Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bloodhounds Take A Sunday Evening Walk

While sitting at the computer Saturday afternoon putting the last blog post together about Heidi, I heard sounds of a tractor slowing down out in front of the house. He knew the weather report as well as I did and was going to put on some anhydrous before it rained Saturday night.

It was perfect timing because by Saturday night was starting to rain and based on the looks of the carport floor this morning it had rained for most of the night. That mixture of ammonia and nitrogen is shot underground by the rakes being towed by the tractor.

So in the last two to three days they have spread fertilizer and then the mixture of ammonia/nitrogen before the rains came. I have not seen them put both on their field within days before.

When ever I see tanks of anhydrous I think of two stories. In the last decade but not so much in recent years, these anhydrous tanks were being stolen for meth production. It was so bad at the time they started parking empty police cars near them if the farmers were leaving them unattended over night.

The second story I remember is from sometime around April or May 1970. I had just turned 18 years old, living in a farming community and knew nothing about farming. The money paid was fantastic and I could drive a large John Deere Tractor. My friends dad always hired extra help and hired me to spread this anhydrous on his large flat fields just west of Indianapolis towing two tanks.

On this particular incident I glanced back and saw where there was a leak at the connection of the two hoses that connected the two tanks. So I stopped the large tractor, bigger than the one in these pictures and walked back to the hissing leak of ammonia and nitrogen.

Remember I was clueless about farming and this mixed chemical. I was able to stop the leak and tighten the connection between the hoses but not before some ice freezing cold chemical sprayed against my chest. I didn't know how lucky I was until a few months later a farmer had the same thing happen to him, only the mixture hit him in the face instantly passing to his lungs and killed him.

After a night of basketball of two really good ballgames Saturday night, I spent a few hours looking at those new Blogger templates again. I still don't see anything I like even after making a lot of changes to come as close to the design I have now. I still like playing around with that kind of thing so I'll probably continue to look or change the template to my Wordpress blog.

After a good night sleep we woke up this morning to warm temps, and the fresh smell of rain. Sounds of birds filled the air.

Notice the farmer parked his tanks instead of taking them with him. Why? He came back to pick them up Sunday afternoon.

They planted corn in this field and the field past those trees last year, so I am assuming they will be planting soybeans this year. I cannot remember if they alternate years or not but I'll remember once I look at the blog from May 2015. The two different fields are owned by different people.

I know the bank in back is not looking great but it's right on schedule for a non-professional job. I cleared out all of the wild overgrowth and burned it last November. Earlier this month I raked out and pulled all the roots, burning them. I may have planted grass seed too early on that weekend in early March when it was near 70°, only to have it drop below 30° a week later for a few days. So I planted more seed when it was warmer a few weeks later but that probably got washed away from the hard rains.

I planted more seed last Monday when it was warmer, watered it twice per day and with the rain last night I can start to see some new grass coming up. I'll keep mowing over this after it fills in and continue to seed it next fall. Eventually it will look like the yard on the other side of this fence. What I cannot mow I'll cut short with my weed eater.

Sadie wanted to walk early this morning but it was raining lightly each time we went outside. The ground was pretty saturated ... too wet to walk. The two basketball games today started early and both were over a little past 7pm. By the time the buzzer sounded ending the UK / UNC game I was putting on my hiking boots just in case we ran into wet grounds on our walk.

We headed out for our first walk of the day around 7:15pm ... the wind and skies looked like more rain was on the way.

Since Sadie had been waiting all day for her walk, she immediately took off and started her tracking. She loves these walks.

While I was taking pictures of Sadie I didn't realize that Stella was already heading for the neighbor's woods if not their yard. From the few hoof prints in the ground the deer traffic must have been heavy last night or this morning.

I had to head Stella's direction and trot toward her, calling her name because she was taking off on me. About the time I got about 10' from her she turned and started trotting toward me, then ran past me to catch up to Sadie. She must have thought I needed to get some running in today after spending all weekend on the couch watching college basketball.

She still likes to go her own pace even after catching Sadie. With her right front paw lifted you can tell just how slow she walks.

Sadie was into tracking though tonight so she was constantly moving.

Once she locks into a strong scent, she is pretty focused but I know that she will not take off on me and will always circle back to where I am walking. There are no problems giving her total freedom on these walks.

Sadie sprinted one direction, Stella trotted another direction.

Stella has a pretty good nose but not as good as Sadie's. She is more interested in finding stuff to eat, than to track.

By the time I approached the final turn home, Sadie had moved far to the right of the path we take, she was in the 'no fly zone' but came running to to me when she saw where I was.

