Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

It's been one of those weeks...

To start off the week, I broke my cell phone.  As I use it for many tasks, including as my training log for weightlifting, not having it, has been disruptive!  I did co-opt Monkey1's phone for the duration, until I can get my replacement, so people who know me, can call or text me.  But everything else I use the phone for is kaput!

Then this week saw the return of Homeschool Co-op!  The kids were excited.  I, as the parent, get to teach a class.  I got lucky and my entry of Strength and Conditioning was picked.  Alas, I cannot do barbell training with the kids, as I don't want the liability, and it's far to labor intensive to disassemble, transport, reassemble, etc, my power rack, and several hundred pounds of iron!  So we are doing bodyweight conditioning to start, and adding dumbell/kettlebell weights as we progress.

Since I mostly do cycling and barbell training, my high-rep endurance is suffering.  Yes, my own class kicked my butt today!  At least I was able to do the work though.  Hopefully, my own class will help me up my conditioning level, though it won't help me for strength.

This morning, before Co-op, I got an email from my 3rd hour instructor for yong kids Archery class.  He wasn't going to be able to be there today, and would I, the assistant, take over?  Of course, but since he has all the targets, we ended up playing kickball, and freeze tag instead.  Ayt least they burned off some excess energy.

Finally, the North Texas Giving Day went well for TIRR Rescue.  I want to take a moment to thank eveyone who donated in support of TIRR.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  This rescue is near and dear to my heart--all our dogs have come through TIRR.  And your support of TIRR Rescue means a lot to me!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Help TIRR Rescue via North Texas Giving Day 09/14/2017

This Thursday is the annual North Texas Giving Day.  TIRR Rescue has participated for several years now, and it has proven to be a great help in funding the needs of the many dogs at TIRR.  Anyone can donate.  You need not be in north Texas to give.

If you feel led to donate, I thank you!  If you cannot donate, please share the link to this blog, or copy and paste the donation link in the letter below, with your friends, and on social media.  Every share, and every donation means the world to these folks, and to these dogs.

Below, is TIRR's posting about Giving Day, and their plan for any funds donated.

From TIRR Rescue:

TIRR Rescue is, once again, participating in the North Texas Giving Day which is on Thursday September 14.

This fundraising event is enormous for TIRR Rescue – it is one of the prime fundraiser we participate in each year. 

Each year we try to target something that we need more than anything else.  We always have many needs and wants for the dogs we take in.   This year we have taken into our program many dogs that other rescues could not accommodate.  Currently we have 5 dogs that are Heartworm positive and in need of Heartworm treatment.   It is not uncommon for us to take in many HW positive dogs in the span of the year.  If you are a TIRR follower, supporter, volunteer, enthusiast or simply a dog lover watching from afar, you know that when we take a dog into our program, we take them for “their life”.  So we know that each dog we take could potentially have heartworms or other health issues.  Although we in the dog world are so familiar with heartworms, how they are contracted and how they are prevented – there is a huge population of people with dogs that are not knowledgeable and/or can’t or don’t provide the prevention.  We are hoping to have enough funds for treating the 5 dogs we have now and also to assist with other medical needs these dogs may have and also for medical issues TIRR encounters with future dogs coming to the Ranch.

Hurricane Harvey was a devastating event for people and animals of all ages, and continues to be an opportunity we can offer assistance, whether direct rescue and/or indirect rescue.  One of the best ways local rescues can help is to assist in getting dogs moved out of our local shelters to secure spots from those coming from the disaster areas in South Texas.  Unlike other disasters of this nature, the shelters in South Texas did an amazing job preparing for the influx of dogs/cats they would receive.  TIRR Rescue and Etosha Rescue joined efforts in supporting the needs of the people and shelters that would provide immediate safe harbor for the massive number of animals rescued.

Here is the link to our page on the North Texas Giving Day website.  We are asking for your financial support and TIRR will ensure that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the care of the dogs and the facilities they enjoy daily.  Having air conditioning and heat, in addition to a respect for their needs is the ultimate gift to a dog that has been abused, neglected, scared on the streets or left  in the back yard with no respect for the love they could and would offer.

Roy and I both want to thank you personally for your support during this fundraising effort.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

More fun fishing!

Yesterday we went out to our friend's pasture to fish her ponds.  We knew there were some big bass, and she said it was ok if we took a couple home.   We caught 15-20 fish between us all I'd guess, and took 5 home.

