Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sipsey Walkabout

We headed out today with the little dogs, leaving Jake at home, to tackle a section of trail I was certain led somewhere.

Ben was too tall to get under this downed tree, so we left him there.

I liked how this looks like the Natchez Trace.

Ben wriggled under the tree and caught up.  He's not thrilled I have him in a safety vest.
But he did not get shot, so I am okay with that.

The little dashed blue line on my map across the trail between where we were and where I was going turned out to be a substantial stretch of water.

It's 6-8 feet deep in the deep part next to the other side.

Nia swam right across and came back and rolled in the sand to get dry.  Six times.

We walked upstream a ways, the water did get much more shallow, but it was already 3 and sunset is at 4:30 so we headed back to the van.  I was not sure how well I would do on the 3 miles back since it was uphill some of the way and wanted to have enough time.

Nia ran right up this tree.  We were all amazed, I had a dog growing up who would run up any slanted tree in the woods.  I've not had another dog who showed any interest.

In fact, when she was back on the ground, I showed her a treat and put it on the tree and she went right back up and got it, then jumped off again.  It was a good 5 feet to the ground!

Nia is showing Yippy Howler how the water is not super scary, but is actually drinkable.
That puppy talked ALL day.  She cried, whined, howled, barked, grunted, growled and muttered.  I have never been around such a vocal animal.  She did calm down on the drive, after Nia told her to shut it.

Photographic proof of Matt being mean to the baby!
He put her in a tree AND made fun of her for being too short to get over the log.

I found this tree very visually pleasing.

My ankle was twingy on the uphills, but otherwise did okay.  I had it wrapped tight for support, it's aching now, so a little Tylenol before bed for me!
I still think I did more good than harm.

This photo above of Matt being weird is showing fully loaded, but I only see half.  If you only see half as well, rest assured I know of the problem and am clueless how to fix it.

She did all 6 miles!  I carried her briefly and Matt carried her a short while.  She needed several stops and had tiny power naps, but for the most part was keeping up just fine!

She used Zephyr's harness today.

There she is, that tiny orange and brown dot!

It was a pretty area, even if we did not reach our intended destination. I know how to get there from another trail, so at some point, we will go that way and keep going and see if we can meet up with where we were today!  I'd rather get lost on a known trail.  hahaha

Nearly back!  We saw one hunter leaving as we pulled in and heard 3 shots-that was it all day. We did not see or hear anyone else on the trails.

I can't believe this is the end of November and not only was it sunny and 65 today, but tomorrow Ben turns 15!  The weather has been VERY mild since that polar vortex crap earlier in the month.  A few cold nights, but we have not even had a fire going, just our little heaters set to 65 and they have been on about 1/3 of any given day.  I am hoping for a low electric bill!  We got spoiled this summer-no AC and being at Katy's off and on for 5 weeks and Disney for 2 weeks meant the bills were under $100 3 months in a row.  It also meant nearly everything we have mildewed, so next summer window units if nothing else.  Gotta get that humidity down.

Anyway, that's a problem for another time, right now, it's bed early because the next 2 days will be busy!  We have to celebrate Ben!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Goings Ons

Chan and I cooked all day Friday. She made cookies, I made quiche from our Thanksgiving leftovers. Then I made cranberry sauce with fresh berries and spiced Christmas wine. Then we made deviled eggs with Bob Gibsons white sauce, relish and pesto. Those got eaten almost immediately and there is about half a cup of cranberry sauce left. The kids were spooning it on to Chan's spice cookies.

After the quiche disappeared, I made another and added polenta to make it more like a bread. We are taking that all sliced up on a hike tomorrow along with more boiled eggs, if everyone is feeling well enough to go.

There are some icks happening. I am pretty sure Chan is recovering from bronchitis, she coughed for nearly 6 weeks before it just faded out. No pain or fever, just a runny nose and cough day in and day out.

Ben sounds like the reaper. Jake had a fever all day Thursday and Friday and most of today, it broke on its own about 1.  I finally got to sleep after 3 this morning when we came up with the right combo of hot tea, Benedryl and Musinex to knock out his coughing fits, Thursday night was no better. I think getting out and getting some fresh air will help, though. We have been cooped up this week.

I washed all the inside windows and Matt tackled the bedroom and kitchen from the outside.
The plan was to finish today, but it's CHILLY.  That wind is awful.

