Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dogs Adapting and Chasing a Fawn

I read a lot of blogs, some I have listed on my sidebar on the left and most of those deal with RVing and people that travel either full or part time. All of them have been a wealth of information. I have other blogs that I read about sports, dogs, and retirement but not nearly as many as the RV section. Most of these blogs are on my Feedly program.

Today I thought I would start adding some of the blogs that deal with all different kinds of dogs to my sidebar, besides the blog title does mention 'Hounds'. I know there are more than a few blog readers that have a dog or dogs so they might be interested.

A blog I just saw today had a post that hit me square in the head, only these people are not selling everything to live in an RV but they are selling everything and taking their only dog to live on a sailboat.

I think you will find this blog post and comments very interesting. I know in the past I have discussed this exact topic with blog readers and friends with dogs.

A close friend that has traveled many years with dogs and cats has told me many times that my dogs will adapt with no problem as long as they are with me. Then just recently they also told me that hounds are different in their experience, as they knew of a hound traveling that always took off and got away from their owner. The hound would be gone for hours and there was always the chance of it getting lost or hurt by a larger animal. They were concerned about my camping with not only one hound but with three hounds.

In my case, Winston is getting slower by the day and couldn't get away from me if he tried. Sadie and Heidi could since they can run faster than I can. It was Heidi's reputation when I bought her from the rescue service and I was told she had to be leashed at all times. Well over the years I have had her, she has been unleashed under my supervision. She will aways come when called, will stop when I yell if she gets outside the limit and I found out yesterday she will eventually get tired and stop running.

As we were making the turn around the woods on the dog walk yesterday, there stood the most beautiful fawn with a lot of white spots, as shocked as we were. She stood just for a second before turning, bouncing away.

Of course I don't have enough hands to carry my iPhone or a small camera with me, so it's a fabulous photo that I will only have in my head. Heidi took off unleashed in the fastest sprint her basset legs could take her, baying all the way. Sadie took off in a sprint only to be suddenly stopped 25' feet away because of the retractable leash. It was great to see the leash worked as advertised, it could handle a 100# dog.

Winston was leashed but he is walking one step at a time, nose to the ground and didn't see anything .... missed it all.

I continued to walk, not run and was curious how far Heidi would chase the fawn. The mother of the fawn was nowhere to be seen. I knew the fawn would probably run down into the wooded gully off to the right and I was hoping Heidi would not go that far but stay within the field. The gully is too steep for me to be chasing a hound on the loose. It is also has thick brush and woods so it would be hard to walk through. At the corner of the field/gully, she stopped, still baying. She had ran out of gas.

She came when called and the 4 of us continued the walk.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Do you REALLY want to do this?"

As you see from the blog title changing twice within four days, I've come a full circle from a couple of months ago. At that time I had decided to stop this blog, start a 2nd blog to talk about retirement life in general, since I was not traveling. I then decided for convenience to my readers and to myself to merge back to one blog about a month ago.

This blog is like one big broken record, around around we go, what I do nobody knows.

From my last post on Sunday you see I've been looking at trailers to buy again. I've also looked at all the different kinds of RVs, except truck campers ~laughing.

While I am shopping again, I am hesitant to write updates about my search because I don't want to put everyone through the agony that I have put my readers through the past year or so while looking and discussing different rigs.

I just don't want to go through the roller coaster ride of trying to decide what to buy and driving readers insane doing it.  The fact is I am just as confused recently on what to buy as I have been for two years. Some days I feel like packing the tents, the camping equipment and the hounds and head west to tent camp for a while or at least take a road trip.

With below average temps locally and a "polar plunge" in the forecast it's hard to decide to leave that kind of weather here in the "tropics" of southern Indiana and drive toward western states that have above average temperatures. This summer weather has not only been different but very livable.

Some readers have emailed me telling me once again to keep my house as a base camp until I spend time on the road with the hounds and see how things work out. I can do that and still attempt to fill the wandering urge I have. I am pretty sure of one thing and that is I don't want to spend another winter here in the land of snow and ice.

Sunday night while discussing different rigs with a friend via email, she brought up an interesting question. She has been on my rollercoaster ride for a couple of years since I have asked her a million questions over the years. She had asked this question before more than a year ago but asked again Sunday night.  It left me thinking about it.

"Do you REALLY want to do this?"

That's a valid question and one that has been thought about. Over the past 15 years I have gone through a lot of different cars and trucks. Buying them and trading them with NO hesitation. In some cases I didn't keep most of them for two years and a few less than a year. Spending money on other things was not a problem. There was always a little analysis and research before making the purchase but all purchases were made fairly quickly.

