January 9, 2019

Stella Does It Again

It caused me to wake up. A familiar sound but I can't figure out what it is at first. Was it a dream? It's pitch black in my bedroom so it 'feels' like the middle of the night. As I figure out what's going on, I tap my watch face to see it IS "in the middle of the night." There it is again, that sound. It's just a little bit louder than what I heard when I woke up. It can't be. I know as it is I'll have a hard time to get back to sleep and I am not thrilled about it. A little louder this time ... it's Stella ... slightly whining in the darkness, a good whine not a troubled whine.

It's 4:05am

I give my self a chance to get back to sleep as I tell her to "go back to sleep." She knows what that means and has in the past, when I have told her that. Not today. No, she wants to start the day NOW, not a few hours from now. Of course, now that she sees I am awake, she gets louder with excitement. That wakes Heidi up and she always starts a day or wakes up from a nap with a full body shake, her hears flapping against the side of her face as she shakes her head.

It's 4:20am

The day has "Officially Started"

With the normal routine starting a few hours early, they finish their breakfast, then sneak off to the dark bedroom to go back to sleep ... by 4:35am. They are happy, fat and fed. Now for some good sleep until the morning walk at 8am. Funny, but I no longer heard any whining from Stella.  LOL

We knew the weather was going to drastically change by this morning and it did. When I went outside with Stella last night the wind was already cold, very cold. It was colder this morning, coming out of the NW. I was warm everywhere except my face.

Stella was motivated a little more this morning. I don't know if it was because she just felt good waking me up extra early this morning or was it the freezing temps compared to the past few days. She was in a tracking mode this morning and was in front of me most of the time. As we made this first turn it became colder even though the wind was coming over my left shoulder.

Last night my friend sent an email about the time I was bringing up the Canon owners manual so I could double check some of the adjustments we had made to the settings on Monday night. We have identical cameras. After reading the manual a little closer, plus the small messages on the camera screen as each icon was touched, we found we had a couple of adjustments backwards. The higher value did not make the picture better but a lower value would. Of course, with the information we talked about and the adjustments we made, it was already dark where I live so I would not find out if these setting changes worked until this morning.

Yesterday afternoon before he emailed me, I  found out the yellow bar meant the zoom picture might be grainy but not noticeable. When I zoomed too far and that bar would turn light blue, then I had gone too far. It was just as I expected. While I paid attention to those colors when I zoomed in on Stella pretty far away this morning, I backed off the zoom lever until the yellow bar had disappeared. What is hard to see at the time I take the photo, is that I cannot tell how large Stella was show in the picture. With this camera I have to use the monitor on back of the camera as my view finder. It will take time, more pictures and practice.

I also found out what my problem is when I complain that my pictures are not as clear or sharp as I expect. My 2017 iMac monitor is 4K Retina and has an awesome desktop picture. It doesn't matter if I use one that Apple supplies me or upload one of my own, they are always extremely sharp and clear. The second monitor I use is an Apple LED Cinema Display. That 27" desktop picture is sharper and clearer than any picture I've taken with a camera. I really believe my picture mystery is from looking at those two displays and not my eyes.

The Canon G9 experienced its first small drop of moisture from somewhere on the walk Tuesday morning. With one of my lint free rags that come with new computers, tablets or phones, I was able to wipe that spot off of the lens. It was easier than I thought it would be since the lens is so small compared to my Nikon D3200. Contessa has been talking about taking her camera in to get it cleaned due to the dust collected on the lens of her small point and shoot camera. I have not had that problem with my larger lens on the Nikon D3200 in the past few years but I am keeping a careful eye on the small Canon lens.

No, I did not watch the President's speech last night. I turned on my DVR and watched a taped show from Monday night, while I was watching the football game. I don't watch prime time tv shows very much but one show I like is a show called "Bull" a lawyer, courtroom show. On the Animal Planet and Discovery channel, two shows I follow are back with new episodes ... The Last Alaskans and Homestead Rescue. It is good to see some in The Last Alaskans are wearing the same $12 Carhartt 100% acrylic sock hat that I bought a month or so ago ... it keeps me just as warm if not warmer than the old wool ski cap I wore last winter. Evidently they either had a good trapping season last year or they are making some spare cash from filming the show, because two of them have brand new motor boats that they have not had on the show in the past three seasons. That is a hard life up there but beautiful country.

As far as the Homestead rescue ... that just shows some people have no business living off the grid. I shake my head more than a few times watching that show. It's hard to watch sometimes when these people have spent their life savings to live off the grid, unprepared and are within days or a month of losing everything. They get help from some Alaskan experts that have answered the homesteaders pleas on video, asking for help.

I have added a little "flavor" to my list of blogs at the bottom of my blog. WordPress alphabetized the links that I add and to answer a couple of email questions, no ... those links do not rotate to the top when they have posted a new article or blog post. They stay in the order you see them.

