Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Very Exciting Day

For a day where nothing was planned the hounds and I had a lot of activity, some excitement and a few answers.

I'm not sure where to start but I can say my first trip outside this morning Sadie and Stella went no further than this before they started heading back inside.

From the overcast skies, their lack of ambition and me not having my morning coffee yet ... it didn't seem like much was going to happen today. I'll give you a hint though ... wind and fire don't mix!!

By 10:30 I had two cups of coffee moving through my system, activating all my nerve endings, getting good blood flow and my brain waking up as those brain cells reacted to the caffeine in my system. It was time for our first walk of the day.

I could still feel the winds kicking up at 10-15mph, it was warm but not uncomfortable. It was going to be a good day.

Stella decided to deviate from the normal path and head to the left ... the far left ... although today she came toward our direction, without hesitation, the few times I had to call her.

She and Sadie met up before the first turn. I didn't see any deer but I could hear tree limbs breaking down in that gully to the right. I was preparing myself to get ready for some great photos ... thinking a deer chase was near.

It certainly looked like the pair was on to something.

No matter how hot the action is, when you have an itch ... you have to scratch it.

As we moved up near the far right corner of the field ... there was no action ... there was no deer chase ... in fact both hounds backtracked their way just to make sure they had not missed anything.

I think this is about as close I am going to get to some nice color this year for fall leaves.

All of us had made the last turn to head home ... when all of the sudden, Sadie took off to the left and was moving in all different directions, faster than my picture taking ability could keep up.

She gave up and decided nothing was there. I glanced toward the house today and I was certain that I did not see that much leaf color yesterday and they might not be there tomorrow with a prediction of rain ... so I decided to capture some history just in case.

As I continued to walk to the house the hounds continued to veer far right. They were on their own path home. Since I was going to back the FJ out, drag out my leaf blowers/vacuums from the shed ... I didn't mind them taking their time on the way home.

I came up with an idea to cover folded down backseats in the FJ, not only to protect them but hopefully to control the amount of dog hair getting on the seats. At first I had a pretty colorful Mexican blanket laid across the back of the seats ... that was until I was looking in closet for a 50' extension cord.

There is sat, in a different closet from the other Mexican blankets ... a blanket with colors that matched the FJ. Since the blanket matched I was now positive I would not be trading it in for a silver one. Later on I confirmed it, because I also found where that strange noise was coming from, that I mentioned over the weekend.

It might not make a difference but I hope to keep the dog hair from getting in between those seats that are folded. Also there is a felt type material on the back of those seats and that material is like a dog hair magnet ... so we will see how that works out.

Of coarse we had to check it out and take short test drive. Sadie was so excited about riding the FJ again she was beside herself with excitement. She practically ran over Stella and jumped over Heidi as she hopped up and down in front of me as we moved toward the FJ.

The short test ride worked out well. Heidi was in the front passenger seat looking out the open window. The two bloodhounds were in the back and within a couple of miles both were laying down.

That was not the excitement of the day though ... remember ... fire and wind?

With the strong winds yesterday from the south instead of the normal southwest .. a lot of leaves had collected along the back of the house and in the small side yard on the north side. I decided with a leave blower I'd blow all of them "with the wind" and eventually get them down close to the highway to let normal traffic flow and southern winds to blow them out of my yard.

The first part worked great ... I had moved a large pile of leaves down along the side of the front yard. Sadie and Stella sat and watched the whole evolution. About the time I started blowing them a little closer to the highway .... for some strange reason I decided to burn them.

I convinced Sadie and Stella they needed to stay inside while I burned the leaves I had moved to the lower front yard. Without that 2nd water hose I had nothing for fire control except a garden rake. I had a plan as I stood in the field to watch the fire progress.

I had been wanting to burn the brush on the north side of the yard for many years but never took the time to do it. So it was good to get the bank cleared along with my small pile of leaves that were in the front yard.

My plan was to walk along the fire line between the field and the brush area and push burning leaves back into the area that was already burned. That was keeping the fire from spreading into the field.

The previous picture and the next picture, I am standing in my front yard facing the direction the fire was moving.

I was able to keep the fire from moving down the bank toward the highway. Although both neighbors burn their banks every spring from their yards down to the edge of the highway shoulder.