When I decided to move 20 years ago it was almost on a whim. I've been here every since, partly because of the jobs I had. My whole life I have made changes in locations, employment, cars, trucks etc and never, ever took this much time in deciding what to buy. So why can't I "pull the trigger" on a decision to buy a rig of some kind??

We both went through some questions back and forth to try to find where the root of my indecision might be.

Would money be a reason?

I'm not sure, I have enough but I don't want to buy something new and use a lot of my savings account to do it. If I sold my house I would buy something with cash and a rig between old-new, if you know what I mean. I must admit when I decided a year ago that I would most likely retire in May 2014 I had to decrease spending and I have done that so far in my 3+ months of retirement. I stopped buying things on impulse sometime last year during my downsizing. So maybe the dollar plays a part of indecision.

Any fears where you think you can't do this type of traveling?

I love to travel. I love moving down the highway, whether it's a 4 hour trip or a cross country trip. I love to drive and I love to see different parts of the USA. That is the point of RVing, slowing down enough to stop and see what I have driven though over the years at a high rate of speed without taking the time to look around. My cross country bicycle trip comes to mind and how much I enjoyed pulling into a new place while on the road.

I have no doubts I can do that type of camping/traveling. Even though I owned the Class C for only a short time over the fall/winter, I was able to learn how all the RV systems operated, how to winterize a rig, and how to fix truck stuff that broke. So I don't believe any kind of fear is involved in my indecision.

Can you RV and live on your income?

A couple of years ago to not only answer questions I had like this one but also to see if I could afford to retire, I set up an excel spreadsheet listing all expenses and income that were known at that time. I did estimate for instance fuel expense at $4/gl gas, 6,000-8,000 miles driven per year and based on my FJ's mpg, it was roughly 24 cents per mile towing a small trailer. Each option had it's own columns. I had columns for current, retirement no travel, keep the house and travel, sell the house and travel...columns for selling each car, etc.

In all cases I could afford to RV and live on my income. I also added a fudge factor into the analysis because I knew I might spend a little more than planned and I still had money left over every month.

Can you keep the house and RV?

I can keep the house. I'd prefer not to rent the house nor would I like someone housesitting, so it would sit empty while I was gone. Water turned off going to the house. I do not have a furnace but baseboard electric heat all controlled with individual thermostats in each room.

Basically the numbers show that whether I live on the road or live at home, its about the same cost to do either, in fact the only difference is a few hundred dollars.

I assume from those answers, money is not an issue in my indecision. I have had a local friend tell me that I have turned into a 'tightwad' with my money since I started downsizing last year and that might be true. I hate the thought of losing what I have saved and I wonder if I will need a large sum of cash for any future emergencies that might happen.

So maybe she is right when she says "you may not want to do this bad enough to buy a trailer or a motorhome.

I don't know.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Trailer Shopping Again

Well with temps up today in the "tropics", I have spent all day inside on the computer looking at trailers for sale. My breaks come from letting the hounds out at their request, after all I am their doorman. I've noticed one thing since a year ago, prices have gone up on used trailers, Class C's or older A's.

I've covered about every site that has something for sale, first locally and then any distance. It's interesting that for the past couple of months, the man that sold me the 2003 Coachmen as a 2004 has been trying to sell a very nice Gulfstream BT Cruiser. I've seen it online for a while now. Recently he has re-listed it on Craig's List in a different city and has lowered the price. Today he listed it on RVT for $4,000 more than the Craig's List shows, still lower than the original sales price.

Too bad about our history that almost turned ugly via email. It's a really good looking BT and even has a rear walk around bed.

I've been on a few forums also today, asking questions, discussing different options ... combined with catching all my sports news on twitter, and emailing a couple of friends back and forth. That is about all the muti-tasking I do anymore. It's all good.

There isn't the perfect rig to buy, never will be. I've discussed that here before with many of you. You just buy what you like, make some modifications as you go and sometimes close your eyes when you write the check.

Today of course after opening the eyes and hitting the first cup of strong coffee ... new ideas show up. I take most commenter's suggestions seriously because most of them have hands on experience in traveling with their different type rigs. So I consider those suggestions also. I have a friend that changes their mind as much as I do. We are thinking it's a commitment issue when it comes time to making a decision what to buy. Then once it's bought, we don't keep the rigs long.

Maybe that is what it is. Who knows.

Well other than that, it's been a pretty slow Sunday here in the country. Good breezes but not much to cut the humidity today. Cool enough though the keep the AC turned off and that is always a good thing when it's this late into the summer. I have a couple of shows on Sunday night that I like to watch, so I guess those will be the highlight of the day.