Here's a look at some of what we got!  God bless Texas farm ponds!

3# 11oz

Scale pic has weight.

Weight of fish above.
And DH send me this picture of dinner that night!  Fresh fried bass, and hushpuppies!  MMMmmm, good!

Friday, September 8, 2017

She will fly again!

The Grumman Guardian undergoing restoration at Toco TX.  I spoke to a woman who was cleaning one of the aircraft there at the airfield.  She told me that yes, the Burchinals are restoring the Grumman to flight status!  Once done, it will be the only flying example of the Guardian in the world.

As seen above, the air frame has been stripped and primed, and the prop remounted.  I was told the plane was trucked to Toco in several large pieces, as it was not flightworthy at the time.  As you can see, it has been reassembled.  I can't wait to see how this project comes together!

The SNJ is still flying apparently too!  I got these nice pics of it at Toco.  It was parked just across from the Grumman.  I am pretty sure it is the same SNJ referenced in this blog post by someone who took lessons at Toco back in the 1970's.  Soloing the Mustang.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Not So Laborious Day

Today was Labor Day, but we didn't labor much!  DH spent a lot of time on a call-out ticket that took two days to resolve, and that thrashed most of his weekend.

So, when our dear friend from the Metromess and his beloved Hairy Monster dog arrived yesterday, we simply took it easy.  Burgers and sausages were grilled.  Tasty beverages were consumed.  And the Hairy Monster got groomed...lots!

First though, Monkey3, my dessert chef in training, decided to make the Ghirardelli Chocolate Crackle cookies.  DH had found the recipe online that my mom had been raving about.  It was simple enough.  It was also insanely tasty, especially with my cuppa coffee at breakfast!
Then today, we headed out to the range for some fun.  There were a lot of butterflies around.  This one took a liking to our friend's rifle!  It must've sat there for 20+ minutes, just hanging out.
 Eventually, we packed up and headed home to cool off, and let the pups outside.  All in all, a fun way to spend the last big weekend of summer!

Monday, August 28, 2017

High 'n Dry for now, up here.

We have been blessed to not be in the active rainfall zone for H/TS Harvey.  We have clouds from it, but no rain.  At least not until later in the week.  Then it might rain a lot.  Time will tell.

We have been watching the activities in the affected zone with interest, as we have friends who live there.  So far, they are safe, if not totally dry.  It could be much worse for them.

Much has been made of the conflicting advice in the media, from Gov. Abbott, and the Mayor of Houston.  Abbott advocated "get outta Dodge if you can", and the Mayor advocated "shelter in place".  Initially, I would side with Abbott, if you can evacuate safely and early enough, do it.  Pack your $h/7 and get moving.  But the Mayor also pointed out the last time they tried to evac Houston all at once, it didn't go very well!  H. Rita, again, anyone?  Yeah, that evac killed 100+ people, just through the evac process.  Folks stranded for hours and days on the flooding roads...and this event with Harvey is worse.  Much worse on flooding.  I suspect far more than the 5 thus recorded fatalities, would have occurred during evacuation.  I can see wisdom in both approaches.

I would like to thank, though, all the first responders, the Cajun Navy, the tree cutters, linemen, telco guys, the ham radio folks, the various formal disaster services, Texas Guards (National and State), the neighbors helping neighbors, the internet folks trying to coordinate aid and assistance, the weather folks for getting it real damned accurate this time (Steve McCauley!) Red Cross, Salvation Army and anyone else who is helping those in need whom I have failed to mention in specific.  Thank you!  This is what makes America great.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Canine adventure, and goodbye

Some of you may know we have been fostering a dog for our local shelter.  His name is Sarge.  He is a Harrier hound mix, and very good natured.  He has been with us nearly 6 mo, with no adoption prospects in sight.

Yesterday I got word, on short notice, that a place on the Rescue Wagon had been secured for Sarge, and he would be going to a shelter (no-kill) in Cheyenne WY.  Apparently they have a nice community program, and a much larger adoption pool for Sarge to find his Forever Home from.