It was a little exciting as I was in the middle of the brush fire, pushing the fire line back into the burned area ... at the same time that fire was migrating to my right down the bank slowly toward the highway and also to my left through the trees on the opposite end of the fire, approximately 60'-80' away.

This shows how much the fire moved among the trees along my fence toward the field in back. I was walking in that brush trying to push what burning leaves and brush I could, back into the burned area to keep the fire from spreading with my garden rake. I was also using the old technique of stepping on the fire with my old expensive New Balance shoes that were designated "yard shoes' years ago. All without my water hoses.

That burned area got as far as the right side of the picture below or almost three sections of fence ... opposite direction from the fire moving down the bank toward the highway.

Remember when I spoke of my relationship with 'Murphy's Law" the other day ... maybe yesterday??? well as I was working the fire line .. I pulled my rake through some thick burning brush .... MY RAKE HANDLE BROKE????

So all I had left to control the fire were my shoes. By this time I was almost finished anyway but I still had fire moving toward the highway and in the opposite end 80 feet away toward the field in back !!

So a small pile of leaves, this side of that burned area, that curls out into the yard ... and one match ... with off and on wind gusts ... burned that much area.

There were a few good things that came out of all of this ....

The leaves were gone. That area among the trees I had wanted to burn for 10 years or more was finally burned. The field did NOT catch on fire. I did NOT catch on fire and no passing cars caught on fire .... so all of that was good.

Yet ... the best is yet to come.

Since I was filthy with fire smoke, black fire soot on my legs and a little on my face ... I was dirty enough that I could crawl under my Toyota FJ while it was running with hopes of finding what that 'strange noise' was. The one that I have been hearing off and on for many months.

I also wanted to check out something that I thought might be the culprit of the dash warning lights I spoke of the other day.

The catalytic converters are shot ... wore out. Sometimes the one in front would make a vibrating sound on the inside while the engine idled. From what I have previously read that is also why I have the check engine light. It is also the 'strange noise' I have been hearing sometimes but not all the time.

I was scared it was a transmission noise, so I am glad it's an expensive catalytic converter repair instead of a more expensive transmission repair. If those are bad I am sure the O2 Sensors are bad, thus the reason for the codes the reader found for O2 Senors.

By 2:15pm, I was clean, I had my FJ answers and a new blanket that matched the FJ colors so the hounds could ride in back again and the fire only burned what I wanted it to burn .... plus the hounds were sleeping in preparation of their late afternoon walk.

An interesting, successful day here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. Nice you finally got to the perfect end of your perfect day. HAHAHA
    Having made that much progress on so many things, you deserve a nice break.
    The handle of the rake was probably not the break you had in mind. LOL

    1. After all of this activity I will be taking Wednesday off ... I will not be looking for any new projects.

  2. Oh my goodness! I hate fire!!! Scares the begeebies out of me!

    1. I love fires ... but I have to admit a couple of times I thought I had made a huge mistake lighting that match. By the time I left the fire to put the hounds inside the house and return to the fire ... it was out of control.

  3. I just took the back seats out of my FJ and stored them. Makes for easier entrance/exit for the dogs and more storage behind the front seats. Glad the fire wasn't any worse.

  4. A practical & efficient way to control your ' fur-babies' hair is to frequently brushing them, the hair trapped on the brush is hair that doesn't get on couches, chairs, beds or on the floor.

    1. I think when they get excited being left in the FJ while I am in the store or a friends house make them shed immediately no matter what. Just today I brushed before going over to a friends house. They were left in the car while it rained for about 30 minutes ... when I got back, there was hair and drool everywhere ... excitement.

  5. When you do things, you do tend to go to extremes at times :)

    Love the blanket on the seats.

    I agree brushing their coats at least once per week is a good thing.

    1. See my post from Wednesday night describing what happens when I brush them with a rake and/or a hound mitt.

  6. I haven't trolled the archives, but wasn't there a scorched fence at some point in the past??

    I'm a big wienie compared to you! I use the tractor to scrape down to bare dirt all the way around my burn-pile then stand by with a US Forest Service rated portable fire pump that can suck up the pond and spit it out the fire-nozzle at 120 PSI. (The fire pump gets us the same discount on our homeowners as having a hydrant in the front yard.)

    1. In fact there is a scorched fence on the south end by the driveway. That was when I was too lazy and was burning leaves on the fence line without raking them to the middle of the driveway. I need a tractor!!! :)