Both hounds walked too close to me to take pictures for the rest of the walk home. Not sure if it is suppose to rain tonight but it definitely felt like it was on the way.

I don't have to mow anywhere near the whole yard but there is enough spots of heavy new growth that I will have to mow a few spots as soon as possible in between the forecasted rains this week. It was like this grass grew over night after the rains last night. Hopefully that new grass will overtake the damage done by the moles this past winter.

I still need to take my hand rake through the front yard one more time in hopes the rake can find the missing steel hinge pin that fell off my mower last November. You would think it would be easy to find but I have looked all over that yard and can't find it. I don't want the mower to find a steel pin while I am mowing the yard in a week or two.

Maybe I need to find a place that will rent me a metal detector.

There were some great basketball games this week. Some were won in the last seconds and with four teams left to play, one of them has never been in the Final 4 in their school's history and another has not been there in 70 some years. There will be some good games next weekend.

With time off until next Saturday night for the games to be played, I'll be back to reading books this week. I have a couple of new books I checked out from the library. If the weather is nice this week, I'll be outside starting on my 'to do' list for this year.

It's hard to believe that March is almost over here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Heidi Was Out First For Afternoon Walk

Normally I would have waited and included this in Sunday's blog post but I thought Heidi deserved her own post on her afternoon. There were quite a few readers that followed the blog when Winston was alive ... they were basset hound lovers. Since Heidi doesn't get out much there are only a few of those readers left and enjoy any kind of news about her.

When I announced that 'we are going for a walk' to Sadie and Stella, I heard Heidi jump off the bed and she went running to the door. Could it be true, that she wanted to go on the walk?

When she took an immediate right turn to the front yard I figured that might be all she wanted. Earlier today after lunch she spent over an hour outside by herself while enjoying the warm weather.

So I was somewhat surprised when I turned to check on her and she was slowly running toward me to join us on our afternoon walk.

Just 6 months ago most of that front leg was bare skin. It wasn't raw and sore like it had been the previous two years off and on but the skin was soft and supple, with no hair. With the recent change to SPORTMiX dog food, she has had more hair grow and growing on her four legs than any other time since October 2014.

Some of the other bare spots she was showing up on her rear have grown hair back along with the outside of her ears. There were a few spots on each ear that was losing hair for some reason. I think we are somewhere in the 3rd week of the dog food change and she has never looked better.

While the bloodhounds hung back Heidi took off on the path to gain the lead with her tail wagging and her ears flopping from side to side.

Stella finally passed her and took the lead. I think she tried to intimidate Heidi by walking as close as she could next to her but Heidi did not budge an inch and made Stella walk around her. Stella has even walked on my feet if I am in her way.

A slight uphill grade here and since this is only her second walk of the season I assume she is not in the best walking shape but even today Heidi would trot in different parts of the walk. It didn't take her long to regain the lead.

Does it look like she has gained some of her weight back?

She stopped to pose for the camera but once she heard that shutter pressed she was back to walking in a slow trot.

Sadie got a lot of running in this afternoon. She loves this field and loves her walks.

The best guess and that is all it is when it comes to Heidi's age, is that she will be 8 years old sometime this fall, maybe December. Since she was a runaway and not claimed at her local shelter, the basset rescue service did not have any of her birth records, or previous shot records when they picked her up from the shelter in June 2011.

She finds that walking on the path is much easier than the taller grass.

She looks quite a bit smaller than the bloodhounds but she is feisty enough to hold her own when one of them try to power by her. 99.9% of the time neither Sadie nor Stella will do anything to bother Heidi. I remember when I first brought Stella home, she wanted to get Heidi to play. Heidi wasn't interested and barked enough to let Stella know to back off.

So with a walk plus spending over an hour outside by herself today I think we can officially say it's Spring and we will be seeing a lot more of Heidi in future posts.

Another find day of retirement here in 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

Hounds Vote To Keep Same Blog Theme

It's been a couple of days since I mentioned the idea about changing this blog's theme (template) to one of the new Blogger themes they recently announced.

They are all nice and well designed. It was like the people that designed them took a leave of absence from Wordpress and contracted out some work for Blogger. That is not true about leaving Wordpress, I am only using that as an example to show how similar they are with Wordpress templates.

Even with my nightly consumption of NCAA College Basketball Thursdays thru Sunday night ... I still have had time to look at the new themes, to changed their fonts, colors, add gadgets and see what this blog would look like with the new designs.