It would've been very easy to foster-fail him.  He fit into our pack and routine so easily.  He's very gentle and loving, and not a big barker either.  We had a good handle on his separation anxiety.  But...if we had kept him, we would have to opt out of fostering any other dogs.   We are maxed out at 4 dogs (3 Ridgebacks and 1 foster).  As is, with DH's probable hip surgery coming up, having one less dog in the house should make it easier for him to navigate whilst recovering.  We are planning on helping walk dogs that have been pulled for rescue groups, that are housed offsite.  It's a way we can help out, without bringing another dog home after DH's surgery.  Once all that is cleared up, we may well do short term fosters.  That makes space and pens available, for intake, and helps reduce the euthanasia risk.

Sarge, I will miss you!  I wish you all the best, in finding your forever family.  It was hard to let you go, but I have to trust the process.  I hope you love the change in climate, and discover snow!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It never fails...


Yep, more rain is on the way.  It even rained yesterday on us, up in Kansas, ruining our eclipse viewing.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Psalm fits today

Psalm 64. (NIV)

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint;
    protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked,
    from the plots of evildoers.
3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
    and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.
4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent;
    they shoot suddenly, without fear.
5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
    they talk about hiding their snares;
    they say, “Who will see it?”
6 They plot injustice and say,
    “We have devised a perfect plan!”
    Surely the human mind and heart are cunning.
7 But God will shoot them with his arrows;
    they will suddenly be struck down.
8 He will turn their own tongues against them
    and bring them to ruin;
    all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
9 All people will fear;
    they will proclaim the works of God
    and ponder what he has done.
10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him;
    all the upright in heart will glory in him!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grumman Guardian!

DH's friend in KC who is both a trainspotter, and planespotter, knew right away what the mystery plane at Toco was!  This is the ultra rare Grumman Guardian!

The Grumman Guardian was the original USN anti-sub warfare plane built specifically for that purpose.  It came in two different airframes, the Hunter (aka Guppy) and the Killer (aka Scrapper).  This particular plane is a Killer.  Note the bomb bay doors which are opened.  The Hunter variant had a radome underneath instead.  There were only 193 planes in the Killer configuration ever built.

A few weeks ago, this plane was in full Navy colors.  The tail color is more likely the dark navy blue, not black.  It also had the distinctive 4 bladed prop mounted at that time.  Apparently, someone is refurbishing her.  I'd love to get a serial# off her because there are only 5 known surviving Guardians.  This one is none of them, as far as I can tell.

Airworthy  (source Wikipedia)
On display
  • 123100 - National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida. It was the seventh AF-2S produced. The aircraft was operated as a firefighter until 1978. It was acquired by the museum in 1980. It is displayed in the colors of its first Navy assignment, though still carries the number "30" on the cowling, which for many years was the aircraft's call-sign as a firefighting aircraft;[14]
  • 129233 - Pima Air MuseumTucson, Arizona. This aircraft is displayed as it appeared while serving as an aerial firefighter with Aero Union in California. During this period the distinctive empennage with twin vertical stabilizers on each horizontal tail were removed to make a more conventional appearance.[15]
  • 126731 - Static display at the Commemorative Air Force's Mesa facility in Mesa, Arizona as a memorial to VAdm James B. Stockdale, who flew this aircraft early in his Navy career.[16][17]

What she is doing in Toco, at a tiny airfield, (besides being refinished apparently) is unclear.  Why in Toco?  What is here, that drew the owner to bring an ultra rare plane here?  I know there is an extensive warbird history at this field, but that was a LONG time ago.  I don't know if she flew in here, or was trucked in, but I bet there is a good story in there somewhere!


Per a wise gentleman on the web, who linked me some information on this plane, I know this is #126792 previously based in Ocala FL.  Also known as N9995Z, and based on the newest registry of record, it now makes sense why she is in Toco.  Mystery solved!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

November 255 Sierra

It's always been a bit of a mystery to me, this plane, parked in a field on the edge of Hwy 82 at Toco.  There's a couple small hangars and some light aircraft, like Cessnas, in the back.  But this big ol' girl just sits there, intact, but showing the wear and tear of the unsheltered in Texas, her paint fading, her tail holier than swiss cheese now.

Today, on the road home from a doctor visit in Sherman, I could resist the siren call no more.  I turned down the barely paved road that runs past the airport, such as it is...

I was hoping to get a tail number off her, and maybe if I was lucky, to see the blue Navy warbird that has been parked outside one of the hangars, for most of this year.  Neither DH nor I could ID the Navy bird, so I was hoping to photograph it.

