Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Six soggy miles

Tuesday has been dreary, somewhat chilly, and raining off and on. Not a great day for hiking but the dogs are bored being shut up indoors and I was too. I took three dogs each on a two mile hike over the same route, but that didn't matter to them really, or to me.

First it was Ochie, and I'm glad I took him first because he pulled the hardest. We scared up a few deer, which increased our speed.

I hit "pause" on the MapMyWalk app on my cell phone and drove back home to exchange Ochie for Max. The route we were walking was near the dog park end of the Pleasant Grove property, which isn't far from home so I was able to swap dogs and get back to the starting point in about 15 minutes. Max was a pleasure to walk today, no pulling, didn't fight me about anything.

I brought Max back home and picked up Maya. I managed to keep her from getting out on her own today and I know she was feeling the need for an outing. The rain was pretty light for the first two walks, but it was picking up by the time Maya and I were out there. I was pretty well wet all over, but we got back home just shortly before the really hard rain hit.

On Monday I had taken Sparky out for a seven mile hike before the rain started. We had a great time. I suspect he was happy to stay home today and skip the rainy day walks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Springtime Sunday

At this time of year the days need to be 30 hours long and the weekends need to be four days long. There's a lot to do. Two short days go by very fast. I've forgotten Saturday already, but I'm sure I was busy. Sunday morning I went out to Crozet to visit Daphne and her mom.  I helped her set up a container garden, which will be beautiful later this spring and summer when it's planted and in bloom. 

There's nothing quite like getting your hands dirty in fresh, spring dirt.  

Also in Crozet I have a couple friends who are fostering a mother and four puppies for Caring for Creatures.  I have given them a crate and loaned them a play pen and have been following the saga on Facebook but had never actually seen the pups, so I stopped by to meet them today.

This is the mother dog, Sadie.

When I got back home I mowed the dog yard, and then jumped on the riding mower to mow another chunk of the pasture before the rain that is expected this week.  I took Max out with me because I didn't have time for a hike today.  He runs quite a bit out there.

On Saturday the county was accepting old paint and other hazardous waste items so I had cleaned out a couple shelves (and a couple dozen cans) in Sparky's shed.  That started a shed cleaning project that included cleaning up my bird feeders, food containers, and re-starting my bird feeding operation.  I stopped at Tractor Supply on the way home from Crozet today and bought a ridiculous amount and variety of bird seed.  Clay helped me finish up with the shed cleaning and bird feeding project and there were birds on the feeders within minutes. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Teaming up

It's spring and there's a lot to do and not enough hours in the day. I decided to team up Ochie with Maya for our walk today, getting two dogs exercised at once, and getting a little extra exercise for myself. Actually they were good together. Ochie just wants to go, go, GO! and Maya keeps up with him because she's not going to be left behind. It was a good combo, and a perfect day for a hike-- sunny, cool, no wind, and no humidity-- so we covered 9.5 miles. When we got back I took Max out to the pasture with me while I mowed. He sticks with me pretty well, making occasional runs back to the water tank. He does some spinning, but he gets quite a bit of forward running in as I mow, more multi-tasking from my point of view. Good exercise for all of us, which should make for a good night's sleep.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Beautiful day, beautiful dog

I knew I wouldn't have him long but I was waiting for the perfect situation for O'Keefe. The email came yesterday from a couple up near Gordonsville, fenced yard, many years experience with shepherds, and a multiple adult household with someone home nearly all the time.

I didn't waste any time. We exchanged a few emails and scheduled a meeting for today. I drove up to Gordonsville, about a half hour away and on my route to northern Virginia so I can stop in any time. A man and a woman, both had their own shepherds when they first met and got married and they've had many more over the years. An adult son and a sibling live there also, and other relatives on an adjacent property. The dog will rarely be alone, and that was what the woman who surrendered him wanted most for the dog because he was home alone too much with her. Aside from that, the living situation is pretty similar to what he came from, a nice home in the country on many acres.

With three adult males in the household he was a bit intimidated at first and gravitated initially to the woman and kept coming back to me (again, what he was used to), but he was already warming up to the men before I left. They knew that they'd need to make a little extra effort with him and I believe they will and I don't think it will take very much.

O'Keefe has found a new home.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Fast Four

Ochie after our walk today
Ochie has been bouncing a lot lately. He jumps a good three feet straight up into the air, all four feet off the ground. It's how you know that Ochie is excited, as if you couldn't tell. Sparky didn't mind having a day off so I took Ochie out today for a fast four miles.

I had logged 10 miles yesterday between the hike with Sparky and the mowing in the evening, so four miles was enough for me today too. We did it in just over 13 minutes per mile on average, which is fast for me. I have to include a fair amount of jogging in each mile to make that kind of time. Ochie was more than happy to go as fast as I wanted and he would have gone a lot faster on his own.

Ochie meeting shepherds at the park.
I've been telling myself and other people that he may be a German Shepherd / Norweigan Elkhound mix, or something like that. But the more I see of him, I think he's pure sled dog, whatever they are breeding and using for that purpose these days. He's got that kind of energy, drive, and enthusiasm for running and pulling, and it just doesn't stop.

When we got back to the dog park area, we stopped at one of the picnic shelters to cool down. I got a couple pictures of Ochie and a woman came by with two beautiful German Shepherds. Ochie is fine with other dogs generally, that's why I take him on the parts of the trail where we are most likely to encounter people and other dogs. At least this woman asked if he was friendly and if it was ok for her dogs to approach. They were off leash but she did seem to have good verbal control over them at least. Most people up there do not, nor do they seem to understand the importance of leashes, but that's a rant for another day.

When we got home I decided to have another go at getting the riding mower started for the first time this year. I had tried but failed on Sunday, but today the mower god was smiling and it started up with just a couple of tries and tricks. I brought Max out to the pasture with me to run while I mowed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nothing new

Sparky splashing in a stream at our first water
crossing, about three miles into the hike.
I haven't written a blog post in a few days and if you follow my posts on Facebook, you'll know that nothing much is going on right now.

It's spring, the grass is growing, and I'm mowing, that's about it. Not very exciting stuff although it is pretty decent exercise. In fact it is mowing that got me started walking last summer, using a 33" wide cut, walk behind Cub Cadet to cut the part of our property that we consider and treat as "lawn," as opposed to the rest of it that we consider "pasture." I kept the lawn cut with the walk behind mower last year and I plan to do so again this year. It cuts into my hiking time, but it's still some exercise and it needs to be done. I have great ambitions for getting a lot of deferred maintenance on the trees, shrubs, and planting beds taken care of this year too. I was never one for new year's resolutions.  For me, spring is the time for great ambitions, many of which will wither in the heat of summer.

This dog can't take a bad picture.
I had gotten a substantial portion of the lawn mowed over the past three or four days, so today I got Sparky out for a hike and then just a little more mowing in the evening.

This stop was just a photo op.

Sparky can drink running water
out of a tap.  @ 6 miles

After a drink, a roll in the grass, just because.
Too pretty to pass by without a picture.

Final water stop, @ 7 miles

Today's route, 8.41 miles