cargo doors on BOTH  sides of the bus. I was cruising 65 mph easy coming out to the San Pedro River to take some photos. No rust rot, solid belly pan that goes from the front to almost the rear wheels.

A few months ago I was riding four to five days per week and getting 100-150 miles. I was feeling so good in May that I wanted to see if I could ride seven days in that week and rode 250 miles. That was also nine out of the previous ten days and over 300 miles for those ten days. I found out that I was not in my 20's anymore ... took a while to recover, then the winds came along with the excuses ... so I didn't ride for almost a month. I did that 30 miles last Monday and felt good doing it.

Technology is pretty amazing. I use a free app called Strava. I can leave my phone at home and click the icon on my watch. While riding I can check my heart rate, my speed and distance along with the local time. When i get home the watch and phone will automatically synchronize and will update my ride into the two local bicycle clubs I have joined. Since I moved here I have ridden the bike 133 times and over 2,500 miles. I took October and most of September off from my hip replacement last September.  Since January 1st I have ridden 51 times for 1,263 miles and a lot of days off.

Yes .... I still like cars and trucks. Yes ... I am trading them like I did in Indiana and even more ... I don't want to tell you how many 'transactions' I've had since moving here but I did make a list the other day. I'm done though. I am at peace with what I have with no urge to buy or even look for something different. Besides I have no more room, there are two vehicles in the garage. :)

The neighbor kids did a little decorating on my sidewalk ... it was the 8 year old little boy that wrote "no masks" on the curb ... I have to agree with him. He also wants to go back to school.

Last night my friend was complaining about the heat in Phoenix as she had just returned from a run. That is 7:59pm Pacific Time last night.

This shows what I was talking about before ... the fire came right up to that parking area for hiking, next to Highway 90 out by the San Pedro River. I forgot to mention the other reason I wanted to buy this. STELLA ... with her hips she quit jumping up into the back of the FJ years ago. I'd have to line her up and then lift her hips to help her climb in the back. With this VW the large cargo floor is low enough she can step up inside with no problem. She already has. That will be better for her trips to the vet and my new hip that I have forgotten all about. A friend reminded me I was not to be doing heavy lifting when she caught me helping Stella into the back of the FJ one day. Hows that for justification for buying the Panel van???  LOL. The seller drove the bus down from Durango Colorado a few weeks ago with no mechanical problems.

News broke in the local paper that "New Wall" was being installed south of us. Since every new 4x4 vehicle I buy, whether old or brand new, goes over the top of Montezuma Pass and 22 total miles of gravel dirt road to Parker Canyon Lake ... I decided to kill two birds with one stone and head south last Saturday Morning. The brand new truck would get initiated and I could have a view from high on their plans of building a new wall. Just to the left of the truck the wall is within eyesight and at first looks like raised land that a train track would be using.

Once I got on top of Montezuma Pass then I could see what their plan was and ... where all those huge trucks were going and coming from. Notice the land they have cleared as their work area to bring in supplies, material, construction offices and personnel. I did find out from someone that knows, all of that wall you see will be tore down and new 30' tall wall will be installed. I hope to eventually to get my truck,
VW or my bicycle on their new road that is next to the wall to take photos and write a post.

Hard to believe with that kind of land but yes .... they are catching people trying to cross there or recently have crossed there due to the poor condition of that older wall. How do you build a wall in Arizona/Mexico temperatures ... turn on the lights and work at night. Photos to follow later on with those lights.

Some time back I sent a deposit to a breeder of basset hounds. It was way before I even thought of buying Walter. In fact I had forgotten I had sent a deposit as I was so far down the list of people wanting their pups. Well a month ago, two months after I got Walter, I get an email telling me that I am getting close to the top of the list of names where I might be getting a puppy to choose in September or this winter ... depending on what size of the litter. As you can see moma basset set an all time kennel record with ten puppies and my name is now on the list to choose which male I want sometime around the first of August and a pickup time of late August.

I will say when I saw their website last year, their basset puppies were the best I had ever seen in my 33  years of having basset hounds. I have never looked for show quality puppies nor did I or do I ever plan on showing bassets or breeding bassets but I do like quality.

Just like cars, trucks, VWs, and bicycles ... I have too many of each. Even hounds. Can I say hounds now since Walter is a dog not a hound??? Well some would think three dogs are too many and four would be out of the question. But old photos in a box show that I've had three basset hounds and a bloodhound when I first moved into the house in Indiana up on the hill. Other photos show that I had two bassets and two  bloodhounds when I brought Stella home. So four is possible ... not logical ... but possible and workable.

It's sad to think but it's fact ... within the next two to three years Heidi and Stella will not be around. When I decided whether to let the breeder keep my deposit and tell her I wasn't interested or "gulp" and take one making it four dogs here at the house ... that fact is one thing I thought about. Walter and the new puppy could grow up together when Heidi and Stella are gone. And ... who knows ... a basset puppy might give Heidi someone to bond with, make her feel younger so to speak. Believe me there is a huge difference between a basset hound puppy and a bloodhound puppy or even a bulldog puppy. Heidi would be more willing to share with a basset hound than she would a larger bloodhound or an obnoxious snoring loudly bulldog.

So out of those ten puppies you see are five males. This breeder tells me at week 4 she will be able to match the personality I want in a basset hound with one in those five. I'll be honest ... I'm looking for a laidback basset hound like Winston was. Males and female basset hounds are different. So we will see what happens and I'll keep updating here on the blog. That was the second question the breeder asked after she asked if I wanted a male or a female when I sent the deposit. "What kind of personality are you looking for in a basset hound."

It looks like I need to do some house cleaning here on the blog. I need to add a dog on the sidebar, add Walter to the Hounds Page, update my bicycles and VWs page with the two 'new' ones I've bought. BTW, they are great investments. I knew about the 'new' Blogger since I do keep a private journal. Since there have been so many changes and it's hot outside most of the day ... I might even change the theme and colors if I get really motivated.

Not sure how often I'll blog ... probably when the urge hits ... but I have a lot of catching up to do so there will be some regular posting for a while. Our city has 53 confirmed COVID cases, that is down from 61 just eight days ago. We have websites that track by zip code. We have a population of a little over 44,000 people.  The mayor weeks ago made it mandatory to wear a mask outside and/or in stores. I forget mine sometimes, at least it's in the car for quick access.

So if you are still around and interested in reading about the hounds, the dog and local trips ... welcome back.

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