Despite her condition, I find her rather photogenic.  I was rushed to take these shots, and being limited to my cellphone for a camera.  As I pulled down the road beside her, I was able to make out that most-essential bit of information, her tail number.  November 255 Sierra.  Now I had her!
The plan was to look the number up online, and see what I could find.  Little did I know what a fascinating set of links this mere number would unveil!   While I was there, I managed a longer range shot of another aircraft.  I couldn't pull a tail number off it, and it's obviously not flight worthy at this moment, as it is missing the prop!  Still, I can see it was apparently once military, there being a white star in the faded blue on the wings, and the SM in the black on the tail.  However, I don't recognize what type of plane it is.  Do you?  If you do recognize it, please let me know in the comments section.
I tried a reverse image search on this plane, to no avail.  Any help would be much appreciated.

Once home, I used my Google-fu, and discovered the history of N255S.  What was so fascinating was not so much the plane, as the place!  The Flying Tiger Air Museum used to operate out of this little dirt strip field (yes I know the runway is somewhat paved...).

The man who owned and ran it, was a former stunt pilot, with a bit of Hollywood history to his resume.  He also had quite the collection of flight worthy warbirds!  On top of it all, the planes were not just to look at, like static displays--oh no, you could FLY THEM!  Yes, plunk down your money, and Mr Burchinal could teach you to fly warbirds!  At various times, there was a B-17, a B-25, an SNJ, a T-6, a P-38, F-86 Sabre, a Corsair, and the creme de la Creme, a P-51 Mustang!  How many of these were flight ready I am unsure, though I did find a link to a lengthy write up of one man's experience studying under Mr Burchinal and eventually soloing the Mustang.  Sadly, such a flight school could no longer exist in today's litigious world...

Alas, the museum eventually closed, Mr Burchinal passed away, and the aircraft were mostly sold off.  A little piece of Texas history, and American history died with it.  I wish I had been around here, back then, to see it all.  It would've been glorious!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rain, anyone?

Yesterday was just a tad bit wet.  The rain, which is  forecast to plague bless us all this week started falling at 8:00am.  By 9:00am, there were 2" in the gauge.  By 10:00am, it was over 4".  By noon it was over 5".

All that rain meant we had to set the sump pump out, to drain the water from the back side of the house, lest it flood Monkeyboy's room.  DH was getting dressed to go out, and I decided to get out there quickly, as the water was rising.

 So I lifted the sump cover and dropped the pump into the hole.  Then I went to lay out the discharge hose.  As I was coming back to the pump to attach the hose, I misjudged where the sump hole was (being full fo muddy water made it hard to see) and I stuck my left leg smack in the hole.  I sort of fell over.  Nothing broke, or got sprained, at least in the hip-to-foot region.  My low back however, is distinctly unhappy about it.

We eventually opted to install our other pump, one with a float switch.  That meant we didn't have to manually plug in the power to the original pump any more.

I spent most of yesterday taking it easy, napping and laying on the heating pad.  This morning, it felt pretty good.  Though it is a bit tired and achy late this afternoon.  And after the morning rains of yesterday, we got yet another 3/4" last night, and this afternoon yet more rain,this time being just over 1/2" in about 20 minutes!  It's a good thing I backwashed the pool today, as it probably would've overflowed otherwise.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Unrequited Love

Once upon a time, we had two guinea fowl.  Due to difficulties in determining if either of them was a hen, we were never sure what we had.  They never really liked any of our chickens despite being raised with them.  They were a noisy pair...

Then one day, disaster struck, and one guinea met an untimely end at the teeth of an unknown predator.  The remains were summarily buried atop Mt. Weather in back of the shop.

This left us with one lone guinea.  We gradually came to the conclusion that the survivor at least, was a male.  This meant Deanna was now known as Dino.  Eh, gender fluidity and all, right?
Deanna  Dino

Being a lone guinea amidst a bunch of hens meant things were somewhat quieter here.  Dino now only screams at the blueberries, the grass, and the sky intermittently, rather than the constant noise of old.  He still chased the hens around the yard though, driving them away.

Sometimes Monkey1 would coo at him, imitating a guinea song, and he would run all around, looking for the other guinea...poor guy was lonely!