It was somewhat ironic last night after we made some more camera setting adjustments, that I found out something good about my Apple watch. I was having trouble getting an app to work. Since I figured out what was wrong, that gave me a new watch face, one that is a little "old school" yet gives me the information I want at a glance. The information I want is: time and date, battery percentage left, my heart rate, the weather temp and conditions and an icon I can tap to start the app for our daily walks. I had not used this watch face because I could not get a reading on my heart rate, one that would show up on the screen. Playing around with the app called 'Cardiogram' on my iPhone last night I realized I had downloaded the app for the watch but I had never registered an account to use the app. Once I did that, I had my heart rate on the watch face in less than a minute.

You can see that 'old school' watch face at the bottom of this post.  (How's that for suspense?)

Stella might have been getting cold at this point of the walk, a little more than halfway finished. It's our last turn toward home so I call it the halfway point. I did not have to do any verbal herding except to say "come on" ... she did not hesitate turning and following me, then passing me on the path. All the way home I did not have to stop to 'convince' her to move. In fact a few times she trotted off faster than her walk but not quite a full out run. I guess by that trotting or running, the supplements are helping. She knows when she is to get one twice per day and will make sure I don't forget. Since Heidi doesn't need the supplement but needs a treat at the same time, she gets one of those grain free bacon flavored small bones that sound like they are hard as a rock when the hounds bite into them.

It wasn't until I downloaded this picture did I see the tail lights from the truck next to the building. A huge turkey business operates out of there. That picture shows only a couple of many buildings, raising turkeys.

Stella was faster than my camera or maybe it was my reaction time, trying to take this picture.

Stella always checks for any signs of that large mysterious field cat. I swear I heard that cat meowing this morning as I opened my eyes but neither hound acted as if a cat was outside the window. They don't react to strangers ringing the doorbell either, so maybe it really was the cat I heard.

It's always good to see Stella do a little running. She use to love to run as fast as possible either chasing deer, chasing Sadie or trying to get away from Sadie. She might have had a little arthritis beginning to show up last year, as she moves through her 9th year now.

There was just something about seeing the pinkish/orange clouds from the sun rise against the black trees of the gully. Still not as sharp as I expected. Are my hands shaking slightly to do that?

Let me remind you that Stella also likes to eat fresh dirt. She will not dig into the yard to get it but will always find it after some animal has pushed the dirt above the surface of the grass. She eats it as fast as possible because she can hear me saying "no" ... then trots by me while looking at me proudly. The dead giveaway is the dirt on her nose and the soon to be mud dangling from her jowls.

Again I have no idea why she stops all of the sudden to pose for a picture as we are within 25' of finishing the walk. She is trotting and then sits down almost immediately without a word said. She really is the funniest hound I have ever had.

Sorry for the blurriness but I was trying to hold the iPhone camera as close as possible or as far away as possible to take this picture before the watch face goes black. The #100 on the upper right is the percent of battery left. The workout app should be above the 12, but I don't see it. That weather update is a nice feature as is the heart rate. My review of the Apple Watch is coming soon, if not this afternoon. I have used it enough I think to write a very basic review.

I don't know how to say this politely but I'll try my best. There are two words in the English language that have always irritated the crap out of me. My blood pressure accelerates and my heart rate always jumps up a few beats per minute. One of those words I have not heard in many years, if not decades. Still if I were to hear it said to me, or written to me now, it would still irritate me. The other word I don't hear a lot of but did yesterday. Drives me nuts, makes me mumble to myself and to the hounds. When my insanity kicks in I even catch myself screaming about that word.

They are:

  • Stevie
  • Doggie
The first one was used by girls in elementary and junior high school that wanted to see me react. Late in high school the girl I was dating at the time and later married for a short time, bought herself a purebred Border Collie and named it .... Stevie. That was not the cause of our divorce since it happened years before but even then, in the spring of 1970, that word sent me spiraling out of control to where I was speechless.

The second word is not a word I can relate to when I have two hounds, one weighing 83 pounds and the other is shorter than short and is heavy at 45 pounds. When they sit on my lap (Heidi) or tries to (Stella), the word "doggie" doesn't seem to describe two large heavy dogs. In fact I don't know if that word really describes any breed of dog. When I hear or see that word I think of a small child using that word. A dictionary will show one of the meanings of doggie as a small dog or puppy. I don't see or hear any way that word pertains to my hounds.

My hounds are not doggies, dogs ... barely, they are hounds, but definitely not a doggie. Please refrain from using the word doggie in my presence when talking about my hounds ... as I only like getting mad at umpires (baseball), referees (football) and officials (basketball).

Yes, I did rethink about discussing those two words in public but it's back to that 'transparency thing' readers were wanting when I announced my blog was changing. So there it is ... transparent, bordered with flashing lights or am I standing at a podium with six US flags behind me, looking like I just had a fresh dose of formaldehyde injected in me? ... announcing my dissatisfaction to the world  :)

No matter what, it's another great day of retirement here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. Arrowhead GrammaJanuary 09, 2019 5:53 AM

    In the past, I have referred to your hounds as "girls." Hope this did not offend you. We always referred to our Labs as "girls." My Black Lab Mystic would do the soft whining when she wanted to wake me up as she was ready for breakfast. Interesting to note is that she always did this on my side of the bed and never my husband's. She knew who would get up with her. Good memories.