The view now from my desk (it's been moved). Yea for clean windows!

Matt took the dogs for a walk today, Kaiju is proving to need a LOT of exercise.
I read that people who have GSP dogs either work/hunt them often or in the case of house pets, tie them to their bikes and run them for 2-3 miles a few days a week.

We are HOPING she will behave and we can take her on our long walks.  Nia nearly kills herself to go run up to people, we don't take her as often as we thought we would.  If she gets off the leash or yanks it free, she will NOT come back until she's jumped on the person of interest.  It's proven more stressful than enjoyable to have her along, and she does not need much exercise, a good yard run a couple times a day and she's wiped out all night.

Thinking of eating Ben's hand.  As soon as she's done with my camera strap.

Actively eating my hand

Worn out and full of hand
See my nest up there-ereader, dvd remote, heating pad, pile of pillows.  This fall has been great!
 Look how big she is getting!  She was 8 pounds 3 weeks ago, she's 14 pounds now.
Nia weighs 30 pounds, Kai should get around 50 pounds.  She is going to be a gorgeous animal.
Look at that baby gut, so cute!

Her outer layer has healed, but the inner muscle has pulled apart in 3 places.  They want to see if it will scar up enough to not be an issue, if she's not toughened up by 5 months or so, they will reopen that spot and sew it back up.  Right now, one good belly splat could pop her open.  BLERGH!
Dreaming of hand sandwich
Has no hands.
Though her feet get chewed on, and her tail.  But mainly her ears.
Kaiju has another horrible genetic flaw-other than her blue eyes.  She's missing a nipple!  She has the top pair, then just one, then 3 more pairs.  I am hoping she's not inbred, they are supposed to be very intelligent dogs.  So far, she's just beligerent.  And oh my gosh, she is DEMANDING.  Tell her no and she will bark!  While she's still small enough to tote, I put her out when she gets too full of sass. I am hoping she will grow out of that, none of the other dogs are interested in putting her in her place.  That's what I get for purposely selecting submissive dogs and then gambling on a puppy and getting an Alpha.  But, well, I am top bitch in this pack.  I imagine we will butt heads a while, but for now we are trying redirection, ignoring bad behavior (or removing her from the situation, like when she demands our food) and heaping praise and treats when she behaves well.  Maybe her love of chicken jerky will outweigh her need to dominate.  I don't want to fight to the death.

Also, I typed in 'dog missing a' and 'nipple' was the second auto suggestion, after 'tooth'.  So obviously it's not that uncommon.
Everyone with dogs with missing teeth should check their hands.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Chandler and Jake are filling out applications this week and that has been an ordeal.  We had to round up references and come up with wording to make a few rounds of volunteering and some baby sitting sound like they can operate heavy machinery and possibly do CPR.  And Chan is so hyped up, she's decided to put 'can lift heavy items' as a skill because she once carried Inde for nearly 2 hours.  Then she panicked about what if they made her pick up sacks of potatoes and left it off.

It's cracking me up to watch them work through the page and try to answer things.  "Does 'date' mean today or when I was born?"  We try to come up with the right wording, "What is Park?"  We decide on 'volunteer coordinator'.  Deb is our 'school admin'.  Katy, who has actually paid Chan for pet and child sitting gets the coveted slot on 'previous employers'.

I go over possible things that could crop up in an interview.  They don't have to answer anything about religious beliefs or sexual orientation.  Chan worries she might get asked her favorite male actor.  She says, "I will just say that Ewan McGregor guy in that Pride with Prejudice movie you love."  I made her go to her room. Never mind that I sat her down to watch COLIN FIRTH in that 'movie I love' last year and she was asleep with her mouth open during the lake scene.  She came right back and I told her she could always say we don't have a TV and she does not watch many movies-which is totally true.  And that Benedict Cumberbatch was a safe choice, since she HAS seen the Sherlock series.  Not that they will ask her favorite male actor, but maybe she's thinking ahead to the small talk while she and the other workers carry sacks of potatoes around while avoiding topics of personal convictions.

So far, we have applications from everywhere in a 15 mile radius that gives employees free food.  She has her priorities.  She's also reading a library book about body language and how to get what you want.