Then one day, he saw HER.  She was big, like he was.  She was black and white, sort of like he was.  She had red on her head, like him, so what if it wasn't in the same place?  She MUST be guinea!
Dino began following Salty.  He would guard her.  He would drive the other chickens out of the dust bath so Salty could bathe in peace.  She, was perfect in his eyes!

Salty on the other hand, ignored his advances.  In fact she pretty much ignores him totally, unless he has something tasty to steal eat.  She doesn't seem to mind him running the other hens off, when she dust bathes though.
And though Salty has been unresponsive to Dino's advances and displays of affection, she does allow him to hang out around her.  However, I did see Dino following our largest hen, Amber, around today...could he be two-timing our Salty?  Or has he given up on  his lady love, and begun to seek affection elsewhere?  Tune in next week, for more of Hens of Our Lives!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back on the bike

Ok, I admit it, it has been nearly 2 years since I've been riding  my bikes regularly.  2015 was the last year I rode a lot.  With the move, selling the old house, etc, that meant no riding in the winter of 2015/16, and then getting settled in here, and not knowing the routes, meant no real riding in 2016.

That doesn't mean we were inactive though.  Our garage is now our home gym, and we have lifted regularly all of 2016, and some of this year too.  Various injuries and illnesses have limited us somewhat in 2017, but after helping run a SAG stop on the  Tour de Paris this month, I just decided I was going to ride.

So I have.  I have ridden more in the last 2 weeks, than I have in the last year.  It's a start, anyway.  I have been mapping out some rides on Ride With GPS, and have driven some of them to get acquainted with the roads.  Chipseal is everywhere.  Pavement is sometimes a relative concept.  Paved shoulders are available on some more-traveled roads.

Thus far, the problem is I have no "legs".  I am dog-slow, and endurance is of course similarly lacking.  Weight training has kept me strong, I can back squat to below parallel, in excess of my bodyweight on the bar, but my speed and cadence are low, that it will take a lot of miles to bring it up.  At least the endurance should come back in a couple months, provided I keep riding.

I want to ride.  I like it too much.  We used to have a lot of fun, back in McKinney, where we knew the roads, and the traffic.  But all that has been built out in the last two years--it was happening while we still lived there.  So I just have to find routes I like, with tolerable road surfaces.  Maybe I'll see you sometime, on the road!

Until then, Tailwinds!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sketchy connections

The storm that blew through here, Sunday night, smack in the dramatic ending of episode 2, Game of Thrones, was apparently strong enough to blow down more than one of our local internet provider's radio towers.  We knew the rain was heavy, as at the same time the net crashed, we lost the dumb satellites.  Ahh, the joys of rural life...

Yes our net provider's system is radio based (aka slow and expensive).  When the towers fell, that killed all connectivity, except for the even slower direct cellular connection.  Yep, my cell coverage is worse than my internet.

So, if I seem absent from the net for awhile, now you know why.  And knowing is half the battle!

UPDATE:  It's ALIVE!!!  Yes, the net came up at about 08:20 this morning!   I expect the connection will be "fragile" for a couple hours as they run tests etc, but for the moment, everything works!  Now, if only Deathstar Inc. would get their act together and figure out what is wrong with our primary cell tower (only a measured 3mi away.)

Friday, July 21, 2017

All that's fit to read

A fellow blogger and Texan recently (as in this week) published his first book.  And what a book it is!  LawDog, as he is known on the net, has published his first book via Amazon, in e-book format, with the dead tree edition soon to follow.  This bit of news was cause for much celebration and laughter here at the casa.  We have followed 'Dog's blog for years now, and always enjoy his tales, both of his unique upbringing in Africa, and of his work in rural law enforcement in Texas.  It is the latter which is the subject of his initial book, The LawDog Files.

I purchased the book while riding shotgun in the truck today, visiting various Doctors Orthopedic, dining on Hard 8 BBQ, and bemoaning the state of traffic in the Metromess.  Of course, I immediately began reading.  I couldn't help but laugh, loudly enough to receive inquiry from DH.  So I began to read to him as he drove.  Sort of an Audiobook...with giggles.  I couldn't help it--it's that good!

His second book, tales of growing up in Africa, is due out in a month or two.  You can check for updates on that, if you follow his blog, also known as The LawDog Files, btw.  He has posted a pre-order link on the blog, for those who are ready to order early.