Off topic ... We saw our first Robin of the year this morning. I was surprised that Sadie did not chase after it when she glanced over. Also last night while I was sitting on the couch watching the first basketball game, a male Cardinal was sitting just outside the window, looking inside to see how I was doing. I didn't have a camera around to take a picture of him but I hope to see him again soon.

One of the reasons I was thinking about changing themes, was the option they had where the main page of the blog, lists a list of posts in order, each with a short summary and a "read more" link. I cannot be sure but it might cut down on the amount of data used when someone opens the blog. It also might load faster on your phone or tablets.

Sadie was running back to the house when I yelled 'coffee'. That keyword seems to work and they will both head back to the house when I say that. She ran within 15' of the Robin and never changed course ... interesting since she is a qualified bird chaser.

All the new themes had a lot of nice features. If I were starting a new blog I would probably use one of them. After uploading everything this blog has into the new blog I set up so I could look at different themes ... I came to the conclusion this morning around 3:00 am that I didn't see anything that would make me want to change. There were always one or two things I didn't like about the new design.

It's always a possibility later but a lot of the things I see readers using here would be different and harder to find on the new themes. Those things on the sidebars that did show up okay on the new themes, did not look as good since I was changing the default design of the blog.

The hounds were more than happy to keep their blog the way it was. Although they were more interested in getting their first walk of the day. A small chance of rain around mid-afternoon but at least it was 65° when we stepped outside. I don't mind the overcast skies as long as it is warm.

I had decided before starting this walk that I was going to give Stella total freedom. I wanted to see what she would do, with hopes that she would keep up with me and Sadie.

Back to the blog topic, I am going to keep it to one blog post per page. A few people have told me it uses less data with only one post per page instead of multiple posts. I am sure the number of pictures I include is a factor in data usage.

For the few people that have told me they like the option of showing multiple posts with a 'read more' option like the Wordpress blogs have, I guess I can only suggest looking on the right sidebar under the listed Blog Archives to read past blog posts. That would be the only options for those readers that do not stop by every day and might miss past posts of the week or month. Also the daily readers might find that to work okay. I hope so.

I was pretty sure when I took this next picture that Stella was telling me 'thanks but no thanks' and that she had other plans today on the walk. Sadie and I turned the first corner ... I hoped that Stella would not end up back in the neighbor's drainage ditch.

As we walked the sounds of all the different birds talking was loud. It was like they had came from nowhere since the weather was warmer. The sounds did not bother Sadie, as usual she had plenty of scents to check out.

As I turned and did not see Stella, I picked my pace up. I was anxious to get to the final turn of the walk since I was pretty sure Stella was going to end up next door. She might be near the wooded area but also their drainage ditch was a possibility. Sadie lagged behind a little and then sprinted to me as she normally does.

After I made that final turn I didn't see Stella anywhere on the horizon while I looked through my zoom lens set at 200mm. I did not see her anywhere. I was sure she was back in either the neighbor's backyard or down in the drainage ditch again. I didn't run but I was now walking as fast as I could.

Then while scanning the horizon I picked up something kind of rust color ... it moved ... she was near the woods but on the opposite side of them, a distance furthest from my house.

When I yelled her name, she did her normal stare right at me and then went back to what she was doing. One funny thing in his picture and the one above ... the brick house looks like it is so close to the white house but is actually down the hill and across the highway a good distance away.

As I walked calling her name and getting closer ... Stella turned and started her slow walk to Sadie and I. She looked about as sad as a hound could/can look ... almost like she had lost her best friend. What I wouldn't do to know what she is thinking when she looks like that.

Sadie made her mad dash to Stella, touched noses, turned and got her to trot toward us on the path. That didn't mean that Stella was going to increase her walking pace ... it just meant she was on the path home.

There is always something to check out before they get home. They never run out of scents to smell.

At least Stella continued walking non-stop after Sadie and I returned home. She wasn't fast but she was steady.

With my first game not starting until 6pm tonight and with the skies overcast I am going to pull out the ladder and get up on my roof to check the gutters and pick up the small limbs that have blown on the roof. I'll take my camera with me and try to post some rooftop shots later this afternoon or on tomorrows blog post. I always enjoy sitting on the roof to get a different view of the neighborhood.

I have quite a few new limbs to pick up in the yard also ... so after their lunch  of kibble, all three hounds and I will be spending most of the day outside enjoying the nice weather ... unless that rain shows up. So far Heidi is still in her winter routine, not realizing how warm it is outside.

If you have read this far ... I posted all of these pictures today without any editing. Can you see any differences?

My internal clock must have calibrated itself last night because it feels like a Saturday here in 'the tropics' today of southern Indiana.