After those are over, I'll be back online looking at different rigs late into the early morning hours.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dinovite Dog Food Supplement

Dog Food Supplement
When I rescued Heidi 3 years ago from Guardian Angel Basset Rescue her paperwork showed that she was being given medication monthly for allergies. At the time I picked her up her skin and coat were in great shape and no signs of raw spots, chewing nor hot spots.

Within a couple of months she was back to chewing her skin again around her feet, to the point of making the skin red and raw. I had taken all the paperwork to my vet the first few days I had her so her medications could be added to her record.

Over the years I noticed that most of her allergies were not food related but seasonal. I have always fed what was rated as high grade dog food, always tracked the ingredients and a few times went to 'no grain' food to see if that would help her.

It didn't seem to make any differences in quality of dog food, the allergies would show back up. The back of her back legs would become swollen, red and in some spots raw. For about a year, the previous medication worked in the pill form. Eventually those pills stopped doing anything so the vet recommended shots. Those also worked very well for a while for a year or so but by this past spring, the shots were not lasting for more than a week instead of a month as they had before.

I didn't see how giving her that many shots or pills over the period of years could be good for her. So, after some searching on the internet, reading some basset forums, reading the manufacturers website along with comments on their FAQ page. I googled for reviews which led me to Amazon customer reviews, all highly ranked ... I decided that Dinovite food supplement might be worth a try. It came with a 100% money back guarantee.

The cost spread over 90 days was much cheaper than the $18 dollar office visit every month in addition to the cost of the shot, that was also a plus.

I was willing at the time to try the full 90 days to see if it would work. Since all dogs are different, dog food is different for different dogs, the manufacturer suggested that it might take the full 90 days to show any kind of improvement.

I started on Day 1 following their instructions and for the first 14 days I didn't see any improvement but her skin condition around her feet and stomach was not getting worse. Could I consider that as sign that the product was working?

It wasn't the supplement that started to irritate me but the company stock emails from 3 different people saying all the same thing. They suggested the food I was feeding was not good enough and that I should go to Dog Food Adviser to see where my food ranked and/or find a different food. I explained to them in a reply email that I have used Dog Food Adviser for the past 8 years, deciding what to buy when I did think of switching dog food. I also let them know the dog food I was using was not only rated 5 stars out of 5 stars but I was already feeding her 'no grain' dog food.

From the replies from the customer service department it didn't sound like they had read one word of my email. I felt my blood pressure rising as I read their reply.

After going through their website's FAQs, customers were asking the same questions I was and they were getting the same 'standard company' reply. I started to get a bad feeling about this company.

From comments on their site, from other hound forums and replies to my own emails the general direction they suggested seemed to head to ... no matter how highly rated your dog food wasn't good enough, all of us should consider going to a 'raw' diet that consisted of raw hamburger, hard boiled eggs shells and all and white rice then add in THEIR product for the Omega's 3 and 6 along with the supplement I was using now. They stated it was the carbohydrates and grains that caused most allergies in dogs.

I asked myself ... why not pollen? Why not the same environment things here in the Midwest that cause my own allergies to increase?

Do you see where this is going?

Well I emailed a question about them adding rice to THEIR raw diet recipe because in all their other information they were saying that any kind of grains (white rice) was not good and was one of the leading causes for my dogs problems.

What kind of reply did I get for that question?

You wouldn't believe it ... the same standard company stock answer!!!  To check Dog Food Advisor so see if the dog food I was using was highly ranked and good enough.

By this time I am getting pissed. One of their customer service reps was replying and by her answers you could tell she either had not read a word I said or wasn't paying attention. Two days later I received similar company stock answers from 2 other people in their company.

So as a warning to the pet owners that read this blog that may be interested in using the product ... their Customer Service Dept simply sucks! I'm trying to be "politically correct" when I say that.

I found other readers making comments on their site saying they had used all the recommended products in addition to the 90 day supply of supplements and after 90 days their dogs showed zero improvement. Those commentators were receiving the same answers I was getting.

Like any other company there is always a difference in opinion, so there were other pet owners that raved about the products.

So I requested a return authorization number and received it. I also can use the product for 90 days and then if I am still not satisfied I can mail them back my empty box for a 100% refund as long as they receive my package within 180 days from the date of purchase.

So as a test, after 18 days of using the product and not seeing improvement but not seeing her condition worsen, I stopped the supplement for 6 days. Her condition quickly changed to raw skin, chewing her feet and the back side of her ankles were swollen and red. Is it due to not giving her the supplement or a change in weather conditions?

I decided to ignore the emails I had received, ignore the customer service people I didn't care for and just focus on the product ... nothing else.