If you enjoy reading funny stories (most of them anyway) with a take on rural Texas life and law enforcement, you will love this book.  'Dog has a wicked wit, and quite the unique turn of phrase.  I personally, am eagerly looking forward to the second book, African Adventures.  I want to read The Ratel Pit again!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Probably gonna rain again...

The Silverado Sage is blooming fiercely again.  That usually means it's gonna rain within 2-3 days.  It's nearly (moreso sometimes) as accurate as the weather forecasts.  

And it is better looking than the weatherguessers!
One day, we hope these will all be a large silver-grey and purple hedge around the pool deck.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun at the Tour de Paris

This year, due to DH's recent hand surgery, and a distinct lack of cycling this year, we decided, when approached  by the Chamber of Commerce, to help out with the Tour de Paris through our church, by running a rest stop, aka SAG stop.

Our church happily agreed to volunteer warm bodies to man the SAG stop, and also to make lots of homemade cookies to give out to the cyclists.  The ride has a large number of cyclists typically, usually 1000+/-.

We took charge of a relatively remote SAG stop on the 66mi route.  It was around 31 miles into the route.  We got set up at a local landowner's property just down from an intersection on the route.  The landowners were great to work with.  They let us set up along their fence, granted us parking in their driveway, and also access to their water in case we needed more.

Getting set up
The ride began at 8am, but we were on site by 7 and set up ready to rock before 8am.  We had expected it to be hot and humid, as is typical in Texas for July.  However we were blessed by fairly heavy cloud cover all day.  There were storms in the area, but for the most part, the ride was dry.
There was even bike--mobile EMS!

We didn't see as many riders as we had expected, due in part to a time cut off (riders had to make a certain rest stop by 11am in order to continue on the 66 or 80 mile routes), and I think also due to the rain potential.

The first shift crew.

I think everyone who got a chance to serve the cyclists had fun.  I know we did.   I look forward to either helping out again next year on TdP, or riding it.  It is a nice way to give back, to a community (local and cycling) that we care about.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I miss these guys...such good dogs.

When your big sister paints you in peanut butter--The perfect peanut butter removal system!

Oh lordy, they were young once...

Hurry up and shoot more arrows!

I miss this guy so...

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How high is the water, Mama?

It's 3' high, and rising!  Since Friday night/Saturday morning, we have had over a measured 6" rain here at the casa.  The storms have been freight-training over us.  The intermittent creek out back is running high.  The ponds along our road out of the neighborhood are overflowing.  We've had to kick on the pool filter early to keep the main pool from overflowing twice now.  If it overflows, it will run off to the back of the house, which needless to say is less than optimal!

The weather up here along the Red, is just different, than that to which we were accustomed in the Metromess.  The storms track in along a different path, and there is a lot more lightning.  Normally I love a good lightning show, having been known to go up to Malott Hall late at night, on the KU campus to watch storms from up on the 7th floor.

Local radar from this morning, tracking west to east right over us.

But here, out in the county, it is normally very quiet, if you overlook the guinea who screams at the sky, and the blueberry bushes, and anything else that he takes a fancy to...  Except during storms, and the 4th of July when he screams at everything.  More folks out here do bigger fireworks than some small towns!  It's a lot of fun!  There's a huge retailer 5 mi. down the road, and they have reasonable prices.  Our local veterinarian even opened up his parking lot to clients and the animal shelter volunteers, brought out a big stereo system, and hired the snowcone van to park there and sell goodies to the kids.  This way we all had a nice place to park, and sit on concrete and watch the fireworks that Paris put on, July 3rd.

Unfortunately, Indy hates both storms and fireworks.  Up here, both of these are loud!  We have a Thundershirt for him.  It helps a little bit, but not a lot.  We think when he was running stray in his former life, he got shot at by someone, because of how he reacts to anything that sounds vaguely like a gun shot.  For him, it leads to a panic attack.  We've even gotten Frankincense oil to apply.  It seems to calm him down a little too.  But neither gets him to totally chill.  Last night, I put him in our bedroom, the furthest from the fireworks noise.  He still spent the time in there pacing, drooling copiously, and, well, that's probably enough description of the flood in our room.  Just another reason to love tile and laminate flooring!  And just to add to the mix, Bullet gets a bit antsy when Indy is stressed, so he will pace the floor, click clack, click clack, click clack, with those big ol' Ridgeback claws, all night as long as Indy is stressed.
Bookend Ridgebacks.  Bullet on the left, Indy on the right.