Jake is FAR less enthusiastic about working, but it's time he goes out into the big bad world.  He does not seem to really grasp that ANY job=more money than he is currently making and that he can change jobs once he has work experience and a job reference.  I am hoping they can get hired together and on the same hours, I can see driving back and forth 4 times a day to 2 different places at different times of the day getting REALLY old.  They can take over the Volvo once we get a newer van, but that won't be for a few months anyway.  And the Volvo has a cracked engine block, though it has had one for about 3 years, so maybe it will keep going a while longer.

It's been an exciting and kind of sad day all around.

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Hike!

Today was the first hike for Kaiju and for our new hiking series for our cover school.  Not sure if I explained the whole thing before, but this year, we are getting free coverage in exchange for me planning group events through the year.  I know I was done with all of that sort of thing, but we have been so busy with the high school age group and I plan so much for that, sometimes every week, that planning for the larger base of folks was no big deal.  Plus, I have nothing invested-if no one is interested, I plan something else.  Or go without them. I am not emotionally involved in trying to please a small group of people who never in turn plan anything on their own or invite me to join if they do.  It's just a job.

So far it's working well and there is usually a good turn out-other than that volunteering fiasco which I still am amused/annoyed about.  At least I know the entirety of the 500 families in the cover are all slackers or can't keep a promise-other than Katy (who showed up).  That helps plan the next thing.  hahaha!

Anyway, with the weather being what it is this time of year, I planned today's hike Friday and posted it.  Got lots of 'next time!' replies, which are next to useless other than it let's me know there IS an interest, just probably not at the level I am going about it.  My ankle is still...well, it's not healed.  But if it's ever GOING to heal, it has to work and be used.  I can't use the treadmill because I have to vary my step more than it allows, so walking on even ground has been my only exercise beyond physical therapy stuff.  So-refuge to the rescue!  We did the 4 mile loop at Arrowhead Landing, which is always a lovely walk.  Took us less than 2 hours!

First, terrible puppy!  She's on Nia's bed and Nia is crammed in Kaiju's baby bed!

Second, this.

Ben said those birds were 'Alabama water cotton'

Water levels are down!

Only one family joined us today, but they were really nice and love getting out and hiking.  I'll take one interested person over a dozen who don't want to be where they are any day!

Kai wailed and WAILED on the way, she even howled while yawning.
On the way home, she slept.

She slept so hard that she stuck her muzzle in the cup holder and stayed there.

Back home, she ATE, she was so hungry that walking in the house she went straight to the dog food bag (not even her puppy food) and started barking and biting it, trying to tip it over.  She is a HUGE menace, we are going to have our hands full if she's still this bossy at 65 pounds!

On the house training business, she's not doing amazingly.  She won't go in the yard unless someone goes out and tells her to go.  So the kids let her out and in with Nia and when she comes inside after being out there for 20 minutes, she pees.  It amazes them EVERY time.  I don't mean like once a day, I mean EVERY time.  I worry.

But when I remind them every single time to 'go out and tell her to potty' and they do, she can go the whole day without peeing inside.  Matt and I also take her out, at least half the time.  I have never thought a young person should be in charge of an animal without an adult checking in often.

Anyway, so that was our first group hike and puppy hike, I think both went well and I am looking forward to next time!  When I got in, I had 3 requests for going hiking in other places, so I may be on to something!

Many Movies!

Teen Scene met up at Dy's house to marathon the Hunger Games movies before the new one came out last week.

I read the first book, then listened to it about a year later with the kids and then we pulled the last audiobook cd out of the player and put in the first movie.  HUGE MISTAKE!
The first movie, compared to the book, was AWFUL, so we did not continue the series.

Jake, last year, finished the series of books, but none of us were interested in seeing the rest of the movies.

Enter, friends and hanging out.  Suddenly-more interested!

We finished the first 2 on Wendesday and met up Friday to see the 3rd movie at the theater.

I am pretending it's snow.
Out my bedroom window!

Kai eating Nia's ears.  Nia is SO patient with this horrible puppy.
I am calling her Gator, she is all teeth and mean!
I am typing this left handed and with a pencil in my teeth.

There were about twice this many kids at the movie, but cold yogurt for dinner only appealed to this crew.

The movies were good, having not read the books!  

We are headed out today for the first in a hiking series for our cover school.  I am hoping that will go well!

Gator is going to the vet in the morning for her check-up.  : )  I hope they find my hand...