I started giving her the product again a few days ago and will monitor the conditions to see if they  improve. If they don't, then I will have to decide whether to go the full 90 days using the product or mail the product back now for a refund.

It's disappointing. I was really hoping the product would work and I could stop the shots she would be taking. I also felt I should be seeing some sort of improvement after just 14 straight days, but didn't.

For those readers that have emailed me asking for updates, I can either email you as I go along or wait another 30 days before I post about it again.

I forgot to add that Winston and Sadie both eat the same food as Heidi with no sighs of issues with their coat or skin. Also Heidi's problem is only around her feet, back of her back legs and at times her stomach.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Somewhat of a Quandary

As a recent blog post said, I've been feeling pretty content with retirement living and where I am. I am not quite through my 4th month of retirement and I have yet had any feelings of boredom. It just doesn't matter to me what I do or don't do during the day. I enjoy every day.

Even while enjoying one of the coolest Midwestern summers that I can remember ... I'm restless.

Can a person be content and restless at the same time?

Most of the days and nights you will see my house windows are open. No air conditioning is needed. The yard is always mowed, the weeds are winning the war on the gravel drive, the rains come at the right time and just enough to keep the yard green. This is the first time in a long time that I can remembering needing to mow my yard every week in the month of July here in the Southern Tropics of Indiana.

With me not being a big TV watcher, I have a lot of time to think, analyze and have information to look at during the evenings. That is where the "somewhat of a quandary" comes in.

After saying over and over that I cannot travel with 3 hounds that are bred with "wandering noses" ... I realize that no matter what I do, they will adapt. In fact will probably adapt faster than I will.

After going back and forth for the past 2 years I am finding no joy in doing the same thing every day over and over, month after month. Even year after year. I cannot see myself doing this in the future for the rest of my life.

I know the best vehicle for hounds and I to travel in, if I decide to travel is the Class A, 29' - 31' in length, towing my FJ, with my Mtn bike racked on the back. Yet I've always feared the repair costs of an older rig, in addition to being a Class A MH so to me that is not an option.

I know personally I could live in a 17' trailer comfortably, towed by my Toyota FJ if it were just me, but the hounds come into play. Still, at times I think this combo would work as long as I used a 10'x10' PaHa Que tent as a sleeping room for the hounds during the day and a shade room for me during the days of good weather.

I like the house I live in, I don't mind the area and everything I need medically is nearby ... I'm also close to the campus town I love. Yet, like I stated a few weeks ago ... it's a great place but there is just a gut feeling that it's time to go and find new places.

As far as the house, it's low maintenance and according to my expenditure spreadsheets that cover the past 11 years, the cost of any kind of repair has been low. On the horizon though is a new roof within the next 5 years, new flooring inside due to age, maybe some new windows after 40 years of winter wear. Not only the costs for all of that is more than I want to spend on an older house but it seems that no matter how hard I try to keep up with the requirements of home ownership ... it never ends, as I am always having to do something.

So where's the quandary in that? Whether to sell or keep it with added costs just around the corner.

I've downsized enough the past year to where it would not be too hard to sell or pack what I do not want to travel with. I could keep things I may need in the future if I were to set up a new base camp. After all it's all paid for but is that stuff worth the cost of storage?

As the hounds and I walked through the field tonight, I kept thinking how nice it would be to wake up tomorrow morning with a cup of coffee outside with mountains on the horizon instead of corn and soy bean fields across the highway. I remembered how cold it's going to get this winter and wishing I were in Borrego Springs for a few weeks or months during the snow and ice.

Yes, everything here is good but that feeling deep inside me, to wander, keeps eating at me.

A New Google Plus Account

You probably saw where my blog on the right side did some changing. I was in the process of making my blog email (houndsnrvs@gmail.com) my primary blogger address, one that I would log in with. In that process I deleted my Google+ account that was under iubhounds@gmail.com

The only way to move Google+ to the other email was to delete the first account. That deleted the 47 Google+ Followers I had. Hopefully I can contact them and have them re-follow under my new Google+ account.

Sorry for the mix up. I will write more later as far as an update. Nothing major has happened, nothing is going on outside of my last post only July 9, but I do have some new thoughts.

In the meantime I will be updated the Google+ account that I have moved to.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I Love Retirement

Return Path To The House In The Upper Left Corner
I love doing nothing or anything that I choose to do. It is a huge pleasure to be away from the life of a job that turned into nothing but days full of meetings and enough Power Point slide presentations that make me hate the words "Power Point". There is nothing I miss about working. Sad to say, but not even the people. I no longer have the "blues" on Sunday nights and most of the time my iPhone has to show me what day it is because I lose track of the days.