The 4th of July weekend may be over, but the rain continues.  I'm hoping  the weather will begin to spread the storms out a little, to one a week, instead of every other day!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Eagle Rare Life Character Awards

Eagle Rare Bourbon sponsors an annual award of significant dollar value for the honored recipient.  Many are nominated in a variety of categories, and one is chosen per category.  The voting runs for a long time, to give more people the opportunity to participate.

This year, a good friend of mine, is in the running for the Character Award.  He is Roy Hughes, founder of Texas Independent Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue, aka TIRR Rescue.  I know of no one, more dedicated to the dogs he has contact with, than Roy.  I know first hand, the energy and resources he pours into TIRR, his life's work.

Roy saying goodbye to my Charlie.  Roy drove 2hrs to be with us, on Charlie's last day.  He also took him afterwards, to Brother Ben for cremation.

I know this, if Roy were so fortunate as to receive this award and the funds it comes with, that money would all go to the dogs care and housing.  I know it would be well spent.

If you would be willing, follow the link below to the voting.  You can vote daily, from any device you have, for the duration of the voting (which is long).  Once there, you can bookmark it on your devices, or just refer back here to get the link again.

Eagle Rare Life Character Award Voting link

Friday, June 23, 2017

Busy week ahead

Looks like I will have a busy week next week, what with MonkeyBoy's birthday, and DH's impending hand surgery, plus our foster dog Sarge came up lame this morning for some reason.  I'm currently waiting on the vet telling me what time they have time open to see him today.

So yes, it will be busy next week.  MonkeyBoy is growing up fast.  He finally hit a growth spurt, and got longer rather than wider.  He's still not quite as tall as me, or his younger sister, but I seem to have to keep buying him longer and longer pants!  He is also maturing nicely, though at times he needs to rein in his temper.

Stenosing Tenosynovitis is the official name for what is wrong with DH's hand.  Two fingers on his dominant hand are currently affected.  For some reason, this problem is overly common amongst diabetics.  I can't learn of a good reason why this is so, only that it IS a common complaint.  Also according to our favorite Orthopedic Surgeon, diabetics just do not respond well to non-surgical treatment (aka cortisone shots).  He says every single diabetic who received a cortisone shot was not fixed.  Yet only one surgical treatment that he has done had the problem recur in the treated finger.  We are well aware of how cortisone affects blood glucose (badly!), so we did not consider that a viable option anyway.

His surgery is late next week, so if you are so inclined, I would appreciate any prayers you care to utter for DH, and those involved in his care and treatment.  I trust his doc, lord knows I have enough scars to prove that!  And though it is a minor surgery, it still carries risks, especially as a diabetic.

And then there is poor Sarge, our local foster pup.  He came up very lame this morning.  Bad enough that he clearly does not want to bear weight on that front leg.  I don't know exactly what he did to it either...he seemed normal last night when I crated him for bed.  At least he will get to see a vet today or tomorrow I think.  The local shelter has approved a voucher for his treatment.

Then there is the normal household stuff to do, plus planned lifting M-W-F, plus maybe a short bike ride or two...I expect next week I will feel like I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

UPDATE from Saturday:  So today we tackled replacing the main pump motor for the pool.  Thank God for Youtube!  It wasn't technically difficult, really, but there are some parts you DON'T want to break!  (Can you say impeller?)  Plus the videos were not an exact match to our system, but we managed, and once done, we got to do the leak check.  Powered up the motor, and voila!  No leaks, no howling bearings, and a whole lot more water flow through the system than before.  Yay!

Then it was time to chainsaw more logs to size, and split and stack them all.  At this point, we need to gravel in the remaining wood pad if we are going to split more wood.  We got about two hours of work done on the wood pile before we were willing to call it quits for the day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

EuropaDallas 2017 and Inzer gear

Saturday, DH and I decided to go all the way back into the Metromess (my 3rd trip in the week!) to go to the KBH Convention center for the EuropaDallas 2017 Fitness Expo.  Neither of us had been to this sort of convention, though we have been to numerous other conventions in our lives.

