Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stella Plans Her Day

With the field across the highway planted, the hounds and I had a full day of activity ahead of us. It was suppose to be hotter today than yesterday and it's almost perfect weather this time of year.

Stella started her day, thinking and trying to get her plan together.

While Sadie did a little early exploring through the wet grass as coffee was brewing inside. It looks like part of the field near the backyard is growing by the hour ... a winter full of great bloodhound fertilizer makes the grass grow faster.

I was tired of getting my feet wet the past few mornings, so this morning I put on my hiking boots and set the New Balance running shoes (yard shoes) off to the side.

Stella got so deep into the thorn bushes that the long vines were sticking to her as she tried to back out. She didn't notice them and kept on charging. In the meantime my arms and legs are showing signs of thorn cuts after I climbed up and around the bank yesterday cutting those 1"-2" saplings.

I could tell that Sadie was pretty locked into scents this morning but didn't know just how much until we turned the corner.

While Sadie went in front of us with her nose to the ground, Stella was following her own pace and taking her time.

At first by the way Sadie was acting I thought she was going to run down into the gully through the thick brush. She definitely had a strong scent and no doubt that scent was deer.

Luckily when I called her name, she came running out of the bushes and headed in a different direction.

It was a pretty slow pace back to the house. Stella kept walking in our direction without any desire to head to the woods to her left. Sadie kept her nose to the ground almost all the way home.

After we returned from the morning walk I decided it was time for Phase II in clearing the bank. I needed to move all the small tree saplings I cut yesterday up to my burn pile. They are too green and would not burn today. I'll let them set there until next fall and by the size of it I might have one of my biggest fires yet.

Here is a pretty good sample of the saplings I am talking about. There are some pointing the other way that are larger in diameter, it takes time to cut them no matter what size they are.

I decided I wouldn't wait another few weeks to burn the bank. I decided to start today and anything that did not burn I will cut and stack for another fire tomorrow. There were probably a few that I was unable to get to yesterday when I was in the cutting mode.

This area is after the last part of the fence. I remember years ago that was nothing but green grass that I mowed every time I mowed the yard. After the straight line winds in June 2008 tore out a bank full of tall mature trees, that area went from grass to nothing but saplings..

Stella wasn't up for any kind of supervisory role. I guess I didn't need to put her on the tether to keep her in the field since she slept through most of the fire burning process. She did jump up though when I asked Sadie if it was "time to eat".

Each time I would carry a bundle of saplings up the bank to the burn pile I'd look to see where Sadie was. She decided she needed to check on the new grass seed that I planted on the bank by the old fence post.

It was good to see that almost everything burned in that first section. That was mostly dead leaves. It looks bad now but in a month or two it will be covered with new green growth of ragweed or unidentified weeds.

Yes part of the fence caught fire in the same place as two years ago. My garden hose was ready to kill the flames. It looks like that big stack of thorny vines are not going to burn so they will be the 3rd part of this process.

I mentioned in my last post for every sapling I have cut over the years, three to four new ones will grow back. I have tried everything to kill the tree, from black spray paint on the fresh cut stem, to stump removal chemicals, and slamming a hatchet down the center of the stem.

With all the smoke blowing toward the house, Sadie was making sure I had the fire under control and a call to the local fire department would not be needed. That reminds me of a funny story about the fire department and my neighbor's fire last summer.

The two neighbors north of me have huge banks from their front yard to the highway. For the 20 years I have been here, they have burned the dead brush on those banks right down to the shoulder of the highway every year. I noticed last summer that two fire trucks showed up to the neighbor next to me. I thought that was strange because he and his wife were outside watching it with the garden hose nearby in case it got out of control.

I found out in a conversation the other day that someone in a car passing by on the highway decided THEY needed to call the fire department for the out of control grass fire, thus the two fire trucks showing up unexpected.

Soon after my fires were on their last legs, Sadie decided it was time for lunch. When I walked inside Heidi was already standing by her food bowl and started barking at me when she saw me.

I was about to start washing the cars when I decided instead to run to town to buy a bag of dog food. The hounds have about 3-4 days left I expect but for some reason today I decided to buy early and keep the bag in the car until needed. If I were to bring that new bag inside, Stella would break into it when she had the chance.

It was a good thing I did, I bought the last bag on the pallet and their next delivery is not due until Tuesday. On the way back home I decided it was time for a little more lunch. That salad I had did not last long and for the past week or two I have been craving the best fish sandwich I've see, just 20 miles away.

It's one of those small town, out of the way places that are a concrete block building, a kitchen and 3 tables that could cram in 12 people if needed. They have the best fish sandwich I have ever had, including out in the PNW.

So things were going pretty well with Phase II of the bank clearing finished, a good lunch, beautiful weather ... I could wash the cars or take a siesta. Since I believe it's best to wash cars either early morning or late afternoon the option of a siesta won.

It's a beautiful night for some college football, so I am headed inside to get cleaned up and drive to Bloomington to watch the IU spring football game. That will close out their NCAA allowed spring practice.

Phase III of the bank clearing may be delayed tomorrow. I just received my UPS box to return the Exede modem, power supply and TRIA. I can take that up to UPS tomorrow since there is no longer a UPS drop off in town. Exede included in their package an offer I can't refuse to "come back". All I need to do is call them and mention those two key words for an offer of a lifetime.

Too much work getting done here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana ... I'm tired.


  1. dandelions !! Summer comes on with a bang in your area. I see changes each day in the grass pictures also. That was a lot of work for a day, you earned that fine sandwich.

    1. It really is amazing to see the earth change so fast in the first days of spring. I am about to finish 4 straight days of sunshine and a forecast of rain for 4 straight days starting Sunday .. so no matter if it needs it or not I'll mow the yard to take off those spots of fast growing grass.

      Taking the winter off with little activity besides the hound walks shows up really fast when doing minimum yard work. It's a good workout though.