I will admit the days go by extremely fast being retired.

I had no doubts that I would enjoy retirement when I was trying to decide the past year on what to do, but I did think at times I might have second thoughts about the decision but only for financial reasons. A "workaholic" friend of mine that retired a couple of years before me, told me in March 2014 that "You will miss the income but you'll love the freedom you have everyday". Just a day shy of 3 months since my last day at work, I agree with part of his comment.

I haven't really thought about the difference in income because I haven't noticed it. Before leaving work I adjusted my budget, sold some assets and basically the "net" income is about the same because I decreased debt. I also made some adjustments in areas of what I bought on impulse and the number of times I go out to eat. It wasn't hard to do. I do agree with what he said about the new found freedom. There is nothing better.

Since I am basically a 'homebody' I have also noticed that I am spending much less than anticipated in gasoline. Since not doing even a short 25 mile round trip to work 20 times per month, that has made a difference in the gas expense.

So I must say I am very happy with the new freedom I have. I do not miss one thing about my past work experience. Zip, nada.

After my big burst of motivation over the weekend and getting a few things done, I spent Monday recovering some slight soreness and watched one thunderstorm after another. I did a lot of reading but like I mentioned before I am only reading one book at a time. Tuesday was another day of passing thunderstorms but by Tuesday night it was nice, low humidity and temps in the mid-70's. It has really been a nice mild spring and summer in the "tropics" of southern Indiana. I've been kicking back these last three days.

I've had my satellite internet for a couple of weeks now. It is as fast as advertised. It also has NOT dropped offline even during the storms. I didn't think it would but after reading various reviews online by customers you would have thought there was not any kind of a chance to have good consistent and fast internet service with a satellite dish. Maybe it's my location, who knows but at least at this address I would have to give Exede Satellite Internet Service an A+.

I've had my Verizon cell phone service the same amount of time. It's the little things I like about Verizon after being an AT&T customer for 15 years or more. Two things come to mind in the differences between service where I am located (rural area). One is better customer service over the phone or on their online chats. In fact there is no comparison. Verizon customer service wins going away. Second, my calls are much more clear and a stronger signal. Having that stronger signal is strange because in the middle of the second field behind my house is one large AT&T tower.

I am also happy that I did not wait and spend more money than I needed to for the iPhone 6. It will be a nice new toy from what I have read but all I really want is a phone, some email, texting and a little internet but not much. Verizon gave me 10Gb's for their basic plan where AT&T have me 3Gb for data. I rarely came close to that 3Gb's. The extra can be used if i ever get close to the monthly 15Gb allowance on the Exede internet per month.

It has also been a few weeks since I decided AGAIN that I would not do any major traveling over a period of months with 3 hounds and 2 hands. I've had the same response as I did in the past when I made similar decisions. That response being, a feeling of contentment, happy where I am and enjoying things I had forgot about in the daily routines.

I am finding out it's ok if I spend all day and night, look back on it and realize I didn't do a damn thing that day. Much like the lives of my 3 hounds. I can come and go as I please, take siesta's if needed, wash my Mini Cooper now and then, mow the yard once per week and have some ice tea while I see my old comrades flying to work at a high rate of speed on the highway in front of my house that is a 100' down the hill.

My Cincinnati Reds have snuck back near the top of the division, only 3.5 games out of first. Their starting pitching is strong but their lack of a bench may be their downfall by the end of October. Just as in past years, I have noticed anytime I turn them on tv bad things happen. They don't win a lot of the games I watch on tv, so if I see they have the lead online I am hesitant to turn on the tv in the last 3 innings for fear that "I" would be the cause of them losing their lead. Other Red's fans on Twitter state they have the same illness, so it's just not me that had the black cloud hanging over them while watching Reds baseball.

College football is less than 60 days away and Pro football will soon follow a few weeks later. I love those two sports  but it will be interesting to see if my diet goes back to chips, salsa, sandwiches and Pepsi once those games are on my tv screen. I hope not, I want to keep the weight I have lost .. off.

I'm big into watching the Tour de France. Not only the racing but the viewing of the different European landscapes and towns is fantastic from the air. They show the race live every morning but I usually catch the tape at noon. Unless you have raced or know bike racing it is hard to watch. It looks like there are just a bunch of men riding a bike through the country side, when there is so much more going on and at a high rate of speed, 35-50mph. So that will keep me occupied for the next 3 weeks as it does every year at this time.

The hounds are good. Heidi is battling her normal allergy rash where it is bad enough for monthly shots. This month I decided enough is enough. I don't like shooting that many meds into my hounds so i have found a organic supplement from Dinovite.com that I am optimistic about after 6 days of use. I am hoping this organic supplement eliminate the needed allergy shots.