None however, were quite as noisy as the Europa!  OMG, was it LOUD in there!  Between the annoying Rap Music blasting out of vendor booths, the dance stage music trying to be loud enough for the dance crowd to hear, and several thousand people having to yell across tables just to converse, it was a darned good thing DH didn't wear his 'ears', or what little hearing he has left, would've been gone! (His 'ears' are mainly amplifiers, without the ability to cancel out unwanted noise.)  Seriously, it was so loud, you could've fired a pistol in there, and no one would've been the wiser!

The vendors were mostly well represented, with lots of protein/food/clothing sellers.  The glaring gap in vendors was the hardware sellers.  Only Troy Barbell and Inzer showed up.  We had hoped Rogue, and Texas Barbell would show, but no joy.  There were some other sellers of wraps/sleeves/belts, but none I had heard of before the Expo except Inzer.

I had been looking for a set of knee sleeves or wraps, as my right knee is no longer 100%.  My doc says I can have a new knee in another 12 years, as I am approaching a bone-on-bone situation on the medial side.  After seeing a Rippetoe video on using wraps, I decided I would try those instead of sleeves.  Sleeves are faster to put on, but the wraps are infinitely adjustable.
I found the Inzer booth at the Expo, and opted for a set of their Gripper wraps, so there would be less slippage of the wraps in use.  I was hoping for some improved support for my knee during squats.  

I got to use them last night, during our lifting session.  All I can say is "WOW!"  I did not expect the amount of support I got from a medium tight wrap!  At first it was sort of like walking around with what I called 'robot legs'.  It felt strange, not bad, just odd.  Then it was time to squat.  It made a huge difference in my stability!  I was sold on them after the first set!

DH thought he would try them too, just to see,  He doesn't have any big knee problems, his issue is a very cranky hip.  So when it was time for his squats, we got him wrapped up.
The Bees Knees!

He started his warmup squats, and lo and behold, the Heavens opened, the light shone down on him, and there was only joy, not pain in his hip!  Don't ask me why, but wrapping his knees made his hip WAY less painful!  Honestly, I suspect it is controlling some sort of internal/external rotation of the hip, but whatever it did, it was great!   Thank you Inzer!  Needless to say, we will be ordering him a set of wraps too!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Working Weekend--Lumberjack Style!

Two weeks ago, Monkey1 spotted an advertisement in the local classifieds.    "Free firewood.  Must take it all.  First come, gets it all."  Well, not being one to turn down free firewood, we drove out that same evening to see how much there was, and whether we actually wanted it.  The wood was two loads worth in the truck, and not horribly rotted out, so we agreed to take it.  The landowner was prepping his home for sale, and we happened to spot that he had an hydraulic splitter in back.  Casual conversation ensued concerning said splitter, and it was found to be in pretty good running condition, starting up readily.  A price was negotiated, and a payment date agreed upon.

Meet my new Best Friend!
A Huskee hydraulic log splitter, either 22 or 22 ton, we're not sure which.  It could stand new wheel bearings, but the motor and ram are in fine condition, so the wheels can wait.

This weekend was planned to be a working weekend, splitting and cutting  and restacking our existing wood pile.  Much of what we had previously cut and split is too long for our new wood burning fireplace insert.  We are standardizing on 16" logs to make them more manageable in the insert.  This will be our heat source in the coming winter/cold seasons.

This was the initial pile to split.  I was going to run the splitter, with Monkeyboy managing the logs.  Once split, it would be carted over to the main storage pile and stacked neatly...something that needed done with the entire split pile if truth be told.

DH was going to run the chainsaw, shortening logs to 16".  This is his work area.  Monkey3 would be helping him.  Their working stack of logs is shown below (2nd picture).  The splits you see are ones that need to be cut down to 16", and possibly resplit to a more manageable size.

After about two hours running non stop, the pile of logs needing to be cut down looked like this.  We made quite a dent in it!

We also got quite a lot of it split and stacked.  You can see the change in the woodpile by comparing the two photos below.

Original woodpile.

The pile with the newly split wood added.
There remains quite a lot of work yet to do, but we did make a lot of progress today.  And, neither DH nor I feel like we got beat to death doing the work.  That alone makes the investment in the log splitter WELL worth the expense.  And to be honest, we paid less than 25% of the cost of a new one.  Some folks might call it "cheating", but I'd call it "working smarter!"