Winston is battling older age and hot weather. He walks are slower than slow, one paw at a time. I've been letting him walk off the leash and as he falls behind us, he is smart enough to break off at the 1/2 way point and then head up the path that we will be returning on. Wagging his tail as the bloodhound, the other basset and I walk down the slight decline. The photo of that path is the background photo of my Google+ account. He seems in great shape but has that lower back flares up at times where its hard for him to get up a couple of steps into the house.

Sadie is just Sadie ... nothing bothers her and she is in a world of her own. She has been more demanding though for a late night session of fetch inside, with her 3 different Kong Balls. She will actually bring the ball back to me and has never been taught how to fetch. When she is done with the fetching, she is soon fast asleep in the deep snoring state for the rest of the night.

Retirement life is good ... and I also do NOT watch the news ... can't do anything about it and it only tics me off when I do watch a couple of minutes of it.

Heading out for the daily hound walk.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

It's a Holiday Weekend But I Got a Lot Accomplished

As usually is the case with me, I don't have written plans for each day. I might have some things in my head that I am wanting to do but let me tell you, I hop all over the place once I get started. Luckily this weekend I finished what I started before moving on to a different project.

Yesterday I had my very first Craig's List sale. I probably gave those spare BMW Z4 rims away but I was to the point I didn't care ... get 'em out of here. I had an offer when I woke Saturday morning, I agreed to it over coffee and the buyer drove 75 miles to get here and took them away by 1pm. In the mean time I had decided I was going to trim one of the large plants on the north side of my house. I am not sure what it is, at times it will show medium size pink flowers. Anyway I trimmed it ... better than burning it to the ground like I did 17 years ago by accident.  lol

With the 100' electrical cord stretched out across part of the front yard, I decided on the spur of the moment to go ahead and for the first time, trim the Yews that I planted a couple of years ago. It was much easier than I had imagined.

Since I was on a roll, I decided to get rid of the 3 spruces on the south edge of my property. Last year my neighbor (no brains), caught my bank on fire (100' long) and in the process burnt the south side of my 4 spruce trees. He claimed when I asked, that he knew nothing about it and had no idea how that could have happened. It's a long story that I will not go in to, but here are a couple of photos from last year after they were fried. In the 2nd photo noticed the burnt grass close to my pickup truck. From that point to the base of the bank is 15' ... must have been a heck of a wall of fire.

April 2013
I had hoped when I saw some new green growth last fall, that all of them were in the process of making a comeback but by this May all of them had died. They turned brittle and brown. I tried to help them last fall and this spring with water and fertilizer but without success.

November 2013
I cut all of them down to ground level and tossed them on the pile to be burned in the fall with all the other brush, tree limbs etc.

That was my Saturday. I was in the mood to do that type of stuff so I thought I'd better take advantage of my surprising motivation while I had it.

My CL buyer was running a little late, so I backed the FJ and Mini Cooper out from the carport, floor brushed out what dirt had collected from the winter and spring winds. I stretched out my hose and did one of my favorite things ... hosed down the concrete getting everything clean. There is just something about high pressure water getting dirt out of concrete that I enjoy ... weird ... similar to watching the grounds crew at professional baseball games hosing down the infield dirt before the game.

Sunday morning while drinking coffee I decided I would take down my old tv antenna and steel pole that had been mounted to the north side of the house trim next to the crown of the roof. That antenna (worked perfect pre-HD tv days) and pole probably had been there for 40 years.

At first I thought I would dismantle it from the top, first taking the antenna off the pole while I stood on the roof and then unhooking the U-bolts holding the pole stationary to the house trim. I imagined after all of these years the antenna being there, that the pole must be in concrete. After climbing up to the roof I decided that wasn't the way to do it. I unscrewed 4 nuts to take off the U-bolts off the wood it was mounted to, told Sadie to get out of the way and gave it a shove away from the house. The pole was in the ground deep enough it barely moved but did sway a little bit. It moved enough to get away from the house where I could pound, pry and anything else to get those two pieces of wood off of the trim.

It was quite a "gun decked" piece of work by whoever installed it.  After climbing down the ladder, I was able to pull with the coax cable, hard enough to get the antenna and pole leaning toward me. As I kept pulling, I realized the pole was not set in concrete like I thought it was but after all of these years, was only buried in the ground. Easy stuff.

I disconnected the antenna from the pole, dismantled the antenna and broke it down enough where it will be taken away by my garbage collector Wednesday with no problems. I am going to cut up the steel pole and take it to the recycling center this week.

That led me to sanding, priming and painting that top center end piece of my house trim. While waiting for the primer to dry I remembered my mailbox pole also needed painting. So I primed that, then waited to apply two different coats of paint to the mailbox pole and house trim.

By the end of Sunday afternoon, I had taken down the antenna, a 30' steel pole, painted the north end house trim, the mailbox pole, the gray utility boxes up next to the house the same color as the house. I did this while managing a psychotic bloodhound that wanted out every time I left the house but wanted back in the house as soon as I would get to my ladder on the opposite side of the house. She's crazy!

A successful weekend ... except what is waiting for me under the house.  It's suppose to thunderstorm on Monday and Tuesday so it looks like Wednesday before I can get under the house to finish that project dragging out 40 yr old insulation (it was legal then) and spraying and killing any visible mold. After that will be laying 1000 square feet of 6 mil plastic on the dirt floor. I don't have to craw under the house, the crawlspace is deep enough that I can stand bent over. Still I can stand and not having to craw on my hands and knees to remove the insulation.

During all of these hours of doing house stuff this weekend, I thought of what it would be like with no house duties lurking around the corner. Do you get bored hanging out in beautiful country? I know you can move when you get bored but I just wonder how those days traveling would be spent, camping in one spot day after day. I may have a hard time getting started on projects but once I do, I enjoy them more than sitting around like I have the past couple of months just reading books or looking at the computer. Makes me wonder.

I do have 'hitch itch' though and nothing to travel in.

The hounds and I are waiting for the temperature to fall a few degrees before the daily dog walk. It looks like it might be one of those 8:30pm walks since we are back into the 80's today. They aren't really waiting, they are sleeping but will be excited when I say the word "walk" after they wake up.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Smooth Blog Merger

The merging of the two blogs went pretty smoothly until I made a major mistake and didn't back up my old blog. It was simple to transfer the newer blog posts and comments, by exporting them and importing that file into the old blog. It even sorted them by date without changing any formats of the older blog. I chose the option of posting the new blog posts automatically.

The mistake was made when I didn't back up my old blog, then tried something different for the blogs I follow on the left side. I thought I would have 'traveling bloggers' and a separate section for 'retirement bloggers' that I had moved from my new blog. It looked ok but I decided to even merge them into one section because it would be hard to see both sections due to the amount of blogs I have added.

With a quick glance I thought I had the correct section that I wanted to delete but I didn't see that the newest section 'retirement bloggers' was at the top when I added the gadget. So without a blog backup, I deleted all of the blogs I have been following for 2+ years, of people RVing. It took a while but with the help of other blogs I follow and using their blog lists I remembered most of them I think. Other's I found by typing their blog names and having my browser memory bring them up automatically.

I think this is a good move getting back to one blog. It will be easier for the readers, myself and will follow what I said I was going to do last month ... blogging about the three subjects in the title. Which you will notice I did a slight change to the blog title.

One post that you may not have seen on my other blog, will show why I have had a hard time trying to decide over the years to move, sell out, stay part of the year, etc. This blog post and photos will give you a good idea what at times I have a hard time deciding what to do.

You can read about it here: Some things that keep me here.

I will say I have not looked at any RV sites recently nor Craig's List for something to buy ... but I have thought about traveling off and on. With only 2 hands available and the DNA of the hound breed, I still feel it would be too hard to travel with 3 hounds.

Tonight on the daily walk was a good example as 3 deer hopped out of the woods that border the field we walk through, totally unexpected, while Sadie and Heidi came close of pulling both leashes out of my hands as they were taking off to catch the deer. Even when I held them, I could almost feel the retractable leash break with the strength that Sadie was pulling. The leash held up but it was a struggle to keep 2 of the hounds from breaking away. Winston in the mean time was walking his slow pace and with eye allergies I don't believe he saw the deer.

Still, some short trips will be made locally with the hounds.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thinking of Migrating Back to One Blog

It looks like what I wanted to do worked and it was a simple process. So there are some new posts, in date sequence and for those that have not read them, if you are interested, keep scrolling down and you will see them. They will continue to the second page.  

Some of you may know that I started a second blog not quite a month ago. I was planning to stop blogging here completely but I still post on occasion when it deals with 'rvs' or 'hounds' .. lately mostly hounds. Originally I was going a whole different direction with the other blog and no connection to this blog.

That whole different direction never happened.

What did happen, I started writing about life in general. From the comments, some emails and some added followers, on that blog I saw where some of my readers here moved over there ... some, reading both blogs because I continue to blog here on occasion.

That seemed to be working out ok until a few minutes ago after I had finished getting caught up on my blog reading. I started thinking why have two blogs with similar readers, in some cases the same readers. Sure, some people that are retired are not into the RV lifestyle but there are some RV followers here that are retired and might find some of the new blogs I follow interesting, some retirement information or even some of the every day mundane stuff that goes on here in the "tropics" of southern Indiana enjoyable to some.

There are some blogs I follow where they travel part time, maybe only a few months out of the year and the rest of the time they are blogging from home. A few have retired from the road, but they keep blogging and it's enjoyable to read what they are doing, even if it local travel.

Even with everyday mundane activities going on, the mind and subconscious is still working and in my case that is always a dangerous but interesting thing to see. At times it has become a pretty enjoyable read to some.

So what I might be doing the rest of the night is migrating some of the posts from my other blog over to this blog. I will have to read some blogger help section or google questions, to see if I can do what I want to do. If I can't, I'll post some of the posts from the other blog over to this one, in the same sequence as I wrote them. I'll just schedule them to post daily starting tomorrow until I'm caught up.

I've posted 15 times over there.

This will keep it simple for readers, simple for me, simple for the hounds and simple for my Google+ profile.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Back to Reading Books

Maybe it was weather dictated. Maybe it was the problem under the house. Maybe it was just an urge to do something I had not done in a very long time... reading books.

Before the internet I use to be a huge book reader.

After a few trips under the house to view and start the removal of mold, I lost enthusiasm for that job quickly. The outside temps were really hot and the humidity was even higher. I had bought everything I needed and started the process. The thought of that "itchy" pink fiberglass insulation that needed to be removed also was a 'buzz' kill. I'll post later on the whole removal process, hopefully with some photos. Now, I will just say the mold issue is not as bad as I was led to believe by the words of the internet dish installer. It should be an easy fix and nothing to be concerned about.

Last week sometime, I decided early evening I would get off the computer for a while and read an old ebook that I had in my kindle app on my iPad and iMac. I had started this ebook more than a couple of times in the past years, but like with all other books I had bought at the store, I would read a few pages and then never finish. Consequently I have a whole "library" of books sitting around that I want to read and now probably will after finding my old hobby of reading.

That night I couldn't stop reading. This book is the first in a series of five mysteries. They are all easy reads and I finished that first book in a few hours of reading. I had to force myself to go to bed to keep from starting the second book. I'm a night person and at times I could stay up all night without a problem, especially if I have something to do.

I basically have spent every day and night since starting that first book, reading these books. I have not stopped and picked up a different book to read at the same time like I had in the past. I read just one book at a time. I did take a break from reading one day because I needed to buy something out of town.

I had to make a trip to Bloomington for some 6 mil 10'x100' visqueen plastic for the crawlspace dirt floor so I can replace the original that had been destroyed over the seventeen years I have lived here. That may be part of the problem under the house. It was something a blog reader suggested and something I had not thought about. Right after my return home though, I was back into the reading.

Along with the high temperatures and very high humidity, I didn't want to spend that time outside working under the house ... so I continued to read throughout the day, take an occasional nap whenever I felt like it. The hounds and I would take the daily dog walk around 9pm due to the hot temps. When we got back, I'd pour a tall glass of water and get back to reading. As of today I am into the fifth and final book of the Bud Shumway series.

Today the temperature has dropped to the high 70's and the humidity is back down into the 50% range ... still, right after this post, I'm going back to finish the fifth book of the series. I have emailed the author and she is wrapping up the sixth edition, that will be available soon. The link above is just for the kindle editions so if you are into the paperback versions, you can do a search on Amazon for the "Bud Shumway Series" and all the options will show up.

That is nothing more than an Amazon link as I am not an affiliate, trying to increase my commissions.

I have a lot of other books that I have bought in the past that were never read. Anything from athlete's biographies, dogs, travel, financial and food. I look forward to reading them as well. That brings up the question about what is preferred, electronic books or the hardbacks you can buy online or at the local book stores. I believe right now, I like both. There is something about reading a hardback book and at the same time it's pretty neat to have a lot of books loaded in my kindle app on my iMac, iPad and iPhone.

I am becoming more and more comfortable with my retirement lifestyle. I realize that I am doing what I pictured years ago when I would ask myself "what would you do if you retired and stayed here?". Basically my weekends have turned into an everyday style. I comfortable with what I am doing and the changes from those days that I worked a job. I have no urge to go running back to any kind of job. I have lost not all, but a lot of my urge to travel since I have come to terms that my hounds are not "camping compatible" based on their breed. That is another story in itself.

So, things are pretty slow here in rural southern Indiana, but enjoyable.